Tuesday, December 29, 2015

CHORAL WINNERS: all divisions, 2015

The American Prize is honored to announce the winners and runners-up of The American Prize in Choral Performance, 2015, in all divisions.

Congratulations!

All finalists receive written evaluations from a member of The American Prize judging panel.

Complete listings of finalists and semi-finalists in The American Prize competitions may be found elsewhere on this blog.  

Please make us aware of any misprints: theamericanprize@gmail.com

The American Prize in Choral Performance, 2015, professional chorus

The American Prize winner:
Houston Chamber Choir 
Robert Simpson, director    Houston, TX 
Houston Chamber Choir
Described by Peter Phillips as “one of this country’s leading ensembles,” the Houston Chamber Choir was founded by Robert Simpson in 1995.  It has performed at national conventions of the American Choral Directors Association, on tour in the United States, Mexico, and Europe and been heard on CBS and ABC television and National Public Radio. Noted guest artists include jazz legend Dave Brubeck, María Guinand and Paul Hillier who wrote, “Robert Simpson has created something special. Long may this group prosper!”
 The Choir’s recording Ravishingly Russian is a rare sampling of secular choral works taken from the library of the St. Petersburg Conservatory.  American Record Guide found “the singing is top-of-the-line” and Gramophone’s review proclaimed, “Ravishing is right!”  The Choir’s upcoming cd, soft blink of amber light, is comprised of works commissioned by the Chamber Choir from noted American composers Christopher Theofanidis, Jocelyn Hagan, Dominick DiOrio and David Ashley White.


2nd Place:
Inspiravi 
Jean-Sebastien Vallee, director    Los Angeles, CA 
Inspiravi
Dedicated to the highest quality of musical performance, INSPIRAVI seeks to enrich Southern California with exceptional interpretations of traditional and innovative chamber choral works.  Director and founder Jean-Sébastien Vallée has assembled a group of twenty professional musicians from across California marked by virtuosity, versatility, and a commitment to excellence.  It is the mission of INSPIRAVI to educate and delight its audience through music spanning nearly six centuries, and to cultivate an intimate appreciation of chamber music.


The American Prize in Choral Performance, 2015, college/university chorus

The American Prize winner:
USC Thornton Chamber Singers 
Jo-Michael Scheibe, director        Los Angeles, CA 
USC Thornton Chamber Singers
The USC Thornton Chamber Singers have been hailed as a model of excellence since their inception in 1939. This past year, they performed at the 2015 American Choral Directors Association National Conference in Salt Lake City, Utah. In 2014, they performed in Beijing at the 12th International Festival of Choral Music, and were one of 25 choirs to perform at the 10th World Symposium on Choral Music in Seoul; they were also featured performers at the 2014 ACDA Western Division Conference in Santa Barbara, CA. Previously, Chamber Singers has sung with Elton John, Barry Manilow, The Rolling Stones, and Andrea Bocelli. Recent performance highlights include: choir-in-residence for the New Zealand Choral Federation Conference  “ChoralConnect” in Wellington; the West Coast premiere of Heinz Werner Henze’s Muses of Sicily with Robert Reynolds; Bach’s Mass in B Minor with Maestro Rilling; and the USC Visions and Voices with Dale Warland.


2nd Place:
William Jewell College Concert Choir
Anthony J. Maglione, director    Liberty, MO 
William Jewell College Concert Choir
The William Jewell College Concert Choir, conducted by Anthony J. Maglione, is an auditioned, highly selective ensemble composed of the college’s very best undergraduate choral singers.  In addition to several Kansas City area performances each semester, the choir makes an annual United States concert tour and since 1985, the choir has travelled triennially to England and Scotland for a 14-day concert tour.  Recent highlights include performances at Kansas City’s Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, an appearance with the Canadian Brass, Stravinsky’s Mass with Midwest Chamber Ensemble, an appearance at the Missouri Music Educators Association’s In-Service Workshop/Conference and an internationally distributed recording “The Trumpet Sounds” on Centaur Records to be released in 2015.  More information can be found at www.jewell.edu/music.  Also, follow us on Facebook, SoundCloud, and Twitter (@JewellChoir).


3rd Place:
The Portland State Chamber Choir 
Ethan Sperry, director        Portland, OR 
The Portland State Chamber Choir
Hailed by Fanfare Magazine as "one of the most interesting choral groups in the United States," The Portland State Chamber Choir has performed at many prestigious venues, touring internationally and making multiple appearances at ACDA and NAfME Conferences. In July, 2013 the Chamber Choir competed at the Seghizzi International Competition for Choral Singing in Gorizia, Italy where they earned 15 separate awards and became the first American Choir ever to win the Grand Prize in the competition’s 52-year history. In 2014 they were named Best Mixed Choir at the 16th International Choral Kathaumixw in Powell River, Canada. The Chamber Choir has recorded on the Albany and Hildegard Labels and their CD, "A Drop in the Ocean" was a finalist for the 2013 American Prize. Their latest recording “Into Unknown Worlds” is the only student choral recording ever to appear on Stereophile Magazine’s list of “Records to Die For.”


The American Prize in Choral Performance, 2015, community chorus division

The American Prize winner:
Peninsula Womens Chorus 
Martin Benvenuto, director      Palo Alto, CA 
Peninsula Womens Chorus
The Peninsula Women's Chorus (PWC) is a Palo Alto-based, 50-voice women's community choir performing high-quality classical and contemporary music in the Bay Area and many parts of the world. Since its founding in 1966, the Peninsula Women's Chorus has been committed to excellence in the performance of diverse and challenging choral literature for women's voices, and is recognized as the premier vocal ensemble for women in the San Francisco Bay Area. The PWC has come to national and international attention through live performance and recordings and has added significantly to the choral literature by commissioning new music. The chorus inspires and enriches its audiences in the Bay Area through its concert series, its ongoing program of premiering new works, and its numerous collaborations with other performing groups. www.pwchorus.org

2nd Place:
Princeton Pro Musica
Ryan Brandau, director   Princeton, NJ
Princeton Pro Musica
Princeton Pro Musica is a community arts organization that exists to perform choral masterworks, orchestral works, and other works of the choral literature with energy, passion, and uncompromising artistic excellence. We believe in the power of choral music to uplift and transform our current and future audiences, performers, and communities.

Princeton Pro Musica includes a volunteer chorus of 100 voices and an orchestra whose primary purpose of the organization since its founding in 1979 has been the presentation of major choral-orchestral works, both classical and contemporary. Recent seasons have explored the music of Beethoven, Brahms, Mendelssohn, Poulenc, Pärt, and others; have seen PPM’s first forays into working with Baroque orchestras to explore the music of Handel and Bach; and have include world premiere performances. Artistic Director Ryan James Brandau brings a deep and broad experience with choral and orchestral ensembles to the podium.

3rd Place:
Opus 7 Vocal Ensemble 
Loren W. Ponten, director        Seattle, WA 
Opus 7 Vocal Ensemble
Formed in 1992 by founding director Loren Pontén, Opus 7 specializes in 19th- through 21st-century a cappella choral music. As a resident ensemble of St. James Cathedral in Seattle, Washington since 1994, Opus 7 is dedicated to performing the works of local and regional composers, regularly commissioning new choral compositions. In addition, since 2000 Opus 7 has fostered new talent in the field of choral music through their unique Student Choral Composition Awards Program.


The American Prize in Choral Performance, 2015, youth/school chorus

The American Prize winner:
Cincinnati Children's Choir 
Robyn Lana, director        Cincinnati, OH  
Cincinnati Children's Choir
The Cincinnati Children’s Choir, Ensemble-in-Residence at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, directed by founder Robyn Lana, has become recognized as a leader in the children's and youth choir movement nationally and throughout the world. CCC provides high quality music education to over 950 girls and boys, grades 1-12.  It is the mission of CCC to offer all children the opportunity to experience musical excellence in a creative environment. Participants demonstrate musical understanding, artistry, achievement and confidence through passionate performances and collaborations with premier ensembles. CCC is a gold medal winner of the 2012 World Choir Games where they were the top scoring US choir in their category.  CCC has been a featured ensemble at Carnegie Hall, The Forbidden City Concert Hall (Beijing), and the Vatican among many others.  CCC is one of two choirs invited to represent the US at the World Expo in Milan, 2015.  www.cincinnatichoir.org


2nd Place:
The Davidson Chorale 
Timothy  Powell, director    Augusta, GA
The Davidson Chorale
The Davidson Chorale are the 2012 winners of the American Prize in Choral Performance. Continuing a long history of national and international success, under the direction of conductor Timothy M. Powell, the Chorale has performed with two-time Grammy winner Joseph Jennings, Charles Anthony Silvestri, Tim Sharp, and Mack Wilberg. In the last six years, they have appeared by peer-reviewed invitation at the Southern Division ACDA Conference and three Georgia Music Educators Association Conferences. Additionally, they have participated in three world-premiere performances at Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall to stellar reviews. In 2013 they were honored by an invitation to sing at the Vatican and in 2010 appeared by exclusive invitation on Easter Sunday at the famed St. Thomaskirche in Leipzig, Germany, the home church of J. S. Bach. In 2016 they will travel to Dublin, Ireland for a world premiere performance with Tim Sharp and Patrick Cassidy.


3rd Place:
The Brearley B-Naturals 
Karyn Joaquino, director    New York, NY
The Brearley B-Naturals
The B-Naturals are the a cappella group of The Brearley School, an all-girls preparatory school in New York City. Founded by students in 1986, the group has performed under the direction of Karyn Joaquino since she joined the Brearley faculty in 2000.

The repertoire is intentionally broad, ranging from traditional choral pieces to vocal jazz and pop. Much of the repertoire is arranged by Ms. Joaquino, but every show or recording is likely to include student arrangements and original student compositions. Most members of the B-Naturals pursue their love of a cappella music during their college careers as well, often directing their own groups.

The B-Naturals have sung the national anthem before a Yankees game, entertained the King and Queen of Sweden, toured to England and Wales, and performed twice at Jazz at Lincoln Center, most recently in May 2014 at the invitation of Tina Fey. In addition to live performances, the B-Naturals have recorded six CDs, and have been recognized for their work by Best of High School A Cappella, DownBeat Magazine, the Contemporary A Cappella Recording (CARA) awards, and The American Prize for Choral Performance.


HONORABLE MENTION: 
Olympia HS Concert Choir 
Debbie Aurelius-Muir, director        Stanford, IL   
Olympia HS Concert Choir
The Olympia High School Concert Choir is a mixed chorus of 55 students which draws from a school of about 530 students. The chorus is a non-auditioned group of dedicated musicians who hail from approximately eight small rural communities that comprise Olympia Community School District #16 in Stanford, Illinois. This chorus is a curricular, elective class which meets every other day. This is the only chorus at this high school and it is comprised of all four grade levels: freshmen, sophomores, juniors, and seniors. The group is under the direction of Debbie Aurelius-Muir. www.olympiacusd16




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Congratulations!

1 comment:

  1. Congratulations to all at the Houston Chamber Choir!! Well-deserved!

    ReplyDelete