Tuesday, December 29, 2015

CONDUCTOR WINNERS: all choral divisions, 2015

The American Prize is honored to announce the winners and runners-up of The American Prize in Conducting: all choral divisions, 2015. 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 Conducting: Professional Chorus Division, 2015.

The American Prize winner:
Robert Simpson
    Houston Chamber Choir    Houston, TX

Robert Simpson
Robert Simpson is Founder and Artistic Director of the Houston Chamber Choir. He also serves as Lecturer of Church Music at the Shepherd School of Music, Rice University, and Canon for Music at Christ Church Cathedral.  He was honored with Chorus America’s Michael Korn Founders Award for Development of the Professional Choral Art. His choirs have performed on tour in the United States, Mexico and Europe, as well as at national conventions of the American Choral Directors Association, and on CBS and ABC television and National Public Radio.  Recent conducting engagements have taken Mr. Simpson to China to lead performances of the Shanghai International Choral League at the Oriental Art Center and the Shanghai Conservatory.  An honors graduate of Brown University and The School of Sacred Music, Union Theological Seminary, Mr. Simpson subsequently studied at the Hochschule für Musik, Cologne, Germany and in Stockholm with Eric Ericson and Gustaf Sjörkvist.


2nd Place:
Jean-Sebastien Vallee
    Inspiravi    Los Angeles, CA

Jean-Sebastien Vallee
Active conductor, scholar, clinician, and adjudicator, Dr. Jean-Sébastien Vallée is a rapidly rising conductor on today's concert music stage.   Dr. Vallée is Director of Choral Studies at the Schulich School of Music of McGill University in Montréal, Canada. Prior to his appointment at McGill University, Dr. Vallée served as Director of Choral Studies at California State University, Los Angeles, and was on the choral faculty of the University of Redlands. Ensembles under his direction have sung for the American Choral Directors Association and California Music Educators Conferences, and were awarded first and second places at the San Luis Obispo International Choral Competition in 2011.

Dr. Vallée is also founder and director of INSPIRAVI, a 20-voice Los Angeles based professional chamber choir, Artistic Director of the Mountainside Master Chorale in Los Angeles, and choral conductor at the Church of St. Andrew and St. Paul in Montréal.


3rd Place:
Timothy Mount
    San Luis Obispo Mozart Festival and Vedantic Arts
    Ensemble    San Luis Obispo, CA and New York, NY

Timothy Mount
Timothy Mount recorded 7 CDs as conductor of the professional Vedantic Arts Ensemble in New York and 3 recordings in Moscow of large choral works by John Schlenck, with the Russian State Symphony Cinema Orchestra, the Moscow State Radio and Television Orchestra, and the Moscow New Choir. For over 10 years, he conducted the professional chorus and orchestra at the San Luis Obispo Mozart Festival. He guest conducted the New York Collegiate Chorale, Choral Society of the Hamptons, New York Virtuoso Singers, Rhode Island Civic Chorale and Orchestra, and Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia. Dr. Mount is Professor Emeritus and former Director of Choral Studies at Stony Brook, where he taught graduate conducting and received the first Bentley Glass Great Teacher Award. His Stony Brook choirs performed at festivals around the world. He published 4 articles concerning choral music and a video, *Refine Your Conducting Technique* available from Santa Barbara Music.


The American Prize in Conducting: College/University Chorus Division, 2015.

The American Prize winner:
Zebulon M. Highben
    Muskingum Concert Choir & Chamber Singers
    New Concord, OH

Zebulon M. Highben
Zebulon M. Highben is Assistant Professor of Music and Director of Choral Activities at Muskingum University in New Concord, Ohio. Ensembles under his direction have performed for numerous conferences and festivals, including the Ohio Choral Directors Association, ACDA of Minnesota, and the St. Olaf College Choral Festival.  In 2016 Dr. Highben will teach and perform in South Korea as a Conducting Fellow in ACDA’s International Conductors Exchange Program, and will also lead the Muskingum Concert Choir on tours to Washington, D.C. (February) and Germany and the Czech Republic (May). As a composer, Dr. Highben has received awards from ASCAP, the American Composers Forum, and the Association of Lutheran Church Musicians, and was a Finalist for the 2014 American Prize in Choral Composition. Over forty of his works are published by five domestic publishers and by Gehrmans Musikförlag in Sweden. He studied at Ohio State University, Luther Seminary, and St. Olaf College, and holds the DMA in conducting from Michigan State University, where he was the recipient of both the Charles K. Smith Fellowship in Choral Conducting and the Robert A. Harris Award for Excellence in Choral Performance. website: www.zebulonhighben.com


2nd Place:
Kevin M. Geraldi
    UNCG Symphony Orchestra and Choirs
    Greensboro, NC

Kevin M. Geraldi
DR. KEVIN M. GERALDI is Associate Professor of Conducting and Director of Orchestral Activities at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.  In this capacity, he conducts the UNCG Symphony Orchestra, Casella Sinfonietta, and Symphonic Band.  In addition to regular appearances as a guest conductor and clinician, he has recorded several compact discs on the Centaur and Equilibrium labels.  Dr. Geraldi holds the Doctor of Musical Arts and Master of Music degrees in conducting from the University of Michigan, where he studied with H. Robert Reynolds and Michael Haithcock, and the Bachelor of Music Education degree from Illinois Wesleyan University, where he studied conducting with Steven Eggleston.  He has also studied conducting with Gustav Meier and Kenneth Kiesler. Dr. Geraldi is a recipient of the Thelma A. Robinson Award, an award given biennially by the Conductors Guild and the National Federation of Music Clubs.  http://orchestras.uncg.edu


3rd Place:
Eliezer Yanson
    Jr. Combined Choirs of Bob Jones University
    Greenville, SC

Eliezer Yanson
Eliezer Yanson Jr. is associate professor of music at Bob Jones University in Greenville, S.C., where he conducts the University Singers and Lyric Choir and teaches undergraduate and graduate music classes. He earned a doctor of musical arts degree in choral conducting from the University of South Carolina, a master of music degree in church music and a bachelor of music in piano performance from Bob Jones University. Additionally, he holds a bachelor of theology degree from Baptist Bible Seminary & Institute in his native Philippines. His main conducting mentors have been Larry Wyatt and Warren Cook. An active clinician, conference speaker, and adjudicator, Eliezer is a member of the American Choral Directors Association, International Federation for Choral Music, National Collegiate Choral Organization, National Association for Music Education, and Pi Kappa Lambda. While passionate about conducting and teaching, Eliezer’s greatest role is being husband to Martha and father to Isabella and Andre.
 

The American Prize in Conducting: School & Community Chorus Division, 2015.

The American Prize winner:
Matthew Phelps
    West End UMC Chancel Choir    Nashville, TN

Matthew Phelps
Matthew Phelps is the Minister of Music at West End United Methodist Church in Nashville, TN.  As the leader of one of the nation’s premiere church music programs, Dr. Phelps conducts the 75 voice Chancel Choir in worship and concerts with members of the Nashville Symphony Orchestra.    Dr. Phelps is also the principal guest conductor of the Tri-County Master Chorale in Port St. Lucie, FL where he led an inaugural performance of Verdi’s Requiem.  He is scheduled to conduct Mozart’s Vespers of the Confessor K. 339 at Carnegie Hall in June of 2017 with Mid-America Productions.  Dr. Phelps has served churches in Cincinnati and New York; and has taught at Xavier University and Lipscomb University.  His choirs have performed at conventions for the Music Educator’s National Conference and the American Choral Director’s Association.     Dr. Phelps holds a bachelor’s degree from Wright State University in piano performance and his graduate degrees from the College-Conservatory of Music in Cincinnati where he studied conducting with Earl Rivers, Stephen Coker, Brett Scott, and Mark Gibson.  www.matthewphelps.net 



2nd Place:
Timothy Michael Powell
    The Davidson Chorale    Augusta, GA

Timothy Michael Powell
Timothy Michael Powell is the Director of Choral Activities at the prestigious Davidson Fine Arts School in Augusta, GA and conducts the Davidson Chorale, winners of the 2012 American Prize in Choral Performance. Dr. Powell received both his Bachelors and Masters degrees in Church Music with honors from Belmont University as a Dean and Mathis Scholar, and his DMA in Conducting from the University of South Carolina. He was a 1999 National Choristers Guild Scholar, and a 2002 Fulbright Scholar to Bulgaria. Lauded by New York Concert Reviews as “a skilled composer who understands the voice in all stages of development,” his compositions include numerous major works, including Wedding Mass, premiered at Carnegie Hall, and Saint George and the Dragon and American Prize semi-finalist Incarnatio Mysteria, both premiered at Lincoln Center. He is a frequent guest conductor, clinician and adjudicator. He and his wife Jennifer have three beautiful children. www.timothymichaelpowell.com.


3rd Place:
Emily Isaacson
    Oratorio Chorale    Brunswick, ME

Emily Isaacson
Emily Isaacson is recognized for her versatility, sensitivity and energy. Her 2014 direction of Brahms' Requiem was heralded as "one of the most moving musical events of the decade” by the Portland Press Herald and "sublime" by the Times Record. Isaacson serves as the Artistic Director of the Oratorio Chorale, the Director of Choral Activities at Clark University in Worcester, Chorus Director of the Bowdoin International Music Festival Chorus, and visiting faculty in music at Bowdoin College. A graduate of Williams College, Isaacson was awarded the St. Andrews Society Fellowship for graduate study in Scotland, where she earned a master’s degree in musicology from Edinburgh University. She holds a second master’s degree from the University of Oregon and is currently a candidate for the doctorate in musical arts in choral conducting at the University of Illinois. Emily lives in Portland, Maine with her husband and one-year old daughter. isaacsonemily.com



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Congratulations!

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