Friday, April 28, 2017

CONDUCTOR WINNERS: orchestra, all divisions, 2016-17

The American Prize is honored to announce the winners, runners-up and honorable mentions of The American Prize in Conducting—orchestra—in the professional, college/university, community and youth/school divisions, 2016-17. Congratulations!

All applicants finalist or higher 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 use the chronological tool in the right-hand column to find specific results.

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


The American Prize in Conducting—orchestra, 2016-17,  professional division:

The American Prize winner:
Jason Lim
    Odysseus N. Texas Chamber Orchestra
    McKinney TX
Jason Lim
Recognized by the Denton-Record Chronicle as one of “2012’s Most Fascinating People,” the career of conductor Jason Lim is on the rise. Lim was born in Penang, Malaysia and began his formal training in viola performance when he won a scholarship to study at the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts with Alice Waten. He commenced his studies at the Canberra (Australia) School of Music, and completed his bachelor’s degree with honors at the Australian Institute of Music in Sydney. Jason received his Masters degree in orchestral conducting from the University of North Texas.

Known for his fine technique in performances, Jason began his conducting studies in Australia: first as an apprentice with the Canberra Youth Orchestra, and later as an Assistant Conductor with the Ku Ring Gai Philharmonic Orchestra in Sydney, a position that was awarded in conjunction with the New South Wales Ministry of Arts Conducting Prize. Most recently, Mr. Lim has been of awards from the American Prize Competition: the 2011 Young Conductor Citation Award, third prize in the 2013 Conducting Competition and most recently second prize in the 2015 and 2014 American Prize Competition for professional conductors. In 2013 Jason made his European conducting debut with the Academic State Concert Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine in Kiev and in 2014 appeared as guest conductor with the Zabrze Philharmonic Orchestra in Poland and the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Currently, Jason is the Artistic Director and conductor of the Odysseus Chamber Orchestra, a group he founded in 2012. In 2014 the orchestra was awarded second prize in the Professional Orchestra division of the American Prize Competition and third prize in 2015. Thanks to Jason’s commitment to education, the group pioneered a unique mentorship program that gives talented high school students the opportunity to perform side-by-side with professional musicians. www.jasonlim-conductor.com
http://jasonlim-conductor.wix.com/jason


2nd Place:
Genevieve Leclair
    Boston Ballet Orchestra
    Boston MA
Genevieve Leclair
Canadian conductor Geneviève Leclair was appointed Music Director of Parkway Concert Orchestra in 2013 and Assistant Professor at Berklee College of Music in 2016. Equally at home in the symphony, ballet and opera worlds, she was Assistant Conductor for Boston Ballet from 2010 to 2016, where she conducted main stage productions on a regular basis. In 2016, she returned to the company as Guest Conductor and made her debut with The National Ballet of Canada. She had the honour of being the recipient of the 2010 Sir Ernest MacMillan Memorial Foundation Award in orchestral conducting.

In recent years, Ms. Leclair has had the opportunity to guest conduct various orchestras both in Canada and the United States, including Orchestre symphonique du Saguenay-Lac-St-Jean, McGill Chamber Orchestra, Symphony New Hampshire, Syracuse University Symphony Orchestra and New England Conservatory Chamber and Youth Philharmonic Orchestras. Her performances have been hailed as “impeccable” (Boston Phoenix), “ravishing” and of “exemplary pacing and reading” (Hugh Fraser) while her conducting style is praised for its “verve and precision”, “confident dynamics and tempos, crisp rhythms, and crystalline phrasing creat[ing] powerful forward momentum” (Carla DeFord).


3rd Place (there was a tie):
Paul Mauffray
    Hradec Kralove Philharmonic
    Czech Republic
Paul Mauffray
Paul Mauffray began his music studies at the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts and Louisiana State University. He won 2nd Prize in the Bartok Conducting Competition and has 20 years professional conducting experience with European orchestras and operas in Prague, Brno, Bratislava, Lyon, Salzburg, St. Petersburg, and Vienna. After studies in Germany and the Czech Republic, he earned his master's degree in conducting at Indiana University where he was engaged as Associate Instructor. He conducted at the Bucharest National Opera, Slovak National Opera, and appeared frequently as conductor with violin-soloist Tomas Vinklat from the Vienna Philharmonic. Mauffray has been a frequent guest conductor with the Hradec Kralove Philharmonic, Janacek Philharmonic, Bohuslav Martinu Philharmonic, and Schoenbrunn Palace Orchestra in Vienna.  In 2016 he recorded the opera “The Scarlet Letter” and conducted performances of “Rusalka” at the Mariinsky Theatre. He is currently reconstructing the 1894 opera "Tabasco" by George W. Chadwick. www.paulmauffray.com


3rd Place (there was a tie):
Walter Morales
    Westmoreland Symphony Orchestra
    Greensburg PA
Walter Morales
Walter Morales is the Music Director of the Edgewood Symphony Orchestra. His previous positions include Music Director of Undercroft Opera, Music Director of the Carnegie Mellon University Contemporary Ensemble, Head of Music of Opera Theater of Pittsburgh, Principal Guest Conductor of the Pittsburgh Philharmonic, Assistant Director of Orchestral Studies at Carnegie Mellon University and Assistant Conductor of the Carnegie Mellon Philharmonic. He has been a guest conductor with the National Symphony Orchestra of Costa Rica, Westmoreland Symphony Orchestra, Butler County Symphony Orchestra, McKeesport Symphony Orchestra, University of Costa Rica Symphony Orchestra, University of Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Duquesne University Opera & Orchestra, Pittsburgh Youth Chamber Orchestra and Rutgers Chamber Orchestra.  He has also served as cover conductor for the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. For more information please visit: www.waltermoralesmusic.com


The American Prize in Conducting—orchestra, 2016-17,  college/university division:

The American Prize winner:
Genevieve Leclair
    Syracuse University Symphony
    Syracuse NY
Genevieve Leclair
Canadian conductor Geneviève Leclair was appointed Music Director of Parkway Concert Orchestra in 2013 and Assistant Professor at Berklee College of Music in 2016. Equally at home in the symphony, ballet and opera worlds, she was Assistant Conductor for Boston Ballet from 2010 to 2016, where she conducted main stage productions on a regular basis. In 2016, she returned to the company as Guest Conductor and made her debut with The National Ballet of Canada. She had the honour of being the recipient of the 2010 Sir Ernest MacMillan Memorial Foundation Award in orchestral conducting.

In recent years, Ms. Leclair has had the opportunity to guest conduct various orchestras both in Canada and the United States, including Orchestre symphonique du Saguenay-Lac-St-Jean, McGill Chamber Orchestra, Symphony New Hampshire, Syracuse University Symphony Orchestra and New England Conservatory Chamber and Youth Philharmonic Orchestras. Her performances have been hailed as “impeccable” (Boston Phoenix), “ravishing” and of “exemplary pacing and reading” (Hugh Fraser) while her conducting style is praised for its “verve and precision”, “confident dynamics and tempos, crisp rhythms, and crystalline phrasing creat[ing] powerful forward momentum” (Carla DeFord).


2nd Place (there was a tie):
Chris Younghoon Kim     
Cornell Chamber Orchestra
    Ithaca NY
Chris Younghoon Kim
Cornell Chamber Orchestra under the direction of Chris Younghoon Kim, present multiple concerts during each academic school year.  The membership of the orchestra is formed from students of all colleges and departments across the university-wide community.  It is the only non-music major orchestra to win first place among collegiate orchestras the ASCAP award for Adventurous Programming of Contemporary music during the 2008-2009 season. It has won the Adventurous awards for 6 years in a row from 2008-2014. For the last seven seasons Cornell Orchestras have been jointly producing the Ithaca International conducting masterclasses with Ithaca College Symphony Orchestra. This performance is a live performance without edits from the College Orchestra Director's Association's National conference in Salt Lake City, UT, in January, 2016.


2nd Place (there was a tie):
Ricardo Averbach
    Miami U. Symphony Orchestra
    Oxford OH
Ricardo Averbach
Ricardo Averbach is a native of Brazil. Prior to his coming to Miami University in 2002, he was Music Director of the Echternach Festival Chamber Orchestra in Luxembourg, Music Director of the University of Pennsylvania Symphony Orchestra and Wind Ensemble in Philadelphia and Acting Music Director of the Orquestra Sinfônica Municipal de São Paulo in Brazil. After only three years under his leadership at Miami University, the symphony orchestra was selected in one single year and by competitive audition to three major conferences: MENC, ASTA and OMEA. In 2005 he organized the first international tour of the ensemble, creating the Russian-American Orchestra Institute, in collaboration with the St. Petersburg State Conservatory. His discography includes several world premiere recordings, which have sold more than half a million copies around the globe. Dr. Averbach conducts regularly in South and North America, Asia and Europe.


3rd Place:
Kevin Sutterlin     
University of Memphis Symphony Orchestra
    Memphis TN
Kevin Sutterlin    
Kevin Sütterlin has recently been appointed Director of Orchestral Activities at Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota. Prior to that, Sütterlin served as Acting Music Director and Chief Assistant Conductor of the Orchestras and Acting Music Director of Opera at the University of Memphis. He received the school’s Creative Achievement Award and is an awardee of the Hirschmann Foundation scholarship. As Co-Music Director of Sinfonietta Memphis, he strives to present historically-informed performances of Viennese Classics in innovative ways.

He has taught and performed in many countries, including Austria, China, Germany, Italy, Romania, Slovenia, Switzerland. Sütterlin holds a Bachelor in Conducting from the Hochschule Luzern – Musik, Switzerland and a Master of Music in Orchestral Conducting from the University of Memphis, where he is also currently finishing his DMA in Orchestral Conducting. Kevin is grateful for the continuous guidance of his teachers Pu-Qi Jiang, Mark Ensley, Christoph Rehli, Douglas Bostock, and Michael Stern.


HONORABLE MENTION:
Jeffrey Klefstad
    All University Orchestra
    Carnegie Mellon University
    Pittsburgh PA
Jeffrey Klefstad
Jeffrey Klefstad is Music Director and conductor of the All University Orchestra at Carnegie Mellon University and assistant conductor for Resonance Works | Pittsburgh. While off the podium, Klefstad is board member, chair of the Community Engagement and Outreach Committee, and member of the artistic committee for Resonance Works | Pittsburgh. Previously Klefstad has been cover conductor for the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Akron Symphony Orchestra and The Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh. Additionally he has been Music Director for Undercroft Opera (Pittsburgh). Conducting teachers and mentors have included Diane Wittry, Kenneth Kiesler, Robert McCashin, and Bruce Houglum, respectively. In addition, he has worked with such influential conductors and composers as Kurt Masur, Keith Lockhart, Victor Yampolsky, Steve Reich, Jennifer Higdon, Robert Sierra, Victoria Bond, and Samuel Jones. Additionally, he has been coached by Paul Vermel, Jorge Mester, Peter Jaffee, and Donald Portnoy.


HONORABLE MENTION:
Jaemi Loeb
    Centre College Orchestra
    Danville KY
Jaemi Loeb
Jaemi Blair Loeb is the Director of Instrumental Ensembles at Centre College, where she is Music Director of both the Centre College Orchestra and Wind Ensemble. She is also Principal Guest Conductor of the Piccadilly Symphony Orchestra in Manchester, England and the Director of the International Conductors’ Festival - Danville. Jaemi’s work as a music director is always driven by the goal of building community within the ensemble and the audience. On the podium, she balances her musical vision with a collaborative mode of working to create exciting and emotional performances. To learn more, visit www.jaemiloeb.com.



The American Prize in Conducting—orchestra, 2016-17,  community division:

The American Prize winner:
Matthew Cody
    Oneota Valley Community Orchestra
    Decorah IA
Matthew Cody
Matthew Cody is a conductor and music educator based in Northeast Iowa.  Along with teaching instrumental music in the public school system, Matt is also the founder and conductor of the Oneota Valley Community Orchestra.  The OVCO is a full symphonic orchestra that serves communities in Northeast Iowa, Southeast Minnesota, and Southwest Wisconsin.

Matthew graduated from Simpson College with a Bachelor of Music specializing in music education.  In 2014 he earned his Master of Music degree from Colorado State University with music education and conducting specialties.  Additionally he was invited to be the Conducting Fellow for the 2011 season of the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Symphony and a guest conductor for the 2013 Iowa Bandmasters Conference and 2014 Iowa Band Conductors Forum. His principal conducting mentors include: Dr. Robert L Larsen, Founder Des Moines Metro Opera, Jason Weinberger, Music Director, Waterloo Cedar Falls Symphony, Wes Kenney, Music Director, Fort Collins Symphony.


2nd Place:
Lois Ferrari
    Austin Civic Orchestra
    Austin TX
Lois Ferrari
Lois Ferrari is Professor of Music at Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas and has been a member of the faculty since 1993. Dr. Ferrari conducts the SU Orchestra and Wind Ensemble, teaches conducting classes, and serves as host and clinician for the bi-annual SU Conductors' Institute. As ACO Music Director, Dr. Ferrari was named 1st Runner-Up for the 2012 American Prize in Community Orchestra Conducting. In 2014, Dr. Ferrari was honored to be named finalist for the same contest. In 2010 and 2016, Dr. Ferrari conducted all-state ensembles at the Washington State music educators conference.

An enthusiastic champion of new music, Dr. Ferrari founded the bi-annual ACO Composition Contest and is proud to have premiered more than twenty works during the course of her career. One such work was nominated by the Austin Critics Table for Best Symphonic Performance of 2009. In 2012, Ferrari and the ACO were commissioned by composer David Amram to present the Texas premiere of his “Symphonic Variations on a Song by Woody Guthrie.”

A graduate of the Eastman School of Music, where she received a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Conducting, Dr. Ferrari received a full doctoral fellowship and was appointed Assistant Conductor of the renowned Eastman Wind Ensemble. She also earned a Master of Music degree in Conducting and a Bachelor of Music degree with a double major in Performance and Music Education from the Ithaca College School of Music. Her principal teachers were Donald Hunsberger, Rodney Winther, David Effron, and Donald Neuen. http://loisferrari.wix.com/maestra-lois-ferrari


3rd Place:
Zachary D. McCoy
    Balmoral Chamber Orchestra
    Memphis TN
Zachary D. McCoy
A native of Tennessee, Zachary D. McCoy has studied conducting with Maestro Pu-Qi Jiang and percussion with Drs. Julie Hill and Frank Shaffer. In 2010, McCoy became the founding music director and conductor of the 7AM Marimba Choir. In 2011, he became the founding music director and conductor of the Balmoral Chamber Orchestra, an ensemble dedicated to the charitable service of a variety causes and organizations both domestically as well as internationally. As conductor of BCO, McCoy has premiered a number of compositions and arrangements by composers from around the world. As a soloist, McCoy has been featured as a concerto competition winner under the baton of Maestro Michael Gilbert. McCoy graduated summa cum laude from the University of Memphis with both a Bachelor of Music in performance and a Bachelor of Science in biochemistry. Currently and in addition to serving as the conductor of BCO, McCoy lives in San Francisco with his wife while teaching both music and science. In the fall of 2017, McCoy will attend the University of Tennessee College of Medicine as a medical student.

The American Prize in Conducting—orchestra, 2016-17,  youth & school division:

The American Prize winner: 
Orlando Cela
    North Carolina Governor's School Orchestra
    Winston-Salem NC
Orlando Cela
Recently appointed music director of the Arlington Philharmonic (MA), Orlando Cela’s experience includes launching the orchestral department at Ningbo University in China and conducting the inaugural concert of the Ningbo City Symphony Orchestra. In the US, his conducting positions include work with orchestras and choruses at Randolph College (VA), and UMass Dartmouth (MA). Guest conducting credits include the Marquette Symphony Orchestra (MI), the Northern Michigan State University Orchestra (MI), Brandeis New Music Ensemble (MA).  He is currently the music director and conductor of the orchestra of the Governor’s School of North Carolina, with which he has performed world and American premieres by composers like Salvatore Sciarrino, Chen Yi, Hector Parra, Rebecca Saunders, Alwynne Pritchard, and many others.


2nd Place:
Michael Webster
    Houston Youth Symphony
    Houston TX
Michael Webster
A multifaceted musician, Dr. Michael Webster is known as clarinetist, conductor, composer, arranger and educator. Professor of music at Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music, he has been artistic director of Houston Youth Symphony since 1997. He led the Symphony at the inauguration of Houston Mayor Lee Brown, at Carnegie Hall, and at the 2002 National Youth Orchestra Festival in Sarasota, Florida, as one of six orchestras selected from applicants nationwide. Rarely featuring an orchestra, NPR’s national radio show “From the Top” invited HYS to perform in September 2012.

Dr. Webster served as assistant conductor of the Asian Youth Orchestra under Yehudi Menuhin, music director of the Wellesley Symphony Orchestra, and director of the Michigan Youth Symphony Orchestra. He has held faculty positions in clarinet and conducting at the University of Michigan, New England Conservatory, Boston University, and Eastman School of Music, where he had earned his three degrees.


3rd Place:
Carolyn Watson
    Interlochen Arts Academy Orchestra
    Interlochen MI
Carolyn Watson
Winner of the 2015 American Prize in Orchestral Performance and Runner-up for the American Prize in Conducting, Australian conductor Carolyn Watson is Director of Orchestral Studies at Texas State University. From 2013-15 she held the position of Conductor of the Interlochen Arts Academy Orchestra, having also conducted the World Youth Symphony Orchestra and Detroit Symphony Youth Orchestra. Prior to moving to the US Carolyn enjoyed a successful tenure as the inaugural Conductor-in-Residence at Sydney's Conservatorium High School from 2011-2013. A Fellow of the American Academy of Conducting at the Aspen Music Festival, Carolyn was a major prizewinner at the 2012 Emmerich Kálmán International Operetta Conducting Competition in Budapest. She is the recipient of the Brian Stacey Award for Emerging Australian Conductors, Charles Mackerras Conducting Prize, Nelly Apt Scholarship and Opera Foundation Australia’s Bayreuth Opera Award and Berlin New Music Opera Award. Dr. Watson holds a PhD in Performance (Conducting) from the University of Sydney where the subject of her doctoral thesis was Gesture as Communication: The Art of Carlos Kleiber. www.carolyn-watson.com


HONORABLE MENTION:
Ryan Murray
    Modesto Symphony Youth Orchestra
    Modesto CA
Ryan Murray
Ryan Murray’s dynamic conducting, engaging persona and deeply held passion for the arts have allowed him to steadily build a robust career since his professional debut at the age of just 22. Ryan was a winner of the Vienna Philharmonic’s Ansbacher Fellowship for Young Conductors and previously studied at the Eastman School of Music's Summer Conducting Institute featuring the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra; he has participated in the Aurora Conducting Seminar with Kurt Masur, as well as the Lucerne Festival Academy Conducting Masterclass. Ryan is currently the Music Director of Townsend Opera, the Associate Conductor for the Modesto Symphony Orchestra, Music Director for the Modesto Symphony Youth Orchestra and Resident Conductor of the Music in the Mountains Summer Festival. Ryan previously served as a Conductor for the BASOTI, and the Opera Academy of California. Visit www.ryanjmurray.com for news and upcoming engagements.


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Congratulations!


 

Friday, April 14, 2017

ORCHESTRA winners, 2016-17, all divisions

 
The American Prize is honored to announce the winners, runners-up and honorable mention of The American Prize in ORCHESTRAL PERFORMANCE, 2016-17, in all divisions. Congratulations!

All applicants finalist or higher receive written evaluations from a member of The American Prize judging panel; the competitions reserve the right to award additional citations for merit up until the final announcement of results for 2016-17 has been made.

Complete listings of finalists and semi-finalists in The American Prize competitions may be found elsewhere on this blog. Please use the chronological tool in the right-hand column to find specific results.

Please make us aware of any misprints: theamericanprize@gmail.com
  
The American Prize in Orchestral Performance, 2017—professional division

The American Prize winner:
River Oaks Chamber Orchestra
    Alecia Lawyer, artistic director    Houston TX
River Oaks Chamber Orchestra
The River Oaks Chamber Orchestra (ROCO) is a forty-piece professional chamber orchestra that was founded in 2005 by Alecia Lawyer. A Juilliard-trained musician with an eclectic background as a performer, recording artist, adjunct professor and radio host, Ms. Lawyer had a vision to reimagine the orchestral experience for both audience and musicians. The result is ROCO: an orchestra of all-star musicians, distinguished conductors and contemporary composers who come together from all over the world to present unexpected classics, original compositions and delightful performances that dissolve the barriers between audience and orchestra. www.roco.org


2nd Place:
Michigan Philharmonic
    Nan 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, was the TAP Professional Conducting Winner in 2013 and 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. Currently in its 70th 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 North Texas Chamber Orchestra
    Jason Lim, music director    McKinney TX
Odysseus North Texas Chamber Orchestra
Founded in Denton in 2012, Odysseus North Texas Chamber Orchestra consists of  professional classical musicians from the DFW area. In May 2012, Odysseus launched a successful inaugural performance featuring local soloists, performed with Christopher Deane, Professor of Percussion at the University of North Texas and gave the world premiere of Breathe by Brad Robin, a work commissioned by Artistic Director, Jason Lim. Innovative in its programs under the direction of Jason Lim, OCO collaborated with the Denton City Contemporary Ballet  staging a full ballet performance of Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf and in 2014 staged the premiere performance of the full production of Igor Stravinsky’s A Soldier’s Tale. In 2014 OCO collaborated with world renowned double bassist, Jeff  Bradetich featuring the Tango music of Astor Piazzolla. In its short history, the Odysseus Chamber Orchestra has gained a growing national reputation as an emerging ensemble, winning third prize in the 2015 American Prize Competition for professional orchestras, 2nd prize in the 2014 and 3rd prize the year before. OCO has supported local service clubs like the Denton Breakfast Kiwanis Club, the Robson Ranch Kiwanis Club, sponsoring events such as the Eliminate Project Cruise and the Passing of the Banner Dinner. The outreach programs of Odysseus has expanded in the last two year, providing free chamber music series concerts, free amenity concerts in neighborhoods, educational school performances and collaborating with the Arts and Music Guild to organize the Summer Music Intensives.  Furthermore, OCO pioneered the Mentorship Program created by Artistic Director Jason Lim. This program provides high school orchestra students the opportunity to rehearse and perform side-by-side with members of OCO.  In 2014, OCO relocated from Denton and began planting new roots to become the resident professional orchestra of McKinney. www.odysseusorchestra.com 



The American Prize in Orchestral Performance, 2016-17—college/university division

The American Prize winner:
Baylor Symphony Orchestra
    Stephen Heyde, conductor    Waco TX
Baylor Symphony Orchestra
Founded in 1946, the Baylor Symphony has had only two resident conductors, Daniel Sternberg and, since 1984, Stephen Heyde. In a typical year 95 students from two dozen states and several foreign countries are selected to perform in the ensemble. The orchestra has performed at the Piccolo Spoleto Festival, national conventions of the American String Teachers Association and the College Orchestra Directors Association and multiple times at the Texas Music Educators Convention. In 2003 the Symphony was featured in a PBS Special that aired nationally to an estimated audience of six million viewers. The orchestra has performed with many distinguished performers including Josef Gingold and Robert Shaw among many others and taken international tours of Costa Rica in 2004 and Belgium in 2010. The Baylor Symphony also presents annual concerts for 6000 school children, an unbroken tradition of 70 years and won The American Prize in 2014 and 2015.


2nd Place:
Peabody Symphony Orchestra
    Hajime Teri Murai, conductor    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: 
Cornell Chamber Orchestra
    Chris Younghoon Kim, conductor   Ithaca NY
Cornell Chamber Orchestra
Cornell Chamber Orchestra under the direction of Chris Younghoon Kim, present multiple concerts during each academic school year.  The membership of the orchestra is formed from students of all colleges and departments across the university-wide community.  It is the only non-music major orchestra to win first place among collegiate orchestras the ASCAP award for Adventurous Programming of Contemporary music during the 2008-2009 season. It has won the Adventurous awards for 6 years in a row from 2008-2014. For the last seven seasons Cornell Orchestras have been jointly producing the Ithaca International conducting masterclasses with Ithaca College Symphony Orchestra.  



The American Prize in Orchestral Performance, 2016-17—community orchestra division

The American Prize winner: 
Texas Medical Center Orchestra
    Libi Lebel, conductor    Houston TX
Texas Medical Center Orchestra
Established in November 2000, Texas Medical Center Orchestra (TMCO) is one of very few community orchestras in the United States and the world with its origin in the health professions. It includes physicians, dentists, nurses, medical students, biomedical scientists, social workers and other allied health professionals who are dedicated to making music. Part of the orchestra’s mission is to provide health care professionals a creative outlet; offer affordable concerts to a diverse public audience; and bring public attention and support for, medically related and/or educational charities. Russian-born conductor Libi Lebel, founder and artistic director of TMCO, has a strong and growing reputation in the music world. Ms. Lebel has been listed as one of the 50 most influential women in Houston, (population over 2 million). She holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Julliard School of Music and Westminster Choir College, in piano performance and conducting. Conducting appearances in New Jersey, New York, Texas, Russia and Romania have been met with high praise. In 2013, conductor Lebel led the TMCO in a well-received program at Carnegie Hall. As to her passion about music, Ms. Lebel says: “What inspires me is to make music come alive. To feel the love, pride, joy, sadness. To help it unfold in the most convincing and compelling way. With it, we connect to the very essence of our humanity, we then come into contact with that part of ourselves that expresses our most profound creativity. I am so lucky to have music in my life.”   


2nd Place (there was a tie):
Austin Civic Orchestra
    Lois Ferrari, conductor    Austin TX
Austin Civic Orchestra
Among the oldest community orchestras in the country, the Austin Civic Orchestra was founded in 1977 as a small group of string players which has since grown and evolved into the full 80-piece symphonic orchestra it is today. The ACO is committed to bringing high quality classical music to Austin area communities and to supporting young musicians in particular. To this end, the Orchestra offers free admittance to all students under the age of 18. In addition, the ACO sponsors the annual Pearl Amster Chamber Music Festival and co-sponsors (with the University of Texas) the annual Texas Rising Stars Concerto Contest. A champion of new music, ACO Music Director Lois Ferrari founded the Composition Contest in 2005. The ACO's illustrious list of guest artists include: Anton Nel, Lauren Lane, David Amram, David Whitwell, Peter Bay, and Hai Zheng. The ACO is proud to announce that all of its 2015-16 season concerts were underwritten by donors. http://www.austincivicorchestra.org


2nd Place (there was a tie):
Dudley House Orchestra
    Aaron Kuan, conductor    Cambridge MA
Dudley House Orchestra
The Dudley House Orchestra is affiliated with the Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences in Cambridge, MA. It's mission is to provide artistic enrichment by providing opportunities for qualified students, scholars, and community members to rehearse together and perform in public concerts. The orchestra aims to perform at a high level of artistic excellence while maintaining a rehearsal environment amenable to full-time students, scholars and professionals and making every reasonable effort to include musicians of varying levels of artistic experience. During the academic year, the orchestra presents a fall concert in Paine Hall and a spring concert in Sanders Theatre as part the Harvard Arts First Festival.


3rd Place:
Midwest Chamber Ensemble
    Steve Nelson Lewis Jr., conductor Prairie Village KS
Midwest Chamber Ensemble
The Midwest Chamber Ensemble is a Kansas City-based organization dedicated to the performance of chamber orchestra and chamber ensemble music. Ensemble members are primarily young professional musicians and exceptional music students. The Midwest Chamber Ensemble prepares its members for future career opportunities by creating a professional environment and providing audiences with quality performances. Joseph Kern is the Composer-in-Residence with the Midwest Chamber Ensemble.  Prior to college, he was surrounded by rural and small town living, church activities, American Rust Belt history, and traveling the northeast United States; these things have and continue to influence his musical life. Steve N. Lewis Jr. is the Music Director of the Midwest Chamber Ensemble where he conducts orchestra concerts and performs chamber music.  He has conducted the Missouri Symphony, the Wilson Symphony (NC), Classical Revolution-Kansas City, OvreArts (PA) and the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory Orchestra and Chamber Orchestra. www.midwestchamberensemble.org 



The American Prize in Orchestral Performance, 2016-17—youth orchestra division 

The American Prize winner:
Houston Youth Symphony
    Michael Webster, conductor   Houston TX

Houston Youth Symphony
Celebrating its 70th season, Houston Youth Symphony (HYS) is the recipient of national acclaim including the 2015 first prize winner of the Mark of Excellence Award from The Foundation for Music Education and the 2015 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 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:
Interlochen Arts Academy Orchestra
    Carolyn Watson, conductor   Interlochen MI

Interlochen Arts Academy Orchestra
Winner of the 2015 American Prize in Orchestral Performance and Runner-up for the American Prize in Conducting, Australian conductor Carolyn Watson is Director of Orchestral Studies at Texas State University. From 2013-15 she held the position of Conductor of the Interlochen Arts Academy Orchestra, having also conducted the World Youth Symphony Orchestra and Detroit Symphony Youth Orchestra. Prior to moving to the US Carolyn enjoyed a successful tenure as the inaugural Conductor-in-Residence at Sydney's Conservatorium High School from 2011-2013. A Fellow of the American Academy of Conducting at the Aspen Music Festival, Carolyn was a major prizewinner at the 2012 Emmerich Kálmán International Operetta Conducting Competition in Budapest. She is the recipient of the Brian Stacey Award for Emerging Australian Conductors, Charles Mackerras Conducting Prize, Nelly Apt Scholarship and Opera Foundation Australia’s Bayreuth Opera Award and Berlin New Music Opera Award. Dr. Watson holds a PhD in Performance (Conducting) from the University of Sydney where the subject of her doctoral thesis was Gesture as Communication: The Art of Carlos Kleiber. www.carolyn-watson.com



The American Prize in Orchestral Performance, 2016-17—high school orchestra division

The American Prize winner:
Plano West Chamber Orchestra
    Ryan Ross, director   Plano TX
Plano West Chamber Orchestra
The Plano West Orchestra is proud to be recognized as one of the most accomplished orchestra programs in America. Plano West is a grade 11 and 12 campus in Plano, TX, a Dallas suburb. The orchestra program currently serves shy of 200 students in four orchestras. Since its inception, Plano West has been recognized as the Texas String Honor Orchestra six times, most recently in 2016. Nationally, it has been recognized as an invited orchestra at the Midwest Clinic and been named a National Winner in the Mark of Excellence National Orchestra Honors.  The program as a whole routinely earns sweepstakes awards at the annual UIL competition.  The program is led by Director of Orchestras, Ryan Ross.  And for many years, Associate Director Amy Gross has been a key player in helping the program grow and thrive.  


2nd Place: 
Arlington HS Philharmonia
    Jon Handman, director    LeGrangeville NY
Arlington HS Philharmonia
Arlington High School's Philharmonia is the most advanced of five orchestras and has been selected to perform at the 2015 NY State School Boards Convention, the 2014 NYSSMA Winter Conference 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 and  Mr. Jonathan Handman are the directors.  In total, the program has over 250 string students and 70 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. 


3rd Place:
Allen HS Symphony Orchestra
    David DeVoto, director    Allen TX

Allen HS Symphony Orchestra
The Allen ISD Orchestra program began in 1997 at the 6th grade level with approximately 50 students. By 2002, the 30 member Allen High School orchestra began performing in their first concerts and festivals and earned their first “sweepstakes” UIL award.  Since 2002, the HS orchestra program grew to 300+ students, placed in the finals of the Texas Honor Orchestra Competition in 2004, 2006, 2007,  2015, and 2016 and was accepted to the Midwest Clinic in 2006.  Today, there are over 1,300 orchestra students in Allen ISD: seventeen elementary orchestras, three middle school orchestra programs with 4 or 5 orchestras each, a freshman center orchestra program with a full orchestra and four string orchestras, and the high school orchestra program with a full orchestra and six string orchestras. Students in the AISD orchestra program participate in UIL Region XXV Solo & Concert Contests and the Texas Music Educators Association All-State Orchestras and Bands.


Honorable Mention:
Reagan Chamber Orchestra
    Sixto Elizondo IV, director   San Antonio TX
Reagan Chamber Orchestra
The Ronald Reagan orchestra program comprises of seven performing ensembles with a total enrollment of 245. The musicians in the Chamber Orchestra serve as the string section of the RRSO. The Reagan Orchestra performs six major concerts a year, including a young people’s concert which serves 1700 elementary and middle school students in the Reagan Cluster.  Members of the orchestra also serve the greater Stone Oak community by performing at events, nursing homes and in our cluster schools. The Reagan Orchestra has a long standing tradition of excellence in performance and service, and this tradition has continued under the direction of their Director, Sixto Elizondo IV.


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Congratulations!


 

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

OPERA PRODUCTION winners, runners-up, citations

 
The American Prize is honored to announce the winners,  runners-up and citation recipients of The American Prize in OPERA Performance, 2016-17. Congratulations!

All applicants finalist or higher 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 use the chronological tool in the right-hand column to find specific results.

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

The American Prize in OPERA Performance, 2016-17

The American Prize winner:
University of Michigan Opera
    Kathleen Kelly    Ann Arbor MI
    Ravel—L'heure espagnole / Puccini—Gianni Schicchi
University of Michigan Opera—Gianni Schicchi
The Opera Program at the University of Michigan is a cornerstone program in the School of Music, Theatre, and Dance. Students develop skills in an environment that oversees careful skill building yet encourages adventurous risk. Here they find world-class coaching in music, languages, and stagecraft. University Productions, a unique collaboration of faculty, staff, and students, designs and executes all scenery, costumes, properties, and lighting. Two mainstage productions and two workshop productions each year provide myriad performances opportunities for both undergraduates and graduates. Last but not least, the incomparable academic resources of the University of Michigan are at the program’s disposal.


2nd Place (there was a tie):
University of South Dakota Opera
    Tracelyn Gesteland    Vermillion SD
    Copland—The Tender Land
University of South Dakota Opera—The Tender Land
The University of South Dakota Opera offers training and performance opportunities for students interested in the art of opera.  Every semester, students have the opportunity to study and perform operatic literature from the common practice period as well as contemporary lyric theater.  Annually, USD Opera presents a main stage opera in addition to children’s touring outreach productions.  In 2014, USD Opera was honored to have been selected as a Finalist for The American Prize in Opera Performance.  In 2013, USD Opera was awarded Second Place for The American Prize in Opera Performance, and in 2012, won Third Place in division 3 of the National Opera Association’s Opera Production Competition.  USD Opera was also honored to perform children’s opera excerpts by invitation at the NOA convention in 2011.


2nd Place (there was a tie):
Messiah College Opera
    Damian Savarino    Mechanicsburg PA
    Copland—The Tender Land
Messiah College Opera—The Tender Land
The Messiah College Opera Workshop recently collaborated with the Department of Theatre and Dance at Messiah College to present Aaron Copland’s opera, The Tender Land the first ever student opera production in the college’s 100+ year history.  Previous offerings by the Opera Workshop ensemble have been Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi, Menotti’s The Medium and The Old Maid and the Thief, Gilbert and Sullivan’s Trial By Jury, as well as opera scenes programs with scenes representing various time periods, composers, and languages.  The Messiah College Opera Workshop was founded and currently directed (music and stage direction) by Dr. Damian Savarino.  Dr. Savarino’s production of The Medium won 1st Prize in the 2013-2014 National Opera Association Opera Production Competition.  www.damiansavarino.com


3rd Place:
Conservatory Opera of Music (SUNY—Purchase)—The Crucible    Jacque Trussel    Purchase NY
    Ward—The Crucible
Conservatory Opera of Music (SUNY—Purchase)—The Crucible
The Purchase Opera, performing arm of The Opera Performance/Vocal Studies Area in the Conservatory of Music/S.U.N.Y., has received critical acclaim, collecting eleven National Opera Association - Best Opera of the Year awards, including the American East Coast premiere of Lee Hoiby’s The Tempest. Working with the composer the company later recorded one of the only existing recordings of the piece (Albany Records). The company also presented the World Premiere of Raphael Lucas’ Confession, winning National Opera Association’s International competition for Best Chamber Opera, 2011/12 (also recorded for Albany Records). This past March (2016) they presented Robert Ward’s The Crucible, which will be recorded in September 2016.
 

                         
FINALIST—CITATION: "Exceptional Production Values"

Bob Jones University Opera    Darren P. Lawson    Greenville SC
    Verdi—Aida
Bob Jones University Opera—Aida
The Bob Jones University Opera Association was founded in 1942 as part of the university’s commitment to liberal arts training for all of its students, who are provided free tickets to the productions.  It has become a national award-winning organization that mounts major operatic works, including Aida, Mefistofele, Samson et Dalila, Tosca, Andrea Chenier, L’Elisir d’Amore, Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Il Trovatore, Rigoletto, La Cenerentola, and others.  Opera productions are presented regularly, with guest artists featured in the principal roles along with student and faculty soloists. Supporting roles and chorus parts are taken by students who show requisite ability.  http://www.bju.edu/events/fine-arts/concert-opera-drama/archive/


FINALIST—CITATION: "Ensemble Excellence"

FSU Student Opera Society—The Mikado
    Justin John Moniz    Tallahassee FL
    Gilbert & Sullivan—The Mikado
FSU Student Opera Society—The Mikado
The Student Opera Society at Florida State University mission is to serve the diverse student body within the College of Music and beyond by providing unique performance and professional development opportunities in opera. The productions chosen are aimed at complementing Florida State Opera’s mainstage programming while also being relevant and meaningful to the development of student singers. Additionally, workshops, fundraisers, socials, and other enrichment events are hosted to encourage the enjoyment and appreciation of opera among the greater Florida State University community.
 


FINALIST—CITATION: "Exceptional Commitment to New Music"

Texas State University Opera
    Samuel Mungo    San Marcos TX
    Mollicone—Lady Bird, First Lady of the Land

Texas State University Opera—Lady Bird, First Lady of the Land
The Award Winning Texas State Opera Theatre is dedicated to training the whole Opera performer. Voice, Acting, Dance and Theater Tech professionals training strictly in their fields join Director Samuel Mungo, Conductor Carolyn Watson and Collaborative Artist Kristin Roach to give Texas State possibly the most comprehensive undergraduate opera program in the country. 2 full Productions, Scenes Programs, Masterclasses with names like Jill Grove, Margaret Lattimore, Nicholas Carthy, and Margo Garrett, and access to professional summer programs, draw students from across the country. Recent productions include Don Giovanni, Candide, Turn of the Screw and Dialogues of the Carmelites. In May of 2016 TSOT produced the World Premiere of Lady Bird: First Lady of the Land, composed by Henry Mollicone with libretto by Sheldon Harnick.


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Congratulations!


 

Monday, April 3, 2017

STAGE DIRECTORS winner, runners-up, 2016-17

 
The American Prize is honored to announce the winner and runners-up of The American Prize in DIRECTING, 2016-17. Congratulations!

All applicants finalist or higher 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 use the chronological tool in the right-hand column to find specific results.

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


The American Prize in DIRECTING, 2016-17.

The American Prize winner:
Jacque Trussel
    Purchase Opera—SUNY Purchase
    Purchase NY
Jacque Trussel
Jacque Trussel, directed throughout his internationally renowned career as a tenor, winning acclaim for productions of Merry Widow (Indiana), Tales of Hoffman and Koenigskinder (Sarasota Opera) Salome (Opera Nantes) and Don Giovanni (Univ. Illinois, Urbana/Champaign). In 1999 he become the Head of Opera Performance/Vocal Studies and Stage Director of Purchase Opera at the Conservatory of Music/S.U.NY. He was named Stage Director of the Year by Classical Singer Magazine/2005 and has led the Purchase Opera to eleven National Opera Association awards for Best Opera Production of the Year and received glowing reviews by the New York Times and Opera News.  The Award winning productions included the American East Coast premiere of Lee Hoiby’s The Tempest (in which he was the original Caliban), and the World premiere of Raphael Lucas’ Confession for which he co-authored the libretto. Confession was later named Best Chamber Opera of the Year by the NOA.


2nd Place (there was a tie):
Darren P. Lawson
    Bob Jones University
    Greenville, SC
Verdi: Aida
Darren P. Lawson
Dr. Darren P. Lawson is dean of the School of Fine Arts and Communication at Bob Jones University in Greenville, SC.  He has a BA in Rhetoric and Public Address from Bob Jones University, an MA in Platform Arts from Bob Jones University, and PhD in Communication Studies from the University of Kansas.  He is a member of the University Classic Players and has portrayed such roles as Cyrano in Cyrano de Bergerac, Leontes in The Winter’s Tale, Henry in King Henry IV, Duke of Buckingham in Richard III: The Terrible Reign, Bottom the Weaver in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Macduff in Macbeth, Jaques in As You Like It, Feste in Twelfth Night, and many others.  He also serves as one of the stage directors for the Bob Jones University Opera Association with productions including Aida, Samson et Dalila, Andrea Chenier, Mefistofele, L’Elisir d’Amore, Rigoletto, Il Trovatore, and Simeon. http://www.bju.edu/events/fine-arts/concert-opera-drama/archive/


2nd Place (there was a tie):
Samuel Mungo
    Texas State University
    San Marcos TX
Mollicone: Lady Bird, First Lady of the Land
Samuel Mungo
Dr. Samuel Mungo has directed professionally across the country and around the world. His honors include Classical Performance of the Year for Rigoletto in San Antonio, and Opera Production of the Year from the National Opera Association.  Professional directing credits include Die Entführung aus dem Serail for Florida Grand Opera, Suor Angelica for Opera Plovdiv, Gianni Schicchi at Stara Zagora Opera, Il Trovatore for San Antonio Opera, Pirates of Penzance for Colorado Light Opera.

As Director of Opera Studies at Texas State University, he has created perhaps the most comprehensive undergraduate opera training program in the country. Recently he has produced Die Fledermaus, Don Giovanni, The Student Prince, The Turn of the Screw and Candide.  He conceived and produced the World Premiere of Mollicone’s Lady Bird in May.

He received his Doctorate from the University of Colorado at Boulder, and his Masters in Vocal Performance from the New England Conservatory.


3rd Place:
Justin John Moniz
    Florida State University Student Opera Society
    Tallahassee FL
Gilbert & Sullivan: The Mikado
Justin John Moniz
Justin John Moniz is a director, singer, actor, and teacher in high demand. He is currently a member of the faculty at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, where he teaches courses in opera and performing techniques. Moniz has previously directed productions and scenes programs for the Oberlin Conservatory, Florida State University, Cleveland Opera Theatre, and the Hawaii Performing Arts Festival, where he currently serves as Assistant Artistic Director. His ongoing research on redefining singer training in the 21st century has been presented at the National Opera Association, and is slated for publication this fall. As a critically acclaimed singer/actor, he has previously sung roles with Opera Grand Rapids, Utah Festival Opera, Sarasota Opera, Florida Grand Opera, Opera Company of Middlebury, and DreamCatcher Theatre/Adrienne Arsht Center, among many others. This fall, Moniz joins the voice faculty at Millikin University, where he will also serve as Voice Area Coordinator. For more information, please visit: www.justinjohnmoniz.com.





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Congratulations!