The American Prize competitions are unique in scope and structure, designed to recognize and reward the best performing artists, ensembles and composers in the United States, based on submitted recordings. The American Prize is presented annually in many areas of the performing arts and has awarded nearly $35,000 in prize money since its founding in 2009.
Additional information about the competitions may be found on the website: www.theamericanprize.org.
Earlier this fall, Maestro David Katz, chief judge of The American Prize, expressed a hope for the competitions "to do more" to advance the art. The creation of the Honored Artist designation is one way the competition seeks to bring additional recognition to laureates it deems especially worthy.
The five composers selected as Honored Artists of The American Prize for 2014 are:
Lee Actor, Monte Sereno CA
Second Place—Music for Orchestra, 2011
David Avshalomov, Santa Monica CA
Special Judges' Citation—Orchestral Music, 2012
Third Place—Music for Band, 2014
Jesse Ayers, Canton OH
Winner—Orchestral Music, 2011
Nancy Bloomer Deussen, Mountain View CA
Second Place—Chamber Music, 2013
David Sartor, Hermitage TN
Third Place—Music for Chorus, 2012
Third Place—Chamber Music, 2013
“The American Prize has auditioned many works by these five composers over several seasons,” Katz said, “Each of the five exhibits a unique voice, a substantial catalog, multiple performances and serious intent. Each deserves every opportunity to be heard. We are delighted to bring added attention to their considerable gifts.”
JESSE AYERS is a 2014 recipient of an Ohio Arts Council Individual Artist Excellence Award, the winner of the 2013 Boston Metro Opera Concert Award, the winner of the 2011 American Prize for Orchestral Composition, a co-winner of the 2011 Dayton Ballet “New Music for New Dance,” and a 2010 recipient of a MacDowell Fellowship. Recent commissions include those from the Indiana Bandmasters Association, the Ohio Private College Instrumental Conductors Association, and the Wisconsin Lutheran National Honors Band. His music has been performed in more than 100 U.S. cities and eight foreign countries. Much of his music is scored for large "surround-sound" forces and explores the intersection of the spiritual and natural worlds and the redemptive intervention of a very real God in the affairs of the human race. Since 1997, Ayers has taught at Malone University, and has been awarded the university’s Distinguished Faculty Award.
Honored Artists will be highlighted in a separate section on The American Prize website and on the competition’s Facebook pages, will receive expanded listings on The American Prize blog, will be featured in individualized press releases sent to local, regional and national media, and receive a special, framed certificate. Honored Artists also receive an application fee waiver for a future competition.
The American Prize Honored Artists must meet these criteria:
- May be nominated by any member of The American Prize national judging panel.
- Will have reached finalist status or higher and/or received an Honorable Mention or Special Judge's Certificate in at least three different competition years, which need not be consecutive.
- Will have won The American Prize (first place) no more than one time.
- Will have consistently received exceptional evaluations in their chosen area of endeavor.
- Will be honored during a season in which they are an active participant.
- Accept the designation.
- There is no minimum or maximum number that will be awarded each season.
"Honored Artists of The American Prize" are given in memory of David Katz’s father, Abraham R. Katz, a gifted amateur musician, who died in 1999.