Tuesday, July 24, 2018

WINNING CONDUCTORS: orchestra divisions, 2017-18


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

The American Prize winner:
Dean Whiteside
New World Symphony
Miami Beach FL

Dean Whiteside
Dean Whiteside, a native of New York City, trained at the famed University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna, where he graduated with distinction. He is currently the Conducting Fellow and assistant to Michael Tilson Thomas at the New World Symphony.

Mr. Whiteside is founder and director of the Nashville Sinfonietta, hailed by John Pitcher of NPR as “a virtuoso band.” His performances have been hailed as “innovative” by The Tennessean and “deeply meditative and satisfyingly original” by ArtsNash.

Mr. Whiteside was mentored by Lorin Maazel at the Castleton Festival. He received 2nd Prize in the 2015 International Matačić Conducting Competition as well as the 2017 Mahler Conducting Fellowship (Colorado MahlerFest) and the 2015 David Effron Conducting Fellowship (Chautauqua Institution Music Festival). He has led orchestras including the Danish National Symphony, Juilliard Orchestra, Orlando Philharmonic, Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich, Vienna Chamber Orchestra, and Zagreb Philharmonic. He led the Vanderbilt Orchestra on a five-city tour of China.

2nd Place:
Paul Mauffray
Hradec Kralove Philharmonic
Hradec Kralove Czech Republic

Paul Mauffray
Paul Mauffray is currently reconstructing and conducting the 1894 opera "Tabasco" by George W. Chadwick. He has conducted performances of “Rusalka” at the Mariinsky Theatre in Russia and recorded excerpts from the opera “The Scarlet Letter” with the Brno Philharmonic.  He has conducted at the Bucharest National Opera, Slovak National Opera, Schleswig-Holstein Landestheater, Opéra Louisiane, and Mobile Opera.  He won 2nd Prize in the Bartok Opera 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 has been a frequent guest conductor with the Hradec Kralove Philharmonic, Janacek Philharmonic, Bohuslav Martinu Philharmonic, Schoenbrunn Palace Orchestra in Vienna, and has often performed as conductor with soloists from the Vienna Philharmonic.
www.paulmauffray.com


3rd Place:
Chris Younghoon Kim
Ensemble X
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.



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

The American Prize winner:
Mathias Elmer
University of Memphis Symphony
Memphis TN

Mathias Elmer
Dr. Mathias Elmer (Switzerland) served as Visiting Assistant Professor and Director of Orchestral Activities at the University of Memphis—Rudi E. Scheidt School of Music for the academic year 2017-18. In Zurich, he undertook his undergraduate studies in trumpet performance with Prof. Claude Rippas between 2000 and 2004. He continued his studies in orchestral conducting and graduated in 2007 from Zurich University of the Arts with two certificates in advanced studies. In 2011, he received his master’s degree in orchestra and opera conducting at the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts—School of Music under Maestro Ralf Weikert. Elmer was Music Director of the orchestra con brio, a post he held for eight years. Elmer is sought after throughout Switzerland as a wind band festival adjudicator. Since 2009 he has been teaching for the Zurich Music Association as part of the conducting faculty. In 2017, he completed his DMA degree in orchestral conducting at the University of Memphis under Maestro Pu-Qi Jiang. Further studies in Conducting have led him to Michael Stern (USA), Karl-Anton Rickenbacher (CH), and Mark Ensley (USA), amongst others. In May 2015, Elmer followed invitations to teach masterclasses based on Max Rudolf’s “The Grammar of Conducting” at Sichuan Conservatory of Music in China together with Dr. Pu-Qi Jiang and Dr. Kevin Sütterlin. In the fall season 2016 Elmer was appointed Acting Music Director of the opera orchestra and gave his debut with the production of Johan Strauss’s operetta, Die Fledermaus. Besides his duties as Assistant Conductor for the University of Memphis Symphony Orchestra, and has also been Associate Conductor of the GPAC Youth Symphony in Germantown, Tennessee from 2014-16. Together with his colleague Kevin Sütterlin, Mathias Elmer is Co-Music Director and founder of Sinfonietta Memphis, a Tennessee-based chamber orchestra mainly focusing on the historically informed performance of Viennese Classical composers in innovative and non-traditional settings. He was just recently invited as Guest Artist-in-Residence at the Concordia College in Moorhead Minnesota to work with the Concordia Orchestra on Haydn’s Symphony No. 104 “London,” held a conducting masterclass and a lecture on “The History of Conducting and Ensemble Direction before 1800: Informed Performance Practice."

2nd Place:
Chad Hutchinson
University Symphony Orchestra of Minnesota
Minneapolis MN

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).



3rd Place & Special Judges' Citation: Exceptional Improvement in Ensemble Performance
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.


Finalist: Special Judges' Citation: Artistic Success in Exceptional Repertoire
James A. Holleman
Hillsdale College Symphony Orchestra
Hillsdale MI

James A. Holleman
James A. Holleman is Music Department Chairman and Music Director of Orchestras and Choirs for the John E.N. & Dede Howard Department of Music at Hillsdale College. Professor Holleman is a graduate of Michigan State University: B.M., French Horn Performance (1986); M.M., Orchestral Conducting (1989). After graduate school he studied at the Conductors’ Institute, Columbia, SC (1989), the Oregon Bach Festival Eugene, OR (1993, 1994), and at numerous workshops with the American Symphony Orchestra League and The Conductors Guild. Prior to his appointment at Hillsdale College, he was the Assistant Conductor of the Jackson Symphony Orchestra, Music Director of the Jackson Youth Symphony Orchestra, and Music Director of the Jackson Chorale (MI). He is an active member of both ACDA and CODA. He currently serves on the CODA executive committee of the National Board of Directors as the National Chair of Membership.



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

The American Prize winner:
Anna Edwards
Seattle Collaborative Orchestra
Seattle WA

Anna Edwards
Anna Edwards, conductor, founder and music director of the Seattle Collaborative Orchestra, holds many positions as an artist/teacher in the Seattle area. After performing as a professional violinist and music educator for over 25 years, Anna shifted her focus from instrumentalist to conductor, training with Michael Jinbo at the renowned Pierre Monteux School for three seasons, and receiving a Doctor of Musical Arts Degree in Orchestral Conducting from the University of Washington. She currently balances her time between conducting in the Pacific Northwest, serving as a guest conductor/clinician across the country, and developing young musicians through instruction and collaboration with professionals in concert settings. 

As music director of the Seattle Collaborative Orchestra (SCO), Anna's enthusiasm for promoting talented youth, creating community engagement, and nurturing musicality have been described as “… a win, win, win venture on so many levels…(Dave Beck, KING FM). As an enthusiastic advocate of women composers and composers from the Pacific Northwest, Edwards has commissioned and premiered numerous works, including major compositions by Victoria Bond, Tim Huling, Angelique Poteat, Sarah Bassingthwaighte, Brendan McMullen, and Andy Clausen.

 

2nd Place:
Reuben Blundell
Chelsea Symphony / Lansdowne Symphony Orchestra
New York NY / 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 & Special Judges' Citation: 
Career Encouragement Citation
Chris David Westover 
Bethel College Philharmonia Orchestra
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.”   



The American Prize in Conducting,  Youth Orchestra Division, 2017-18

The American Prize winner:
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. (www.MichaelWebsterClarinet.com)


2nd Place:
Brad Smith
The HS for the Performing and Visual Arts
Houston TX

Brad Smith
Brad Smith teaches at The High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Houston, where he coordinates all aspects of the string program, coaches chamber ensembles and teaches conducting. Dr. Smith also serves as a conductor on the Artistic Staff of the Houston Youth Symphony. Before coming to Houston, he and his family lived in Philadelphia where he taught at the University of Pennsylvania. For nine of the eleven years that he lived in Philadelphia, Dr. Smith was the Music Director of the Delaware County Youth Orchestra (dcyo.org) in the Philadelphia suburbs.

Brad Smith holds Master of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees in Conducting from the University of Texas at Austin. Dr. Smith’s formal music study began at Stephen F. Austin State University with a Bachelor of Music. When not immersed in music, he enjoys spending time with his beautiful wife Becki and two girls.


3rd Place:
Ryan Murray
Modesto Symphony Youth Orchestra
Modesto CA

Ryan Murray
The newly appointed Artistic Director of Townsend Opera, 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 is the 2016/17 winner of the American Prize in Opera/Theater Conducting (Professional Division), a past 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 attended the Aurora Conducting Seminar with Kurt Masur, as well as the Lucerne Festival Academy Conducting Masterclass. Ryan is currently 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. As part of a unique artistic partnership, Ryan has served as the Music Director of Fresno Grand Opera's main stage productions of contemporary American operatic works for the past two seasons. Ryan also previously served as a conductor for BASOTI, and the Opera Academy of California. Visit www.ryanjmurray.com for news and upcoming engagements.


Finalist Special Judges' Citation: 
Exceptional String Educator 
Ulli Reiner
California Music Educators Association Honor Orchestra
San Diego CA

Ulli Reiner
ULLI REINER, a Grammy Education Finalist for 2017 and a four time Grammy nominee is the epitome of music.  Music is her life as an educator, conductor and violinist. She is the Orchestra Director for the Poway Unified School District since 1983 located in San Diego, California. Ms. Reiner is an adjunct faculty member of Palomar College, Concertmaster of the Palomar College Symphony Orchestra, founder, Orchestra Manager and Concertmaster of the PUSD Adult School Poway Community Symphony Orchestra and Artistic Director of the PUSD Adult School Poway Community Symphonette.  Ms. Reiner is also Artistic Director and co-founder of the Youth Philharmonic Orchestra of San Diego-Intermediate Symphony, Suzuki School and formerly conductor and co-founder of the Civic Youth Orchestra-Intermediate String Orchestra and Chamber String ensembles.  She was the founder and Orchestra Director of the Poway High School Symphony and has taught orchestra at Mt. Carmel High School, Black Mountain Middle School, Mesa Verde Middle School, and Meadowbrook Middle School.  She is currently the Orchestra Director at Bernardo Heights Middle School, Twin Peaks Middle School, and also is the instructor for the Music Appreciation classes offered to non-music students.

A graduate of the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory of Music, as a full scholarship recipient, she received a Bachelor of Music Education degree with emphasis in violin and viola performance and went on to graduate study at San Diego State University as first violinist with the Graduate String Quartet in residence, the University of Southern California, and the University of San Diego, having worked towards three masters degrees in music education, Suzuki violin and violin performance. She is a direct descendant of the great conductor, Fritz Reiner.


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

The American Prize winner:
Michael Isadore
Dulles HS Honors Orchestra
Sugar Land TX

Michael Isadore
Michael Isadore has been the Director of Orchestras at Dulles High School since 1999.  He also serves as Associate Conductor of the Houston Civic Symphony and the Philharmonia Conductor with the Houston Youth Symphony. Under his direction, the Dulles High School orchestra symphony and string orchestras have been consistent “commended winners” in the Mark of Excellence competition and recognized as the 2012 National Winner. Other honors include performances at the Midwest Clinic in 2016 and 2004 and runner up for TMEA Honor Orchestra in 2005. In 2010 Mr. Isadore was recognized with the Spec’s Charitable Foundation Award for Excellence in Music Education presented by the Houston Symphony. Mr. Isadore received his BME degree from Baylor University and Master’s degrees in clarinet performance and conducting from the University of Missouri—Kansas City, Conservatory of Music.


2nd Place:
Katharine Hafner
'Iolani Orchestra
Honolulu HI

Katharine Hafner
Katharine Hafner is a graduate of the Eastman School of Music and Indiana University.  Before moving to Hawai‘i in 1980 to join the Hawaii Symphony Orchestra, she taught in the Eastman Preparatory Department and Music Center of the North Shore (Chicago) and built an award-winning high school orchestra in Williamsville, New York.
 Now in her twelfth year as orchestra director at ‘Iolani School, she is committed to the growth of the entire orchestra program.  Her student orchestras have won six national awards and competitions in the past seven years. 
 
While continuing to play professionally in the first violin section of the Hawaii Symphony, she maintains a full studio of private students.  She has been the Director of the Hawai‘i Suzuki Institute since 1986, President of the Hawai‘i Chapter of the American String Teachers Association, and a Board Member of the Hawai‘i Music Teachers Association.




*** 
Congratulations!

No comments:

Post a Comment