Thursday, May 2, 2019

WINNERS: The American Prize in Chamber Music Performance, 2018-19


The American Prize National Nonprofit Competitions in the Performing Arts, David (Volosin) Katz, founder and chief judge,is honored to announce the winners, runners-up, citation recipients and honorable mentions of The American Prize in Chamber Music Performance, 2018-19, in professional, college/university and high school divisions. 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.


REMINDER: Because of many requests from artists with late spring and early summer performances, The American Prize 2019-20 will accept applications from CLASSICAL VOCALISTS, PIANISTS, CHAMBER ENSEMBLES and INSTRUMENTAL SOLOISTS postmarked or emailed by the new extended deadline date of Monday, July 1, 2019. Applications from COMPOSERS, CONDUCTORS, STAGE DIRECTORS, CONDUCTED ENSEMBLES, ARTS MARKETERS and in the performance of American Music (BACON AWARD) will be accepted until Monday, August 5, 2019. (Please note that although the dates on the application forms may not be changed, rest assured that your materials will be accepted if sent by the new deadline dates in the respective contest areas.)

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

The American Prize 
in Chamber Music Performance, 2018-19
(professional division)

The American Prize winner: 
Seraph Brass
Naples FL

Seraph Brass
Seraph Brass is a dynamic brass ensemble drawing from a roster of America's top female brass players. Winner of a Silver Medal Global Music Award, Seraph Brass released its debut album, Asteria, on Summit Records. Seraph Brass will begin their first residency at the Walton Art Center’s Artosphere Festival in June 2019 alongside the Dover Quartet in the festival orchestra.

Seraph has toured throughout the U.S., Mexico, and Europe. Seraph has performed multiple concerts at the Lieksa Brass Week in Finland, and it was the featured ensemble at the International Women’s Brass Conference. Other performance highlights include the Forum Cultural Guanajuato in León, Mexico, Dame Myra Hess Concerts in Chicago (IL), Gettysburg Concert Association (PA), and the Norton Museum of Art in West Palm Beach (FL). Seraph has toured extensively as Allied Concert Services artists. Members of Seraph have performed with Adele on her 2016 U.S. tour.

Seraph has commissioned works by Catherine McMichael and Rene Orth, featured on Asteria. Seraph has also premiered Lucy Pankhurst’s Ouroboros with euphonium soloist Hélène Escriva at the International Women’s Brass Conference, and has many original arrangements by trumpeter Jeff Luke, featured on their two albums. http://www.seraphbrass.com/
 

2nd Place (there was a tie):
Ensemble for These Times
Berkley CA

Ensemble for These Times
Ensemble for These Times (E4TT) consists of award-winning soprano Nanette McGuinness, Van Cliburn competitor pianist Dale Tsang, cellist Anne Lerner-Wright, and 2015 American Prize in Composition winner David Garner. E4TT focuses on 20th and 21st century music that is relevant, engaging, original and compelling—music that resonates with today and speaks to tomorrow, that harnesses the power of artistic beauty, intelligence, wit, lyricism, and irony to create a deep understanding of our times and the human condition. The group performed at the Conservatorio Teresa Berganza in Madrid in 2017, the 2016 Krakow Culture Festival, was sponsored by the U.S. Embassy in Budapest in 2014 for a tour in Hungary,  made its international debut in Berlin, and has commissioned over 20 works, A fiscally-sponsored affiliate of InterMusicSF since 2011, E4TT has released two award-winning recordings on the Centaur label: The Hungarians: from Rózsa to Justus and Surviving: Women’s Words. E4TT.org


2nd Place (there was a tie):
Sheridan Solisti
Highland Park IL  

Sheridan Solisti
Steinway Artist Susan Merdinger, who Fanfare Magazine has hailed for her “magic touch” and for keeping audiences “spellbound from first note to last”, recently performed at the Logan Center for the Arts on the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Chamber Music Series in her sixth engagement on the CSO series. Merdinger has graced the New York stages of Carnegie and Merkin, as well as many of the finest venues of Europe, Canada and Mexico, performing with orchestras such as The Chicago Philharmonic and the Symphony Orchestra of the State of Mexico.

Michaela Paetsch’s playing has been described as “gloriously charged…beguilingly velvety” (The Strad).  Her captivating artistry is celebrated for the soaring vitality and the personal commitment she shows her audiences.  Michaela garnered international attention and numerous awards, including first prize in the G.B. Dealey International Competition, a bronze medal in the Queen Elisabeth International Competition, and the prize for the Russian Composition by Juri Falik at the International Tchaikovsky Competition.

Steven Honigberg is a graduate of the Juilliard School of Music where he studied with Leonard Rose and Channing Robbins.  Hired under the leadership of Mstislav Rostropovich, he is currently a member of the National Symphony Orchestra.   Mr. Honigberg has given recent recitals in Washington, DC on the Dumbarton Concert Series, at the Phillips Collection, at the National Gallery of Art, and recitals in New York and throughout the United States. In Chicago (his home town) he has appeared on radio WFMT, at the Ravinia Festival, and as soloist with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Ars Viva Orchestra, Lake Forest Symphony and New Philharmonic Orchestra among others.

Charles Pikler joined the Chicago Symphony Orchestra as a first violinist  and, in 1986, he was named principal violist. Upon his retirement in October 2017, he received the Theodore Thomas Medallion for Distinguished Service. Pikler studied the piano with his parents and violin with Ben Ornstein, Bronislaw Gimpel at the University of Connecticut and Roman Totenberg at the Tanglewood Young Artist Program at the Berkshire Music Center. He launched his musical career as a violinist with the Minnesota Orchestra in 1971, later becoming a member of the Cleveland Orchestra (1974 to 1976) and the Rotterdam Philharmonic (1976 to 1978). In 1978, at the invitation of Sir Georg Solti, Mr. Pikler became a member of the first violin section of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Following the retirement of the longtime principal violist Milton Preves, Pikler was named his successor in 1986, as the Prince Charitable Trust Chair, eventually becoming the Paul Hindemith Principal Viola Endowed Chair.


3rd Place and Special Judges' Citation:
"Excellence in the Performance of Music of 
Roberto Sierra"
The Sierra Duo
Saline MI 

The Sierra Duo
The Sierra Duo (John Haines-Eitzen, cello, and Matthew Bengtson, piano) formed in 2015 through a multi-year project to record all of composer Roberto Sierra’s works for cello and piano for Albany Records.  With roots in Philadelphia where Haines-Eitzen was a member of The Philadelphia Orchestra and Bengtson taught at Haverford and the University of Pennsylvania, their shared musical values and passion are apparent in their interpretations of Sierra's music, in classics by Beethoven, Chopin, and Brahms, in contemporary music, and in the works of lesser-known composers such as Arthur Foote, whose music they have featured in recent concerts.  Currently, Haines-Eitzen is a Senior Lecturer and Artist in Residence at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, and Bengtson resides in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where he is Assistant Professor of Piano Literature at the University of Michigan’s School of Music, Theatre & Dance.


Finalist Honorable Mention:
EStrella Piano Duo
Northbrook IL      

EStrella Piano Duo
The EStrella Piano Duo burst onto the musical scene in 2011 with a series of concerts celebrating the great Russian masterpieces for piano duet.  Their first performance evoked raves of “technical brilliance” and “infectious joy in music making”. The second drew a standing-room-only crowd.  Since then, they have performed widely to enthusiastic audiences and critical acclaim.  The 2015-16 concert season alone took the Duo to 6 states plus the District of Columbia in the US and to several cities in China. 2017 featured both a Canadian and an orchestral debut.  In 2018 the duo was awarded a Global Music Award Silver medal for their new CD, Tales from the East, featuring stories of adventure, magic and romance by Russian composers. EStrellas's upcoming year will again take the Duo all over the United States, with numerous repeat engagements.

The Duo's repertoire includes, besides the usual favorites, many rarely-heard, fascinating works that most duos fear to touch.  Their programs are always musically profound, but also virtuostic, often acrobatic, and occasionally humorous, always with introductions which draw the listeners into the music. 


Finalist Honorable Mention:
District5
Takoma Park MD

District5
District5 is a daring Washington DC-based wind quintet that specializes in new music and new transcriptions. They are recipients of a 2016 Chamber Music America Classical Commissioning Grant with Cypriot composer Evis Sammoutis. District5 has recently performed at the U.S. Department of State, Library of Congress, Barns at Wolf Trap, Kosciusko Foundation, Chesapeake Chamber Music Festival, and Washington Arts Club. They gave the U.S. premiere of Karlheinz Stockhausen's ROTARY Woodwind Quintet in 2014 and the world premiere of Evis Sammoutis's J.II.9 fragments in 2018. They recently recorded their debut album: the complete Chopin preludes transcribed by David Plylar. Upcoming projects include the launch of a new contemporary chamber music series in the DC Metro area.  www.district5quintet.org


Finalist Honorable Mention & Special Judges' Citation:
"Excellence in Ancient & Modern Music"
duoSeraphim
Brooklyn NY  

duoSeraphim
Soprano Sarah Hawkey and viola da gambist Niccolo Seligmann are duoSeraphim, an ensemble bringing new perspectives to old repertoire, performing rarely heard music with intimacy and verve, and approaching historical performance with masterful ease and delightful enthusiasm.

They are taking a fresh look at baroque repertoire, touring the US with their programs of music centered on the songs of Moulinié, as well as their program of Italian songs exploring the mastery of Monteverdi, Strozzi, and the predecessors to their monody.  In their newest program, they follow this thread, diving deep into Strozzi’s magnificent oeuvre.

duoSeraphim is devoted to championing new works for gamba and voice.  During their recent new music residency at Avaloch Farm Music Institute, they began workshopping Matriarch, a song cycle for gamba and voice, with their composer-in-residence Abraham Z. Morrison.

The 2018-2019 season marks the release of their first album, featuring the duo's core baroque repertoire, as well as premieres by contemporary composers.  Please visit duoseraphim.org to learn more.    


Finalist Honorable Mention:
Ensemble 365  
Bayside NY  

Ensemble 365  
Ensemble 365 (Sara Paar and Mary Hubbell, sopranos / Alice Jones, flute / Karen Rostron, violin / Marta Bedkowska-Reilly, cello / Mirna Lekic, piano) was founded in 2012 at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. Its members, who met as doctoral students at their alma mater, perform regularly in concert halls and festivals in the US and abroad. Collectively they have, as individuals and as collaborators, commissioned, premiered, and recorded over 150 new works by living composers. The ensemble presents themed concerts, combining both new and standard chamber and solo repertoire.


Finalist Honorable Mention:
Mackenzie-Williams Duo
Tallahassee FL 

Mackenzie-Williams Duo
The Mackenzie-Williams Duo celebrates its forthcoming Albany Records release, VOCALISMS, a 2-disc album of premieres by Daniel Crozier, John Harbison, James Primosch and Ned Rorem.  A passionate performer of contemporary vocal music, soprano Mary Mackenzie works closely with composers to develop and premiere new works for voice. Notable solo appearances include the premiere of James Primosch’s A Sibyl with Collage New Music; Reinbert De Leeuw’s Im wunderschönen Monat Mai at the Bravo Vail Festival, and with The Knights at the Smithsonian; John Harbison’s Closer to My Own Life with the Albany Symphony; and Héctor Parra’s Hypermusic: Ascension at the Guggenheim Museum.  Praised by New York critic Harris Goldsmith for her ‘impeccable soloistic authority’ and ‘dazzling performances’, pianist Heidi Louise Williams has appeared in solo and collaborative performances across the United States and internationally, and has recorded solo, concerto and chamber music on the Naxos, Albany and Neos labels.  http://marymacksoprano.com/          https://www.heidilouisewilliams.com/

 

The American Prize 
in Chamber Music Performance, 2018-19
(college/university division)

The American Prize winner:
Koinonia Trio
Ann Arbor MI  

Koinonia Trio
The Koinonia Trio was formed in Ann Arbor in September 2015. Their mission is closely related to their trio name, “Koinonia,” a transliterated form of a Greek word, which means “communion, joint participation.’ Since its formation, the trio has won 1st Prizes at the 2017 Briggs Chamber Music and the East Central MTNA Chamber Music competitions, and was awarded the University of Michigan Performing Arts EXCELerator Grant Fellowship as well as a $10,000 grant from the Binkow Endowment for Chamber Music. In the past year, Koinonia has performed in New York City, Florida, across the Midwest, toured Europe, and was an ensemble in residence at the Innsbrook Institute and the Anchorage Chamber Music Festival. In addition to performing, the trio has given masterclasses at the University of Minnesota Duluth School of Music and has engaged in the Ann Arbor community by giving outreach concerts and workshops at retirement homes and schools.


2nd Place:
Aruna Quartet
Lubbock TX

Aruna Quartet
The Aruna Quartet formed at Texas Tech University in the Fall of 2015. Since then, the quartet has performed concerts at South Plains College, Eastern New Mexico University, West Texas A&M University, and the University of Illinois. Aruna was selected twice as the alternate at MTNA State Competition, and as the 2017 winner. At the 2016 NASA Biennial Conference, the quartet competed in the semifinals of the NASA quartet competition. The quartet also was selected to perform at the 2017 NASA regional conference. In 2018, Aruna advanced to the finals of the Coltman Chamber Competition. Aruna competed in the quarterfinals of the 2017 Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition and advanced to the semifinals of the 2018 competition. The current members in Aruna are William Pyle on soprano, Tony Guzman on alto, Ryan Hill, on tenor, and Andrew Schoen on baritone. The Quartet is under the instruction of professor David Dees.
  

3rd Place:  
Estampe Trio
Savoy IL  

Estampe Trio
The Estampe Trio is a rising chamber group in Midwest area. Formed in the Fall of 2016 by Yeonwoo Seo (cellist), Eunjeong Choi (violin), and Mickey Chien (piano) in University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana, The Estampe Trio has been playing series of recitals in Peoria, Carbondale, and Champaign, IL since 2016. The original idea of the piano trio “Estampe” was to enhance the knowledge of chamber music literature. In 2016-2017, they reached a variety of audiences throughout different venues across the state. The Estampe Trio combines traditional chamber music repertoire along with some newly composed literature. 


Finalist Honorable Mention:
Zelos Quartet
San Jose CA 

Zelos Quartet
Members:
Julian Salazar, Soprano
Johnny Selmer, Alto
Robin Lacey, Tenor
David Cortez, Baritone

The Zēlos Quartet is dedicated to performing a wide array of repertoire ranging from underrepresented contemporary works to transcriptions from the baroque, classical, and romantic eras. Committed to performing on saxophones that fit the acoustical specifications of its inventor Adolphe Sax, the Zēlos Quartet looks to connect with a variety of audiences to show the wide range of sounds and colors of the saxophone.



The American Prize 
in Chamber Music Performance, 2018-19
(high school division)

The American Prize winner:
The Brahms Piano Quintet
New York NY     

The Brahms Piano Quintet
Jane Bua (piano), Coco Mi (violin), Ari Boutris (violin), Daniel Rafimayeri (viola) and Alexander Rohatyn (cello) met at Manhattan School of Music’s PreCollege Division and formed a quintet the fall of 2017. Described as possessing a “Beautiful range of colors, expressiveness, balance and maturity”, these dedicated and dynamic young musicians have received national and international recognition for solo, ensemble and orchestral work and have performed at concert venues in Austria, Belgium, Canada, Estonia, France, Israel, Poland, Spain, Switzerland, the UK and New York City, including Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall, Weill Recital Hall, Merkin Hall, The Metropolitan Museum of Art's Great Hall and the United Palace Theatre.

Winners of Manhattan School of Music’s 2018 Chamber Music Competition, the members have enjoyed featured appearances with The Chamber Music Society at Lincoln Center, National Public Radio’s “From the Top”, Aspen Music Festival, Decoda, Heifetz Music Festival, The New York Concerti Sinfonietta, New York Youth Symphony and The York Symphony Orchestra, among others.

Additionally, their performances have been broadcast on WQXR's McGraw-Hill Young Artist's Showcase hosted by Robert Sherman who referred to the musicians as "Remarkable teenagers, already artists capable of fashioning a dramatically mature account of the Brahms Piano Quintet".


2nd Place (there was a tie):
Trio Cantare
Santa Clara CA

Trio Cantare
Trio Cantare, formed under the auspices of Young Chamber Musicians program (http://youngchambermusicians.org), consists of three dedicated classical musicians from the Bay Area: Kevin Yang (piano), Aaron Hsia (violin), and Abigail Leong (cello). A winner of the 2018 Galante Chamber Music Competition in the Yehudi Menuhin Seminar and Festival for Chamber Music, Trio Cantare takes pride in making exquisite music, philanthropy through benefit concerts, and community service via public performances. The members have debuted at Carnegie Hall, and have performed regularly at Davies Symphony Hall. Celebrated for their solo, chamber, and symphonic renditions, they have collectively performed in notable venues at Aspen, Colorado, Westport, New York, and Lenox, Massachusetts.


2nd Place (there was a tie):
Firefly Quartet
Ridgewood NJ

Firefly Quartet
The Firefly Quartet, founded in 2015 as a part of the New York Youth Symphony Chamber Music Program, has explored a wide variety of string quartet repertoire, with pieces ranging from Debussy and Mendelssohn to Schulhoff and Britten. Coached by Adam Meyer, Associate Dean and Director of the Juilliard School, the Firefly Quartet has performed twice in Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall. In 2017, the Firefly Quartet received the New York Youth Symphony Director’s Award. Most recently, the members of the Firefly Quartet—high school students Abigail Nishiwaki, Jack Shigeta, Brian Isaacs, and Francis Fedora—have delved into the works of Bartok and Haydn. In addition to performing, the Firefly Quartet takes part in various outreach programs in New York City to inspire young children through chamber music. In their spare time, members of the quartet enjoy swimming, running, and composing.


3rd Place:  
Quantum Quartet
Carrollton TX    

Quantum Quartet
Formed in the summer of 2016 in Carrollton, Texas, the Quantum Quartet consists of Bruce Moe, Ekdev Rajkitkul, Austin Dreyer, and Peyton Joffre. Members of the group have received many honors, including first prize in the 4th Edition of the ENKOR International Music Chamber Music Competition, selection to participate in the 2016 North American Saxophone Alliance High School Saxophone Ensemble, various top finishes in the Houston Underground Saxophone Competition (Junior Division and High School Division), Texas All-State Band placement, and more. Quantum Quartet are members of the award winning Hebron High School Band.



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Congratulations!

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