Saturday, January 2, 2016

CONDUCTOR WINNERS: high school orchestra

The American Prize is honored to announce the winner and runners-up of The American Prize in Conducting: High School Orchestra Division, 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:

The American Prize in Conducting: High School Orchestra Division, 2015.

The American Prize winner:
Dan Whisler
    Youth Performing Arts School Philharmonia
    Louisville, KY

Dan Whisler
Dan Whisler is currently Director of Orchestras at the Youth Performing Arts School in Louisville, Kentucky, USA. Prior to moving to Kentucky, he was the Director of Orchestras at Center Grove Community School Corporation in Greenwood, Indiana, Founding and Principal Conductor with Intimate Opera of Indianapolis, Indiana, and served on the faculty of the String Quartet Program of Northern Colorado in Greeley, Colorado. Mr. Whisler has conducted over 300 works with over 50 ensembles, including professional orchestras in the USA, England, Spain, Lithuania, and Romania. His awards as a conductor include the 2011 Downbeat Award for Best U.S. College Classical Ensemble and the Bel Canto Award for Excellence in Conducting. Whisler graduated summa cum laude with a BME from Wichita State University (Kansas) and earned an MM in Orchestral Conducting from the University of Northern Colorado. His mentors include Russell Guyver, Mark Laycock, Jorma Panula, Markand Thakar, and Colin Metters.

2nd Place:
Carolyn Watson 
Interlochen Arts Academy Orchestra    Interlochen, MI
Carolyn Watson
Dr Carolyn Watson is the conductor of the Academy Orchestra at the Interlochen Center for the Arts. Previously she was conductor-in-residence at the Conservatorium High School in Sydney, Australia. In 2012 she was a major prizewinner at the Emmerich Kálmán International Operetta Conducting Competition in Hungary and served as musical assistant at the Staatsoper Berlin for Infektion! Carolyn is the recipient of the Brian Stacey Award for emerging Australian conductors, a Churchill Fellowship, the Sir Charles Mackerras Conducting Prize awarded via the Australian Music Foundation in London, Opera Foundation Australia’s Bayreuth Opera Award and New Berlin Opera Award and the Nelly Apt Conducting Scholarship. She studied with David Zinman as a Fellow of the American Academy of Conducting at the Aspen Music Festival and School and holds a PhD in Orchestral Conducting from the University of Sydney.

3rd Place:
Beau  Benson
    Midway Camerata    Waco, TX

Beau  Benson
Beau Benson is currently in his second season as Music Director and Conductor for the Oregon East Symphony and Chorale and is in his fifth year as Director of Orchestras for the Midway Independent School District in Waco, Texas.  During his time in Waco, the orchestras of MISD have grown in size and excellence, and have experienced recognition at the local, state, and national levels unprecedented in the district’s history. In addition to being a repeat finalist in the state honor orchestra competition, first runner-up for the 2012 American Prize in Orchestral Performance, and receiving an invitation to perform as a featured ensemble at the 2012 Midwest Clinic, the MISD orchestras have expanded the orchestral experience in innovative ways for students and audiences through projects such as the Central Texas Opera Festival, a yearly performance of a live orchestral soundtrack accompanying the 1922 silent film Nosferatu, and most recently, the inception of a period instrument ensemble.


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