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!

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