Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Winners: OPERA COMPANIES, 2019-20

The American Prize wishes everyone safety and health during this difficult time.


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 Opera Performance, 2019-20, in both 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.

REMINDER—COVID EXTENSIONS: Because of the current national and international situation, many rules have been changed and requirements eased to make it easier to apply for The American Prize 2020-21. In addition, application deadlines have been extended. We will accept applications from COMPOSERS, CLASSICAL VOCALISTS, PIANISTS, CHAMBER ENSEMBLES and INSTRUMENTAL SOLOISTS postmarked or emailed by Wednesday, September 9, 2020. Applications from CONDUCTORS, STAGE DIRECTORS, CONDUCTED ENSEMBLES, ARTS ADMINISTRATORS (arts marketing, arts education) and in the performance of American Music (BACON AWARD) will be accepted until Wednesday, September 9, 2020. Further extensions may be granted pending the most current information about the virus. Visit theamericanprize.org for complete contest information.

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

The American Prize in Opera Performance, professional division, 2019-20

The American Prize winner:
Pacific Opera Project
Josh Shaw 
Los Angeles  CA
Madame Butterfly / Magic Flute

Madame Butterfly
Pacific Opera Project (POP) was founded in July 2011 with the mission of providing "accessible, affordable, and ENTERTAINING" opera to audiences across Los Angeles. Over the past nine seasons, POP has performed over 30 operas employing hundreds of singers and musicians from Southern California and across the country. Noteworthy productions include an updated take on La bohéme, subtitled "The Hipsters" (now and annual tradition), a setting of Mozart's Abduction from the Seraglio as an episode of Star Trek, and an updated setting of The Magic Flute which sets the opera in the worlds of 1980s video games. Perhaps POP's most ambitious production is a reimagining of Madama Butterfly, sung as if the story really happened, in Japanese and English featuring a cast of over 40 singers, all appropriately cast with Japanese-American singers for the Japanese roles.


2nd Place:
Queen City Opera     
Isaac Selya
Cincinnati OH
Iolanta

Iolanta
Queen City Opera was founded in 2012 to advance the careers of emerging singers, instrumentalists, designers, and conductors by giving them valuable professional engagements in high-quality productions. In recognition of their high artistic quality and work to transform neighborhoods through the arts, the company was profiled in August 2014 in the Business section of the Cincinnati Enquirer.

Recent projects have combined high-caliber opera with relevant contemporary issues: Their production of Mozart’s Don Giovanni featured workshops on sexual assault and consent, and their production of Tchaikovsky’s Iolanta was presented in collaboration with the Cincinnati Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired. Their performance of Siegfried was the first complete performance of the work in the state of Ohio in over a century. For more information or to see recordings of any of our past productions, visit QueenCityOpera.Org.
 

3rd Place:
Heartland Opera      
Rachel M. Harris
Joplin  MO      
La Boheme

La Boheme
Heartland Opera Theatre strives to bring professional performances of opera and musical theatre to the Four-State Area, engaging regional, national, and international performers, as well as promoting exceptionally talented local artists. Heartland Opera Theatre is a 501(c)(3) performing arts organization established in 1998 by Terrence O’Brien. Since its creation the Heartland Opera Theatre, or HOT, has provided professional performances of opera and musical theatre to the Four-State Area. HOT has hosted performers from around the globe and toured full productions through Missouri, Kansas, and Oklahoma. HOT strives to not only engage national and international performers, but also to showcase exceptional local artists from the community and surrounding universities.  Heartland Opera Theatre has worked for years in collaboration with Missouri Southern State University, Pittsburg State University, the upsideDown Theatre, Crowder College, Community Theatre Productions and others, striving to bring professional theater to the Four-State Community.
 



The American Prize in Opera Performance, college/university division, 2019-20

The American Prize winner:
The Crane School of Music   
SUNY Potsdam        
Kirk Severtson            
Potsdam    NY
MAYO (Cipullo)   

MAYO (Cipullo)   
The award-winning Crane Opera Ensemble at The Crane School of Music is a significant source for opera and music theatre in the North Country region of New York State. The ensemble is unique as it integrates the SUNY Potsdam mission of teaching, scholarship and public service, into its fully staged production each semester. MAYO, by Tom Cipullo, was the 2018 winner of the Domenic J. Pellicciotti Opera Composition Competition, which awarded a full commission and production award for the composer to create this work, which was premiered by the Crane Opera Ensemble in November 2018.  https://www.potsdam.edu/academics/Crane/opera


2nd Place (there was a tie):
University of NC at Greensboro
David Holley
Greensboro  NC        
Falstaff

Falstaff
The UNCG Opera Theatre, led by David Holley, is highly acclaimed and the recipient of a number of awards. Seven productions have won First Place in the National Opera Association Opera Production Competition, including Susannah, Little Women, Orpheus in the Underworld, The Consul, Dialogues of the Carmelites, Amahl and the Night Visitors, and Don Giovanni, and five production have placed Second: Galileo Galilei, L’Enfant et les sortilèges, La vida breve, Albert Herring and Gianni Schicchi; Amahl and the Night Visitors also won Third Place.

2016's Amahl received honorable mention recognition in The American Prize Competition and other productions have been finalists: Galileo Galilei (2015), Dialogues of the Carmelites (2016), and Die Zauberflöte (2018).  The UNCG Opera Theatre commissioned renowned American composer Libby Larsen to write an opera based on William Inge’s play, Picnic, with a libretto written by David Holley.  Picnic was premiered in April 2009.  For more information: http://opera.uncg.edu.


2nd Place (there was a tie):
Turner-Fischer Center for Opera at
Louisiana State University  
Dugg McDonough           
Baton Rouge  LA     
Elizabeth Cree (Puts)  

Elizabeth Cree (Puts)  
The Turner-Fischer Center for Opera at LSU embodies one of the first major university programs in the United States, producing exceptional singers who have graced world opera stages such as the Metropolitan Opera, La Scala, Lyric Opera of Chicago, San Francisco Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Washington National Opera, New York City Opera, The Santa Fe Opera, and the Royal Opera House at Covent Garden.  LSU annually creates four new productions, two fully staged, designed, costumed, and accompanied by the LSU Symphony Orchestra, alongside two smaller shows and additional outreach performance possibilities.  Mainstage repertoire is balanced between standard and classical European operas, performed in a variety of original languages, and a strong dedication to American contemporary works, often collegiate premieres.  At LSU, in addition to private voice lessons with faculty, students receive one-on-one coachings with the opera music director and extensive training in acting and stagecraft from the opera stage director.


3rd Place:
Lawrence University  
Copeland Woodruff             
Appleton   WI   
Mass (Bernstein)    

Mass (Bernstein)    
Lawrence University and Conservatory of Music is an all-undergraduate, liberal arts institution. The opera studies division is dedicated to training the young singing actor in all the elements for success: musical styles, acting, text/languages, and modern as well as traditional theatrical techniques. Recent productions have garnered national attention, because of their well-crafted and dedicated musical and dramatic performances. Offering performance opportunities as varied as improvised micro-operas, scenes programs, main stage operas, and re-imagined recital formats, LU is preparing the 21st-Century singing artist to meet the challenges of today’s market. Opera studies faculty: Copeland Woodruff and Andrew Crooks. Voice faculty: Kenneth Bozeman, Joanne Bozeman, Steven Paul Spears, Karen Leigh-Post, John Holiday, and John Gates.



*** 
Congratulations!

Monday, June 29, 2020

Winners: CONDUCTORS (musical theater), 2019-20

The American Prize wishes everyone safety and health during this difficult time.


The American Prize, David (Volosin) Katz, chief judge, is honored to announce the winner and runners-up of The American Prize in Conducting, Musical Theater Division, 2019-20. 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—COVID EXTENSIONS: Because of the current national and international situation, many rules have been changed and requirements eased to make it easier to apply for The American Prize 2020-21, In addition, we will accept applications from CLASSICAL VOCALISTS, PIANISTS, CHAMBER ENSEMBLES and INSTRUMENTAL SOLOISTS postmarked or emailed by the new extended deadline date of Monday, July 20, 2020. Applications from COMPOSERS, CONDUCTORS, STAGE DIRECTORS, CONDUCTED ENSEMBLES, ARTS MARKETERS and in the performance of American Music (BACON AWARD) will be accepted until Monday, July 20, 2020. Visit theamericanprize.org for complete contest information.

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


The American Prize in Conducting,  Musical Theater Division, 2017-18

The American Prize winner:  
Michelle Perrin Blair
Revival Theatre Company              
Cedar Rapids  IA    
Sunday in the Park with George 

Michelle Perrin Blair
Director of Orchestras and Assistant Professor of Music at Coe College, Michelle Perrin Blair was one of twelve fellows for the 2018 International Women's Conducting Workshop in New York City. Blair's other recent honors include the Perrine Faculty Fellowship (2016), the PEO Scholar Award (2014), the Schissler Fellowship in Orchestral Conducting (2013), and the Bernard Osher Scholarship (Monteux School 2012). Blair currently serves as Founder & Artistic Director of PREMIER Chamber Orchestra, Conductor-in-Residence of Revival Theatre Company, and Conductor of Durward Contemporary Chamber Ensemble. Blair holds a Doctorate of Musical Arts from the University of Houston, where she studied with Franz Anton Krager and served as Assistant Director of the AURA Contemporary Ensemble. Blair earned her Master of Music degree in conducting from the University of Texas at Arlington under Dr. Clifton Evans. An active violinist, Blair holds a Bachelor of Music degree in violin performance from Southwestern University.  https://michellepblair.wixsite.com/conductor
 

2nd Place:
Russell G. McCutcheon           
Department of Theater & Sunderman Conservatory of Music      
Gettysburg College
Gettysburg PA                
The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee

Russell G. McCutcheon           
Russell McCutcheon serves as Director of Bands and Associate Professor of Music in the Sunderman Conservatory of Music at Gettysburg College in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, where he conducts the Wind Symphony and teaches courses in conducting and music education.

Dr. McCutcheon received his Ph.D. in Music Education with a concentration in Wind Conducting from the University of Florida in Gainesville, where he studied conducting with Dr. David A. Waybright. He earned an M.S. in Music Education from Troy University in Troy, Alabama.

McCutcheon is the founding conductor of the Atlantic Chamber Winds and Musical Director of the Pennsylvania Lions All-State Band. Bands under his direction have performed at the Gewandhaus in Leipzig, Smetana Hall in Prague, and the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. He is a contributor to the best-selling book series, “Teaching Music through Performance in Bands,” and is an active clinician, guest conductor, and adjudicator. https://www.rmccutcheon.com


3rd Place:
Ana Flavia Zuim 
NYU Steinhardt School
New York   NY                
Anything Goes

Ana Flavia Zuim 
Ana Flavia is an award winning musical director, an accomplished conductor, pianist, singing health specialist and electric bassist. She is a Music Assistant Professor serving as Director of Vocal Performance at Steinhardt School at NYU. She concluded her bachelors at State University of Londrina (UEL - 2003) in her native country, Brazil. She holds a Masters in piano performance (Lynn University - 2006), a Doctorate - PhD in Fine and Performing Arts (FAU - 2012) and a Vocology certification (University of Utah -2015).

 Prior to joining NYU she served as Director of Contemporary Voice at the Frost School of Music with a secondary appointment as Lecturer of Otolaryngology at the Miller School of Medicine, University of Miami. Among her credits are the Broadway Musical Hamilton (Rehearsal Pianist), the Broadway Across America tours of Billy Elliot (Associate Conductor/Vocal Coach), and key’s sub on Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Matilda, Kinky Boots, The Wizard of Oz, Annie and The Sound of Music. Website: www.anaflaviazuim.com

*** 
Congratulations!

Winners: MUSICAL THEATER COMPANIES, 2019-20

The American Prize wishes everyone safety and health during this difficult time.


Marilyn Miller, 1920s-30s Broadway star
The American Prize National Nonprofit Competitions in the Performing Arts, David (Volosin) Katz, chief judge, is honored to announce the winners and runners-up of The American Prize in Musical Theater Performance, 2019-20. 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—COVID EXTENSIONS: Because of the current national and international situation, many rules have been changed and requirements eased to make it easier to apply for The American Prize 2020-21. In addition, application deadlines have been extended. We will accept applications from COMPOSERS, CLASSICAL VOCALISTS, PIANISTS, CHAMBER ENSEMBLES and INSTRUMENTAL SOLOISTS postmarked or emailed by Wednesday, September 9, 2020. Applications from CONDUCTORS, STAGE DIRECTORS, CONDUCTED ENSEMBLES, ARTS ADMINISTRATORS (arts marketing, arts education) and in the performance of American Music (BACON AWARD) will be accepted until Wednesday, September 9, 2020. Further extensions may be granted pending the most current information about the virus. Visit theamericanprize.org for complete contest information.


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

The American Prize in Musical Theater Performance, 2019-20

The American Prize winner:
Bob Jones University                 
Dr. Darren P. Lawson               
Greenville  SC       
Titanic    

Titanic    
The Bob Jones University Opera Association was founded in 1942 as part of the university’s commitment to liberal arts training for all of its students, who are provided free tickets to the productions. It has become a national award-winning organization that mounts major operatic works, including Aida, Mefistofele, Samson et Dalila, Tosca, Andrea Chenier, L’Elisir d’Amore, Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Il Trovatore, Rigoletto, La Cenerentola, and others. The group also presents large-scale musicals as part of its season, including Little Women: The Broadway Musical and Titanic: The Musical.  Productions are presented regularly, with guest artists featured in the principal roles along with student and faculty soloists. Supporting roles and chorus parts are taken by students who show requisite ability. http://www.bju.edu/events/fine-arts/concert-operadrama/archive/


2nd Place:
Belmont University
School of Music       
Nancy Allen                
Nashville  TN 
Side Show


Side Show
Belmont University is the home of our award-winning, nationally ranked musical theatre training program located in Nashville, TN.  Our program is known for excellence in the vital foundational training required to sustain a career in musical theatre performance; Belmont University provides an outstanding liberal arts education in a faith based environment. Our alumni are currently on Broadway, in television and film, and performing in equity houses throughout the country. For more information, please go to belmont.edu/music or contact coordinator, Nancy Allen at nancy.allen@belmont.edu.


3rd Place:
University of Wisconsin—Madison          
David Ronis                
Madison  WI  
Into the Woods

Into the Woods
UW-Madison University Opera is a cultural service of the Mead Witter School of Music at the University of Wisconsin-Madison whose mission is to provide comprehensive operatic training and performance opportunities for students and operatic programming to the community.  Since 1992, we have presented an annual season of two fully staged operas, as well as evenings of opera scenes.  Our recent production of Falstaff won an Honorable Mention in the 2017-18 American Prize Competition in Opera Performance.  Four other recent productions – The Turn of the Screw, Le nozze di Figaro, Albert Herring, and Transformations - won awards in the National Opera Association Opera Production Competition.  Other recent productions have included Falstaff, The Magic Flute, Ariodante and Beatrice et Benedict.  Many alumni of the program are currently enjoying significant opera careers, performing at major houses in the U.S. and abroad. http://www.music.wisc.edu/opera/


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Congratulations!

Friday, June 19, 2020

Finalists: BACON AWARD (AMERICAN MUSIC) ensembles, 2019-20

Ernst Bacon
The American Prize wishes everyone safety and health during this difficult time.

The American Prize National Nonprofit Competitions in the Performing Arts, David (Volosin) Katz, founder and chief judge, is pleased to announce NATIONAL FINALISTS for the ERNST BACON MEMORIAL AWARD for the PERFORMANCE of AMERICAN MUSIC, 2019-20, in the ensemble division. Congratulations! (Finalists in the solo division were published last week on this blog.)

"Many semi-finalists have been advanced. At The American Prize, it is never about 'too many finalists' —why should there be an arbitrary number?—but about respecting (and encouraging) artists at all levels of endeavor—and never more so than during this very difficult time in the world history of the performing arts."—DK

The finalist categories are listed below in this order:
   *professional ensembles
   *college/university ensembles
   *community ensembles
   *youth ensembles

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.

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 winners 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.

COVID EXTENSION: Because of the current national and international situation, many rules have been changed and requirements eased to make it easier to apply for The American Prize 2020-21. In addition, application deadlines have been extended. We will accept applications from COMPOSERS, CLASSICAL VOCALISTS, PIANISTS, CHAMBER ENSEMBLES and INSTRUMENTAL SOLOISTS postmarked or emailed by Wednesday, September 9, 2020. Applications from CONDUCTORS, STAGE DIRECTORS, CONDUCTED ENSEMBLES, ARTS ADMINISTRATORS (arts marketing, arts education) and in the performance of American Music (BACON AWARD) will be accepted until Wednesday, September 9, 2020. Further extensions may be granted pending the most current information about the virus. Visit theamericanprize.org for complete contest information.


NATIONAL FINALISTS: The American Prize ERNST BACON MEMORIAL AWARD for the PERFORMANCE of AMERICAN MUSIC, PROFESSIONAL ensemble division, 2019-20

Oliver Caplan 
Juventas New Music Ensemble
Boston   MA
Shell & Wing (David Biedenbender)

Tyson Deaton 
US Army Soldiers' Chorus and Field Band
New York  NY
The Falling and the Rising  (Zach Redler/Jerre Dye)     

Audrey Johnson
Chicago  IL
Songs of Sac Prairie (a song cycle) (Ronald William Hill)

Jessica Koebbe 
Prairie Duo   
Prairie Village  KS
La boite `a bijoux (The Jewelry Box) (Philip Lasser)

Jason  Lim
McKinney Philharmonic
McKinney TX
Three Latin American Sketches; Music for Movies (Copland)

Dean Whiteside      
New World Symphony
Miami Beach  FL
Chamber Symphony No. 2  (Arnold Schoenberg)

 
NATIONAL FINALISTS: The American Prize ERNST BACON MEMORIAL AWARD for the PERFORMANCE of AMERICAN MUSIC, COLLEGE/UNIVERSITY ensemble division, 2019-20

Dr. Eddie W. Airheart
The TCU Wind Symphony     
Fort Worth   TX
The Seven Deadly Sins (Robert Xavier Rodriguez)

Heather C. Barclay
Palomar/YPO Percussion Ensemble
San Marcos CA
Sofapilla (Chuck Ricotta); Fidget (Nathan Daughtrey) 

Daniel Cook
Northwestern University Chamber Ensemble   
Evanston IL
Appalachian Spring   

William B. Drury  
New England Conservatory Symphonic Winds  
Boston MA
Whitman Tropes (Richard Toensing)

Tracelyn Gesteland      
University of South Dakota Opera      
Vermillion SD
The Consul

Michael Hancock
University of Oklahoma Wind Symphony
Norman OK
Urban Requiem; Labyrinth of Love  (Michael Colgrass/Michael Daugherty)

Janet Heukeshoven    
St. Mary's University of Minnesota Concert Band
Winona   MN
Nigun Prophecy; Ayshet Chayil (A Woman of Valor)  (David Ashalomov / Steven L. Rosenhaus) 

Scott Jones  
Texas A&M University Kingsville Wind Symphony  
KingsvilleTX
Innsmouth, Massachusetts—1927   (Roy D. Magnuson)

Minji Kim
University of Maryland University Chorale
College Park MD
A Jubilant Song (Norman Della Joio)

Tremon Kizer  
University of Central FL Wind Ensemble  and
Orlando  FL
(Grainger, Holst, Thomas, Reed)

Thomas Kociela
New England Conservatory Wind Ensemble
Boston MA
Double Quintet  (Gunther Schuller)

Hon Pan Benson Lee
TCU Symphony Orchestra and TCU Chamber Orchestra  
Fort Worth   TX
A Christmas Festival; Adagio for Strings  (Anderson/Barber)

Thomas G. Leslie
UNLV Wind Orchestra
Las Vegas  NV
Festive Music (Morton Gould)

James Reddan
Western Oregon University Chamber Singers  
Monmouth  OR
(Rudoi, Berger, Erb, Foster/Keller, Guillaume)

Carl T. Rowles 
Kansas Wesleyan University Wind Ensemble   
Salina KS
Concerto for Flute and Wind Ensemble (Peter Senchuk)   

Ethan Stolen 
Queens College Conductors Workshop Festival
New York NY
Divertimento  (Bruce Sayon)

Hugh Murphy
SUNY Purchase Opera
Purchase NY
Confession (Raphael Lucas)

Adam Waller 
Peabody Wind Ensemble     
Baltimore MD
Requiem (David Maslanka)   

Carolyn Watson 
University of Kansas Symphony Orchestra    
Kansas City  KS
Fanfare Ritmico (Jennifer Higdon) 

Brian J. Winnie 
Western IL University Singers  
Macomb   IL
(Runestad, Dawson, Whitacre, Smith)


NATIONAL FINALISTS: The American Prize ERNST BACON MEMORIAL AWARD for the PERFORMANCE of AMERICAN MUSIC, COMMUNITY ensemble division, 2019-20

David  Anderson
Lake Geneva Symphony Orchestra
Lake Geneva       WI
Hold fast to dreams (Dana Wilson)  

Donald L. Appert 
Clark College Orchestra   
Vancouver WA
Symphony No. 2  (David Diamond)

Patricia Brown  
Texas Medical Center Orchestra
Houston  TX
Libi Lebel, conductor
New Beginnings (Peter Boyer)  

Ronald Demkee 
The Allentown Band
Allentown PA       
(Reed, Hanson, Daughtery, Williams, Meij)

Michael Driscoll
Andover Choral Society    
Andover  MA
Abraham Lincoln Walks at Midnight (Florence Price)   

Nancy  Magee  
Harmonium Choral Society  
Morristown   NJ
Song of the Open Road (Mark Miller)    

Matthew Melendez
Great Bend Chorale & Youth Chorale    
Union   WA
Borders  (John Muehleisen)  

John J. Palatucci      
Orpheus Club Men's Chorus 
Ridgewood NJ
(Benz, Martin, Lane, Van Heusen)

Erik Peregrine      
Ensemble Companio 
Northeastern US    
Wonderous Glow; The New Colossus; Hard Times  (Valverde; Choi; Foster)      

Martha Stoddard
Oakland Civic Orchestra   
Oakland  CA
(Reiprich, Johnson, Stoddard)


NATIONAL FINALISTS: The American Prize ERNST BACON MEMORIAL AWARD for the PERFORMANCE of AMERICAN MUSIC, YOUTH division, 2019-20

Michael Isadore
John Foster Dulles HS Honors Orchestra
Sugar Land  TX
Supermaximum (Kenji Bunch)  

Dr. Michael G. Martin 
Hilliard Darby Symphonic Choir
Hilliard OH
Great God Almighty; Angelus Ad Virginem; Peace Like a River   (Stacey G. Gibbs/ Carol Barnett/ Mack Wilberg)

Kelly Waltrip
Denver Young Artists Orchestra
Denver CO
Wes Kenney, conductor
Fanfare for the Uncommon Woman #4 (Joan Tower)

***

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, 2019-20. 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.

Thursday, June 11, 2020

Finalists: BACON AWARD (AMERICAN MUSIC) soloists and composers, 2019-20

Ernst Bacon
The American Prize wishes everyone safety and health during this difficult time.


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, 2019-20, 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.

REMINDER: Because of the current national and international situation, many rules have been changed and requirements eased to make it easier to apply for The American Prize 2020-21, In addition, we will accept applications from CLASSICAL VOCALISTS, PIANISTS, CHAMBER ENSEMBLES and INSTRUMENTAL SOLOISTS postmarked or emailed by the new extended deadline date of Monday, June 23, 2020. Applications from COMPOSERS, CONDUCTORS, STAGE DIRECTORS, CONDUCTED ENSEMBLES, ARTS MARKETERS and in the performance of American Music (BACON AWARD) will be accepted until Monday, July 20, 2020. Visit theamericanprize.org for complete contest information.


NATIONAL FINALISTS: The American Prize ERNST BACON MEMORIAL AWARD for the PERFORMANCE of AMERICAN MUSIC, semi-finalists, PROFESSIONAL soloists or composers, 2019-20

Cayla Bellamy, bassoon
Cedar Falls  IA       
Jazz Variations (Larsen); Elegy and Dance (Davis); Deep (Shapiro)  

Lisa  Bryce, soprano
Brooklyn  NY       
Kiss Me Not Goodbye (Schuman);  Po'Mo'ner (arr. Johnson); Compensation (Lloyd); Litany (Musto)

Luke  Carlson, composer
Aether Eos            
New York  NY      
Last Light, for violin and piano

Hyunjung Rachel Chung, piano
Roswell  GA       
My Cherished Garden—piano works by American Women Composers      
(Higdon, Zwilich, Thomas, Park, Leon)

Alice Anne Light, mezzo-soprano
Lubbock  TX       
Abide with Me: 5 Songs of Love (Price Walden)      

Susan Merdinger, piano            
Highland Park  IL       
American Melting Pot
Pieces of China (Gould); Ballade in F-sharp minor (Vasquez); Piano Sonata (Aaron Alter); Toccata (Barilari)

Robert G. Patterson, composer            
Rhodes College Mastersingers, Coro Rio, Memphis Symphony      
MemphisTN       
Requiem

Megan Roth, mezzo-soprano
Boston MA       
Another Reason Why I Don't Keep a Gun in the House (Cipullo)
Wasting the Night (Wheeler)
Brutal Arithmetic (Case)

Kurt Sander, composer 
PaTRAM Institute Singers 
Chicago IL       
The Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom           

Jackie Schiffer, vocalist
New York  NY    
The Great American Songbook

Nolan Stolz, composer
Brno Philharmonic     
Brno   Czechoslovakia    
Lincoln Highway Suite      

Shiwei Wan, hip-hop/jazz fusion artist
APEX 
Boston MA       
Chemical Emotions      

Ann Marie Wilcox-Daehn, mezzo-soprano   
Elizabeth Avery, pianist    
Springfield  MO       
Songs to the Moon (Heggie)          

Heidi Louise Williams, piano
Tallahassee  FL       
Sonata for Piano, Op. 26 (Barber)     



NATIONAL FINALISTS: The American Prize ERNST BACON MEMORIAL AWARD for the PERFORMANCE of AMERICAN MUSIC, semi-finalists, COLLEGE/UNIVERSITY soloists or composers, 2019-20

Lindsay Bronnenkant, composer
Ann Arbor MI       
Prayer of the Burdened   

Cassidy Dixon, soprano
Newark DE       
Knoxville: Summer of 1915 (Barber)      

Martin Hebel, composer
CCM Wind Ensemble     
CincinnatiOH       
Tides Within 
Dr. Terence G. Milligan, conductor        

Annika Huprikar, pianist and composer
Deerfield IL       
Ballade in F minor; Arabesque; Olympus

Young Jun Lee, composer 
New Thread Saxophone Quartet
New York  NY       
Tsunami  

Zachary Ploeger, composer
Tempe  AZ       
Sonata for Trumpet and Piano 

Matt  Ridge, composer
Bloomington  IN       
Small Talk (A Portrait of Social Skepticism) 




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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.

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Winners: COMPOSERS (orchestral music), 2019-20

The American Prize wishes everyone safety and health during this difficult time.
 


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 mentions of The American Prize in Composition, 2019-20, in the orchestra 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.

COVID EXTENSION: Because of the current national and international situation, many rules have been changed and requirements eased to make it easier to apply for The American Prize 2020-21. In addition, application deadlines have been extended. We will accept applications from COMPOSERS, CLASSICAL VOCALISTS, PIANISTS, CHAMBER ENSEMBLES and INSTRUMENTAL SOLOISTS postmarked or emailed by Wednesday, September 9, 2020. Applications from CONDUCTORS, STAGE DIRECTORS, CONDUCTED ENSEMBLES, ARTS ADMINISTRATORS (arts marketing, arts education) and in the performance of American Music (BACON AWARD) will be accepted until Wednesday, September 9, 2020. Further extensions may be granted pending the most current information about the virus. Visit theamericanprize.org for complete contest information.

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


The American Prize in Composition—Orchestra (professional division), 2019-20

The American Prize winner:
Tyler Goodrich White
Lincoln  NE  
A Brand-New Summer

Tyler Goodrich White
Tyler Goodrich White is Professor of Composition and Conducting at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and is Composer-in-Residence with Lincoln’s Symphony Orchestra.  A native of Atlanta, Georgia, White was raised there and in Manhattan, Kansas.  White was educated at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and at Cornell University, with additional study at the University of Copenhagen and the American Conservatory at Fontainebleau.  His principal teachers of composition have included Pulitzer Prize winners Steven Stucky and Karel Husa, as well as Niels Viggo Bentzon, and Roger Hannay.  As a composer, Tyler White has received commissions from the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, the National Symphony Orchestra, the Cleveland Chamber Symphony, Lincoln’s Symphony Orchestra, and numerous other organizations.  Other honors include awards and grants from ASCAP, BMI, American Music Center, The MacDowell Colony, the Omaha Symphony, Tulane University, Indiana State University, and the American Conservatory at Fontainebleau (Prix Maurice Ravel).

White also maintains an active career as a conductor:  a protégé of the late Maestro Robert Shaw, White has served as Director of Orchestras at Nebraska since 1994.  Under White’s direction, the UNL Symphony has been recognized as one of America’s outstanding collegiate orchestras;  UNL opera productions conducted by him have twice won awards from the Waterford International Festival of Light Opera (Ireland) and three times from the National Opera Association.  From 2000 to 2019 , White also served as Resident Conductor of Lincoln's Symphony Orchestra, having previously served as director of orchestras at Cornell University and at Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas.


2nd Place (there was a tie):
Leanna Primiani
Santa Monica    CA 
1001

Leanna Primiani
For award-winning composer Leanna Primiani, her signature modern classical aesthetic is distinguished by a seamless fusion of synthetic and organic instrumentation where it’s often hard to distinguish pure orchestral passages from electronic-based motivic movements.

Leanna’s concert catalog has been embraced internationally including performances at the Nashville Symphony, the Cabrillo and Aspen Music Festivals, the Ensemble Aventure Freiburg (Germany), and the Centre de Création Musicale Iannis Xenakis.

Informing her compositional work is her distinguished background as a conductor, having conducted for the LA Opera, National Symphony, Fort Worth Symphony, Dallas Opera Orchestra, California Opera Association the Central California Ballet.

Leanna currently lives in Santa Monica, and earned a DMA in composition from USC.  She's studied with Leonard Slatkin and Peter Eötvös, among others. 2019 saw the debut of 1001 for Orchestra and Prerecorded Electronics in Seattle and will release a clarinet and electronic album fall 2019.  Visit leannaprimiani.com for more information.


2nd Place (there was a tie):
Maxim Samarov 
Harvey LA  
Ars moriendi 

Maxim Samarov 
Maxim Samarov was born in Moscow, Russia in a family of musicians and started his music studies at the age of five. He studied cello at Junior College of the Moscow Conservatory and later at Jerusalem Music Academy and Southern Methodist University, and performed extensively as a cello soloist, chamber music player and orchestra member in Russia, Europe, Israel, and the United States. He studied orchestral conducting at the University of Missouri-Kansas City and Michigan State University, in addition to extensive studies with Kenneth Kiesler in summer workshops and privately. Dr. Samarov is currently the orchestra director at Tulane University, where he also teaches music theory, orchestration, and conducting. He has previously held faculty positions with St. Cloud State University (MN) and Luther College (IA).

Besides his Tulane duties, Dr. Samarov has been active as a guest conductor (both orchestral and opera); he also co-founded New Orleans Chamber Orchestra, which is now in its 5th year of activities. He studied composition privately with Jerry Sieg and Alan Belkin and is the author of a symphony, a guitar concerto, an opera "Feast at the Time of Plague," and a number of other works. He resides in New Orleans with his wife Tanya, a pediatrician, and their son Julian.


3rd Place (there was a tie):
Lee Actor
Monte Sereno  CA  
Symphony No. 2

Lee Actor
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.


3rd Place (there was a tie):
Larry Tuttle  
Van Nuys CA  
Thousand Mile Suite

Larry Tuttle  
Larry Tuttle writes iconic and optimistic music with a strong sense of story and narrative arc. His music is driven by 21-st Century rhythms and sensibilities, while being rooted with the power of archetypal musical elements.

Larry won the Pittsburgh Symphony’s 2014 Audience of the Future Composition Competition with his work CHORALE AND FIDDLE TUNE.  His concert overture BY STEAM OR BY DREAM won second prize at the 2016 Keuris Composers Competition in The Netherlands, in the category of Youth Symphony Orchestra, and his wind ensemble piece TO A LOST WORLD finished as first runner-up in the 2018 World Projects Composition Contest.

Larry is a composing and performing member of Composers Ensemble of Los Angeles, a workshop group dedicated to the development of new music.  Larry is also renowned as a master of the Chapman Stick.  You can find out more about his music at www.larrytuttle.com.

 

Finalist Honorable Mention:
Jean Ahn  
Orinda  CA  
Woven Silk

Jean Ahn  
Jean Ahn finished her B.A. and M.M. at Seoul National University and Ph.D. at UC Berkeley. Recently, her collaborative piece for “Saltdoll” has won the Isadora Duncan Award. Other awards include 1st prize from the Renée Fisher Award, the Korean National Music Composers Award, 1st prize from the Sejong Music Competition and the 2nd prize for National Flute Association Composers Competition . Jean’s music was featured at Aspen Music Festival, June in Buffalo, the Oregon Bach Festival, the Etchings Festival, IAWM Beijing Congress, New Music Miami, the Spark Festival, Women Composers Festival at Hartford, New York City Electronic Music Festival, among others. Commissions include works for the SF Choral Artists, Volti Chamber Choir, Leftcoast Chamber Ensemble, Duo Camaraderie, Gayaguem Soloist JUL, Locrian Chamber Players, and the Pianissimo. Her works have been performed by Earplay, Memphis Symphony, Berkeley Symphony, UC Davis Orchestra, Diablo Symphony, Ensemble Sur Plus, pianist Lisa Moore (Bang on a can), Contemporaneous Ensemble, Untwelve, Enhake, Pakk-Calloway Duo, Muse Trio, Unheard of Ensemble and others. She is a Lecturer at UC Berkeley and the director of Ensemble ARI.


Finalist Honorable Mention:
John Baboukis
New Cairo Egypt  
A Symphony for Cairo

John Baboukis
John Baboukis is Professor of Music and Director of the Music Program at the American University in Cairo, in Cairo, Egypt.

He is the conductor of the Cairo Choral Society, a community chorus, and the Cairo Festival Orchestra, a professional ensemble in residence at AUC. He is also the founder and co-director of the Lions of Cairo, which performs medieval, renaissance and baroque Western music, Byzantine chant, and classical Arab music.

He has written a substantial body of vocal music, chamber works, and music for piano, harpsichord, clavichord and organ. His concerto for bassoon and string orchestra, Three Walks in Zamalek, and his Symphony for Cairo were both premiered by the Cairo Symphony.

He has been awarded a McKnight Composition Fellowship, and, in addition to receiving numerous private commissions, has twice won composer commissioning grants from the Jerome Foundation, through the American Composers Forum.


Finalist Honorable Mention:
Robert J. Bradshaw
Gloucester   MA  
Echoes in the Deep: meditation on the depth of our impact on the Earth's oceans  

Robert J. Bradshaw
Award-winning composer ROBERT J. BRADSHAW's music has been heard around the world from Lincoln Center to Australia, and beyond.  Bradshaw continues to push the boundaries of modern art music.  Socially conscious and relevant to our daily lives, Bradshaw’s music is infused with modern culture, historical significance, and speaks with a vibrant and engaging musical language.  Commissions include works for the James Pappoutsakis Flute Competition and the New England String Ensemble Musical Heritage Initiative.  Of particular note is the Australian Trumpet Guild's commission of the opera “.Gabriel”, premiered at the 35th Annual Conference of the International Trumpet Guild, courtesy of Opera Australia and Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra.  For more information:  www.robertjbradshaw.com


Finalist Honorable Mention:
Mark Dal Porto 
Portales NM  
Mystic Mountain

Mark Dal Porto 
Dr. Mark Dal Porto has had his works performed by numerous instrumental and vocal ensembles throughout the US and abroad. His commissions include those from the Orchestra of Southern Utah, the College Orchestra Directors Association, and the Pemigewasset Choral Society of New Hampshire.
               
In 2013, Dal Porto was also awarded first prize in the CODA (College Orchestra Director’s Association) 2013 International Composition Contest for his orchestral work Song of Eternity.

Dal Porto serves on the faculty of Eastern New Mexico University as Professor of Music and Coordinator of Music Theory and Composition and frequently serves as a guest composer and conductor. A former student of Donald Grantham, Dal Porto received degrees from California State University, Sacramento, and the University of Texas at Austin.


Finalist Honorable Mention:
Penka Kouneva 
Tujunga  CA  
BETRAYAL OF TECHNOLOGY   

Penka Kouneva 
Los Angeles-based composer Penka Kouneva is known for her "exceptional talent" (Billboard). Her orchestral music has been called "fantastic," "breath-taking" (NPR) and "luminous" (Forbes.) She has scored The Mummy VR game (Universal), Hellboy VR film (Lionsgate), the NASA museum Heroes and Legends at the Kennedy Space Center, the iconic game "Prince of Persia" and feature films. Her orchestral music has been performed at the Hollywood Bowl and Lincoln Center. Universal Music released her orchestral albums Woman Astronaut and Rebirth of Id  to 5-star press. Penka's chamber music has been commissioned by Lark and Ciompi Quartets & Elixir Trio. Penka's awards include Sundance Composer Fellowship, Distinguished Duke Alumna, Meet the Composer Fellowship and Recognition Award from Game Audio Guild. In 2019 Penka's orchestral commission "Betrayal of Technology" was premiered by Sofia Philharmonic to great critical acclaim. Penka received the first-ever Ph.D. in composition at Duke University where she studied with Stephen Jaffe and Scott Lindroth.  www.penkakouneva.com


Finalist Honorable Mention:
Hye Kyung Lee  
Granville    OH  
Climbing Tomorrow 

Hye Kyung Lee  
An active composer/pianist, HyeKyung Lee has written works for diverse genres and media: from toy piano to big concerto, from electronic music to children’s choir. Recent commissions include the Bonnie McElveen Commission for Maestro Gerard Schwarz and Eastern Music Festival, Renée B. Fisher Piano Competition, and Meg Quigley Vivaldi Bassoon Competition.

Lee’s music has been described as “virtuosic fantasy where continuous rhythmic motion smoothly joined contrasting moods and effectively propelled from one section to another…. showing a penchant for colorful timbres, expressive lines, and lively rhythmic interaction of instruments”.

Born in Seoul, Korea, HyeKyung studied at YonSei University and University of Texas at Austin where she received DMA in composition and piano performance certificate.  Her music has been supported by the National Endowment for the Arts, Meet the Composer Fund, and residencies at Yaddo and MacDowell Colony. She is Associate Professor of Music at Denison University in Granville, Ohio. https://www.hyekyunglee.com


Finalist Honorable Mention:
Lucas  Richman 
Bangor ME  
Symphony: This Will Be Our Reply

Lucas  Richman 
GRAMMY award-winning conductor/composer Lucas Richman has served as Music Director for the Bangor Symphony Orchestra since 2010 and held the position as Music Director for the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra from 2003-2015. Resident/Assistant Conductor for the Pittsburgh Symphony from 1998-2004, he has also appeared as guest conductor with numerous orchestras including the New York Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, Boston Pops, Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Oslo Philharmonic, and the Iceland Symphony Orchestra. Guest conducting highlights for the 2018-19 season include debuts with the Cleveland Orchestra, the Florida Orchestra, the Stamford Symphony, the Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra and the Israel Camerata Orchestra Jerusalem. As a composer, Mr. Richman’s music has been performed by over two hundred orchestras across the United States and has been recorded by organizations such as the San Diego Symphony, the Pittsburgh Symphony and the Debussy Trio. For more information, visit www.lucasrichman.com and www.ledorgroup.com.


Finalist Honorable Mention:
Lauren Spavelko
Pickerington    OH  
Kéyah

Lauren Spavelko
Lauren Spavelko (b. 1989) is a composer, arranger, studio teacher, performer, and visual artist. People are her favorite part of music—here, we can all experience beauty, craft, connection, love, and the joy. Her most notable works are Baby Book (winner of Festival dei Due Mondi’s 2017 Young Composers Competition in Spoleto, Italy), a six-movement song cycle for soprano on miscarriage, pregnancy, and motherhood; and Keyah, a work for orchestra in collaboration with nature photographer Frank Lee Ruggles and commissioned by the Central Ohio Symphony. Lauren is a graduate of the University of Louisville (M.M. Composition) and Ohio Wesleyan University (B.M. Music Education). Her works have been performed across the United States and in Italy. Lauren has studied composition with Steve Rouse, Clint Needham, and Jason Bahr. Learn more: www.LaurenSpavelko.com


Finalist Honorable Mention:
Aaron Spotts  
Tallahassee  FL  
Life for Life 

Aaron Spotts  
Aaron Spotts (b. 1980) graduated in 2018 with a doctorate in music composition from Florida State University, having studied with Ladislav Kubik, Clifton Callender, and Ellen Taaffe Zwilich. His recent activities include: being selected as a finalist in the Tampa Bay Symphony’s Call for Scores Composition Competition; music featured on the Chicago Ensemble’s “Discover America IX” concert series; acceptance to the 2019 Society of Composers, Inc. (SCI) Region VI Conference; a commission from The Ambassador Trio, premiered in Vancouver, B.C.; being a finalist in ICEBERG New Music’ 2018-19 call for scores; having music performed in the 2018 Frontwave New Music Festival and 2018 SCI Student National Conference; the premiere of his electric string quartet in Washington D.C. in 2017; and being chosen as a finalist in the 2016 Bruno Maderna Composition Competition.


Finalist Honorable Mention:
Kevin Wilt 
Boynton Beach   FL   

Song of the Phoenix
Kevin Wilt 
Kevin Wilt composes music that balances sophistication with accessibility and experimentation with craftsmanship. He composed Running on Rooftops for The Florida Orchestra in honor of their 50th anniversary season. He won the Fresh Squeezed Opera Call for Scores with his chamber opera, Prix Fixe, and the Musical Chairs Chamber Ensemble Composer Search. He was awarded a grant by the ACC Band Directors Association to create Urban Impressions, a multi-movement work for wind ensemble. He was a finalist for the ASCAP/CBDNA Frederick Fennel Prize, the Symphony Number One Call for Scores III, and the Hartford Opera Theater Call for Scores. He is equally at home composing for film and television, earning him a Michigan Emmy® Award Nomination for Best Musical Composition. Kevin holds degrees from Michigan State University (D.M.A. and M.M.) and Wayne State University (B.M.). He is Associate Professor of Music and Composer-in-Residence at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton.


The American Prize in Composition—Orchestra (student division), 2019-20

The American Prize winner:
Nicholas Bentz  
Los Angeles  CA  
A Cosmos in Stone, Respawning

Nicholas Bentz  
 Composer-performer Nick Bentz seeks to find relationships across time and space through his fascination with historical objects and cultural throughlines. His work has responded to subjects as diverse as anthropology, astrophysics, cinema, neuroscience, and video games. Nicholas has written for the Charleston Symphony, Occasional Symphony, yMusic, and SONAR New Music Ensemble, and has had his music played by the Jacksonville Symphony, USC Symphony, and the Peabody Modern Orchestra. Winner of the 2020 Tribeca Young Composer's Competition, Nick was the recipient of an EarShot New Music Reading through American Composer’s Orchestra and the Sadye J. Moss Prize from the University of Southern California. His music has been featured at the Piccolo Spoleto Festival, New Music on the Point, and Sounding Now Festival in Singapore. Nick is currently a composition teaching artist fellow with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra.

As a violinist, Nick has soloed with the Charleston Symphony Orchestra, Thornton Edge, and the Pacific Philharmonic. He has also performed with the Moscow Symphony Orchestra. Nick attended the Aspen Music Festival and School for seven summers. An avid interpreter of new music, Nick has commissioned and premiered over thirty pieces ranging from chamber and solo pieces to concerti and multimedia works. Nick received a master’s in composition from the University of Southern California and a bachelor’s from the Peabody Conservatory. He received a master’s and bachelor’s in violin from the Peabody Conservatory. His mentors include Donald Crockett, Ted Hearne, Andrew Norman, Kevin Puts. Yiorgos Vassilandonakis, and Felipe Lara, and his previous violin teachers include Lina Bahn, Herbert Greenberg, Yuriy Bekker, Espen Lilleslåtten, and Diana Cohen.


2nd Place (there was a tie):

Moni Guo  
Los Angeles  CA  
Night Ghost

Moni Guo  
 Composer/pianist Moni (Jasmine) Guo, born in China, has studied music since she was three.
After her piano and composition studies at Interlochen Arts Academy, The Peabody Institute and Rice University, she is currently a first-year Ph.D. student at UCLA studying composition under Peter Golub and Kay Rhie.

Her previous composition teachers include Pierre Jalbert, Shih-hui Chen, Michael Hersch, Samuel Adler, Jason Eckardt, Amy Kirsten, and Cynthia Van Mannen. She has also had master classes with many great masters including Steven Stucky, Shulamit Ran, and Christopher Rouse.

Her pieces have been read/performed by famous soloists such as Miranda Cuckson, Courtney Orlando, Michael Kannen, Kyung Wha Chu, also ensembles such as IIIZ+, Deviant Septet, and Winsor Music.

Jasmine is now a member of The Pi Kappa Lambda Society. She has received numerous awards in both composition and piano. Her music has been performed in the US and Europe.


2nd Place (there was a tie):

Evan Jay Williams
Baltimore    MD  
"That Which We Cannot Live Without"

Evan Jay Williams
 Evan Jay Williams (b.1989) is an American composer based in Baltimore, where he is a doctoral student of Du Yun at the Peabody Conservatory.  His music has been performed across the U.S. and Europe and, as part of Carnegie Mellon University's Moon Ark Project, even sent to The Moon.  Although he has composed prolifically for instrumentalists and ensembles, as well as for multimedia projects, he has focused recently on writing for the voice.   He is currently working on setting texts ranging from Ovid and Shakespeare to those of living poets.


3rd Place (there was a tie):
Zachary Gulaboff Davis
Salem  OR  
Tailwind

Zachary 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 Prize-winning composer Kevin Puts. This summer, Zach will serve as the Brevard Institute's composition fellow under a full fellowship.


3rd Place (there was a tie):
Wai Leung William So   
Kennedy Town    Hong Kong
Blue Fire  

Wai Leung William So   
 Wai Leung William So is a young composer born in Hong Kong, who graduated with a Bachelor of Music degree (Composition Major) at Berklee College of Music in 2019. William will begin his Master Degree in music within the near future. William is capable of composing music in many different styles such as Classical, Contemporary, Jazz and as well as Film Scoring. His music was selected to be performed in several concerts in Berklee and the Boston Conservatory. His pieces were played/read by the famous Esterhazy Quartet, Jack Quartet and several faculty members at Berklee. He was awarded the Berklee Achievement Scholarship of 2018, the MTNA Composition Competition Massachusetts (Honorable mention, Young Artist Catergory) 2018, and the 1st-Place - 200K SoundCloud Plays Melody Competition in 2017. On the 1st of March 2019, William had great success with his personal debut concert at Berklee, which showcased his original compositions.

Personal website: https://s081186.wixsite.com/williamso
YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/TheS081186/featured?disable_polymer=1


Finalist Honorable Mention:
Cory Brodack 
Saint Peters    MO  
Nodus Tollens   

Cory Brodack 
 Cory Brodack (b. 1997) is a composer, orchestrator, arranger, and copyist from the St. Louis area. He composes for both electronic and acoustic mediums, with an emphasis on timbre and the uncontrollable phenomena that arise in both human performance and electronic systems. His music is inspired by individual aspects of the human condition and the unique connection between performer, score, and audience. He has worked for the Municipal Theatre Association of St. Louis (The Muny) on projects such as the first staging of Jerome Robbins's Broadway since 1989, and a new orchestration of The Wiz during The Muny's historic centennial season.

Cory's recent awards include the 2020 ASCAP Rudolf Nissim Prize and East Carolina University's New Music Initiative Orchestra Composition Competition for his piece, Nodus Tollens. When not composing, Cory enjoys playing the horn and painting. He is currently pursuing his masters studies in composition at Bowling Green State University with Christopher Dietz and Mikel Kuehn. Prior to Bowling Green, he earned his bachelor's degree in music composition from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, where he studied composition with Kimberly Archer.


Finalist Honorable Mention:
Patrick Andrew Thompson
Jersey City  NJ  
Through a Glass, Darkly

Patrick Andrew Thompson

Patrick Andrew Thompson (patrickandrewthompson.com) is a composer of dramatic musical narratives. Described as “a musician bursting with ideas,” (Atlanta Journal Constitution) he strives to carefully craft works of great emotional breadth and immediacy, marked by colorful, poignant harmonies, rich textures, and constant evolution. 
     

His pieces have been performed and read by a wide range of ensembles including So Percussion, the Dover Quartet, the College of New Jersey Wind Ensemble, the Peabody Modern Orchestra, and the Princeton University Orchestra. Current projects include a piece for the Beo string quartet and a solo marimba commission for Robert Rocheteau. He was a composition fellow at the Brevard Summer Institute in 2018.
     

Patrick currently studies with Kevin Puts while completing an MM in composition at the Peabody Institute.  He has an AB in Mathematics from Princeton University, where he also studied composition and orchestration with Paul Lansky and Steven Mackey.


Finalist Honorable Mention:
Miranda Yu   
Palo Alto    CA  
Reflections of A Sixteen Year Old Girl    

Miranda Yu   

Miranda Yu is a composer, oboist, pianist, and a high schooler in Palo Alto, CA. She has studied under composers Vivian Fung and Jessica Mao and composed works characterized by neoclassical sounds for piano and orchestra. In 2018, her orchestral work was chosen as a finalist for the National Young Composers Challenge.

Yu is an oboist in the Henry M. Gunn High School Wind Ensemble and the Silicon Valley Youth Orchestra. She and the Wind Ensemble received a Unanimous Superior rating in the 2019 CMEA State and Local Festivals. At the age of twelve, she received the Piano Certificate of Merit Level 10, Branch Honor Award, and was selected to perform at the Music Teachers’ Association of California State Conference.

As a volunteer, Yu has taught music to students in East Palo Alto elementary and middle schools without music programs and Teen Challenge’s substance abuse recovery program members.


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Congratulations!