Saturday, August 31, 2019

WINNERS: Bacon Award (American Music Performance), solo division, 2018-19

Ernst Bacon as a young man
The American Prize National Nonprofit Competitions in the Performing Arts, David (Volosin) Katz, founder and chief judge, is pleased to announce winners, runners-up and honorable mentions of the ERNST BACON MEMORIAL AWARD for the PERFORMANCE of AMERICAN MUSIC, 2018-19, in the solo division. Congratulations! (An announcement in the ensemble division will be made separately.)

Among the many contests of The American Prize, the Ernst Bacon Memorial Award for the Performance of American Music is unique. It recognizes and rewards the best performances of American music by ensembles and individual artists worldwide, based on submitted recordings. Applications are accepted from professional, college/university, community and high school age solo artists, chamber ensembles or conducted ensembles, competing in separate divisions, and from composers with excellent recordings of their works. Beginning in 2017-18, categories were expanded to encompass performances of American music in practically any instrumentation or genre, with very few repertoire restrictions.

Focused exclusively on works by American composers from any period and in any style, the contest not only judges performances, but in the case of new or unfamiliar works, the music itself.

Ernst Bacon (1898—1990) was one of that pioneering generation of composers who, along with Thomson, Copland, Harris, and others, found a voice for American music. Winner of a Pulitzer Scholarship (for his Symphony in D minor) and no fewer than three Guggenheim Fellowships, Ernst Bacon set out to create compositions that expressed the vitality and affirmative spirit of our country. It is fitting, and with honor, that The American Prize creates an annual award in the memory of Ernst Bacon, recognizing the finest performances of American orchestral music worldwide. To learn more about the music & legacy of Ernst Bacon, please visit the website of the Ernst Bacon Society.


The American Prize ERNST BACON MEMORIAL AWARD for the PERFORMANCE of AMERICAN MUSIC, PROFESSIONAL division, soloists or composers, 2018-19

The American Prize winner:
Reed Tetzloff, pianist
Minneapolis MN
Ives—Piano Sonata #2 (Concord)
Griffes—Pleasure Dome of Kubla Khan / Sonata
Rzewski—Winnsboro Cotton Mill Blues

Reed Tetzloff, pianist
The American pianist Reed Tetzloff has distinguished himself as one of the brightest stars of a new generation of musicians.  He enthralls audiences with his “magical tone” (The Cincinnati Enquirer) and “ebullient” virtuosity (Gramophone).  

He made his New York debut at Alice Tully Hall in 2012, and now showcases his gifts in concert across three continents.

At the 2015 International Tchaikovsky Competition , Reed Tetzloff’s career received a major boost after being named one of twelve semifinalists.  His performances were praised in Russian media, which dubbed him “the lyric hero of the competition” and noted by music connoisseurs worldwide.  

He won prizes from other international competitions, including the Beijing International Music Festival and Academy, Cincinnati World Piano Competition, and the Cleveland and Tbilisi International Piano Competitions.  At Mannes College, where he earned his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees, he won the two largest awards available to pianists: the Concerto Competition (as a freshman) and the Nadia Reisenberg Competition (as a sophomore).  He was awarded a career grant in 2018 from Salon de Virtuosi.

 His debut solo album, “Sounds of Transcendence,” was released in 2017 to wide acclaim. Reviewing the album, Patrick Rucker of Gramophone praised his version of the Griffes Sonata as “ranking easily with the recordings of Garrick Ohlsson and Stephen Beus as the finest available,” in addition to extolling his “refined touch,” “rhetorical aptness,” and “fervent rapture” in music of Franck and Scriabin.  Marc Rochester, reviewing the album for MusicWeb International, also lauded his “performance of immense individuality and conviction.”


2nd Place (there was a tie):
Chris Gekker, trumpet
University of Maryland
College Park MD
Ghost Dialogues

Chris Gekker, trumpet
Chris Gekker is Professor of Trumpet at the University of Maryland School of Music. Previously a member of the American Brass Quintet for eighteen years, he served on the faculties of the Juilliard School, Manhattan School of Music, and Columbia University. He has been involved with composers his whole career, premiering and recording many new works for trumpet solo as well as chamber music.


2nd Place (there was a tie):
Ian Mitchell, clarinet
London, England
Isn’t This a Time? - American Music for Clarinet
Ian Mitchell, clarinet
Ian Mitchell studied the clarinet with Alan Hacker at the Royal Academy of Music, London, and subsequently read Music at the University of London. He has performed worldwide as a soloist and chamber musician and recorded both as a soloist and with ensembles as diverse as The Monteverdi Orchestra, the improvising group AMM, The Michael Nyman Band, Gemini and Liria, an Albanian folk band. Ian has commissioned over 60 works for either clarinet or bass clarinet, and his CD of solo bass clarinet repertoire (on Black Box, released 2000) was the first by a British artist. He is currently Director of the chamber ensemble Gemini, renowned for its concerts, recordings (three being chosen as Disc of the Year by the music press) and for its education projects. He was Lecturer in Music Performance at the University of Exeter (1996-2007), and latterly Director of Music there. He held the position of Head of Wind, Brass and Percussion at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music & Dance, London from 2007-2014. He now devotes his time solely to clarinet and bass clarinet performance.


3rd Place:
Ching-chu Hu, composer 
Denison University
Granville, OH
Hu—Spheres of Influence

Ching-chu Hu, composer
Ching-chu Hu has received performances around the world in festivals and concert series, including the Alternativa Festival in Moscow, the Piccolo Spoleto Festival, American Music Festival in Sofia, Bulgaria, Wigmore Hall, Beijing Forbidden City Concert Hall, Chicago Symphony Center’s Orchestra Hall and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

Ensembles performing his work include: Kiev Philharmonic, National Dance and Opera Orchestra of China, Charleston Symphony Orchestra, Columbus Symphony Youth Orchestra, Moscow Conservatory’s Studio New Music Ensemble, ETHEL, Brooklyn Rider String Quartet, Brave New Works, Now Ensemble, and the Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble.

He teaches at Denison University (Granville, Ohio), where he holds the Richard Lucier Endowed Professorship.  Also active as a pianist and conductor, Hu holds degrees from Yale University, The University of Iowa and the University of Michigan. His music can be heard on the Albany Records, Capstone Records, and ERM Media. More info: www.chingchuhu.com


Finalist Honorable Mention:
Lansing McLoskey, composer    
The Crossing / Philadelphia PA
McLoskey—Zealot Canticles

Lansing McLoskey, composer    
Lansing McLoskey’s music has been performed in twenty countries on six continents, and has won more than two dozen national/international awards, including the 2016 American Prize, the 2016 Robert Avalon International Composition Prize, two awards from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and the 2017/18 Copland House Award. He has been commissioned by the Fromm Foundation, NEA, Meet The Composer, Pew Charitable Trusts, Barlow Endowment, the International Joint Wind Quintet Project, and numerous ensembles. Recent commissions include a Barlow Commission for an 80-minute oratorio for The Crossing; a full-length opera for Guerilla Opera (Boston); The Copland House; ensemberlino vocale (Berlin); the New Spectrum Foundation for violinist Miranda Cuckson; Ensemble Berlin PianoPercussion; Passepartout Duo (Berlin); and oboist ToniMarie Marchioni. Professor at the Frost School of Music, his music is released on Albany Records, WergoSchallplatten, Capstone, Tantara, Equilibrium/Soundset, and Beauport Classics. Most importantly, he is an avid surfer, skateboarder, and cyclist. www.lansingmcloskey.com


Finalist Honorable Mention:
Patrice Michaels, composer & soprano
Chicago IL
Michaels—The Long View: A Portrait of Ruth Bader Ginsburg
   
Patrice Michaels, composer & soprano
Composer - soprano Patrice Michaels creates lyrical soundscapes with a curious ear and an exceptional artistic range that allows her to make captivating music – sometimes out of even the most unexpected source material. A passion for both performance and composing sets Michaels apart.

The breadth of Michaels’ talents are fully expressed in her latest project, Notorious RBG in Song, a salute to Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg (Cedille Records) with pianist Kuang-Hao Huang. Michaels channels her talents as composer and singer on the album, distilling the Justice’s legal opinions, letters, and lectures with deft sensitivity, creating “an engrossing, episodic portrait of the legal thinker, wife, mother and feminist icon” (WQXR). The prismatic album of world premieres has earned praise as “a remarkable tribute” (AllMusic) delivered in “an attractive, post-modern tonal idiom” (Classics Today). The project has been so well received that it will premiere as a concert with chamber orchestra, narrative, and multi-media elements with upcoming performances at the Skirball Center (Los Angeles) and in Washington, DC, produced by The Constitution Center of Philadelphia.


Finalist Honorable Mention:  
Kenneth Thompkins, trombone
Detroit MI
Sonatas, Songs and Spirituals

Kenneth Thompkins, trombone
Kenneth Thompkins was appointed Principal Trombone of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra by Neeme Järvi.   Prior to this appointment, he held positions in the Buffalo Philharmonic and the Florida Orchestra.

Thompkins has been invited to perform and conduct master classes at many music schools, including the Curtis Institute of Music, The Eastman School of Music, the University of Michigan, and Interlochen Arts Academy.   An active chamber musician, Thompkins performs frequently in recital and is a member of Detroit Chamber Winds & Strings.  Thompkins has performed concertos with both the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and New World Symphony.

Thompkins can be heard on recordings by Detroit Chamber Winds, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and the Detroit Symphony Orchestra.  His solo trombone recording; Sonatas, Songs and Spirituals features the music of Alec Wilder, Philip Wharton, Stephen A. Taylor and William Grant Still.

Please visit www.kenneththompkins.com for more information about the musical activities of Kenneth Thompkins.


Honorable Mention:
Lee Actor, composer
Presidential Symphony Orchestra 

Ankara Turkey
Actor—Symphony No. 3 

Lee Actor, composer
Composer and conductor Lee Actor (http://www.leeactor.com) has received numerous commissions, and has won many awards for his compositions, which are characterized by their dramatic impact and emotional expressivity. Since 2001, he has created an extensive catalog of works for large ensembles, including 3 symphonies and 9 concertos, which have been performed by nearly 80 orchestras and bands in the U.S. and around the world.  He has studied composition with Donald Sur, Brent Heisinger, Charles Jones, and Andrew Imbrie, and conducting with Angelo Frascarelli, David Epstein and Higo Harada.  Actor has been Composer-in-Residence of the Palo Alto Philharmonic since 2002, following his appointment as Assistant Conductor in 2001.  In 2014 he was one of the first five composers selected as an "Honored Artist of the American Prize".  In March 2018 he was invited to
conduct two all-Actor programs with the top professional orchestras in Ankara and Izmir, Turkey.



The American Prize ERNST BACON MEMORIAL AWARD for the PERFORMANCE of AMERICAN MUSIC, college/university division, soloists or composers, 2018-19

The American Prize winner:
Solene Le Van
Princeton University Orchestra 

Princeton NJ
Barber—Knoxville: Summer of 1915

Solene Le Van
Soprano Solène Le Van was born in France and moved to America at five years old, when she made her orchestral debut. She has been invited to perform nationally and internationally, notably in the Brunneby Concert Series (Sweden), the Committee of the LA Philharmonic Series, Carnegie Hall, and the Vianden Festival (Luxembourg) under the patronage of the US Embassy. Ms. Le Van recorded her debut recording to be released with Sheva Collection, an internationally distributed label, featuring works by Hahn and world premieres by Paladilhe.

Ms. Le Van has won the David W. Scott Vocal Competition, the David Weiss Scholarship, the AADGT International Competition, and the YMF Debut Concerto Competition. She performed with the Princeton University Orchestra as a two-time concerto competition winner and as a soloist in Handel’s “Dixit Dominus”, the Young Musicians Foundation Orchestra, the RCM Big Band and Orchestra, and the Nassau Sinfonia at the American Handel Society with conductor John Butt. Recent roles include Mabel in "The Pirates of Penzance" and "La Musica" in "L’Orfeo" under the direction of English National Opera director Tom Guthrie.

Ms. Le Van has studied with Metropolitan Opera singers Cynthia Munzer, Kim Josephson, Jon West, and Carole Farley and received coaching at Juilliard. In 2016, she attended the Royal College of Music, where she was given first class honors for dual study in voice with Russell Smythe and violin with Daniel Rowland. At fifteen, she was accepted into Princeton with a concentration in French and certificates in Vocal Performance, Italian, and Musical Theater.

Versatile in many styles, including jazz, folk, and musical theater, Ms. Le Van recently was a standby for a lead role in “Rocktopia” on Broadway.


2nd Place:
John Wilson, pianist
New World Symphony
Miami FL
Bernstein—Symphony No. 2: Age of Anxiety 
Copland—Four Piano Blues

John Wilson, pianist
Hailed for his “Virtuosity” (Miami Herald), “elegance and energy” (Classical Miami Magazine),“inventiveness” (San Diego Tribune) and described as a “marvelous, musical mad scientist” (Music Critics Association of North America) American pianist John Wilson performs equally brilliantly as a solo recitalist, chamber musician, and orchestral pianist. Most recently Wilson was featured in the San Francisco Symphony’s 2018 Carnegie Hall tour, under the direction of Mo. Michael Tilson Thomas, performing the solo pianoforte part to Stravinsky’s “Petrushka (1947). His playing was subsequently described as “brilliant” by the “Classical Voice” publication. His performances have been broadcast on WQXR, and Wilson has recorded for MSR Classics. Wilson has just been awarded an artist grant from The Belin Foundation which will sponsor a recording during the 2019-2020 season of all American solo piano music, which will include works by Michael Tilson Thomas, George Gershwin, and Aaron Copland, among others.

Wilson has performed extensively in North America, South America and Europe, in recital halls such as the Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, Merkin Hall at the Kaufman Center and at The American Academy of Arts and Letters. As a soloist he has performed with the New World Symphony, Napa Valley Symphony Orchestra, and both the New Amsterdam Symphony and Orchestra Camerata Notturna in New York City. He most recently won the prize for the "Best Performance of an American Work" at the 2017 Liszt- Garrison International Piano Competition.

An avid chamber musician, he has appeared in chamber ensembles with musicians of the San Francisco Symphony, Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal, violin soloist Anthony Marwood, and San Diego Symphony where his pianism was described as “highly inventive” by the San Diego Tribune. He has performed in duo recital with violinist Joshua Bell numerous times, cellist Johannes Moser, and soprano Audra McDonald.


3rd Place:
Martin Hebel, composer
Hamden CT
Brno Philharmonic Orcherstra
Hebel—Symphony No.3 in E Minor 

Martin Hebel, composer
Martin Hebel composes expressive, emotionally direct music for a wide variety of ensembles. His catalog includes instrumental and vocal chamber works, orchestral works, and pieces for educational ensembles.

In his orchestral compositions, Martin explores strategies for engaging audiences, seeking to enrich and enhance concert experiences for contemporary listeners. By combining traditional symphonic forms with a contemporary chromatic language, he hopes to help expand audiences for concert performance of contemporary classical music.

Martin Hebel’s Symphony No.3 in E Minor: Concert in Three Acts, recorded by Mikel Toms and the Brno Philharmonic Orchestra, was released internationally in August 2016 by ABLAZE Records. An evening-long chamber-orchestral hybrid composition, Symphony No.3 was selected as a Finalist in the 2015 Morton Gould Young Composer Awards, and received its broadcast premiere by WPRB Princeton University’s Classical Discoveries program on August 30, 2016.

In addition to composing, Martin maintains a self-designed, high-performance computer workstation to render high-quality simulations of digital scores, an application of his interest in adapting technology to serve music composition.

Born in Hamden, Connecticut in 1990, Martin Hebel began composing in high school, winning the Community Foundation for Greater New Haven’s Frances L. Lauro Scholarship in 2009. Martin Hebel received his M.M. in composition from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music in 2018 where he studied with Douglas Knehans and Ellen Ruth Harrison. He graduated with honors from the University of Connecticut in 2015, where he studied composition with Dr. Kenneth Fuchs and trumpet performance with Dr. Louis Hanzlik.



***

Congratulations!



Thursday, August 29, 2019

WINNERS: orchestras, 2018-19

The American Prize National Nonprofit Competitions in the Performing Arts, David (Volosin) Katz, chief judge, is honored to announce the winners, runners-up, and citation recipients of The American Prize in Orchestral Performance, 2018-19, in all 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.

QUICKNOTES: Although The American Prize does not usually provide written evaluations to semi-finalists, some semi-finalist composers 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 Orchestral Performance, professional division, 2018-19
 

The American Prize winner:
Symphony Number One
Jordan Randall Smith
Baltimore MD      

Symphony Number One
New Baltimore chamber orchestra Symphony Number One performs substantial works by emerging composers, riveting masterworks, and a twist of pop. Symphony Number One brings together great composers of the past, virtuoso performers of the present, and the leading compositional voices of the future.

Praised for presenting "full-length freshness on each program," by the Baltimore Sun, Symphony Number One has premiered over forty compositions, released four "must get" albums, and performed at Baltimore's inaugural Light City Festival. The orchestra was also highlighted in Baltimore STYLE as "brazen...like an indie rock band", featured twice on MPT Artworks, awarded the "Category Buster" prize by Baltimore Magazine for Best of Baltimore 2016, and chosen as runner up for Baltimore's Best Band in the 2016 Best of Baltimore Reader's Poll.

Symphony Number One develops close relationships with emerging composers, gives new works multiple hearings, and creates electrifying concert experiences for all of Baltimore.


2nd Place:
Michigan Philharmonic
Nan Harrison Washburn
Plymouth MI 

Michigan Philharmonic
The Michigan Philharmonic, one of the most innovative and dynamic professional orchestras in Southeast Michigan, was recently awarded The American Prize Ernst Bacon Memorial Award for Performance of American Music having also received 2nd and 3rd Place honors from TAP in the professional orchestra division. Nan Washburn, Music Director since 1999, was the TAP Professional Conducting Winner in 2013 and has won 19 ASCAP Awards for Adventuresome Programming of Contemporary Music from the League of American Orchestras. Michigan Phil brings its events into an ever-expanding roster of Michigan communities, including Plymouth, Canton, Brighton, downtown Detroit, and many others. The organization is committed to reaching out to a broad and diverse array of audiences. Currently in its 73rd Season, the orchestra plays a full, year-round season of concerts including classical, pops, outdoor, Bollywood and fusion concerts. The Philharmonic also has an extensive education program that includes the Michigan Philharmonic Youth Orchestra. website: http://www.michiganphil.org


3rd Place (there was a tie):
Distinguished Concerts Orchestra 
Jonathan Griffith
New York NY   

Distinguished Concerts Orchestra 
Distinguished Concerts Orchestra: Founded in 2008 by esteemed choral and orchestral conductor, Dr. Jonathan Griffith, Distinguished Concerts Orchestra (DCO) is the resident orchestra for Distinguished Concerts International New York (DCINY), the city’s preeminent producer of choral and orchestral concerts in New York’s most prestigious concert venues. The DCO is comprised of some of the top orchestral musicians in the area including numerous graduates of Juilliard, The Manhattan School of Music, and Boston Conservatory. While the vast majority of these players have performed in every DCINY production since its inception, those players who have left the New York area have gone on to permanent posts in orchestras such as the Boston Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic and the London Philharmonic. Under the direction of Dr. Jonathan Griffith and DCINY’s roster of notable guest conductors, the DCO performs in Carnegie Hall and in Lincoln Center. www.DCINY.org


3rd Place (there was a tie):
Western Piedmont Symphony
John Gordon Ross
Hickory NC

Western Piedmont Symphony
Western Piedmont Symphony was founded as the Hickory Symphony in 1964 and changed its name in the early 70’s. WPS has provided classical music of distinction for 53 years in the Greater Hickory area. WPS is one of two professional orchestras in Western, NC (Asheville is the other). Approximately 90% of the concerts and outreach are focused in the Hickory area. According to the NC Arts Council, WPS outreach programs in the area schools rank next to the NC Symphony as the most extensive in the state with over 25,000 students reached each year. String quartet programs are also reaching significant numbers of preschoolers and senior adults. The Western Piedmont Youth Symphony (WPYS) was started in 1972 and serves students from a 7-county area.  The Hickory Metro String Quartet Residency currently hosts the Tesla Quartet.  Since 1991 the orchestra has been led by John Gordon Ross who has just retired. 


Special Judges' Citation: "Championing the Music of Forgotten Americans"
Gowanus Arts Ensemble
Reuben Blundell
Brooklyn NY   

Gowanus Arts Ensemble
New Focus Records released the Gowanus Arts Ensemble’s second CD conducted by Reuben Blundell, in December 2017. Garnering outstanding reviews, it continues to be featured on radio stations across the USA. The group is named after Brooklyn’s Gowanus Arts Building, in a formerly industrial corner of Brooklyn. The Ensemble comprises some of New York’s finest musicians. Members for this CD are violinists Orlando Wells (concertmaster), Keats Dieffenbach, Heather Frank-Olsen, Yuiko Kamakari and Una Tone, violists Margaret Dyer Harris and Beth Meyers, cellists Julian Schwarz and Jeanette Stenson, and bassist Rick Ostrovsky. Reuben Blundell directs the Lansdowne Symphony Orchestra near Philadelphia, and New York’s Riverside Orchestra, and has served as a Chelsea Symphony conductor for five years. He’s a faculty member at Trinity School. Blundell has performed in his native Australia, in Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and across the Americas, and earned a doctorate in conducting with Neil Varon. www.reubenblundell.com.



The American Prize in Orchestral Performance, college/university division, 2018-19
 

The American Prize winner:
St. Olaf Orchestra
Steven Amundson
Northfield MN   

St. Olaf Orchestra
The St. Olaf Orchestra, which dates back to 1906, has grown into the finest of its kind.  The orchestra won the 2013 American Prize in Orchestral Performance among colleges and universities and has been featured at regional and national conferences. The fully undergraduate orchestra has concertized in most of the United States and internationally to Germany, Austria, Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, Austria, the Czech Republic, Spain, China, Norway, Argentina, and Uruguay. They have performed in prestigious venues such as the Bejing Concert Hall, Rudolfinum in Prague, Meistersinger Hall in Nuremberg, Ballena Azul (Blue Whale) in Buenos Aries, Orchestra Hall in Chicago and Carnegie Hall in New York.  They have performed with world renowned performers and conductors including Leon Fleisher, Sarah Chang, Robert Shaw, and Krzysztof Penderecki.

The St. Olaf Orchestra has been featured on National Public Television and on National Public Radio, including several features on Performance Today. Their conductor, Steven Amundson, is in his 38th year leading the orchestra.


2nd Place:
Baylor Symphony Orchestra 
Stephen Heyde
Waco TX  

Baylor Symphony Orchestra 
The Baylor Symphony annually presents six concerts of standard repertoire, a full opera production, concerto accompaniments, new music readings, choral collaborations and children's concerts reaching an audience of 6000 area schoolchildren.

The Symphony has appeared at the T.M.E.A. Convention eight times, at Piccolo Spoleto and at a national conventions of A.S.T.A and the College Orchestra Directors Association and recorded a PBS Special seen by over six million viewers. The Baylor Symphony has collaborated with many distinguished American performers including Van Cliburn, Joseph Gingold, Robert Shaw, Corey Cerovsek, Jacob Druckman, Lorin Hollander, Roberto Diaz, Andrew Balio and Peter Schickele among others. The BSO has taken international tours of Costa Rica (2004) and Belgium (2010) and has won the prestigious American Prize in 2015, 2016 and 2017.

Former members of the BSO have won positions in many professional orchestras including New York, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Dallas, Detroit, Pittsburgh, Seattle, Cincinnati and Fort Worth among others.


3rd Place (there was a three-way tie): 
FSU Symphony Orchestra
Alexander Jimenez
Tallahassee FL   

FSU Symphony Orchestra
The Florida State University Symphony Orchestra (USO) is the premier orchestral ensemble of the College of Music. Comprised of a diverse group of graduate and undergraduate students, the USO performs extensively throughout the year. Under the direction of Dr. Alexander Jiménez, the orchestra has recorded on the Naxos, Mark, and Koch labels, has been featured in national PBS broadcasts, and was the featured orchestra of the national meeting of the American String Teachers Association in 2016. With a long history going back to its founding in 1926, the orchestra has performed under the batons of such conductors as Ernst von Dohnányi, Richard Burgin, Aaron Copland, Robert Shaw, Robert Spano, and Matthias Bamert. In addition to orchestral concerts, the orchestras work with the FSU opera and choral programs, host two different concerto competitions yearly, read student compositions and orchestration projects, and accompany faculty and guest soloists.


3rd Place (there was a three-way tie):
ASU Symphony Orchestra
Jeffery Meyer
Tempe AZ   

ASU Symphony Orchestra
An accomplished conductor, pianist, and educator, Jeffery Meyer launched his career as a champion of contemporary orchestral music and innovative collaborations. He currently holds positions as Director of Orchestras at Arizona State University and as the Artistic Director of the St. Petersburg Chamber Philharmonic. In recent concert seasons, he has performed as a chamber musician and conductor throughout North America, Europe, China, Russia, and Southeast Asia.

In 2010, he led the St. Petersburg Chamber Philharmonic in its United States debut with three performances at Symphony Space’s “Wall-to-Wall” Festival in New York City which the New York Times called “impressive”, “powerful”, “splendid”, and “blazing.” His programming in the United States has been recognized with three ASCAP Awards for Adventurous Programming. He was a prizewinner in the 2008 International Conducting Competition “Antonio Pedrotti” and the winner of the 2013 American Prize in Conducting.


3rd Place (there was a three-way tie):
The Concordia Orchestra
Kevin Sutterlin
Moorhead MN   

The Concordia Orchestra
The nationally and internationally acclaimed Concordia Orchestra was founded in 1967. The college’s musical ensembles earned the prestigious EMMY award for its nationally broadcasted 2016 Christmas Concert productions. The Concordia Orchestra has concertized extensively across the globe, the most recent tours including Greece (2018) and The Holy Land (2014). Concordia Orchestra members have gone on to significant professional careers, as well as faculty positions at public schools, colleges and universities nationwide. About half of the students in the orchestra choose to major in fields outside of music. Regardless of career choice, the experience of performing outstanding repertoire for audiences both home and abroad is among the most cherished memories for alumni of The Concordia Orchestra. In 2016 the college welcomed Dr. Kevin F.E. Sütterlin as the fourth orchestra conductor in the history of the college. At Concordia he is also founding Music Director of The Concordia Opera. www.ConcordiaCollege.edu/orchestra


Special Judges' Citation: "Exceptional Orchestra of Non-Music Majors"
William & Mary Symphony Orchestra 
David Grandis
Williamsburg VA   

William & Mary Symphony Orchestra 
Now entering its 85th season, the William & Mary Symphony Orchestra is comprised of Non-Music Major students of the College of William & Mary; mostly undergraduates but also a few graduate students and community members. Its mission is to grow through performances of great orchestral literature and to contribute to the artistic community of the College and beyond. WMSO has performed major works by Beethoven, Berlioz, Brahms, Dvorak, Mahler, Bartok, Ravel, Strauss and Tchaikovsky and offers additional opportunities such as guest artist collaborations, premieres, and tours. In 2002, WMSO took its first international tour to Italy and Sicily. The orchestra's domestic tours include performances at the Lang Recital Hall at Swarthmore College, PA (2012), the Harold J. Kaplan Concert Hall at Towson University, MD (2013), and most recently at Bellefield Hall at University of Pittsburgh, PA (2014) and at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC (2015).



The American Prize in Orchestral Performance, community division, 2018-19
 

The American Prize winner:
Springfield Drury Civic Orchestra 
Christopher Koch
Springfield MO   

Springfield Drury Civic Orchestra 
Founded in 2005, the Springfield-Drury Civic Orchestra is southwest Missouri’s regional civic orchestra. Comprising more than 100 talented professionals, students, and enthusiasts, the SDCO presents a yearly concert season of great orchestral masterworks, often performing regional premieres of newly composed works as well as masterworks of the orchestral canon.  In recent years, the orchestra has received national recognition and collaborated with numerous guest artists and arts organizations.  sdco.drury.edu


2nd Place:
Carlisle Chamber Orchestra 
Kathleen Chick
Carlisle MA  

Carlisle Chamber Orchestra 
The Carlisle Chamber Orchestra was formed in 2014 by two amateur musicians after decades of experience playing difficult avant-garde music with a community orchestra achieving limited community recognition. They reasoned that a community ensemble composed of carefully vetted volunteers performing works accessible to the players and audience would achieve much greater community acceptance and recognition. Furthermore, the successful establishment of a new classical ensemble and growth of a suitable audience in a town of only 5000 would serve as a “petri-dish” example that locally well-performed classical music can not only serve the membership and community but will potentially foster the appreciation of classical music generally. Now as we approach the close of our fourth season we are gratified to see a continued increase in audience attendance.  Among them are many examples of "significant others” new to classical concerts and many on fixed income, attracted by our donation-based admissions.  CCOrch.org


3rd Place:
Austin Civic Orchestra
Lois Ferrari
Austin TX  

Austin Civic Orchestra
The Austin Civic Orchestra was founded in 1977 and has since evolved into an 80-piece fully volunteer symphonic orchestra. The ACO is committed to bringing high quality classical music to Austin area communities and to supporting young musicians in particular. To this end, the Orchestra offers free admittance to all students under the age of 18 and sponsors the annual Pearl Amster Chamber Music Festival as well as the Texas Rising Stars Concerto Contest in conjunction with the University of Texas. A champion of new music, ACO Music Director Lois Ferrari founded the bi-annual Composition Contest in 2005. Also noteworthy is the ACO’s 2017-2018 season, entitled Made in America, which was devoted to performing music written entirely by American composers. The ACO was awarded 2nd place in the 2016 American Prize competition and was named finalist in 2014 and 2012.   www.austincivicorchestra.org



The American Prize in Orchestral Performance, youth orchestra division, 2018-19
 

The American Prize winner:
Houston Youth Symphony
Sarah D. Loudermilk
Houston TX  

Michael Webster, conductor 
Houston Youth Symphony
Founded in 1946, Houston Youth Symphony (HYS) is the recipient of national acclaim including the 2017 first prize winner of the Mark of Excellence Award from The Foundation for Music Education and the 2017 American Prize in Orchestral Performance – Youth Orchestra Division Each season approximately 400 musicians between the ages of seven and 19 come from across the greater Houston area to perform in one of five HYS orchestras. In addition to the core orchestra program, HYS offers advanced musicians a chamber music training program and an annual concerto competition.

In the community, HYS provides free private music lessons for talented youth in select economically disadvantaged communities through the Melody Program. In January 2015, HYS launched the Coda Music Program, an after-school effort modeled after El Sistema that brings graduated, intensive string instruction to three elementary schools using classical music and group instruction to build community and social transformation. (www.HoustonYouthSymphony.org) 


2nd Place:
Denver Young Artists Orchestra
Kelly Waltrip
Denver CO  
Wes Kenney, music director

Denver Young Artists Orchestra
The Denver Young Artists Orchestra (DYAO) was formed in 1977 under the auspices of the Denver Symphony Orchestra, now the Colorado Symphony Orchestra (CSO).  It was started as a means for Colorado’s most talented young musicians to rehearse and perform together under demanding professional standards.



The mission of the Denver Young Artists Orchestra Association (DYAO) is to provide the finest possible youth orchestra programs, inspiring and educating young musicians through the performance of great works of music, and offering valuable cultural opportunities to the community. For thirty-nine years, DYAO has nurtured the talents of the Rocky Mountain region’s finest young musicians. Today, the organization’s five orchestras and group strings classes train nearly 300 students ages seven to twenty-three annually. Wes Kenney has been the Music Director and Conductor for the Young Artists Orchestra since 2013. 


3rd Place:
Portland Youth Philharmonic
Noreen Murdock
Portland OR 
David Hattner, conductor 

Portland Youth Philharmonic
The Portland Youth Philharmonic Association (PYP), founded in 1924 as America’s first youth orchestra, supports two full symphony orchestras, a chamber orchestra, a wind ensemble, and a string orchestra. Membership in the Philharmonic Orchestra is reserved for outstanding players whose technical level is highly advanced. PYP has taken eight national and international concert tours and PYP’s YouTube channel has attracted hundreds of thousands of views. In 2014, as part of its 90th anniversary season, PYP performed at Chicago's Grant Park Music Festival. The Chicago Tribune wrote, "The performance was brilliant in all departments."

David Hattner is the fifth Musical Director of the Portland Youth Philharmonic Association. David Hattner’s conducting credits include the  Phoenix Symphony,  Oregon Symphony, Eugene Symphony Orchestra, the Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra, and multi-media work with silent film in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Seattle, Portland, and Sao Paulo, Brazil.



The American Prize in Orchestral Performance, high school orchestra division, 2018-19
 

The American Prize winner:
Klein Chamber Orchestra
Creston Herron
Klein TX   

Klein Chamber Orchestra
The Klein High School Orchestra Program has a long-standing rich tradition of excellence. Klein orchestras have enjoyed the success of consistent UIL Sweepstakes awards, first division ratings and “best in class” awards at festivals across the country. The Chamber and Symphony orchestras at Klein High have consistently ranked as finalists each year in the prestigious TMEA Honor Orchestra Competition, in both the string and full orchestra divisions. They have been named Grand Champions twice at Festival Disney in Orlando, Florida. In 2017, both the Klein High School Symphony Orchestra and Chamber Orchestra were named National winners in the Mark of Excellence Competition. For the first time in the history of Klein ISD, The Klein High School Chamber Orchestra claimed the Texas State Championship, earning the title of TMEA Honor String Orchestra in 2017. In 2018, Klein High was named Grand Champion of the National Orchestra Cup Competition.


2nd Place:
Klein Oak HS Symphony Orchestra and Chamber Orchestra
Tanner Ledford
Houston TX   

Klein Oak HS Chamber Orchestra

Klein Oak HS Symphony Orchestra
In Klein ISD our students begin music instruction in Kindergarten.  In the fifth grade our students can begin after school strings instruction which meets twice a week. In middle school and high school, string instruction is daily for around 48 minutes. In addition, at the intermediate and high school levels, the students stay before and after school to practice through a combination of targeted sectionals and supervised open practice. Around 20% of our students are enrolled in a private lesson program. Currently there are 135 string students in our clusters’ 5th grade program, 350 in our middle school programs, and 250 in our high school program. Klein Oak High School is located in the northern part of the district in a small residential suburban community. It is approximately 45 minutes from downtown Houston. Klein Oak High School is comprised of grades 9-12 with an enrollment of approximately 4000 students.


3rd Place (there was a tie):
Herricks HS Chamber Orchestra
Catherine Fish
New Hyde Park NY  

Herricks HS Chamber Orchestra
The Herricks High School Chamber Orchestra is an elite string orchestra from New Hyde Park, NY. Acceptance to this curricular honors-level ensemble is by audition only, resulting in a highly competitive audition process and a rigorous rehearsal environment. Under the direction of teacher/conductor Catherine Fish, the Herricks High School Chamber Orchestra has grown into a nationally recognized ensemble, acclaimed for their performance of challenging repertoire and their nuanced musicianship. In March of 2018, the ensemble won First Prize High School String Orchestra in the American String Teachers Association (ASTA) National Orchestra Festival competition, held in Atlanta, GA. The orchestra’s recent credits also include ratings of “Gold with Distinction” four years in a row at the New York State School Music Association (NYSSMA) Major Organization Festival, a 2017 performance at Carnegie Hall, and annual participation in the Lincoln Center Chamber Music Society’s Young Musicians Program competition.


3rd Place (there was a tie):
Westwood Symphony Orchestra
Joshua Thompson
Austin TX   

Westwood Symphony Orchestra
Located 17 miles north of downtown Austin, Texas, Westwood High School is one of five high schools in the Round Rock Independent School District, and features an enrollment of 2600 students.  The orchestra program is currently under the musical leadership of Joshua Thompson and Justin Anderson. The Orchestra program at Westwood High School currently has 172 members, placed in four different skills-based orchestras.  The Symphony Orchestra at Westwood is a perennial finalist in the Texas Music Educator Association’s Honor Orchestra Competition, which is one of the most competitive music competitions in the country.  The Westwood Symphony Orchestra has been selected as the TMEA Honor Orchestra four times: in 2000, 2006, 2010 as the TMEA Honor Full Orchestra, and in 2013 as the Honor String Orchestra.  The Symphony Orchestra has also performed at the Midwest International Band and Orchestra Clinic, in 2013.  www.westwoodorchestra.com


Special Judges' Citation: "Exceptional Middle School Orchestra"
 Sartartia Middle School Symphony Orchestra 
Sophia Hsieh
Sugar Land TX   

Sartartia Middle School Symphony Orchestra 
The Sartartia Middle School Orchestra program opened in 2001 with 80 students.  The program has grown to over 250 students and two full time orchestra directors, Ms Hsieh and Ms Vu.

Over ninety percent of Sartartia Orchestra students start as beginners.  Beginning string classes are taught in homogenous classes divided into upper and lower strings.  They meet daily, with an emphasis on posture, tone production, and music reading skills.  The intermediate classes focus on ensemble and performance skills.

The Sartartia Symphony honors include: Five performances at the Midwest International Band and Orchestra Clinic, Texas Honor Orchestra, Winner of the American String Teachers Association’s National Orchestra Festival in Reno, Nevada, Performances on the Great Wall, Beijing, and Tianjin, featured orchestra of the National American Strings Teachers’ Association Convention, National Winner of Foundations for Music Education’s Mark of Excellence, and was featured on YouTube by Live from Lincoln Center.




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Congratulations!

Monday, August 26, 2019

FINALISTS: Bacon Award (American Music Performance)—solo artists & composers, 2018-19

Ernst Bacon
The American Prize National Nonprofit Competitions in the Performing Arts, David (Volosin) Katz, founder and chief judge, is pleased to announce FINALISTS for the ERNST BACON MEMORIAL AWARD for the PERFORMANCE of AMERICAN MUSIC, 2018-19, in the solo division. Congratulations! (An announcement of finalists in the ensemble division will be made separately.)

Among the many contests of The American Prize, the Ernst Bacon Memorial Award for the Performance of American Music is unique. It recognizes and rewards the best performances of American music by ensembles and individual artists worldwide, based on submitted recordings. Applications are accepted from professional, college/university, community and high school age solo artists, chamber ensembles or conducted ensembles, competing in separate divisions, and from composers with excellent recordings of their works. Beginning in 2017-18, categories were expanded to encompass performances of American music in practically any instrumentation or genre, with very few repertoire restrictions.

Focused exclusively on works by American composers from any period and in any style, the contest not only judges performances, but in the case of new or unfamiliar works, the music itself.

Ernst Bacon (1898—1990) was one of that pioneering generation of composers who, along with Thomson, Copland, Harris, and others, found a voice for American music. Winner of a Pulitzer Scholarship (for his Symphony in D minor) and no fewer than three Guggenheim Fellowships, Ernst Bacon set out to create compositions that expressed the vitality and affirmative spirit of our country. It is fitting, and with honor, that The American Prize creates an annual award in the memory of Ernst Bacon, recognizing the finest performances of American orchestral music worldwide. To learn more about the music & legacy of Ernst Bacon, please visit the website of the Ernst Bacon Society.

"At The American Prize, there is never a set number of finalists in any category or division. We also try hard to not be about "winners" and "losers," but always seek to encourage excellence, creativity and imagination. That is one reason why we post the following statement with every finalist listing."—DK

If you are not a finalist this year, please remember that the contests are not yet over. The American Prize reserves the right to award Honorable Mentions and Citations for Special Achievement to any contestant, regardless of final placement. TAP has honored a number of semi-finalists and quarter finalists in the past--to recognize a unique talent or focus, unusual repertoire, vital programming or outreach. Citations and Honorable Mentions are usually awarded at the same time as winners and runners-up, but can be presented at any time up to the last winners' announcement of the contest year.

As the contests unfold, runners-up and winners will be selected from this list. To know the exact date when finalists will be announced, please like our Facebook page or follow us on Twitter #AmericanPrize, where that information will be published first.

All contestants are reminded they are responsible for the viability of their online links to audition materials. Those links must remain active until the end of the contest year. Questions, or to make us aware of any misprints in the listings below, please email: theamericanprize@gmail.com

We invite finalists to make the most of their selection by announcing it on their facebook page, tweeting the news, and including a link to this announcement on their website or blog. A sample announcement may be found at the end of the post.


NATIONAL FINALISTS: The American Prize ERNST BACON MEMORIAL AWARD for the PERFORMANCE of AMERICAN MUSIC, PROFESSIONAL division, soloists or composers, 2018-19

Chris Gekker, trumpet
Ghost Dialogues

Ching-chu Hu, composer
Hu—Spheres of Influence

Mary Mackenzie, soprano
Heidi Louise Williams, piano
Holy the Firm—James Primosch  

Lansing McLoskey, composer
The Crossing / Philadelphia PA
McLoskey—Zealot Canticles

Patrice Michaels, composer & soprano
Michaels—The Long View: A Portrait of Ruth Bader Ginsburg  

Ian Mitchell, clarinet
Bass Clarinet and Friends - a miscellany

Michael Rickelton, composer
Rickelton—Time and Memory

Benjamin Shorstein, composer
Shorstein—Partita for Solo Violin

Valerie Stern & Karen Spurney, pianists
Los Angeles CA
Gershwin / Copland / Bolcom

Reed Tetzloff, pianist
Ives—Piano Sonata #2 (Concord)
Griffes—The Pleasure Dome of Kubla Khan / Sonata
Rzewski—Winnsboro Cotton Mill Blues

Kenneth Thompkins, trombone
Sonatas, Songs and Spirituals

Ludwig Tuman, composer
Chamber Choir of CA State University—Long Beach CA
Tuman—Lord of the Cranes; Cat's Protector; The Happy Man's Shirt

Nathan Williamson, piano
Copland—Piano Sonata

Rain Worthington, composer
Croatian Chamber Orchestra
Worthington—In Passages—for violin solo and string orchestra


NATIONAL FINALISTS: The American Prize ERNST BACON MEMORIAL AWARD for the PERFORMANCE of AMERICAN MUSIC, COLLEGE/UNIVERSITY division, soloists or composers, 2018-19

Martin Hebel, composer
Brno Philharmonic Orcherstra
Hebel—Symphony No.3 in E Minor

Solene Le Van
Princeton University Orchestra
Barber—Knoxville: Summer of 1915

John Wilson, pianist
Bernstein—Symphony No. 2: Age of Anxiety 



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We invite finalists to make the most of their selection by announcing it on their facebook page, tweeting the news, and including a link to this announcement on their website or blog.

Here is a sample announcement:

"Great News! I've just been selected as a finalist in the (blank) division of The American Prize ERNST BACON MEMORIAL AWARD for the PERFORMANCE of AMERICAN MUSIC, 2018-19. Here's the link: (copy link here). The American Prize will be announcing results in my division soon. You can learn more about this prestigious national competition here: www.theamericanprize.org or follow the news on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-American-Prize-celebrating-American-excellence-in-the-arts/214320622728 or Twitter: https://twitter.com/americanprize "

Please feel free to modify or expand this announcement to suit your needs.

Congratulations to all semi-finalists.

Friday, August 23, 2019

WINNERS: composers (vocal chamber music), 2018-19

The American Prize National Nonprofit Competitions in the Performing Arts, David (Volosin) Katz, chief judge, is honored to announce the winners, runners-up and honorable mention recipients of The American Prize in Composition, 2018-19, vocal chamber music division. 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-finalist composers 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 Composition—(vocal chamber music) professional division, 2018-19

The American Prize winner:
Brian Ciach
Mountain View CA
Molna Elegy     

Brian Ciach
Brian Ciach (pronounced “SIGH-ack“, born 1977) is a composer, new music pianist, and educator in the San Francisco Bay Area, whose music has been described as "remarkably inventive" (Bloomington Herald Times) and "beautifully scored" (New Music Box). Among his works are a Vegetable Requiem for hand-made vegetable ocarinas, four piano sonatas making use of extended techniques invented by the composer, and Collective Uncommon, a set of orchestra studies inspired by the Mütter Museum, a medical oddities museum in Philadelphia, which calls for food instruments and talking dolls. Brian holds a Doctor of Music in composition from Indiana University, and two master’s degrees in composition and piano performance, as well as a bachelor’s degree in piano performance from Temple University. Brian is the Assistant Director and Instructor of Piano, Music Theory, and Composition at the Hunter School of Music in San Jose, California. His compositions are published by Potenza Music. http://sigh-ackmusic.org


2nd Place (there was a tie):
Curtis Bryant
Union City GA
Letters from Jack    

Curtis Bryant
Curtis Bryant (b. 1949) composes and teaches in the Atlanta area and served on the faculty of Georgia State University School of Music for ten years. For over three decades his music has been performed throughout North America and worldwide in concerts, music festivals and on radio and television. Bryant composes for virtually all concert media including chamber, choral, orchestral, art song, and opera. He is a 2016 winner of THE AMERICAN PRIZE in composition opera/theater/film division for his opera ZABETTE and a 2017 winner in the vocal chamber music division for his song cycle THE LAUGHING MONKEYS OF GRAVITY.

Premiered in 1994 by the contemporary music ensemble Thamyris, LETTERS FROM JACK is a chamber-vocal setting of four selections from Bryant’s own collection of twenty-two symbolic poems entitled THE HOUSE THAT JACK BUILT, depicting images from the tarot, the Hebrew alphabet and Kabbalah, presented as an “epic nursery rhyme.”


2nd Place (there was a tie):
Moshe Shulman
Buffalo NY
Seven Prophetesses 

Moshe Shulman
Russian-born Israeli composer, violin, viola, bandoneon and accordion player, Moshe Shulman (b.1978) holds a Bachelor and Master of Music degrees in composition from the Jerusalem Academy of Music and the PhD degree in composition from the NY State University at Buffalo, studying with Mark Kopytman, David Felder and Johannes Schollhorn through the years. His music was performed in Israel, Canada, United States, Russia and France and Hungary with various ensembles such as Norrbotten NEO and Juventas New Music Ensemble, Le Nouvel Ensemble Moderne, Meridian Brass Quintet, Slee Sinfonietta (Buffalo, NY), International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE) and Arditti Quartet.

As a student he received numerous award, scholarships and assistantships from Israel and USA. He received a 2015 Fromm Foundation Commission from Harvard University. In summer 2009, Moshe won 3rd prize for “Construction 3” at the Jurgenson Contemporary Music International Competition in Moscow.

He is on the Walden Summer Music Camp Faculty since 2014, and University at Buffalo adjunct professor. www.mosheshulman.com      


3rd Place:
Dorothy Hindman
Miami FL
The Pillow Book

Dorothy Hindman
Described as “bright with energy and lilting lyricism” (New York Classical Review), “dramatic, highly strung” (Fanfare), and “utterly rich with purpose and heart” (Huffington Post), Dorothy Hindman’s compositions have been performed at Carnegie Hall, the United Nations, the American Academy in Rome, Amsterdam’s Muziekgebouw, Havana Contemporary Music Festival, Australian Flute Festival, and many others.  She has been commissioned by Bent Frequency, Empire City Men’s Chorus, Goliard Ensemble, Caravel String Quartet, Corona Guitar Kvartet, and more.

Awards and recognition include a 2017 Seaside Escape2Create Fellowship, Iron Composer 2015, a 2015 Artist Access Grant from the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs, the Nancy Van de Vate International Composition Prize for Opera, International Society of Bassists Composition Competition, NACUSA, and more.

Hindman’s CDs include innova’s Tapping the Furnace and Tightly Wound (Spring 2017). Publishers include Subito, NoteNova, and dorn/Needham. She is Associate Professor of Composition at the Frost School of Music.


Finalist Honorable Mention:
David Feurzeig
Huntington VT
Lingua Franca     

David Feurzeig
The music of David Feurzeig has been performed throughout the US and in New Zealand, Asia, and Europe. His Songs of Love and Protest were sung in the Semper Opera House by the Dresden Chamber Chorus for the city’s 800th jubilee, and he was twice a featured guest of the International Composers’ Festival in Bangkok. Recent commissions include works for the Vermont Symphony, Burlington Chamber Orchestra, Vermont Contemporary Music Ensemble, and Bella Voce Choir. A CD featuring Lingua Franca will be released by American Modern Recordings in Fall 2018. A pianist as well, Feurzeig is the recipient of the Silver Medal in the Piano-Playing Contest of the Old-Time Music Preservation Association (OM-PA), which also awarded him the Remarkably Small Trophy for Best Original Ragtime Composition for his Stravinsky spoof Stride Rite. Feurzeig is Associate Professor of music at the University of Vermont, where he teaches composition and theory. www.uvm.edu/~dfeurzei


Finalist Honorable Mention:
Judith Lynn Stillman
Providence RI
Poet As Immortal Bird     

Judith Lynn Stillman
Judith Lynn Stillman holds Bachelor’s, Master’s and Doctoral degrees from The Juilliard School, was hailed by Wynton Marsalis as “a remarkable virtuoso, a consummate artist," won 18 competitions, Pell Award in the Arts, Bannister Award for Civil Service in the Arts, is the Artist-in-Residence and Music Professor at Rhode Island College, and an internationally-renowned composer, pianist, choral conductor.

Featured in world premieres at Lincoln Center; highlights include Marlboro, Tanglewood, visiting Artist-in-Residence in China, Russia, Czech Republic, Beijing’s Central Conservatory, Prague Conservatory. Collaborators include: Jordan Rudess, Mark O'Connor, Richard Stoltzman, Herbie Hancock in BOSE commercial; members of NY Philharmonic, Boston Symphony; Borromeo, Cassatt, Shanghai, Lydian, Muir Quartets; performer at Grammy's in honor of Rostropovich; duo album with Wynton Marsalis on SONY.

Stillman's compositions have premiered with Metropolitan Opera stars, received extensive national media coverage, featured centerpieces of Czech Embassy's Holocaust Commemoration and RI-PBS-TV documentary. Received numerous awards in film festivals as filmmaker/composer.


Honorable Mention:
Robert Denham
La Mirada CA
Sutter Creek    

Robert Denham
Robert Denham’s music includes works of every genre and has been performed to great acclaim across the United States, Canada, Europe, and Asia.  He has worked closely with Carl St. Clair and the Pacific Symphony Chamber Orchestra, who recently premiered his 65-minute oratorio, Under the Shadow with the Biola University Chorale.  Other recent premiers include his three-movement Concerto for Flute and Orchestra (first performed by Brian Bensing and the Cambrian Symphony Orchestra) and The Way Home for two sopranos and piano (commissioned by the “Soprani Compagni” trio).  Other champions of Denham’s music include Timothy Lees (Concertmaster, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra), Rodney Winther (Conductor, CCM Wind Symphony and Chamber Players), Elizabeth Larson (Credo Trio), and singers Susan Ali, Tyler Thompson, and Joel Balzun.  Recent prizes include first prize in the Flute New Music Consortium Composition Competition (solo flute with piano) and an Honorable Mention for the 2017 American Prize (choral division).


Honorable Mention: 
William Vollinger
Woodcliff Lake NJ
God's Optimism 

William Vollinger
William Vollinger’s music is described as “3D: different, direct and deep”, performed by artists including the Gregg Smith Singers and NY Vocal Arts Ensemble, whose performance of “Three Songs About the Resurrection” won first prize at the Geneva International Competition. His music is published by Abingdon, API, Heritage, Kjos, Lawson-Gould, and Laurendale. Five works were editor's choices in the J.W. Pepper Catalogue. Recent premieres included Jackson State Symphony, San Francisco Choral Artists, Ridgewood Concert Band, Hamilton-Fairfield Symphony and Garden State Philharmonic. In the past three years, ten of his compositions have been nominated for the American Prize, with “Stalin and the Little Girl” receiving a Judge's Citation for "Exceptional Theatrical Sense in a Unique Monodrama." Hartshorn Recordings has released an album of his works this year.


Honorable Mention: 
Ruth Weber
Escondido CA  
Songs of an Immigrant

Ruth Weber
Ruth’s Weber's music has been recorded in the U.S. and abroad, and she has been a winner of many prestigious awards including the  Canadian Songwriting Competition, Jewish American Songwriting Competition, Music City Song Festival, John Lennon Songwriting Competition and the Shalshelet Music Festival.  Her songs have appeared in films and print music. 52

Ruth has performs internationally, and has worked as a coach for the Los Angeles Philharmonic Institute, Opera Aguascalientes, CSUN, and as a recording artist with the Marantz Pianocorder Division. 

Ruth directs the San Diego Jewish Men’s Choir. Their 2015 CD release, KOCHI, debuted at #3 on the Billboard World Music Charts and received numerous awards.
Her newest children's music CD, The Spaceship that Fell in My Backyard, was awarded a Family Choice, NAPPA, Kid's First, Tilywig Tons of Fun, Global Music Award, and Hot Diggity Award.

Ruth is a music instructor at Palomar College and San Diego Miramar College.




The American Prize in Composition—(vocal chamber music) professional division, 2018-19

The American Prize winner:
Zach Gulaboff Davis
Salem OR
Opaque Etchings   

Zach Gulaboff Davis
Zach Gulaboff Davis is a composer who strives to write music that is enjoyable and meaningful for audiences and performers alike. Zach’s compositions have been performed across the globe at such venues as Carnegie Hall, Bulgaria’s National Plaice of Culture, Norway’s Arctic Cathedral, the International Trumpet Guild, and at schools of music and conservatories across the country. Zach holds a B.A. in piano performance and composition/theory, summa cum laude, from Linfield College, Oregon, and a M.M. in composition from Mannes College of Music in New York City. He is currently a doctoral student in composition at the Peabody Conservatory of Johns Hopkins University, studying under Pulitzer-prizewinning composer Kevin Puts. This summer, Zach will serve as the Brevard Institute's composition fellow under a full fellowship.     


2nd Place (there was a tie):
Maria Kaoutzani
Chicago IL
Toward the Light     

Maria Kaoutzani
Maria Kaoutzani (b. 1993) is a composer originally, from Cyprus based in Chicago, IL. Color and texture are central elements in her work, and she enjoys exploring how a number of instruments can function as a unified entity that evolves in time. She is also interested in the creation of musical spaces that surround the listener, where distinct layers can be heard developing and interacting with one another. Kaoutzani's works have been performed in Europe, the US and Latin America. Her influences include Kaija Saariaho, György Ligeti and Tania León. Kaoutzani is studying towards a PhD in Music Composition at the University of Chicago, and holds a Master’s in Music Theory and Composition from New York University  and an undergraduate degree in music from the University of York.  Past collaborators include Arizona-based poet and cellist Ruth Wegner and Greek visual artist Nicos Kyprianou.  |  mariakaoutzani.com


2nd Place (there was a tie):
Julia Seeholzer
Santa Monica CA
Portraits of Disquiet  

Julia Seeholzer
Julia Seeholzer is an American composer currently living in Warsaw, Poland. Her pieces have been performed by ensembles including Juventas New Music, Vive! Ensemble, fivebyfive, and members of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Her work has been commissioned by University of Chicago’s Camerata, Anabel Taylor Chapel Choir, Urban Playground Chamber Orchestra, and others.
She takes much of her compositional influence from color – intervallic relationships conjure specific hues, which in turn dictate a piece’s direction. When composing for voice, text further impacts each piece’s color spectrum. Julia currently performs with and composes for Professor Paweł Łukaszewski’s choir, Musica Sacra.


3rd Place:
Joseph Sowa
Simsbury CT
Blossom Music     

Joseph Sowa
Joseph Sowa grew up playing violin and listening to orchestral broadcasts on NPR. Surrounded by these sounds, he wanted to make more of them.

His concert works have been played by Ensemble Dal Niente, the PRISM Quartet, Collage New Music, the Lydian String Quartet, Quartetto Indaco, the BYU Philharmonic and Chamber Orchestras, Jaren Hinckley, and Daniel Stepner, among others.

He has been commissioned by performers including Collage New Music, the Genesis Chamber Singers, the Farallon Quintet, Carolyn Hove, Roger Roe, and Neil Thornock as well as foundations including the Barlow Endowment for Music Composition.

Joseph’s sacred music has been performed in congregations across the United States and in London. His arrangement of “For the Beauty of the Earth” was recorded by soprano Charity Tillemann-Dick on her album American Grace, which debuted no. 1 on the Billboard® “Traditional Classical” chart.

Joseph is a PhD candidate (ABD) in composition and theory at Brandeis University.


Finalist Honorable Mention:
William F. Montgomery
Baton Rouge LA
The Child Born; The Witch has Told You a Story; Changing Weather Patterns    

William F. Montgomery
William F.  Montgomery is a composer, pianist, and teacher currently finishing the 2nd year of his Ph.D. in Music Composition. William is currently studying with Dr. Mara Gibson but has previously studied composition with Dr. Philip Lasser, Dr. James Winn, Dr. Jean – Paul Perrotte, and Dr. Thom Hasenpflug. William received his Bachelor of Arts in Piano at Idaho State University and his Master of Music in Music Composition at the University of Nevada, Reno. William placed first at the Idaho State University Undergraduate Research Symposium, and first place at the University of Nevada, Reno, Composition Competition. This past July, William studied composition, counterpoint, and harmony in Paris as part of the EAMA/Nadia Boulanger Institute which he received a fellowship to attend. William’s research interests lie in Spectral Music, French composer Kaija Saariaho, and the intersection of art and music. You can find out more at williammontgomerycomposer.com.



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Congratulations!