Tuesday, December 22, 2015

ORCHESTRA WINNERS, all divisions, 2015

The American Prize is honored to announce the winners and runners-up of The American Prize in Orchestral 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 Orchestral Performance, 2015, professional orchestra division

The American Prize winner:
Western Piedmont Symphony
John Gordon Ross, music director    Hickory, NC
Western Piedmont Symphony
The Western Piedmont Symphony was founded as the Hickory Symphony in 1964 and was conducted in its early years by Albert Chafoo.  In 1972, the orchestra’s name was changed to the Western Piedmont Symphony to reflect the expanded role of the orchestra to serve a four-county region.    The 2014-15 season was a celebration of 50 years of service and music-making including recognition of the orchestra founders and early players.

During the 50th season Martin Bellar the Western Piedmont Symphony’s second conductor was featured as a guest conductor at the second concert of the season.   Maestro Bellar was responsible for founding the Youth Symphony during his tenure.   Dr. Richard Hughey, the orchestra’s third conductor founded the Western Piedmont String Quartet, the precursor of the Hickory Metro String Quartet Residency and also conducted the orchestras first Family Concerts in the 1988-89 season.  In 1991, John Gordon Ross became the fourth conductor.

2nd Place:
Michigan Philharmonic
Nan Harrison Washburn, music director        Plymouth, MI
Michigan Philharmonic
The Michigan Philharmonic, one of the most innovative and dynamic professional orchestras in Southeast Michigan, was recently awarded the prestigious Knight Foundation Arts Challenge Grant and received 2nd and 3rd Place honors from The American Prize, professional orchestra division. Nan Washburn, Music Director and Conductor since 1999, has won 19 ASCAP Awards for Adventuresome Programming of Contemporary Music from the League of American Orchestras. Michigan Phil is bringing its events into an ever-expanding roster of Michigan communities, including Plymouth, Canton, Birmingham-Bloomfield, Brighton, Downtown Detroit, and many others. The organization is committed to reaching out to a broad and diverse array of audiences and providing enjoyable cultural and social experiences. Currently in its 69th Season, the orchestra plays a full season of concerts throughout the year including pops, outdoor, Bollywood and Fusion Festivals.  The Philharmonic also has an extensive education program that includes the Michigan Philharmonic Youth Orchestra.
 

3rd Place:
Odysseus Chamber Orchestra
Jason Lim, music director       Frisco/McKinney, TX
Odysseus Chamber Orchestra
Founded in Denton, Texas in 2012, the Odysseus Chamber Orchestra consists of professional classical musicians from the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Under the direction of Artistic Director and Conductor Jason Lim, the orchestra performs both classical symphonies by the great composers as well as innovative productions.

In its first year, the orchestra collaborated with the Denton City Contemporary Ballet to stage a full ballet performance of Prokofiev's "Peter and the Wolf". In 2014, Odysseus featured the tango music of Astor Piazzolla spotlighting world-renowned double bassist Jeff Bradetich. On February 8, 2015, Odysseus collaborated with choreographer Amiti Perry to stage its premiere performance of the full production of Igor Stravinsky's "A Soldier's Tale", a performance combining ballet, narration, and music from a select group of the orchestra's string, wind, horn and percussion sections.

Though comprised of young musicians, albeit very talented and even award-winning in their own right, and led by a young Artistic Director and Conductor, in its very short history Odysseus Chamber Orchestra has gained a national reputation as an emerging ensemble. In 2013, the orchestra was awarded 3rd prize in the American Prize Competition for Professional Orchestra, and improved to 2nd prize in the competition the following year.


The American Prize in Orchestral Performance, 2015, college/university orchestra division

The American Prize winner:
Baylor Symphony Orchestra
Stephen Heyde, music director    Waco, TX
Baylor Symphony Orchestra
The Baylor Symphony is dedicated to the quality performance of the orchestral repertoire and to the professional and artistic growth of its’ members. The ensemble has performed at the Texas Music Educator Convention eight times and appeared in a PBS Special aired nationally with an estimated audience of six million viewers.  Other significant performances include concerts at the Piccolo Spoleto Festival and at national conventions of the American String Teachers Association and the College Orchestra Directors Association.  The Baylor Symphony has worked with many distinguished performers including Van Cliburn, Robert Shaw, Joseph Gingold, Corey Cerovsek, Jacob Druckman, Lorin Hollander and Peter Schickele among others. International tours include Costa Rica in 2004 and the Flanders region of Belgium in 2010.  The Orchestra was named winner of the 2014 American Prize in the University Orchestra category.


2nd Place:
Peabody Symphony Orchestra  
Hajime Teri Murai, music director   Baltimore, MD
Peabody Symphony Orchestra
The Peabody Symphony Orchestra is the senior of the two full symphonic orchestras at the Peabody Conservatory of Music.  The members of the orchestra are primarily upper division and graduate students.  The Peabody Symphony Orchestra performs five to six symphonic concerts and a major opera production each season. Programming for the orchestra is designed to provide its members with a rich and diverse performance experience, centered around the standard repertoire, but including contemporary music, American works, and premiere performances.  Peabody orchestras have regularly won ASCAP Awards for Adventurous Programming.  The Peabody Symphony Orchestra has been praised by the Baltimore Sun and provides its audiences with committed, energetic, and heartfelt performances.


3rd Place:
Western Michigan Univ. Symphony Orchestra
Bruce Uchimura, music director        Kalamazoo, MI

Western Michigan Univ. Symphony Orchestra
The Western Michigan University Symphony Orchestra was named "Best Classical University Symphony Orchestra" in Downbeat magazine's 2005 nationally recognized student music awards competition. The orchestra performed the final movement of Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 "Choral" to much acclaim at the opening concert of the 1999 Midwestern Music Conference in Ann Arbor's Hill Auditorium and presented a featured concert at the 2008 Michigan Music Conference. In 2014, they performed the entire Nutcracker Ballet with the Moscow Ballet Company.

Under conductor and Professor of Cello, Bruce Uchimura, the University Symphony performs orchestral masterworks, features internationally recognized and WMU faculty soloists, and collaborates with touring ballet companies and popular culture artists. They present a six-concert season each year, which includes classical and Pops concerts. In 2014, the WMU orchestra gave a special performance of Richard Danielpour’s Requiem. The WMU Orchestra also features the Silver Medalist of the Stulberg International String Competition each year.


HONORABLE MENTION:
Bob Jones University Symphony Orchestra
Michael W. Moore, music director    Greenville, SC

Bob Jones University Symphony Orchestra
The Bob Jones University Symphony Orchestra, one of three orchestras at BJU, exists to inspire artistic excellence in performance as a display of God’s glory and His gifts to man. Auditions are open to all students in the University regardless of major program of study. The Symphony has a long and rich tradition of presenting masterworks from the orchestral repertoire; recent performances under the direction of Michael W. Moore have included John Adams’ Short Ride in a Fast Machine, Ludwig van Beethoven’s Symphony No. 1., Brahms’ Symphony No. 1, and Camille Saint-Saens’ Violin Concerto No. 3 with David Kim, soloist. http://www.bju.edu/life-faith/student-organizations/orchestra.php


The American Prize in Orchestral Performance, 2015, community orchestra division

The American Prize winner:
Manassas Symphony Orchestra
James Villani, music director    Manassas, VA
Manassas Symphony Orchestra
Founded in 1992, the Manassas Symphony Orchestra is the Manassas and Prince William County area’s premier community-service symphony orchestra. Its diverse blend of local and national artists, great music, unique programs, and family-friendly atmosphere is designed to delight both long-time patrons and newest audience members, bringing the experience and excitement of live orchestral performances to families for an affordable price. The symphony is open to all area musicians by audition and provides a quality performance opportunity for serious adult players.  Thriving without ringers or recording contracts, the MSO’s all-volunteer membership crosses a variety of professions, including teachers, physicians, and engineers. In addition, the symphony provides opportunities for select advanced high school players. Under the direction of James Villani, the symphony enjoys a large following in its beautiful home at the Hylton Performing Arts Center in Manassas. For more information about the Manassas Symphony, visit ManassasSymphony.org.

2nd Place:
Detroit Medical Orchestra
Elliot Moore, music director    Detroit, MI
Detroit Medical Orchestra
The Detroit Medical Orchestra (DMO) was founded by a musically-gifted medical student at Wayne State University School of Medicine in 2010. Our musicians are doctors, nurses, medical students, and other medical professionals, and our members are affiliated with several medical systems and hospitals throughout Southeast Michigan.  Our Music Director, Dr. Elliot Moore, recently graduated from the University of Michigan conducting program. The DMO is now a full symphony orchestra with more than 80 musicians at our May, 2014, performance of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. We most recently performed Stravinsky’s Firebird (1919) with staging and choreography for the dancers, orchestra, and our conductor, on May 3, 2015.  Our mission is to explore the connections between music and healing, foster partnerships among medical professionals, and make philanthropic contributions to the Detroit community.  We have used each concert performance to raise funds for local medically-related charities in Detroit.


3rd Place:
Waynesboro Symphony Orchestra
Peter Wilson, music director    Waynesboro, VA
Waynesboro Symphony Orchestra
The Waynesboro Symphony Orchestra ( WSO ) founded in 1996,  is a non-profit organization of professional, amateur and student musicians serving Waynesboro, Staunton, Charlottesville and other Central Virginia Communities. The WSO provides dedicated instrumentalists with opportunities to collaborate in an intergenerational and educational environment, to share in the joy of music-making and to contribute to the cultural vitality of the region.


SPECIAL JUDGE'S CITATION: "Commitment to Community Outreach and Music Education"
Williamson County Symphony
Thomas Rainey, music director        Round Rock, TX
Williamson County Symphony
The Williamson County Symphony Orchestra was formed in 2002 by church musicians desiring to play substantial classical music.  The 90-member Orchestra is staffed entirely by volunteer musicians: a few of which are teaching professionals and musicians with collegiate degrees in performance, most just adults working in other professions, and a few select students.

The Orchestra performs FREE "pops-styled" concerts with a mixture of music from the classical, romantic & modern periods, movies & TV music, contemporary music, jazz genre music, and new compositions from Composer-in-Resident, Dr ML Daniels.  The FREE concerts are pitched toward families, seniors, and people who do not yet know they like great music.  The Orchestra, directed by Dr Thomas Rainey, performs a two-concert series four times a year - Fall, Christmas, Spring, & Outdoor - at venues across Williamson County plus one FREE concert for the troops and their families at Ft Hood.


The American Prize in Orchestral Performance, 2015, youth orchestra division

The American Prize winner:
Houston Youth Symphony 
Michael Webster, music director    Houston, TX 
Houston Youth Symphony
Founded in 1946, Houston Youth Symphony (HYS) is the recipient of national acclaim including the 2014 first prize winner of the Mark of Excellence Award from The Foundation for Music Education and the 2014 American Prize in Orchestral Performance – Youth Orchestra Division Each season approximately 350 musicians between the ages of seven and 19 come from across the greater Houston area to perform in one of four HYS orchestras. In addition to the core orchestra program, HYS offers advanced musicians a chamber music training program and an annual concerto competition.

In the community, HYS provides free private music lessons for talented youth in select economically disadvantaged communities through the Melody Program. In January 2015, HYS launched the Coda Music Program, an after-school pilot effort modeled after El Sistema that brings graduated, intensive string instruction to two elementary schools using classical music and group instruction to build community and social transformation.


2nd Place:
Dubuque Symphony Youth Orchestra 
Thomas Dickey, music director        Dubuque, IA
Dubuque Symphony Youth Orchestra
The Dubuque Symphony Youth Orchestra (DSY)) is the premier orchestral training program for youth in the tri-state area.  It is an educational component of the Dubuque Symphony Orchestra, overseen by the DSO Education Committee. The DSYO's mission is to supplement and enhance music education in the schools and to promote the highest standards of musical excellence via weekly rehearsals and regularly scheduled public performances.  In 2012, the DSYO won third place in the American Prize in Orchestral Performance competition and was invited to perform at the ASTA National Orchestra Festival.



3rd Place:
Stringendo Orchestra School's Vivace
Jonathan Handman, music director  Poughkeepsie, NY 
Stringendo Orchestra School's Vivace
Vivace is the most advanced orchestra of the Stringendo Orchestra School and is comprised of 24 highly motivated and accomplished high school students that recently won the 2014 ASTA National Orchestra Festival Grand Champion prize of the Youth Orchestra Division.  Vivace has performed at the Music Educators’ National Conference (MENC) and at the New York State School Music Association (NYSSMA) Winter Conference. Stringendo was co-founded in 2001 by Emily Schaad and Jonathan Handman and is a music school located in the Hudson Valley Region of New York State that explores orchestral and fiddle styles of string playing. Currently Stringendo has 6 string orchestras, a comprehensive fiddle program and a summer camp that enrolls over 300 students each year.


The American Prize in Orchestral Performance, 2015, arts high school orchestra division

The American Prize winner:
Interlochen Arts Academy Orchestra
Dr. Carolyn Watson, director       Interlochen, MI 
Interlochen Arts Academy Orchestra
The Interlochen Arts Academy Orchestra presents approximately eight major concerts each year and frequently collaborates with renowned guest artists and conductors. The orchestra performs a diversity of literature comprising major works of the symphonic repertoire, concerti and new music. The Academy Orchestra also performs with choir and other ensembles, and is the resident orchestra for the annual ballet production. In addition to works presented for performance, the Academy Orchestra reads and rehearses numerous other works in regular reading sessions.


2nd Place:
Idyllwild Arts Academy Orchestra 
Timothy Verville, director        Idyllwild, CA
Idyllwild Arts Academy Orchestra
Idyllwild Arts Academy is the country’s premier and internationally-acclaimed residential arts high school which provides pre-professional training in the arts and a comprehensive college preparatory curriculum to a diverse student body of gifted young artists. Located in the San Jacinto Mountains, its pine-forested campus is only two hours away from Los Angeles and San Diego. The orchestra, directed by Timothy Verville, has a rich history of preparing talented performers for top music schools and professional careers which include Liang Wang, current principal oboist of the New York Philharmonic. The school also holds a yearly composition commission awarded to some of the greatest living composers. For more information please visit http://www.idyllwildarts.org.


3rd Place:
Youth Performing Arts School Philharmonia 
Dan Whisler, director        Louisville, KY
Youth Performing Arts School Philharmonia
The Youth Performing Arts School (YPAS) is a performing arts school in Louisville, KY, that concentrates on numerous music, theatre, dance, and design/production disciplines for high school students. In recent years, the YPAS Philharmonia has auditioned for and been invited to perform on numerous occasions at state, regional, and national music educator conferences. They've also appeared on the nationally syndicated National Public Radio program From the Top, at the Midwest Clinic in Chicago, in the MidAmerica series in New York City’s legendary Carnegie Hall, and at the Music for All Orchestra America National Festival in 2009, 2013, and 2015. The string students in this department typically compose 20 to 25 percent of the Kentucky All-State Orchestra string section. Annually, about 85% of student graduates attend major music colleges. The 105 members of the YPAS class of 2014 were offered 568 scholarships totaling over $18.5 million.


The American Prize in Orchestral Performance, 2015, high school orchestra division

The American Prize winner:
Jasper Legacy Orchestra 
Ryan Ross, director        Plano, TX
Jasper Legacy Orchestra
The Jasper High School Orchestra is proud to be one of the most accomplished orchestra programs in Texas. Jasper is a grade 9 and 10 campus in Plano, TX, a Dallas suburb. Their orchestra currently serves over 200 students in five orchestras. Since its inception in 1996, Jasper’s top ensemble, Legacy Orchestra, has repeatedly ranked as one of the top string orchestras in Texas, competing alongside high schools that fill their orchestras with 9th through 12th graders.  For 2014, they were named the winners of the TMEA Honor Full Orchestra competition, the first time a non-varsity orchestra earned that distinction in Texas history.  In addition, they won the 2014 Mark of Excellence National Orchestra Honors full orchestra award and the 2013 American Prize in Orchestral Performance.  The Jasper Orchestra program is led by Ryan Ross and Assistant Director Brad Davis.


2nd Place:
Midway Camerata 
Beau Benson, director        Waco, TX 
Midway Camerata
The Midway ISD Orchestra program began in the 2000-2001 school year with 62 students.  Today, there are over 250 students in six different class orchestras from 7th to 12th grade plus 6th grade beginners.  In the fifteen years since the program’s inception, the orchestras of MISD have distinguished themselves at the state and national level, and have garnered community support through innovative programming. The orchestras of MISD have consistently earned Sweepstakes awards at UIL Concert and Sight Reading Contest as well as national festivals, and have been well-represented each year in the TMEA All-Region and All-State Orchestras.  In 2012, the Midway Philharmonic Orchestra was named first runner-up for the American Prize in Orchestral Performance and the Midway Camerata was the only 4A high school to be selected for the final round of the TMEA State Honor Orchestra Contest.  In addition, 2012 brought the Midway Camerata an invitation to perform at the 66th annual Midwest Clinic in Chicago, IL.


3rd Place:
Arlington HS Philharmonia 
Jonathan Handman, director        LaGrangeville, NY
Arlington HS Philharmonia
Arlington High School's Philharmonia is the most advanced of five orchestras and was the Grand Champion of the ASTA National Orchestra Festival in March 2012.  The program consists of two ninth grade string orchestra and three symphonic orchestras for students in grades 10-12, of which Ms. Elizabeth Handman, Mr. Jonathan Handman and Mr. John Harper are the directors.  In total, the program has over 250 string students and 75 wind/percussion members that join the strings every other day as their second ensemble in addition to the band program that they are members of.  Arlington Central School District’s High School Principal is Mr. Paul Fanuele and Music Coordinator is Mr. Richard Guillen.


HONORABLE MENTION:
Klein Oak Symphony Orchestra 
Tanner Ledford, director        Spring, TX
Klein Oak Symphony Orchestra
In Klein ISD our students begin music instruction in Kindergarten.  In the fifth grade our students can begin after school strings instruction which meets twice a week. In middle school and high school, string instruction is daily for around 48 minutes. In addition, at the intermediate and high school levels, the students stay before and after school to practice through a combination of targeted sectionals and supervised open practice. Around 20% of our students are enrolled in a private lesson program. Currently there are 126 string students in our clusters’ 5th grade program, 365 in our middle school programs, and 185 in our high school program. Klein Oak High School is located in the northern part of the district in a small residential suburban community. It is approximately 45 minutes from downtown Houston. Klein Oak High School is comprised of grades 9-12 with an enrollment of approximately 3900 students.


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Congratulations!



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