Saturday, June 30, 2018

WINNING CONDUCTORS: orchestral programming, 2017-18 (Marijosius Award)

Vytautas Marijosius
The American Prize is pleased to announce the 2017-18 winners, runners-up and honorable mentions in orchestral programming, The Vytautas Marijosius Memorial Award. Congratulations!

The American Prize—Vytautas Marijosius Memorial Award in Orchestral Programming honors the memory of the great Lithuanian conductor, Maestro Vytautas Marijosius, music director of the Lithuanian State Opera, and for nearly thirty-five years Director of Orchestral Activities at the Hartt School of Music. The Prize recognizes and rewards the best achievement in the unique field of orchestral programming, where the selection of repertoire by knowledgeable, creative and courageous music directors builds orchestras and audiences, educates young people and adults, and enriches the community. 

Questions, or to make us aware of any misprints in the listings below, please email: theamericanprize@gmail.com


The American Prize in Orchestral Programming / Vytautas Marijosius Memorial Award—college/university division

The American Prize Winner:
Thomas Taylor Dickey
OK State University Symphony Orchestra
Stillwater OK
Thomas Taylor Dickey
Dr. Thomas Dickey is the Director of Orchestral Studies at Oklahoma State University, where he conducts the OSU Symphony Orchestra and guides all aspects of the orchestra and orchestral conducting programs.  He concurrently serves as Music Director & Conductor of the OSU Youth Orchestra and the Stillwater Community Orchestra.  Prior to his appointments in Oklahoma, he was the Director of Orchestral Activities at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville and Music Director & Conductor of the Dubuque Symphony Youth Orchestra (IA). He holds doctoral and master's degrees in orchestral conducting from the University of Georgia and Louisiana State University, respectively, and graduated with highest honors from Eastern Illinois University. He has worked with conductors such as Carl Topilow, Christopher Zimmerman, Daniel Lewis, Gustav Meier, and Diane Wittry, and further studied conducting at the Cleveland Institute of Music, Cincinnati Conservatory of Music, and numerous workshops and master classes.


2nd Place and Special Judges' Citation: Remarkable Growth in the Programming of Major Repertoire
Tara Villa Keith
Davidson College Symphony Orchestra
Davidson NC
Tara Villa Keith
Tara Villa Keith is in her fifteenth season as music director of the Davidson College Symphony Orchestra (DCSO) in Davidson, North Carolina and in her ninth season as music director of the Lee County Community Orchestra (LCCO) in Sanford, North Carolina.  Tara has won local and national awards for her work with both orchestras, and has enjoyed conducting orchestras, running clinics, and serving as a guest speaker throughout the south, northeast, and abroad.  For the past four seasons, Tara has served as a cover conductor and pre-concert speaker for the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra, and enjoys introducing audiences to orchestral music through their new Symphony 101 adult education program. Originally from Baltimore, Maryland, Tara studied percussion and piano at the Preparatory of the Peabody Conservatory. Tara holds degrees from Franklin & Marshall College, Pennsylvania State University, and the University of South Carolina.  Please feel free to visit her website at taravillakeith.com.


3rd Place:
Johannes Dietrich
Lebanon Valley College Symphony Orchestra
Annville PA
Johannes Dietrich
Johannes Dietrich, a native of Bozeman, Montana, is the Newton and Adelaide Burgner Professor in Instrumental Music at Lebanon Valley College. Along with his duties as conductor of the LVC Symphony and Chamber Orchestra, he is active as a guest conductor and clinician. He has led festival, District, Region and State orchestras from New Jersey to Montana. His college orchestra has completed three, highly successful tours to Europe. He is also active as a violinist, performing regularly as a member of Duo Terlano with his wife, cellist Marie-Aline Cadieux.
Www.duoterlano.com


Finalist Honorable Mention:
Chris Younghoon Kim
Cornell Orchestras
Ithaca NY
Chris Younghoon Kim
Chris Younghoon Kim has been at Cornell University as the director of orchestras and associate professor of music, since 2004. The League of American Orchestras and ASCAP have awarded the first place award for Adventurous Programming of Contemporary Music to the Cornell Orchestras among all collegiate orchestras in 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2014. He has premiered over 200 works by contemporary composers worldwide. Cornell Symphony Orchestra has hosted two Meet the Composer New Partnership residencies. At Cornell University he directs the Cornell Chamber Orchestra, the Cornell Symphony Orchestra, teaches conducting and works closely with the DMA composers in presenting their work in concert. With the Cornell Orchestras he has led international tours and joint collaborations with the Royal Irish Academy of Music, and Conservatorio de Música de Puerto Rico and most recently to Neuquén, Argentina for a collaborative project to perform Gustav Mahler’s 6th Symphony with the combined forces of the Sinfónica del Neuquén and the Cornell Symphony. He has appeared with orchestras in the United States and abroad, including ensembles such as the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, Delta Festival Ballet, Symphoria based in Syracuse, NY, Divertimento Ensemble of Milan, Italy. He has also appeared in music festivals such as, Kinhaven Music Center, Skaneateles Music Festival, and International Bartók Festival in Szombathely, Hungary among others.


Finalist Honorable Mention:
David Alexander Rahbee
University of Washington Symphony Orchestra
Seattle WA
David Alexander Rahbee
David Alexander Rahbee is currently Senior Artist in Residence at the University of Washington School of Music in Seattle, where he is Director of Orchestral Activities and teaches conducting. He also serves of faculty of the Pierre Monteux School and Music Festival as Conducting Associate. He is recipient of the American-Austrian Foundation's 2003 Karajan Fellowship for Young Conductors, the 2005 International Richard-Wagner-Verband Stipend, and the Acanthes Centre in Paris in 2007. He has recently worked with the Seattle Symphony, Orchesterakademie der Bochumer Symphoniker, the Seattle Modern Orchestra, and Orquesta Sinfónica de Loja. He participated in masterclasses with Kurt Masur, Sir Colin Davis, Jorma Panula, Zdeněk Mácal, Peter Eötvös, and Zoltán Peskó. His principal conducting teachers were Charles Bruck and Michael Jinbo at the Monteux School. He holds degrees from Indiana University, New England Conservatory, and University of Montreal. He also studied at Universität für Musik und Darstellende Kunst, Vienna.


The American Prize in Orchestral Programming / Vytautas Marijosius Memorial Award—community division

The American Prize Winner:
Annette Jurcevic
Shoreline Symphony
Muskegon MI
Annette Jurcevic
Described by contest judges as “an electric personality” and “what a dynamo!”, Annette Jurcevic brings vitality to each ensemble she leads. She currently directs the Star Gate Orchestra in Chicago, Illinois, and the Shoreline Symphony in Muskegon, Michigan.  While living in Texas, she conducted the Austin Philharmonic Orchestra, the St. Edward’s University Orchestra, and the Austin Summer Pops Orchestra. Career highlights include premiering contemporary works, founding three orchestras, conducting a German version of Messiah, and collaborating with dance and theater companies.  Additionally, she gives pre-concert discussions, has taught at four universities, maintains a private teaching studio, and performs as a pianist, organist, and singer. Possessing music degrees in multiple fields – music history & literature, music theory, choral conducting, and vocal performance – Ms. Jurcevic approaches conducting with a breadth of expertise.  Training in dance and martial arts has expanded her understanding of movement and gesture. Read more at www.annettejurcevic.com.


2nd Place:
Reuben Blundell
Lansdowne Symphony Orchestra
Lansdowne PA
Reuben Blundell
Reuben Blundell is Music Director of the Lansdowne Symphony Orchestra near Philadelphia, and New York’s Riverside Orchestra. From Fall 2009 he transformed Hunter Symphony from a small group into a symphony orchestra: recent performances included major symphonies and the Ewazen Flute Concerto with Mindy Kaufman of the NY Philharmonic. He recently completed his fifth season as a Chelsea Symphony conductor. His Gowanus Arts Ensemble CD, American Romantics, garnered outstanding reviews, including Gramophone Magazine. Blundell has performed in his native Australia, in Austria, Chile, Holland, Iraq, Japan, and Lebanon. He conducted the New World Symphony in their 2013 John Cage festival. After studies in Melbourne and Sydney, he was a Tanglewood Fellow (’02 & ’03) and a principal New World Symphony violinist (2003-05). He attended the Monteux School (’05 & ’06) and Eastman, earning a DMA in conducting with Neil Varon and studying violin with Zvi Zeitlin. Website: www.reubenblundell.com


3rd Place:
Orlando Cela
Arlington Philharmonic Orchestra
Arlington MA
Orlando Cela
Venezuelan conductor Orlando Cela has recently been awarded second place in the Ernst Bacon Memorial Award for the performance of American music, and second place in the London Classical Soloists Conducting Competition for his rendition of Beethoven’s Seventh and Eighth Symphonies. His 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 Arlington Philharmonic Orchestra, and 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, and many others.



The American Prize in Orchestral Programming / Vytautas Marijosius Memorial Award—youth orchestra division

The American Prize Winner:
Robert Boardman
South Bend Youth Symphony Orchestra
South Bend IN
Robert Boardman
Robert Boardman has been music director and conductor of the South Bend Youth Symphony Orchestras (SBYSO) since 2011. In 2015, he was named winner of the American Prize in Orchestral Programming for his work with SBYSO. Since 2012, Boardman has been artistic director of Live from Orchestra Hall, the free webcasts of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, for which he frequently serves as cover conductor. In 2015 and 2017, Boardman led the Grand Central Symphony of New York City on a national tour, collaborating with Bollywood star Arijit Singh and his rock band. The tour visited sold-out venues across the United States. Since 2006, Boardman has been assistant conductor for The Lord of the Rings Symphony, assisting in more than 75 performances, including tours of North America and Europe. Other recent artistic engagements include the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music, where he was assistant conductor for two seasons. As assistant to music director Marin Alsop, he worked with dozens of composers, including John Adams, Philip Glass, and Jennifer Higdon. Recently, Boardman assisted Michael Christie and the Phoenix Symphony in a semi-staged production of John Adams’ opera Nixon in China. He also performed and recorded the world premiere performance of Lembit Beecher’s multimedia oratorio And Then I Remember, a musical documentary about Beecher’s grandmother and her escape from Estonia during World War II. Boardman has conducted 14 world premieres and more than 30 orchestras worldwide, including the Houston Symphony, Spokane Symphony Orchestra, and Cabrillo Festival Orchestra. Boardman studied conducting with Alsop, Kurt Masur, Gustav Meier, and Kenneth Kiesler. He also has participated in numerous master classes, workshops, and seminars with major orchestras and conductors throughout the United States. In May 2010, he earned a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in orchestral conducting from the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance.


2nd Place:
Chad Hutchinson
SD Symphony Youth Orchestra
Sioux Falls SD
Chad Hutchinson
Chad Hutchinson is the Interim Director of Orchestras, Assistant Professor of Conducting and Conductor of University Opera at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  He conducts the Symphony Orchestra in 5 concerts annually, leads University Opera productions and teaches undergraduate and graduate conducting courses. Prior to his time in Madison, Dr. Hutchinson was the Assistant Conductor for the South Dakota Symphony Orchestra and Music Director of the South Dakota Symphony Youth Orchestras.  As comfortable in the pit as on the stage, he has recently led productions at the University of Minnesota, the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Morningside College. Committed to education, Dr. Hutchinson taught orchestra in the public schools for nine years in Sioux Falls, SD and Williamsville, NY.  He later taught collegiately at Northwestern College(IA) and was the Coordinator/Music Director of the Siouxland Youth Orchestras in Sioux City, Iowa.  He holds conducting degrees from the University of Minnesota and Bowling Green State University and a Bachelor's Degree in Music Education from Morningside College (IA).


Third Place:
Tigran Arakelyan
Bainbridge Island Youth Orchestra
Bainbridge Island WA
Tigran Arakelyan
Armenian-American conductor Tigran Arakelyan is the Music Director of Bainbridge Island Youth Orchestras, Federal Way Youth Symphony and the Artistic Director and Conductor of Port Townsend Community Orchestra. Arakelyan held conducting positions with California Philharmonic, Los Angeles Youth Orchestra, Whatcom Symphony, Rainier Symphony, and the Northridge Youth Philharmonic.  His recent conducting engagements are with the Olympia Chamber Orchestra, Armenian Pops Orchestra, Fort Wayne Philharmonic, Northwest Mahler Festival, a second international tour of South Korea, and the inaugural Bainbridge Island String Orchestra Festival.

 Arakelyan helped in creating youth scholarship programs, festivals, young composer competitions, and led performances at unconventional venues. He conducted the Pacific Northwest premiere of Hindemith Kammermuzik Nr. 1. Arakelyan played alongside Sir James Galway during his induction into the Hollywood Bowl Hall of Fame with the LA Philharmonic. He received a D.M.A. from the University of Washington under the mentorship of Ludovic Morlot and David Alexander Rahbee. www.TigranArakelyan.com


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Congratulations!

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

WINNERS: stage directors—The Charles Nelson Reilly Prize

Charles Nelson Reilly, in "The Life of Reilly"
The American Prize is pleased to announce the winners, runners-up and honorable mentions of its award in stage direction, The Charles Nelson Reilly Prize, recently renamed in memory of Charles Nelson Reilly, the Tony Award-winning actor and Broadway stage director, acclaimed opera director and acting teacher. Congratulations!

Charles Nelson Reilly won a Tony Award in 1962 for his portrayal of the character of Bud Frump in the Pulitzer Prize-winning musical, “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.” A Tony nomination for creating the role of Cornelius Hackl in “Hello Dolly” followed in 1964.

Far more than the zany television personality by which he was most often identified (Reilly was a regular on the “Match Game,” among scores of other television credits, and appeared as a guest more than one hundred times on “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson”), Reilly nurtured the creation of a whole series of unique one-person stage plays. Most famously, he directed Julie Harris in her Tony Award-winning star turn in “The Belle of Amherst”, on the life and poetry of Emily Dickinson. Among his many Broadway directing credits were Ira Levin’s “Break a Leg”, Larry Shue’s “The Nerd”, and the revival of “The Gin Game”, starring Miss Harris and Charles Durning, for which Mr. Reilly was the sole American director to be nominated for a Tony in 1997. Late in his career, Reilly toured the U.S. in “Save it for the Stage: The Life of Reilly”, chronicling his life in his own one-man play.

Mr. Reilly’s career as an opera director included productions for Chicago Opera Theater, Dallas Opera, San Diego Opera, Palm Beach Opera, Toledo Opera, Milwaukee Opera and Opera Pacific. Among Reilly's many acting students were Lily Tomlin, Bette Midler and Larry Burghoff.

Reilly and The American Prize chief judge David Katz were friends for three decades, first meeting through their mutual Hartford voice teacher, Mrs. Friedrich Schorr. Charles Nelson Reilly was honorary chairman of The Friedrich Schorr Memorial Performance Prize in Voice, which Katz founded in 1990. The Schorr Prize became part of the The American Prize family of competitions in 2010. Reilly was also the original director of MUSE of FIRE, Katz’s acclaimed one-man play about the art of conducting.


The American Prize in Directing—The Charles Nelson Reilly Prize, 2017-18

The American Prize winner:
Copeland Woodruff
Lawrence University
Appleton WI
Hydrogen Jukebox (Philip Glass)

Copeland Woodruff
Copeland Woodruff is the director of opera studies at Lawrence University and Conservatory. Woodruff has directed more than 100 productions of operas, plays, musicals and scenes programs. Most notably, he has been on the directing staffs of the New York City Opera, Santa Fe Opera, Chautauqua Opera, and Michigan Opera Theatre and on the faculties of the Juilliard School, Oberlin Conservatory, Academy of Vocal Arts, and Temple University. Dedicated to the development of acting techniques for the singing actor, he has led collaborative workshops incorporating the leading methodologies and training philosophies, both traditional and modern. He is a champion of improvisation, musical and physical, in the operatic medium as a tool for education, creation, and performance. He is a regular collaborator with Guerilla Opera (Boston). Woodruff also works to expand the format of the solo recital. He is a proud member of AGMA and Actor’s Equity Association.
 


2nd Place (there was a tie):
Erin Naler
Bob Jones University
Greenville
The Trip to Bountiful (Horton Foote)

Erin Naler
Erin Naler completed a Bachelor of Science in Speech Education, a Master of Art in Theatre Arts from Bob Jones University, and a Doctor of Philosophy in Humanities in Aesthetic Studies from the University of Texas in Dallas. She has directed and performed in numerous plays and operas from the classics to new works, most recently in the role of Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing and Gertrude in Hamlet. Her creative and scholarly work focuses on the American play-cycle and the plays of Horton Foote and August Wilson. She is currently an Assistant Professor of Theatre Arts at Bob Jones University.

 

2nd Place (there was a tie):
David Ronis
University of Wisconsin—Madison School of Music
Madison WI
Transformations (Conrad Susa)

David Ronis
DAVID RONIS was recently named the inaugural Karen K. Bishop Director of Opera at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  Previously, he taught Queens College, Hofstra University, and Wagner College.  A six-time National Opera Association Production Competition winner, his guest directing engagements include Shreveport Opera, SUNY Potsdam, Rutgers University, Queens Symphony Orchestra, and Manhattan School of Music. The co-founder of the Baroque Opera Workshop at Queens College, he has taught at the Westchester Summer Vocal Institute, the Maryland Summer Center for the Arts, and La Musica Lirica in Novafeltria, Italy.  A specialist in teaching integrative acting and movement techniques for singers, Mr. Ronis has given master classes and workshops at universities throughout the United States.  As a performer, he has sung over 50 operatic roles with companies all over the world, concertized extensively, toured nationally in Disney's Beauty and the Beast, and appeared in independent films and nationally televised commercials.  www.davidronis.com

 

3rd Place (there was a tie):
Herschel Garfein
Eklund Opera Company, University of Colorado
Boulder CO
The Magic Flute

Herschel Garfein
Herschel Garfein  is a GRAMMY® award winning composer, writer and stage director. This season he directed and adapted Mozart's The Magic Flute for Eklund Opera, University of Colorado, and his English dialogue for Flute will be heard in the Seagle Music Colony production this summer. Also, world premiere libretto of Sister Carrie, his operatic adaptation of the Theodore Dreiser novel with composer Robert Aldridge for Florentine Opera Milwaukee. Opera News called it “an important addition to the American operatic canon.” Composition premieres this year: opera Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead (July 2017, The Seagle Music Colony);Mortality Mansions song-cycle at the Heyman Center for the Humanities, Columbia University; The Cyclone, 5 Boroughs Music Festival commission Garfein conceived, wrote and directed the jazz theater piece My Coma Dreams for composer/pianist Fred Hersch, which has been seen in New York, San Francisco and Berlin (Palmetto DVD, 2014). (“Best of 2014” Boston Globe; “Brilliant...smart, honest and true” Downbeat).  Garfein won the 2012 GRAMMY® award for Best Contemporary Classical Composition for his “wildly operatic libretto” (–BBC Magazine) for Aldridge’s Elmer Gantry (Naxos). He teaches Composition and Script Analysis at New York University, where in 2013 he was awarded the Excellence in Teaching Award.

 

3rd Place (there was a tie):
Darren P. Lawson
Bob Jones University
Greenville SC
Il Trovatore

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 stage directs for the Bob Jones University Opera Association with productions including Little Women: The Broadway Musical, 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/

 

Finalist—Honorable Mention: 
Joshua Borths
Crane School of Music—SUNY Potsdam
Potsdam NY
The Magic Flute

Joshua Borths
Originally from Cincinnati, Ohio, stage director Joshua Borths is known for his innovative and thoughtful productions. Currently, Borths is the Resident Stage Director at Arizona Opera where he has directed new productions of Florencia en el Amazonas and Rusalka. Next season, he will direct Il babiere di Siviglia. Recently, Borths served as a Visiting Assistant Professor of Music at SUNY-Potsdam where he directed The Magic Flute. Borths has also directed many new productions across the country Hansel and Gretel, The Tragedy of Carmen, The Elixir of Love, Suor Angelica, and Der Kaiser von Atlantis. Other favorites include a regional premiere of Soldier Songs and La Hija di Rappaccini. As an Assistant Director, Borths has worked on myriad productions for opera companies including Des Moines Metro Opera, Arizona Opera, Michigan Opera Theater, and Wolf Trap Opera Company. More at https://joshua-borths.squarespace.com.

 

Finalist—Honorable Mention: 
Tracelyn Gesteland
University of South Dakota
Vermillion SD
The Marriage of Figaro

Tracelyn Gesteland
Dr. Tracelyn Gesteland is Associate Professor of Voice and Opera at the University of South Dakota and holds the Walter A. and Lucy Yoshioka Buhler Endowed Chair.  She is the recipient of several national awards for her opera direction at USD, including accolades from The American Prize and the National Opera Association.  Other recent directing credits include productions with the Lone Star Lyric Theater Festival, the Houston Opera Project, and the South Dakota Vocal Arts Festival, in addition to serving as a directing apprentice with the Harrower Opera Workshop in Atlanta.  She is also an active performer on the opera, concert and recital stage, having been referred to by reviewers as “remarkable” and a “highlight of the evening” (Sioux City Journal) and “an engaging and versatile singing actress” (Madison Isthmus).  Dr. Gesteland was the winner of the Belbas-Larson Award for Excellence in Teaching, USD’s highest teaching honor.

 

Finalist—Honorable Mention:  
David Holley
University of North Carolina at Greensboro
Greensboro NC
Amahl and the Night Visitors

David Holley
David Holley has been the Director of Opera at UNCG since 1992 and was appointed as the Artistic Director of Greensboro Opera in June, 2013. Recent directing/producing credits include t hree acclaimed Greensboro Opera productions, Carmen (January, 2017), La Cenerentola (August, 2015) and La fille du régiment (January, 2015). Of the latter, the Greensboro News and Record said, “Simply put, Holley and the cast put on one of the finest performances in recent Triad memory.” In the Spring of 2009, he produced and directed the World Premiere of Picnic, an opera by American composer Libby Larsen, for which he also wrote the libretto. His productions have consistently won awards in the National Opera Association's annual Opera Production Competition, including seven first place and five second place NOA awards since his arrival at UNCG.

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Congratulations!




Monday, June 25, 2018

WINNING CONDUCTORS: opera, all divisions, 2017-18


The American Prize is honored to announce the winners, runners-up and citation recipients of The American Prize in Conducting, Opera Divisions, 2017-18. Congratulations!

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.

QUICKNOTES: Although The American Prize does not usually provide written evaluations to semi-finalists, some semi-finalists will receive in their certificate packets short comments, suggestions or overall impressions made during the judging. We hope they will prove valuable. All finalists receive written evaluations from a member of The American Prize judging panel.

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


The American Prize in Conducting,  Professional Opera Division, 2017-18

The American Prize winner:  
Isaac Selya
Queen City Opera
Cincinnati OH
Siegfried

Isaac Selya
A musician of remarkable versatility, Isaac Selya is a conductor, pianist, vocal coach, cellist, and entrepreneur. In recognition of his work as Founder and Artistic Director of Queen City Opera, he was featured in Musical America as a Spotlight Artist. He holds a Doctorate with specialization in Mozart’s operas, and has conducted all of Mozart’s German-language operas. At the Glimmerglass festival, he coached and conducted the first-ever reading of the revised version of Philip Glass’s Appomattox, with the composer present. Equally at home in symphonic repertoire, Isaac’s guest conducting credits include the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen, Xiamen Philharmonic, the Dayton Philharmonic, the National Symphony of Guatemala, the Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra, and the Chelsea Symphony. Committed to ensuring that musical education is accessible to all, Isaac teaches cello and conducts orchestras at the MYCincinnati Youth Orchestra, a free, El Sistema inspired program. He has two cats, named Tosca and Aida.

2nd Place:
Maria Sensi Sellner
Resonance Works/Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh PA
Falstaff

Maria Sensi Sellner
Maria Sensi Sellner has been widely recognized for her versatility and artistry as a conductor of opera, orchestras, and choruses. The first three-time winner of the American Prize for Opera Conducting, Ms. Sellner is the founder and Artistic Director of Resonance Works | Pittsburgh, Artistic Advisor for Hubbard Hall Opera, and previously has held positions as Director of the Akron Symphony Chorus and both Acting Music Director and Associate Conductor of the Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh (chorus of choice of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra). In 2017, Ms. Sellner and Resonance Works presented the American premiere of Sir James MacMillan’s Gloria in coordination with his residency with the Pittsburgh Symphony. In 2016, Ms. Sellner was a strand leader conductor for the world premiere of “the public domain” by David Lang, a piece written for 1000 volunteer singers performed during the 50th anniversary of the Mostly Mozart Festival at Lincoln Center. The premiere was hailed by the New York Times as the “most inspiring feel-good performance of 2016.” www.MariaSensiSellner.org.


3rd Place:
Walter Morales
Pittsburgh Festival Opera
Pittsburgh PA
Julius Caesar

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,  College/University Opera Division, 2017-18

The American Prize winner:  
Chad Hutchinson
University of Minnesota
Minneapolis MN
Suor Angelica

Chad Hutchinson
Chad Hutchinson is the Interim Director of Orchestras, Assistant Professor of Conducting and Conductor of University Opera at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  He conducts the Symphony Orchestra in 5 concerts annually, leads University Opera productions and teaches undergraduate and graduate conducting courses. Prior to his time in Madison, Dr. Hutchinson was the Assistant Conductor for the South Dakota Symphony Orchestra and Music Director of the South Dakota Symphony Youth Orchestras.  As comfortable in the pit as on the stage, he has recently led productions at the University of Minnesota, the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Morningside College. Committed to education, Dr. Hutchinson taught orchestra in the public schools for nine years in Sioux Falls, SD and Williamsville, NY.  He later taught collegiately at Northwestern College(IA) and was the Coordinator/Music Director of the Siouxland Youth Orchestras in Sioux City, Iowa.  He holds conducting degrees from the University of Minnesota and Bowling Green State University and a Bachelor's Degree in Music Education from Morningside College (IA). 
 
 

2nd Place:
Matthew Mailman 
Oklahoma City University
Oklahoma City OK
Dark Sisters (Muhly), Out Town (Rorem)

Matthew Mailman
Dr. Matthew Mailman is Professor of Conducting in the Wanda L. Bass School of Music at Oklahoma City University, a position he has held since 1995. He serves as a Music Director for the Oklahoma Opera and Music Theater Company and Conductor of OCU's Wind Philharmonic. He teaches graduate and undergraduate conducting and coordinates OCU's Masters in Conducting program. At OCU, Dr. Mailman has conducted forty-two operas and musicals. Recent opera performances include Le Nozze di Figaro, La Bohème, Die Zauberflöte, and Dialogues des Carmélites. In 2016-17, he conducted Hairspray and Nico Muhly’s opera Dark Sisters. As Conductor/Artist in Residence at Opera in the Ozarks, he conducted Carlisle Floyd's opera Susannah in 2007 and Mozart's Cosí fan Tutte in 2008. Dr. Mailman earned his bachelor of music and master of music degrees from Northwestern University. He earned his doctorate in conducting at the University of North Texas.



3rd Place (there was a tie):
Walter Morales
Carnegie Mellon University Opera
Pittsburgh PA
Die Fledermaus
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




3rd Place (there was a tie):
Kirk A. Severtson
The Crane School of Music, SUNY—Potsdam
Potsdam NY
The Tender Land

Kirk A. Severtson
Kirk Severtson (conductor and vocal coach) serves as the music director of the Crane Opera Ensemble at The Crane School of Music, in Potsdam, NY.  He serves on the music staff of The Dallas Opera (including three recent world premieres) and has previously worked at Opera Saratoga, Opera North, Cincinnati Opera, and others.  Recent performances of the Crane Opera Ensemble under his musical direction have garnered first-place awards from the National Opera Association and The American Prize, as well as honors from the Kennedy Center’s American College Theatre Festival.  He serves as music director for the Domenic J. Pellicciotti Opera Composition Prize which recently awarded a commission to Tom Cipullo for his forthcoming work Mayo, to be produced in Fall 2018.  He holds degrees from the University of Cincinnati (D.M.A. and M.M., both in piano performance) and Luther College (B.A. with majors in music, math, and computer science).
 
 


The American Prize in Conducting,  Community Opera Division, 2017-18

The American Prize winner:  
Tiffany Chang
North End Music and Performing Arts Center Opera Project
Boston MA 


La Cenerentola
Tiffany Chang
Dr. Tiffany Chang is a versatile, award-winning conductor based in Boston, MA. Chang serves as Interim Director of Orchestral Studies at Baldwin Wallace Conservatory and Assistant Professor at the Berklee College of Music. She is the conductor of the New England Repertory Orchestra and Music Director for the North End Music and Performing Arts Center's Opera Project. She also served as Acting Director of Orchestral Activities at Boston University. Chang has been engaged with OperaHub, the Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra of Boston, ALEA III, Xanthos Ensemble, Brookline Symphony Orchestra, and Parkway Concert Orchestra. She holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in orchestral conducting from Boston University and degrees in cello performance, music education, composition, and music theory from Oberlin Conservatory. Chang studied orchestral conducting with David Hoose and Bridget-Michaele Reischl; other mentors include Gustav Meier, JoAnn Falletta, Robert Spano, Gunther Schuller, Larry Rachleff, and Donald Schleicher. 
 


2nd Place:
Ace Edewards
Opera in the Ozarks
Eureka Springs AR
Il Tabarro

Ace Edewards
Conductor Ace Edewards was born in California but raised in France. His studies have brought him to Le Centre d’Études Supèrieures de Musique et Dance in Toulouse, France; the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, in Glasgow, Scotland; and the University of Denver’s Lamont School of Music. In December of 2015, Ace received his doctoral degree in orchestral conducting from the Fred Fox School of Music at the University of Arizona. Since graduating, audiences have seen him conduct critically acclaimed performances of Menotti’s Amahl and the Night Visitors with Marble City Opera; concerts with the Sierra Vista Symphony Orchestra and Summerville Orchestra; Illegal Alien by Alfonso Molina at the International Festival Alfonso Ortiz Tirado in Àlamos, Mexico; Mozart’s Don Giovanni, Puccini’s Il tabarro and Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci at Opera in the Ozarks. Committed to the advancement of symphonic music in the Knoxville region, Ace helped create the Scruffy City Orchestra.

 

3rd Place:
Ezra Donner 
University of Michigan Gilbert and Sullivan Society
Ann Arbor MI
The Pirates of Penzance

Ezra Donner
Ezra Donner is an American composer, pianist, conductor, and educator.  His music has been performed throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico, Europe, and Turkey. Awards and recognition have come from The American Prize Competition, the Respighi Prize Competition, the Music Teachers’ National Association, the Boston New Music Initiative, the Midwest Graduate Music Consortium, ClefWorks, and the Tobenski-Algera Concert Series.

Ezra has served as Music Director with The University of Michigan Gilbert and Sullivan Society since 2015 and was awarded 2nd Prize in The 2016 American Prize Conducting—Opera/Music Theatre Awards (Community Division). He holds a Doctor of Music Degree in Composition from Indiana University and a Bachelor of Music with High Honors from the University of Michigan. His teachers have included Claude Baker, Don Freund, P.Q. Phan, Michael Colgrass, Bright Sheng, and William Bolcom.


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Congratulations!

Thursday, June 21, 2018

WINNERS: opera companies, 2017-18


The American Prize is honored to announce the winners, runners-up and citation recipients of The American Prize in Opera Performance, 2017-18. Congratulations!

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.

QUICKNOTES: Although The American Prize does not usually provide written evaluations to semi-finalists, some semi-finalists will receive in their certificate packets short comments, suggestions or overall impressions made during the judging. We hope they will prove valuable. All finalists receive written evaluations from a member of The American Prize judging panel.

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


The American Prize in Opera Performance, 2017-18—professional division

The American Prize winner:  
Queen City Opera 
Isaac Selya
Cincinnati OH
Siegfried

Queen City Opera
Queen City Opera was founded in 2012 to advance the careers of emerging singers, instrumentalists, designers, and conductors by giving them valuable professional engagements in high-quality productions. In recognition of their high artistic quality and work to transform neighborhoods through the arts, the company was profiled in August 2014 in the Business section of the Cincinnati Enquirer. In collaboration with the Wagner Society of Cincinnati, QCO is currently producing Wagner’s epic Ring Cycle, presented one act at a time. Their performance of Siegfried as part of this venture was the first complete performance of the work in the state of Ohio since the “touring Rings” over a century ago. For more information or to see recordings of any of our past productions, visit QueenCityOpera.Org.
 
 

2nd Place:
Resonance Works/Pittsburgh
Maria Sensi Sellner
Pittsburgh PA
Falstaff

Resonance Works/ Pittsburgh
Entering our fifth season, Resonance Works is a multi-modal professional performing arts company which presents a varied season of artist-driven programming blurring the lines across traditional classical music genres. We create our seasons to showcase outstanding professional artists from Pittsburgh and beyond, in performances that include fully staged opera, orchestral music, chamber music, choral music, and musical theater, often with compelling collaborators. Our growing community of artists are true creative partners and our work has quickly become an important part of the professional arts ecosystem in Pittsburgh. Our Resonance Chamber Orchestra, choruses, and opera casts have attracted top musicians through innovative programming, and by maintaining the highest professional musical standards. In 2017, Resonance Works presented the American premiere of Sir James MacMillan’s Gloria in coordination with his residency with the Pittsburgh Symphony, and next season will feature several Pittsburgh premieres by David Lang, Jake Heggie, and the first Pittsburgh performances of Dvořák’s Rusalka. www.resonanceworks.org
 
 

The American Prize in Opera Performance, 2017-18—college/university division

The American Prize winner:
Lawrence University
Copeland Woodruff
Appleton WI
The Beggar's Opera (Gay/Britten) 

Hydrogen Jukebox (Glass)
Lawrence University—The Beggar's Opera (Gay/Britten)

Lawrence University—Hydrogen Jukebox (Glass)
Lawrence University and Conservatory of Music is an all-undergraduate, liberal arts institution. The opera studies division is dedicated to training the young singing actor in all the elements for success: musical styles, acting, text/languages, and modern as well as traditional theatrical techniques. Recent productions have garnered national attention, because of their well-crafted and dedicated musical and dramatic performances. Offering performance opportunities as varied as improvised micro-operas, scenes programs, main stage operas, and re-imagined recital formats, LU is preparing the 21st-Century singing artist to meet the challenges of today’s market. Opera studies faculty: Copeland Woodruff and Andrew Crooks. Voice faculty: Kenneth Bozeman, Joanne Bozeman, Steven Paul Spears, Karen Leigh-Post, John Holiday, and John Gates.


2nd Place (there was a tie):
Arizona State University Lyric Opera Theatre
Brian DeMaris
Tempe AZ
H.M.S. Pinafore

Arizona State University Lyric Opera Theatre
ASU's Lyric Opera Theatre program is distinctive in that it combines training in both opera and musical theatre. Serving approximately 100 undergraduate and graduate opera and musical theatre majors from the ASU School of Music, and open to all students throughout the university, LOT is committed to preparing outstanding opera and musical theatre artists for professional careers in the 21st century. The program features formal collaborations and professional performance and study/cover opportunities with Arizona Opera and the Phoenix Theatre. The quality and scope of our program is demonstrated by our professionally active faculty, as well as the success of our alumni who are performing in major opera houses, on Broadway, television and film, in national touring companies, regional theaters, and teaching in university programs throughout the United States and the world.
 
 

2nd Place (there was a tie):
Bob Jones University
Darren P. Lawson
Greenville SC
C. Stanley Eby, conductor
Il Trovatore

Bob Jones University
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/

 

3rd Place:
The Crane School of Music, SUNY—Potsdam
Kirk A. Severtson
Potsdam NY
The Tender Land

The Crane School of Music, SUNY—Potsdam
The award-winning Crane Opera Ensemble is a significant source for opera and music theatre in the North Country region of New York State. The ensemble is unique as it integrates the College mission of teaching, scholarship and public service, into its fully staged production each semester. The Crane Opera Ensemble has won the American Prize in Opera Performance in 2011 and 2012, as well as numerous awards from National Opera Association’s Collegiate Production Competition. We are proud that over 5,000 North Country school children have experienced opera performances and post-performance activities through our outreach program, most for the very first time. The Crane Opera Ensemble is the host organization for the Domenic J. Pellicciotti Opera Composition Competition, which recently awarded Tom Cipullo a commission and production award for his forthcoming work Mayo, which will be premiered by the Crane Opera Ensemble in November 2018.  https://www.potsdam.edu/academics/Crane/opera
 
 

Finalist Honorable Mention:
Opera Theatre of Yale College
Emma Clarkson
New Haven CT
The Cunning Little Vixen

Opera Theatre of Yale College
Founded in 1992, the Opera Theatre of Yale College is Yale’s undergraduate opera company, dedicated to offering Yale’s student artists the chance to produce and perform opera. OTYC was led in the 2016-17 season by Artistic Director Elias Brown ’17 and Managing Director Emma Clarkson ’17. Our 25th anniversary season in 2016-17 included Kurt Weill’s Down in the Valley in the fall and Bach’s “Coffee Cantata,” performed in an original English translation in a local coffee shop. Learn more about OTYC at http://www.operatheatreofyalecollege.org/.


Finalist Honorable Mention:
University of NC at Greensboro
David Holley
Greensboro NC
Amahl and the Night Visitors

University of NC at Greensboro
The UNCG Opera Theatre, led by David Holley, is highly acclaimed and the recipient of a number of awards. Seven productions have won First Place in the National Opera Association Opera Production Competition since 1993, including Susannah, Little Women, Orpheus in the Underworld, The Consul, Dialogues of the Carmelites, Amahl and the Night Visitors, and Don Giovanni, and five production have placed Second: Galileo Galilei, L’Enfant et les sortilèges, La vida breve, Albert Herring and Gianni Schicchi.  Amahl and the Night Visitors also won Third Place.  Recent productions have been finalists in the American Prize Competition: Galileo Galilei (2015) and Dialogues of the Carmelites (2016). The UNCG Opera Theatre commissioned renowned American composer Libby Larsen to write an opera based on William Inge’s play, Picnic, with a libretto written by David Holley.  Picnic was premiered in April of 2009.  For more information, visit http://opera.uncg.edu.
 
 

Finalist Honorable Mention:
University of Wisconsin—Madison
David Ronis
Madison WI
Falstaff

University of Wisconsin—Madison
UW-Madison University Opera is a cultural service of the Mead Witter School of Music at the University of Wisconsin-Madison whose mission is to provide comprehensive operatic training and performance opportunities for students and operatic programming to the community.  Since 1992, we have presented an annual season of two fully staged operas, as well as evenings of opera scenes.  Three of our recent productions - Le nozze di Figaro, Albert Herring, and Transformations - won awards in the 2015 and 2016 National Opera Association Opera Production Competition.  Other productions have included Falstaff, The Magic Flute, The Turn of the Screw, Ariodante and Beatrice et Benedict.  Many alumni of the program are currently enjoying significant opera careers, performing at major houses in the U.S. and abroad. http://www.music.wisc.edu/opera/
 
 

Honorable Mention:  
University of South Dakota
Vermillion SD 

Tracelyn Gesteland
David Holdhusen, conductor
The Marriage of Figaro

University of South Dakota
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 2016 and 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 national convention in 2011.


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Congratulations!

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

WINNING CONDUCTORS: chorus, 2017-18


The American Prize is honored to announce the winners, runners-up and citation recipients of The American Prize in Conducting, Choral Division, 2017-18. Congratulations!

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.

QUICKNOTES: Although The American Prize does not usually provide written evaluations to semi-finalists, some semi-finalists will receive in their certificate packets short comments, suggestions or overall impressions made during the judging. We hope they will prove valuable. All finalists receive written evaluations from a member of The American Prize judging panel.

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


The American Prize in Conducting,  College/University Chorus Division, 2017-18

The American Prize winner:  
David Mann
Michigan State University Chamber Choir
East Lansing MI

David Mann
David Mann is currently studying for his master’s degree in Choral Conducting at Michigan State University with David Rayl, Jonathan Reed, and Sandra Snow. At MSU, David is the assistant director of the State Singers, Men’s Glee Club, and MSU Choral Union. In his first year at MSU, David has prepared choirs for performances of Handel’s Messiah, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, and Orff’s Carmina Burana. Since moving to East Lansing in August 2016, David has served as Choral Director at St. Thomas Aquinas Church.

David Mann holds a bachelor’s degree in Music Education from James Madison University where he studied conducting with Bryce Hayes, Jo-Anne van der Vat-Chromy, and Patrick Walders. Following his undergraduate degree, David taught for three years at Patriot High School in Nokesville, VA and conducted the adult choirs at Our Savior’s Way Lutheran Church.


2nd Place and Special Judges' Citation: 
"Outstanding Commitment to New Music"
Catherine Sailer
University of Denver Lamont Chorale
Denver CO

Catherine Sailer
Catherine Sailer is Director of Choral Studies at the University of Denver, conducts the Lamont Chorale, Lamont Women's Chorus, and the Evans Choir. She is also the Associate Conductor of the Colorado Ballet Orchestra. She was awarded the Robert Shaw Fellowship in 2005 and won first place at the ACDA Conducting Competition. Sailer has prepared many choruses, such as with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, Colorado Symphony Orchestra, and for the Aspen Music Festival.

She received her conducting doctorate with honors from Northwestern University and her bachelor and master's degrees from the University of Denver. Sailer is an active clinician for choir and orchestra and her collegiate ensembles have appeared at CMEA and Southwest ACDA divisional conferences. She is President of Colorado ACDA and was selected to represent the division on the International Choral Exchange Program to Shanghai, China.


3rd Place (there was a tie): 
Lynda R. Hasseler
Capital University Chapel Choir
Columbus OH

Lynda R. Hasseler
Lynda Hasseler, D.M.A. is Professor of Music, Director of Choral Activities, and acting Head of the Voice Area in the Conservatory of Music at Capital University in Columbus, Ohio, where she directs the Chapel Choir, Choral Union, and vocal chamber ensemble, Philomel; and teaches choral methods and conducting. Nurturing Capital University’s rich choral legacy, the choirs under her direction have received numerous invitations to perform for multiple music regional and national conferences and festivals, have been awarded gold medals in world choral competitions and have toured nationally and internationally. She is co-editor of the Capital University Choral Series published by Beckenhorst Press, and has served as a choral clinician and guest conductor, regionally, nationally and internationally. Also a singer, Dr. Hasseler has performed, toured and recorded nationally and internationally with professional choral ensembles including the Robert Shaw Festival Chorus and the Oregon Bach Festival Chorus.


3rd Place (there was a tie): 
Ingrid Lestrud
Holy Cross College Choir
Worcester MA 

Ingrid Lestrud
Dr. Ingrid Lestrud enjoys an active career as a conductor and educator. Equally at home with orchestras and choirs, she has recently served as the Director of Choirs for the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, MA. Other recent positions include Assistant Conductor to Symphony Nova in Boston, MA; Director of Orchestras at Hope College in Holland, MI; Director of Choirs and Voice Department Chair at the Merit School of Music in Chicago. Prior to her conducting studies, Dr. Lestrud earned a Bachelor’s degree in vocal performance from Lawrence University. She holds her formal conducting degrees from Southern Methodist University where she studied with Paul Phillips, and Northwestern University where she studied with Victor Yampolsky.
 


The American Prize in Conducting,  Community Chorus Division, 2017-18

The American Prize winner:  
Allan Laino
University of Maryland Summer Chorus and Festival Orchestra
College Park MD

Allan Laino
Allan Laino maintains an active career in the DC metro area as an educator, conductor, singer, and composer. He has prepared choral ensembles for Britten’s War Requiem with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and Marin Alsop, Broadway Standing Ovations! with the BSO Pops and Jack Everly, Holiday Pops concerts with National Symphony Orchestra Pops and Steve Reineke, the Piedmont Symphony Orchestra, and the Josh Groban Live National Tour. As Co-Conductor of the Sunday Night Singers in 2012, he earned First Prize at the World Choir Games in the Mixed Chamber Choir Champions Division. He currently serves as Director of the University Singers at the Benjamin T. Rome School of Music, Drama, and Art at The Catholic University of America, Director of Music and Liturgy at St. Michael Poplar Springs Roman Catholic Church, Associate Director of the Reston Chorale, and the College/University Resources & Repertoire Chair for ACDA's MD/DC Chapter. His new piece, The New Colossus for 8-part mixed choir dedicated to refugees and immigrants, was recently premiered by The Bridge Ensemble.


2nd Place:
Chris David Westover
Bethel College Philharmonia & Oratorio Chorus
North Newton KS

Chris David Westover
Chris David Westover, D.M.A., is Assistant Professor of Music and conducts the Wind Ensemble at Denison University. Previously, he led wind ensembles, orchestras, and operatic performances at Bethel College, University of Oklahoma, and SMU. He is in demand as a conductor, having led ensembles in the US and China. His research focuses on the sources of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony. Recently, he presented his research at Hong Kong Baptist University.

Dr. Westover commands a diverse repertoire including the core and contemporary repertoire of the orchestra and wind ensemble. An advocate for new music, he was a staff conductor for the TUTTI Festival and 4x4 Prizes and has commissioned and premiered many works. In 2010, Westover led the critically acclaimed Dallas premiere of Daniel Roumain’s “Darwin’s Meditation for the People of Lincoln” during the inaugural season of the Winspear Opera House. The Dallas Morning News said the performance “often shift[ed] between majesty and melancholy.”    


3rd Place (there was a tie):
Kevin Dibble
Chamber Singers of Iowa City
Iowa City IA

Kevin Dibble
Kevin Dibble is a Graduate Teaching Assistant in Choral Conducting, pursuing his Doctorate of Musical Arts in Choral Conducting and Pedagogy at the University of Iowa. In addition to his conducting at the University of Iowa, Kevin also teaches the undergraduate Choral Conducting and Literature course. Prior to his time at the University of Iowa, Kevin served on the music faculties at Houghton College, Ursinus College, and Cairn University.
 Recent professional engagements include various regional honor choirs, high school clinics, and conducting the National Sacred Honor Band. Kevin also serves the American Choral Directors Association as the Repertoire Reviews column editor for the Choral Journal.


3rd Place (there was a tie):
Emily Isaacson
Oratorio Chorale
Brunswick M

Emily Isaacson
Dr. Emily Isaacson is recognized for her captivating and commanding musicianship. Her performances have been heralded as “one of the most moving musical events of the decade” (Portland Press Herald), and “awesome in the most literal sense of the word” (Times Record). Considered a dynamic emerging leader, Isaacson is Artistic Director of the Oratorio Chorale, a symphonic chorus and professional orchestra in southern, Maine, and the Associate Artistic Director of the Portland Bach Festival, a professional festival celebrating the music of J.S. Bach and the culture of Portland, Maine.  Isaacson is known for forging a magnetic rapport with audience members, and creating inspiring musical experiences in both familiar and progressive formats that help listeners bridge the musical traditions of the past with the cultural gems of today.  Emily lives in Portland with her husband, three-year old daughter and one-year old son. www.eisaacson.com


The American Prize in Conducting,  High School Chorus Division, 2017-18

The American Prize winner:  
Andrew Dibble
Indian Springs School Concert Choir
Pelham AL

Andrew Dibble
Conductor Andrew Dibble currently serves as the Director of Choral Music at Indian Springs School in Birmingham, AL. At Springs, Andrew leads four choral ensembles, and conducts a yearly Concert Choir tour and biannual international tour with the Chamber Choir.

Prior to moving to Birmingham, Andrew conducted numerous choral ensembles in the Baltimore-D.C. area as the director of the Maryland Chamber Artists, the Assistant Conductor for the Maryland Choral Society, and the choir director at the Community College of Baltimore County.

In 2015 Andrew was selected as one of six to work with Dr. Andrew Megill at the Montreal Choral Institute and in 2017 was selected as one of twelve conductors to study with grammy award winning artists Craig Hella Johnson at his Choral Conducting Symposium..

Andrew holds a masters degree in Choral Conducting from Houghton College and lives in Indian Springs, Alabama with his wife, Amy.


2nd Place:
Jacob Cook
Youth Performing Arts School Chamber Choir
Louisville KY

Jacob Cook
Jacob Cook is the Director of Vocal Music Studies at the Youth Performing Arts School where he conducts choral ensembles, teaches vocal development, and teaches electives in pedagogy and opera. His ensembles have participated in the American Choral Director’s Association Southern Division Conference, the Kentucky Music Educators Association conference, and the Intercollegiate Men’s Choruses National Conference. Mr. Cook serves in leadership roles as the Music Department Chair for the Youth Performing Arts School and the Youth Coordinator for the Kentucky Chapter of the American Choral Director’s Association. He is a graduate of East Tennessee State University with a Bachelor’s of Music and holds a Master’s of Music from the University of Kentucky.



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Congratulations!