Friday, June 5, 2020

Winners: COMPOSERS (band division), 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 band/wind ensemble 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.

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.

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


The American Prize in Composition—Band/Wind Ensemble (professional division), 2019-20

The American Prize winner:
Shawn E. Okpebholo  
Wheaton  IL      
This is Africa   

Shawn E. Okpebholo  
Shawn E. Okpebholo is a widely sought-after and award-winning composer whose music has been described as having “enormous grace…, fantasy, and color”, comfortably composing in various styles and genres. Recent awards include: second place in The American Prize Composition Competition (professional and orchestral division), winner of the Adams-Owens Composition Prize, the Flute New Music Consortium Composition Competition, and the Sound of Late Call for Collaborators Competition. A regularly commissioned composer, his music has been performed on five continents, all across the United States, and at some of the nation's greatest concert venues, including Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center. He earned his masters and doctoral degrees in composition from the University of Cincinnati, College-Conservatory of Music, bachelor’s degree from Asbury College, and has had additional studies in film scoring at New York University. Currently, he is Associate Professor of Music Composition and Theory at Wheaton College-Conservatory of Music. For a complete bio, visit: www.shawnokpebholo.com.


2nd Place: 
Larry Tuttle     
Van Nuys  CA      
Big World, Utopia Rising 

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.


3rd Place:
Gregory Fritze     
Daytona Beach  FL      
The Four Seasons

Gregory Fritze     
Gregory Fritze is a prize-winning composer and Fulbright Scholar. His compositions have been performed more than one thousand times in twenty-six countries. He has written over ninety compositions for orchestra, band, chamber ensembles and soloists.  He won over sixty composition awards including First Prize in 2017 WASBE (World Association of Symphonic Bands and Ensembles) Composition Contest, First Prize Winner in Concurso Tenerife, Spain and others. Several professional ensembles have commissioned and played his music including the Rhode Island Philharmonic, The Army Band “Pershing’s Own”, The Banda Municipal of Madrid, and others. His music is published by several publishers in the US, South America and Europe and recorded on Albany Records, MSR Classics and others. He has been a guest lecturer at many universities and music festivals in the United States, Canada, Japan, South America and Europe. He taught at Berklee College of Music as Professor and Chair of Composition from 1979 to 2016. He has Composition degrees from the Boston Conservatory and Indiana University with Distinction.


Finalist Honorable Mention:
Adrienne Albert     
Los Angeles  CA      
COURAGE for Winds 

Adrienne Albert     
Award-winning composer Adrienne Albert (ASCAP) has had her chamber, choral, vocal, orchestral and wind band works performed throughout the U.S. and across the globe.  Her music is widely known for its “melodic and lyrical beauty” and “whimsy and playfulness”.  Having previously worked as a singer with composers such as Stravinsky, Bernstein, Glass, and Schuller to name a few, Albert began composing her own music in the 1990s.  Her music has been supported by noteworthy arts organizations including the National Endowment for the Arts, ACF, Meet The Composer/Rockefeller Foundation, Subito Awards, MPE Foundation, ACME, and yearly ASCAP awards.  She has been composer-in-residence and a visiting composer at numerous colleges and universities in NY, California, Alaska, and Colorado.  A graduate of UCLA, Albert studied composition with Stephen Mosko, and orchestration with Albert Harris.   Her music is widely recorded, published by Kenter Canyon Music (ASCAP) and can be found on her website: adriennealbert.com


Finalist Honorable Mention:
David Avshalomov 
Santa Monica  CA       

Lifeboat Variations 
David Avshalomov 
David Avshalomov is a distinguished third-generation American classical composer and conductor, and an accomplished vocalist. He was born in New York City in 1946, grew up in Oregon, and has long lived in Santa Monica, California. He represents a musical lineage (on his father’s side) whose story stretches from the Caucasus to Siberia, through China, to the US.

As a young student, David studied piano, music theory, and percussion. He learned the joys of madrigal singing at home, sang in school and professional choruses, and played timpani in school and professional orchestras (soloing in the Milhaud concerto with the Harvard Orchestra). He began composing (self-taught) in middle school, and wrote and conducted his first choral compositions for his high school choir. He earned degrees in music from Harvard (B.A., Magna cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa) and in orchestral conducting from the University of Washington (where he wrote a noted Doctoral dissertation on the Five Pieces for Orchestra of Arnold Schoenberg), with further conducting studies at Peabody, Aspen, and Tanglewood. His conducting teachers included George Bell, Stanley Chapple, Leo Mueller, Jean Morel, Henry Holt, Samuel Krachmalnick, Herbert Blomstedt, Werner Torkanowsky, Seiji Ozawa, and Leonard Bernstein. His composition teachers included Charles Jones (at Aspen); and John Verrall, Robert Suderberg, and William Bergsma (at UW). 


Finalist Honorable Mention:
Howard J. Buss
Lakeland  FL      
Vibrant Horizons 

Howard J. Buss
Howard J. Buss’ compositions have been performed in 50+ countries and are often featured at music festivals by musicians from universities as well as current and former members of organizations such as The Boston Symphony, Minnesota Orchestra, U.S. Army Field Band, and Chicago Symphony. Buss’ 180 published compositions include solo, chamber, symphonic, and band works.
        
Recently his “The Three Sackbuteers Enter Valhalla” won the composers’ competition of American Trombone Workshop and his “Reflections on the Last Post” for tuba and band won the composition contest of the Army Band’s Tuba-Euphonium Workshop. His music is recorded on the Albany, Bottega Discantica, Crystal, Capstone, DUX, Equilibrium, HoneyRock, IBS Classical, PL Productions, Ravello, Urania, and C. Alan Publications labels.
         
Buss received a B.A. from West Chester University, M.M.s from Michigan State University, and D.M.A. in Composition from the University of Illinois. He is the editor of Brixton Publications. Website: www.brixtonpublications.com/howard_j_buss-2.html
       
 

Finalist Honorable Mention:
Cooper Minnis     
St. Louis  MO      
The Darkest Hour 

Cooper Minnis     
Cooper Minnis was born and raised in Saint Louis, MO. As a freshman in high school Cooper won a competition for writing the first original fight song entitled “Greyhound Pride” for Clayton High School in honor of its centennial anniversary. Three years later he was selected as principal tuba for the 2010-2011 season of the Saint Louis Symphony Youth Orchestra.

In 2011 Cooper matriculated to George Mason University where he studied composition. Cooper graduated Magna Cum Laude. In 2014, Cooper won first place in the Webster University Young Composer's Competition for his woodwind quartet “Giggles,” and in 2015 received honorable mention in the Claude T. Smith Band Composition Contest for his work, “The Darkest Hour.” Cooper also received a full scholarship to participate in the 2015 NYU/ASCAP Summer Film Scoring Workshop.

Recent accomplishments include completing three books entitled “The Art of Melody” which contain thirteen 19th and 20th century art song transcriptions for tuba, euphonium, trumpet, and piano accompaniment. In 2017 these books were selected for the Missouri State High School Activities Association's (MSHSAA) Prescribed Music List. Cooper maintains his love for low brass by teaching
private lessons regularly.


The American Prize in Composition—Band/Wind Ensemble (student division), 2019-20

The American Prize Winner:
Jorge Machain    
Henderson  NV      
Bite the Bullet     

Jorge Machain    
Born in 1993, Jorge Machain is a native of Mexico who currently resides in Las Vegas. Jorge graduated from UNLV with a Bachelor of Music in Jazz Composition and is currently working towards completing his Master of Music in Jazz Composition. He composes for both classic and jazz ensembles. Jorge has been commissioned by notable concert ensembles just such the UNLV Wind Orchestra, under the direction of Thomas G. Leslie, as well as the Las Vegas Academy of Performing Arts Wind Ensemble and Choir. In addition, Jorge has written for the downbeat award winning UNLV Jazz Ensemble I which has recorded his pieces on multiple CD’s and has played these works in festivals such as the Monterey Jazz Festival. For more info, check out his website at https://www.jorgemachain.com.  


2nd Place:
Teddy Mason
East Providence  RI      
Sea of Clouds 

Teddy Mason
Having had several concert band works recently performed by college ensembles, youth wind ensembles and high school bands, Teddy Mason is making a mark as a music education and composition student and starting his sophomore year of college.  Having begun studying music composition as a senior in high school, Mason has written over twelve complete works for concert band and orchestra. He has received praise and accolades from numerous band and orchestra conductors and has been asked to share his works with groups throughout Rhode Island and Massachusetts.  He plays the trumpet in wind ensembles, orchestras, jazz and marching bands and as such enjoys literature from all genres and time periods.  Drawing on musical influences around him and tapping into personalized inspiration within him, Mason's musical attitude is highly driven to fulfill a music education and composition career.


3rd Place (there was a tie):
Martin Hebel
Hamden  CT      
Tides Within

Martin Hebel
Martin Hebel composes expressive, emotionally direct music for a wide variety of ensembles.
  
In his orchestral compositions, Martin explores strategies for engaging new audiences, seeking to enrich and enhance concert experiences for contemporary listeners, combining varied traditional symphonic forms with his contemporary harmonic language.

 Martin Hebel’s Symphony No.3 in E Minor: Concert in Three Acts, second place winner of the 2019 American Prize and National Finalist in the 2015 Morton Gould Young Composer Awards, was recorded by Mikel Toms and the Brno Philharmonic Orchestra and released internationally in August 2016 by ABLAZE Records. 

Born in Hamden, Connecticut in 1990, 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.


3rd Place (there was a tie):
Zachary Ploeger    
Pipestone  MN      
Symphony No. 1         

Zachary Ploeger    
Zachary S. Ploeger is quickly emerging as one of the most promising musicians of his generation. As an active conductor, trumpeter, and composer, he is constantly in demand. At 24 years of age, he has already performed for audiences all around the world.

Zach is currently pursuing a doctorate in trumpet performance at the University of Minnesota where he holds a Music Fellowship and studies with Professor Marissa Benedict. He recently completed a master's degree at Arizona State University where he was the Rafael Mendez Scholar in Brass. At ASU he studied with Regents Professor David Hickman, one of the most highly regarded trumpet pedagogues of all time. Zachary also holds undergraduate degrees in trumpet performance and composition from Western Michigan University, where he graduated summa cum laude. At WMU, Zach studied with Professor Scott Thornburg, trumpet, and Dr. Richard Adams, composition.

Zachary has received numerous awards and accolades. Among them are five “American Prize” awards for excellence in the field of music composition. He is also frequently commissioned and his works regularly performed. Recent engagements include the Mivos String Quartet, the Western Michigan University Symphonic Band, the International Trumpet Guild, and many prominent soloists. A CD of his own original trumpet works composed and performed by Zachary has been released. And an album of standard trumpet repertoire is currently in progress.




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Congratulations!

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