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!

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