Saturday, August 1, 2020

WELCOME four new DISTINGUISHED JUDGES of The American Prize

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 honored to welcome four new judges to its distinguished panel of national adjudicators. Please find their photos and bios below. Biographies and photos of all The American Prize judges maybe found here: http://www.theamericanprize.org/judges2014.html
Maestro Katz is profiled here: http://www.theamericanprize.org/davidkatz.html

The four newest members of The American Prize judging panel are:

SVETLANA BELSKY, pianist, chamber music specialist, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL

R. TAD GREIG, conductor, instrumental specialist, Westminster College, New Wilmington, PA

MARK J. MORETTE, owner, recording specialist, Mark Custom Recording Service, Clarence, NY

THOMAS R. VOZZELLA, conductor and organist, Community of Christ World Headquarters, Independence, MO

CALL for JUDGES: If you are interested in being considered as a judge for The American Prize, please contact Maestro Katz by emailing theamericanprize@gmail.com. Judges in all music and theater disciplines are welcomed, with special needs in the areas of composition, stage directing, musical theater, string instruments, and wind and brass instruments. As part of the selection process, potential judges will be asked to write one or more sample evaluations of current or former applicants. The American Prize adheres to a strict bias and conflict of interest policy and does not discriminate on the basis of ethnicity, gender, age, race, spiritual or personal belief, disability, sexual preference or gender identification. All judges of The American Prize receive modest honorariums for their work.

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.

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SVETLANA BELSKY, pianist and chamber music specialist, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL
SVETLANA BELSKY
Critically acclaimed as "a passionate pianist and scholar," Svetlana Belsky is an in-demand recitalist and chamber pianist, noted for her remarkable rapport with audiences and stylistic versatility. She has appeared in Italy, Ukraine, Russia, Poland, China, Taiwan and Hong Kong, and throughout the United States. Dr. Belsky has received awards both for her performances in international piano competitions, and for her advocacy of new American music.

Her recordings have been heard on radio stations worldwide. The American Record Guide hails her CD of the solo version of Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring (Centaur, 2014) as an “extraordinary performance.” The album is the recipient of a Global Music Award. 

While Svetlana’s musical interests range from performing early Baroque masterpieces on harpsichord to premiering new music commissioned by her chamber ensembles, the love of her musical life is the music and the legacy of Ferruccio Busoni.  She is the author of Busoni as Pianist (an annotated translation from the Russian, Eastman Studies in Music, 2010), which was featured on BBC radio in December 2016.  Her most recent CD Busoni: The Late Works (Ravello, 2019) is described as "Marrying awe-inducing technical capabilities to an artistic intuition of mind-boggling depth.”

Following emigration from the Soviet Union, Dr. Belsky studied with Emilio Del Rosario in Chicago. She earned her Bachelor of Music summa cum laude and Master's degrees from the Peabody Conservatory of Music, studying with Ann Schein. Later, she earned her Doctorate in Performance at the Manhattan School of Music, working with Nina Svetlanova. As the Coordinator of Piano Studies at the University of Chicago, Dr. Belsky teaches students from four continents, among many other academic responsibilities.



R. TAD GREIG, conductor, instrumental specialist, Westminster College, New Wilmington, PA
R. TAD GREIG
Dr. R. Tad Greig is the Director of Instrumental Activities and Professor of Music in the School of Music at Westminster College. As the Director of Instrumental Activities, Dr. Greig is the founder and conductor of the Wind Ensemble. He also directs the Symphonic Band and “Titan” Marching Band, and conducted the Jazz Ensemble from 1993- 2003. In Music Education, Dr. Greig co-supervises student teachers, teaches Secondary Instrumental Methods, Instrumental Conducting,
Advanced Conducting, Band Literature and Marching Band Techniques. Dr. Greig is also the faculty advisor to the Westminster College Pennsylvania Collegiate Music Educators Association and the past Collegiate Representative for Curriculum and Instruction for District Five PMEA. He is responsible for maintaining and evaluating all music for the PMEA Assessment Performance list and is an advocate for Musical Performance Assessment in Pennsylvania. Dr. Greig is also the conductor of the North Pittsburgh Symphonic Band, Pittsburgh, PA.

Under the leadership of Dr. Greig, as former chair and budget administrator and current director of instrumental activities, the Westminster College School of Music has become a leader in music education training and music performance in the region over the past twenty years. Dr. Greig is an active Guest Conductor, Clinician and Adjudicator throughout the Eastern United States, most recently having been the guest conductor for the Pennsylvania Music Educators All-State Wind Ensemble. His ensembles at Westminster have earned guest appearances at the PMEA State Conference on numerous occasions and received specific mention by the National Association of Schools of Music in their last two accreditation visits, and received 1st place in The America’s Prize national competition for Collegiate Ensembles in 2017. He has given numerous lectures and presentations on ensemble rehearsal techniques, literature selection and various topics regarding music education. He has also been a guest panelist for multiple Collegiate Band Directors National Association conferences related to successful programs in smaller institutions. Dr. Greig has studied conducting with Dr. Leslie Hicken (Furman University) and Dr. Wayne Gorder (Kent State University) as well as participating in the renowned University of Colorado Conducting Symposium with Allan McMurray, Craig Kirchhoff and Frank Ticheli. As a Trombonist, Dr. Greig currently performs with the Youngstown Fine Arts Brass (Quintet), the Butler Symphony as well as being a free-lance musician throughout the Youngstown and Pittsburgh areas.



MARK J. MORETTE, owner, recording specialist, Mark Custom Recording Service, Clarence, NY
MARK J. MORETTE
Mark J. Morette is the second-generation owner of Mark Custom Recording Service, Inc. Based in Clarence, New York, Mark Recording was founded in 1958 and incorporated in 1962 by Vincent S. Morette, a music technology pioneer and innovator who brought together music education and the tape recorder. Mark followed in his father’s footsteps and has been recording for over 40 years. Mark has been privileged to work with some of the finest names in music. This includes Jazz greats, Dizzy Gillespie, Allen Vizzutti, John Faddis, Jeff Tyzik, Steve Houghton, Ellis, Winton, and Branford Marsalis, Chuck and Gap Mangione, Jeff Jarvis, Bobby McFerrin, Eastman Jazz Ensemble and Shelly Berg. Pop and classical music favorites; Ginger Baker, Richie Havens, Denny Laine, 10,000 Maniacs, Goo Goo Dolls, Misfits, Storm Troopers of Death (Anthrax), Doyle, Jerry Only, Classical artists; Eric Whitacre, Fred Mills (Canadian Brass), PentraBrass (Italy), Joe Alessi, Dame Evelyn Glennie, Houston Opera, Chicago Symphony, Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, Tokyo Kosei Wind Orchestra (Japan), The United States Air Force, Marine, Army, Navy, Coast Guard Bands and choirs, Korean National Military Band, Singapore Armed Forces Band, German Federal Army Band, Taiwan Armed Forces Wind Orchestra, UNTx Wind Symphony and Symphonic Bands, Pacific Symphonic Wind Ensemble (Vancouver, Canada), Lone Star Wind Orchestra (TX), vocalists and ensembles: Hila Plitmann, Conspirare, New York Voices, St. Olaf Choir (MN), Westminster Choir (NJ), Moses Hogan, to name a scant few. 

Mark has collaborated on projects with composers such as Karel Husa, Frank Ticheli (3), Eric Whitacre (2), BCM, Julie Giroux (2), David R. Holsinger (12), David R. Gillingham (2) , Robert Jager (2), James Barnes, Dr. Mark Hindsley, Alfred Reed, Robert W. Smith, Roger Cichy, Andrew Boysen, just to name a few.



Mark Recording specializes in recording and producing recordings of large international music conferences. A few of our current clients include The Midwest Clinic, WASBE, ACDA, New York State Band Director’s Association, All-State music conferences in Texas, Florida, New York, Illinois, Pennsylvania.




Mark is also a widely sought after lecturer and panelist on all aspects of music business. This includes; “Copyright, Copywrong, Copy Confusion” a clinic on copyrights for the educator, “The Role of the Producer in the Studio,” “Recording Techniques for Classical Ensembles,” “Jazz Band Recording Techniques,” “The History of the Wind Band and It’s Recorded Archives” are a few of his clinic titles. 




THOMAS R. VOZZELLA, conductor and organist, Community of Christ World Headquarters, Independence, MO
THOMAS R. VOZZELLA
Thomas R. Vozzella, BS, MM, DMA, FFSC is Director of Music—Organist at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, Kansas City, USA,  and a Staff Organist at the Community of Christ World Headquarters. He has served the American Guild of Organists as Dean of the Black Hills Chapter, American Choral Directors Association as the National and South Dakota Chair for Music in Worship, has taught at institutions of higher education in Tennessee, South Carolina, Alabama and Kansas, and on the faculty at Waldon University’s online Ph.D program in Fine Arts. His choirs have sung for Tennessee ACDA, The White House, by invitation of President and Mrs. George W. Bush, The Harlem Globetrotters. His choirs have also received invitations to perform at Kansas Music Educators Association and Texas Choral Directors Association conventions. 

As a presenter/performer, he has presented at state, regional and national American Choral Directors Association and American Guild of Organists Conventions, toured in twenty-six states, the District of Columbia and eleven countries, most recently in Germany. His compositions appear in six catalogues and have received five ASCAP Plus Awards. Vozzella’s biography has appeared in International Who's Who in Music, in America, and in the World. Thomas holds degrees from the University of South Carolina, The University of Louisiana-Monroe, Eastern Nazarene College, with additional study at The Royal School of Church Music—UK, University of Missouri-Kansas City, and Nazarene Theological Seminary.  Advanced conducting study has been as a Fellow at the Conductor’s Institute of South Carolina twice with Donald Portnoy, in the Czech Republic with Tsung-Ye, and Bulgaria with Harold Farberman. Vozzella has studied choral conducting with Greg Larkin, Ed Deckard, Larry Wyatt and Richard Conant; organ with Lambert Brandes, John Ditto, master classes with Peter Hurford, Marie-Claire Alain and John Obetz. 

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Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Winners: BACON AWARD (American Music Performance)—solo division, 2020

Ernst Bacon as a young man
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 winners, runners-up and honorable mentions of the ERNST BACON MEMORIAL AWARD for the PERFORMANCE of AMERICAN MUSIC, 2019-20, in the solo division. Congratulations! (An announcement in the ensemble division will be made separately.)

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 COMPOSERS, CLASSICAL VOCALISTS, PIANISTS, CHAMBER ENSEMBLES and INSTRUMENTAL SOLOISTS postmarked or emailed by the new Covid-extended deadline date of 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 he virus. Visit theamericanprize.org for complete contest information.

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

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

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


The American Prize ERNST BACON MEMORIAL AWARD for the PERFORMANCE of AMERICAN MUSIC, PROFESSIONAL division, soloists or composers, 2019-20

The American Prize winner:
Hyunjung Rachel Chung, piano
Roswell  GA       
My Cherished Garden    
piano music by Higdon, Zwilich, Thomas, Park and Leon

Hyunjung Rachel Chung, piano
Since making her Carnegie Hall New York debut recital in 1996, Korean-American pianist Hyunjung Rachel Chung has paved a multifaceted path as a performer, educator, recording artist, and avocational composer. Her solo and collaborative recitals have taken her throughout North America, Europe, and Asia. She has appeared as a performer, presenter, and master teacher in many conferences and music festivals including National Music Teachers Association National Conference, College Music Society International Conference, San Giacomo Festival, Grumo Festival, Forty Fingers–Manifestazione Pianistica Internazionale, South Carolina Chamber Music Festival, Arioso Musica Domani International Composition Prize, and Piano at Peabody Workshop.

Dedicated to the music of our time as well as the neglected and forgotten music, she has performed and recorded various piano solo works by women composers in her two award-winning albums in the Studio Jeeb label: My Cherished Garden: Piano Works by American Women Composers (2017) and Three Piano Sonatas by Women Composers (2018). She has enjoyed collaborations with many instrumentalists and singers. Also, Rachel frequently shares a stage with her husband and a tenor Dr. Sungbae Kim.

A devoted educator, Hyunjung Rachel Chung is an associate professor at Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia. Chung earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music from Seoul National University, a Master of Music degree and a Professional Study Diploma from the Mannes College of Music, and a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Piano Performance from Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University.


2nd Place (there was a tie):
Robert G. Patterson, composer            
Rhodes College Mastersingers, Coro Rio, Memphis Symphony
William Skoog, conductor      
Memphis TN       
Requiem

Robert G. Patterson, composer            
Robert G. Patterson resides in Memphis, Tennessee. His music is infused with the popular rhythms and melodic fragments around him, and these provide source material for his personal voice. A student of George Crumb and Don Freund, he is a resident composer with the Luna Nova Ensemble and recent accomplishments include commissions from Opera Memphis, the One Coin Concert series in Osaka, Japan, and First Prize in the NATS Art Song Composition Award. His Requiem for massed choir, soloists, and orchestra received its premiere in November, 2018 by the Rhodes Mastersingers and Memphis Symphony Orchestra.

In addition to his musical activities, Patterson also has been a professional software developer. This led him to become an expert in musical engraving using a computer. His Patterson Plug-Ins Collection for Finale software is a staple of composers and copyists worldwide.

William Skoog, conductor

William Skoog is Professor of Music at Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee, where he served as Chair of the Department of Music from 2009-2018, and continues as Director of Choral Studies. He conducts the Rhodes Singers, Chamber Singers, and the MasterSingers Chorale, conducting them with the Memphis Symphony Orchestra.

 

2nd Place (there was a tie):
Nolan Stolz, composer
Brno Philharmonic     
Brno   Czechoslovakia    
Lincoln Highway Suite   

Nolan Stolz, composer
Nolan Stolz is a composer, scholar, and drummer living in Spartanburg, South Carolina. Stolz’s compositions are firmly rooted in the contemporary classical tradition yet clearly influenced by a performance background in jazz fusion and progressive rock. His flute piece Princess Ka‘iulani was published in SCI Journal of Scores (51) and released on Modes, vol. 30 of SCI’s CD series on Navona/PARMA. His Lincoln Highway Suite was recorded in the Czech Republic in 2017 and released on Ablaze Records in 2018; many orchestras and concert bands around the U.S. have performed the suite or movements from it. Several other compositions of his have been released on Ablaze Records, ESM, Six String Sounds, and Tributary Music.

Dr. Stolz is Assistant Professor and Coordinator of Music at University of South Carolina Upstate. Previously, he taught at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas, Southeast Missouri State University, University of South Dakota, and at two community colleges in Connecticut. Stolz has been Artist-in-Residence at Goldwell Open Air Museum, Osage Arts Community, Prairie Center of the Arts, Sitka Center for Art and Ecology, and VCCA.


Third Place (there was a tie):
Susan Merdinger, piano           
Highland Park  IL       
American Melting Pot:
Pieces of China (Gould), Ballade in F-sharp minor (Vasquez), Piano Sonata (Alter), Toccata (Barilari)

Susan Merdinger, piano           
Steinway Artist, Susan Merdinger has been internationally acclaimed in prestigious newspapers and journals for her stunning performances, particularly noted for her recordings of Schumann, Brahms, and Beethoven. Among her many honors, Merdinger is a two-time First Prize Winner of the Bradshaw and Buono International Piano Competition in Professional Solo and Duo Piano, Gold Medalist of the Global Music Awards, Winner of the Dewar’s Young Artists Award in Music, Winner of the Artists International Young Musicians Competition, and 2nd Prize Winner in the American Prize for Chamber Music. Performing her sold-out solo recital debut in Carnegie Recital Hall at age twenty-four, Merdinger has continued to grace the stages of some of the world’s best concert halls. She has appeared as soloist with professional orchestras such as the Chicago Philharmonic, the State Symphony Orchestra of Mexico and the Northbrook Symphony and has been a frequent Visiting Artist of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Chamber Music Series. Merdinger’s live performances and recordings have been broadcast worldwide on WQXR, WFMT, BRT-3 (Belgian National Radio), NPR and BBC Television. Merdinger received her formal education at Yale University, the Yale School of Music, and the Manhattan School of Music. She is on the Faculty of Summit Music Festival in New York, and is Artistic Director of Sheridan Music Studio, The Five Greene, Sheridan Solisti, and Pianissimo! Ensemble.


3rd Place (there was a tie):
Ann Marie Wilcox-Daehn, mezzo-soprano
Elizabeth Avery, piano        
Springfield  MO       
Songs to the Moon (Heggie)  
     
Ann Marie Wilcox-Daehn, mezzo-soprano
Mezzo soprano Ann Marie Wilcox-Daehn thrives on a performing career that includes oratorio, opera, art song, and musical theater. She has soloed at Carnegie Hall in the Mozart Requiem, Haydn’s Creation Mass, and Vivaldi’s Gloria. Internationally and domestically she performs in solo and chamber recitals with traditional as well as obscure repertoire. Of the over 35 opera roles to her credit, favorites include Carmen; Dorabella in Cosí fan Tutte; Isabella in The Italian Girl from Algiers; and the role she created for Libby Larsen’s jazz opera Picnic, Rosemary. Ann Marie is a graduate of the Eastman School of Music, UNC-Greensboro, and Miami University.


Elizabeth Avery, piano        
Pianist Elizabeth Avery concertizes and gives masterclasses regularly throughout the United States, Canada and Europe. She has given world premiere performances at Carnegie’s Weill Recital Hall and Steinway Hall (New York City) and premiered Italian operas with International Opera Theater in the Umbria and Piemonte regions of Italy. Dr. Avery coaches repertoire and diction at the University of Oklahoma School of Music, and has been on the facultyat Indiana University, the Up North Vocal Institute, and the Songe d'été en musique festival in Québec. She has played under such prominent conductors as Slatkin, Guerrero and Mauceri. Avery was a Master's fellow under Martin Katz and earned her Doctor of Musical Arts degree at the Eastman School of Music.

The collaboration of Dr. Ann Marie Daehn and Dr. Elizabeth Avery earned the pair the 2017-2018 Ernst Bacon American Prize for their performance of songs by Sergius Kagen.


Finalist Honorable Mention:
Cayla Bellamy, bassoon
Cedar Falls  IA       
Jazz Variations (Larsen), Elegy and Dance (Davis), Deep (Shapiro) 

Cayla Bellamy, bassoon
Dr. Cayla Bellamy currently serves as Assistant Professor of Bassoon at the University of Northern Iowa and contrabassoonist with wcfsymphony. In addition to performing at regional and national conferences for the National Association of Wind and Percussion Instructors and the College Music Society International Conference, Cayla will be appearing as an invited recitalist at the upcoming conference for the International Double Reed Society.  In September 2018, Cayla released her debut album entitled Double or Nothing under the Mark Records label, a collection of previously unrecorded bassoon solos and duos including works by Libby Larsen, Alex Shapiro, John Steinmetz, Roger Boutry, Michael Daugherty, and William Davis.

In the 2019 season, she will be featured performing Libby Larsen’s Full Moon in the City (Northern Iowa Symphony Orchestra) and Joan Tower’s Red Maple (wcfsymphony), as well as premiering John Steinmetz’s new Concerto for Bassoon and Strings (Herricks High School). A dedicated educator, Cayla spends her summers as Conductor for the New York Summer School of the Arts and has held positions with Interlochen Arts Camp, Gwinnett County Public Schools, and the Emory Youth Symphony Orchestra.  Cayla completed the Doctor of Music degree from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music in 2015, and she also holds Bachelor and Master of Music degrees in Music Education and Bassoon Performance from the University of Georgia, where she was distinguished as a National Presser Scholar and invited to perform with the American Wind Symphony Orchestra. Find out more online at www.caylabellamy.com.


The American Prize ERNST BACON MEMORIAL AWARD for the PERFORMANCE of AMERICAN MUSIC, college/university division, soloists or composers, 2019-20

The American Prize winner:
Matt  Ridge, composer & percussionist
Bloomington  IN       
Small Talk (A Portrait of Social Skepticism)

Matt  Ridge, composer & percussionist
Matt Ridge is a composer, arranger, and performer who enjoys a wide scope of influence and output. He seeks to access the full human spectrum of emotional and intellectual engagement in his body of work, which bridges the realms of concert music, electronics, the marching arts, live multimedia, and collaborative art installations.

Matt comes from a diverse performance background, running the gamut from contemporary vocal music with Indiana University’s acclaimed NOTUS to years of world class DCI/WGI membership as a percussionist. He gained recognition as the winner of The American Prize (Ernst Bacon Memorial Award for the Performance of American Music) for the 2019-20 season, as well as finalist standing in two categories of The American Prize in Composition.

Matt maintains an active presence within the marching arts community, writing for ensembles of varying skill level each year. Most notably, he has earned two WGI Concert World Class championships and three BOA Grand Nationals semifinals appearances with Fishers High School (IN), for whom he regularly writes and consults. His performance experience in this realm spans four seasons with The Cavaliers Drum and Bugle Corps and two with Music City Mystique, serving a prominent leadership role in both ensembles.

Matt holds a BM in Composition (high distinction) from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, with a minor in electronic music and specialized studies in orchestration, scoring for media, and choral music. His teachers included Tansy Davies, David Dzubay, Sven-David Sandström, Jeffrey Hass, Claude Baker, Don Freund, John Gibson, Aaron Travers, and Larry Groupé. In addition to his formal studies, Matt developed skills as an engraver working for percussion-oriented publisher Tapspace Publications, LLC.

Currently residing in his hometown near Indianapolis, IN, Matt is a member of ASCAP, PAS, and SEAMUS. Outside of music, he takes interest in science, film, the universe, and the endless void of Internet humor. Discover more at www.mattridgemusic.com.


2nd Place (there was a tie):
Martin Hebel, composer
CCM Wind Ensemble     

Dr. Terence G. Milligan, conductor
Cincinnati OH       
Tides Within 

Martin Hebel, composer
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. www.martinhebel.com


2nd Place (there was a tie):
Zachary Ploeger, composer & trumpeter
Tempe  AZ       
Sonata for Trumpet and Piano

Zachary Ploeger, composer & trumpeter
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.


3rd Place:
Young Jun Lee, composer
New Thread Saxophone Quartet
New York  NY       
Tsunami 

Young Jun Lee, composer
YoungJun Lee is a distinguished composer, pianist, conductor and a businessman, born in 1991. He started learning how to play the piano at the age of 7. He is an awarded musician from Berklee Composition department for Vuk Kulenovic/Memorial Prize as one of the best composition students of the year in 2019. He got a masterclass with George Lewis. His music has been premiered by renowned musicians such as Jack Quartet(String_US) and New Thread Saxophone Quartet(US). Also, he co-wrote the concerto for electronic instrument for Suzanne Ciani. He is currently studying in Berklee College of Music with Professor Andrew List, Alla Cohen, Dennis Leclaire and Marti Epstein. And he got nominated to Dean’s list for 4 semesters in a row. (CGPA 3.98/4.0) You can check him more in his website - http://www.youngjunleonlee.com


Finalist—Career Encouragement Certificate
Annika Huprikar, composer & pianist
Deerfield IL       
Ballade in F minor; Arabesque; Olympus

Annika Huprikar, composer & pianist
Annika Huprikar, a rising senior in high school, is a pianist and composer. She has been studying piano since the age of six. She is a classically trained pianist, under the tutelage of Susan Merdinger. Annika has performed twice in Carnegie Hall, as a Second Place Winner in the American Protege International Romantic Music Competition in 2017 and the Elite International Music Competition in 2019. She performed her solo repertoire in her Young Steinway Artists Concert in 2018. Annika has been named an Illinois All-State Musician by the ILMEA for composition, and was invited to attend and perform at the All-State Composition Festival in January 2019. She was one of four nationally selected finalists for The American Prize competition in Piano Concerto Performance in 2017, and has also performed concertos with regional orchestras. Annika is also a part of the Midwest Young Artists Conservatory as a the pianist in a piano quintet, and recently made her Ravinia debut with the quintet. Annika regularly performs mini-concerts for memory care residents in senior living. She is the co-founder of Music-Is-Medicine, a volunteer organization that brings musicians in the community together to play for senior citizens. annikahuprikarpianist.com



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Congratulations!



Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Winners: ORCHESTRAL PROGRAMMING (Marijosius Award), 2020


Vytautas Marijosius
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 the 2019-20 winners and runners-up in orchestral programming, The Vytautas Marijosius Memorial Award. Congratulations!

The American Prize—Vytautas Marijosius Memorial Award in Orchestral Programming honors the memory of the great Lithuanian conductor, Maestro Vytautas Marijosius, music director of the Lithuanian State Opera, and for nearly thirty-five years Director of Orchestral Activities at the Hartt School of Music. The Prize recognizes and rewards the best achievement in the unique field of orchestral programming, where the selection of repertoire by knowledgeable, creative and courageous music directors builds orchestras and audiences, educates young people and adults, and enriches the community.  

You can read more about Maestro Marijosius here: http://rememberingmarijosius.blogspot.com/2010/11/t-o-t-h-e-r-e-c-i-p-i-e-n-t-o-f-h-e-v-y.html
Or visit the collection of historic documents, programs and photographs of the artist here: https://marijosius.tumblr.com/

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 COMPOSERS, CLASSICAL VOCALISTS, PIANISTS, CHAMBER ENSEMBLES and INSTRUMENTAL SOLOISTS postmarked or emailed by the new Covid-extended deadline date of 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 he virus. Visit theamericanprize.org for complete contest information.

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


The American Prize in Orchestral Programming / Vytautas Marijosius Memorial Award—college/university division, 2019-20

The American Prize winner:
Brian Coffill               
The Randolph-Macon Ensemble 
Randolph-Macon College        
Ashland VA   
     
Brian Coffill               
Dr. Brian Coffill, DMA, is the Founding Director of Instrumental Ensembles and Assistant Professor of Music at Randolph-Macon College in Ashland, Virginia, where he created the R-M Ensemble, a cutting- edge chamber orchestra focused on the performance of works from across the musical spectrum. He is a conductor and pedagogue committed to the expansion of the instrumental repertoire, the performance of works by under-represented composers, and the development of twenty-first century performance experiences for musicians and audiences alike. He maintains an active schedule as a conductor and clinician throughout the United States. Brian holds postgraduate degrees in conducting from the University of Maryland and the University of Illinois, as well as undergraduate degrees in music and education from the University of Connecticut. He lives in Richmond, Virginia.
   

2nd Place:
David A. Rahbee                    
University of Washington Symphony Orchestra    
Seattle WA   

David A. Rahbee                    
David Alexander Rahbee is currently Senior Artist in Residence at the University of Washington School of Music in Seattle, where he is Director of Orchestral Activities and teaches conducting. He also serves of faculty of the Pierre Monteux School and Music Festival as Conducting Associate. He is recipient of the American- Austrian Foundation's 2003 Karajan Fellowship for Young Conductors, the 2005 International Richard-Wagner-Verband Stipend, and the Acanthes Centre in Paris in 2007. He has recently worked with the Seattle Symphony, Orchesterakademie der Bochumer Symphoniker, the Seattle Modern Orchestra, and Orquesta Sinfónica de Loja. He participated in masterclasses with Kurt Masur, Sir Colin Davis, Jorma Panula, Zdeněk Mácal, Peter Eötvös, and Zoltán Peskó. His principal conducting teachers were Charles Bruck and Michael Jinbo at the Monteux School. He holds degrees from Indiana University, New England Conservatory, and University of Montreal. He also studied at Universität für Musik und Darstellende Kunst, Vienna.


3rd Place (there was a tie):
Nadya Potemkina                            
Wesleyan University Orchestra        
Middletown  CT   

Nadya Potemkina                            
Conductor, violist, and educator Nadya Potemkina (Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT) directs Wesleyan University Orchestra and Concert Choir, coaches chamber ensembles, teaches courses in instrumental conducting and orchestral literature, and is the music director of Connecticut Flute Orchestra, FluteFest, and AD HOC BACH Collective, all performance and community engagement initiatives. Professor Potemkina remains active as a violist and welcomes every opportunity to play chamber music with her colleagues and to perform works by student composers. She enjoys guest-conducting opportunities, in the United States and abroad, with regional, community, and youth orchestras. Prior to Wesleyan, Nadya Potemkina served as an assistant conductor of The University of Memphis Orchestras, as the music director of Mid-South Young People’s Orchestras in Memphis, TN, and was the founding conductor of Memphis Occasional Orchestra, an all-volunteer community outreach ensemble.


3rd Place (there was a tie):
Rachel L.  Waddell                    
University of Rochester Orchestras        
Rochester   NY 

Rachel L.  Waddell                    
Rachel L. Waddell is a vibrant young conductor rapidly gaining recognition for her artistic leadership, innovative programming, and creative collaborations. She currently serves as Music Director of the University of Rochester Orchestras in New York, where she won second place for the American Prize’s Vytautas Marijosius Memorial Award for her 2017-18 season. She previously held positions with the Canton Symphony Orchestra and Canton Youth Symphonies. In addition Waddell has appeared as a guest conductor with ensembles throughout the United States including the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, Cincinnati Symphony Youth Orchestra, and Las Vegas Philharmonic, among others. In 2019 Waddell was selected for the prestigious Hart Institute for Women Conductors at the Dallas Opera.  She continues to dedicate herself to the advocacy of classical music and strives to curate innovative seasons of the highest artistic caliber.  


The American Prize in Orchestral Programming / Vytautas Marijosius Memorial Award—community division, 2019-20

The American Prize winner:
Donald L. Appert            
Clark College Orchestra
The Jewish Community Orchestra of Portland
Vancouver   WA / Portland OR       
      
Donald L. Appert            
Donald Appert has been Music Director/Conductor of the Clark College Orchestra since 1990 and Music Director/Conductor of the Jewish Community Orchestra in Portland, Oregon since 2012. He has guest conducted orchestras in Europe, Central America, Japan and Australia. Currently he is a Full Professor of Music and Head of the Music Department at Clark College in Vancouver, Washington. In addition he is the Music Director/Conductor of the Jewish Community Orchestra in Portland, Oregon and of the Oregon Sinfonietta.  He received The American Prize in Orchestral Programming—Vytautas Marijosius Memorial Award in 2011, an Honorable Mention in 2012, 3rd Place in 2014, and 2nd Place in 2015. He was also Honored Artist of the American Prize in 2015. In 2014 he received the Clark County (WA) Arts Commission Lifetime Achievement in the Arts Award. He has received the ASCAPLUS Award numerous times. Videos of his conducting and his original compositions may be seen and heard via the Internet on his web site at www.maestrodonappert.com.


2nd Place:
Mark Perlman           
Willamette Falls Symphony
Tualatin Valley Symphony
Oregon City and Tualatin  OR

Mark Perlman           
Mark Perlman is Music Director and Conductor of the Willamette Falls Symphony (Oregon City, OR) and Tualatin Valley Symphony, as well as founder and Music Director of the Oregon Mahler Festival.  He has conducted internationally in Germany, Russia, Romania, Bulgaria, and the U.K..  He grew up in Cleveland, Ohio, where his father, David Perlman, was Principal Bass with the Cleveland Orchestra.  Also a bass player, he later attended Ohio State University and received a Ph.D. in Philosophy from the University of Arizona.  His conducting mentor was Dr. Leonard Pearlman, and his studies of conducting include work with Jorma Panula, Sian Edwards, Murry Sidlin, Petr Gribanov, Leonid Kochmar, Adrian Gnam, Diane Wittry, and Alexander Polishchuck.  Dr. Perlman is also Professor of Philosophy at Western Oregon University, and has written books and articles on philosophy of mind, biology, law, and music.


3rd Place:
David William Oertel        
Starlight Symphony Orchestra         
Wimberley   TX    
   
David William Oertel        
David William Oertel is the Music Director and Conductor of the Starlight Symphony Orchestra (TX) and the Austin Philharmonic. David Oertel is working with David Daniels and David Rahbee as co-authors for the “gold-standard” reference book, Daniels’ Orchestral Music, 6th Edition (2022). Oertel is also co-author of Choral-Orchestral Repertoire: A Conductor’s Guide, Omnibus Edition (2019). He has appeared as guest conductor with several orchestras and has been on the faculty of universities in North Carolina. He has conducted youth orchestras, musical theatre and opera pit orchestras, concert and jazz orchestras. Oertel received a Bachelor of Music from the University of North Texas, a Master of Music from the University of Houston and a Doctorate of Musical Arts from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Oertel’s influential conducting mentors include Robert Linder, David Daniels, Max Rudolf, Hans Graf, Niklaus Wyss, Adrian Gnam, Franz Krager, and David Holley.


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Congratulations!

Monday, July 27, 2020

Winners: CHORUSES, 2020

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, honorable mentions and citation recipient of The American Prize in Choral Performance, 2019-20, 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.

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 COMPOSERS, CLASSICAL VOCALISTS, PIANISTS, CHAMBER ENSEMBLES and INSTRUMENTAL SOLOISTS postmarked or emailed by the new Covid-extended deadline date of 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 he virus. Visit theamericanprize.org for complete contest information.

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


The American Prize in Choral Performance, professional division, 2019-20
(There were co-winners in the division this season.)

The American Prize co-winner:
Dallas Chamber Choir  
Jon L. Culpepper    
Dallas TX

Dallas Chamber Choir  
Founded in 2014 by its artistic director and conductor, Jon L. Culpepper, The Dallas Chamber Choir delivers choral programs of stylistic, linguistic, and cultural significance with interest in works of contemporary and emerging composers whose music and texts explore a decidedly humanistic perspective. The professional ensemble of 24-30 singers, comprised of exceptional vocal talent with diverse careers, skills, and interests in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, has collaborated with the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, Hans Zimmer, and Ramin Djawadi, score composer for the Grammy-nominated 2008 Marvel film, Iron Man, and the TV series, Game of Thrones and Prison Break, among others. DCC has released its debut album, Love Manifested (2018), and has recorded the Mozart Requiem with chamber orchestra at Moody Performance Hall in Dallas, Texas, due to release in 2019. https://dallaschamberchoir.org


The American Prize co-winner:
mirabai    
Sandra Snow, artistic director  
East Lansing MI 

mirabai  
mirabai aims to enhance the artistic expectations of women's choral singing by connecting powerful music of women, past and present; and performing, commissioning, and recording new and innovative musics that express the rich emotional terrain of a woman's life. A resident ensemble in the College of Music at Michigan State University, mirabai's artists are professionals in a variety of music-related careers including music educators in schools, universities, and professional singers. Inspired by the spirit of our namesake, the 16th century mystic singer and poet who created her own destiny amid societal expectations to the contrary, each artist values the opportunity to share not only singing but mentorship and connectivity with women engaged in their own communities as agents of change for young women and the arts. For more, visit www.singmirabai.org.


2nd Place:
Madison Choral Project 
Albert Pinsonneault 
Madison  WI   

Madison Choral Project 
What is the "project"
in the madison choral project?
Our project is to enrich lives in our community
 by giving voice to the great music of our diverse world;
 to express, to inspire, to heal; 
to garner joy in the experience of live music;
 and to educate and strengthen the next generation of singers and listeners. The madison choral project is not just a choir, 
it's a movement to improve our human experience through music.


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

The American Prize winner:
Baylor A Cappella Choir
Dr. Brian A. Schmidt
Waco  TX

Baylor A Cappella Choir
The Baylor A Cappella Choir is the flagship choral ensemble at Baylor University. Selected by competitive audition, the choir combines some of the most advanced singers at Baylor, both music majors and non-music majors, and focuses on cultivating meaningful fellowship and rich, artistic singing. The A Cappella Choir performs a wide variety of musical styles, both solo performances and collaborative projects with other areas of the School of Music. Additionally, the choir is involved with performances for Family Weekend in the Fall, the annual televised “A Baylor Christmas” production, the Baylor Choral Invitational, and is active in the community, throughout the state, and across the country. The Baylor A Cappella Choir has performed by invitation for the Baptist General Convention of Texas, Texas Music Educators Association Convention, the Texoma Region of the National Association of Teachers of Singing and the prestigious National Convention of the American Choral Directors Association.


2nd Place:
East Carolina University Chamber Singers  
James Franklin     
Greenville   NC 


East Carolina University Chamber Singers  
The Chamber Singers are the select choral ensemble at East Carolina University. The ensemble is typically comprised of 36-40 auditioned singers, most of whom are voice majors from within the School of Music. The vast majority of the singers are undergraduate students working towards a BM in Music Education, Performance, Therapy, and/or Composition. The Chamber Singers have performed by invitation at regional and national conferences of the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA) and international choral competitions, including the European Grand Prix for Choral Singing, and tour North Carolina annually. The group is quite diverse, containing singers of various races and socio-economic groups from across the state.  More information about the Chamber Singers and East Carolina University made be found at https://music.ecu.edu/vocal-studies/choral/


3rd Place:
Western IL University Singers     
Brian J. Winnie 
Macomb IL  
 
Western IL University Singers     
The Western Illinois University Singers is the “flagship,” auditioned choral ensemble at Western Illinois University. University Singers performs diverse repertoire from Renaissance to Contemporary Commercial Music with special focus on versatility and authenticity of vocal quality. Though primarily music majors, membership is open to all university students, most of who receive talent grant awards. This nationally recognized ensemble of highly motivated singers presents two major concerts per semester, including the student choral conductor concert; performs in the annual Holiday Festival of Music; an annual recruiting tour; and yearly major works with the WIU Symphony Orchestra & Concert Choir. The University Singers have performed at regional and national conventions for the National Association for Music Education and the American Choral Directors Association. They have also appeared on professional venues with the Kansas City Symphony, the Dallas Brass, the Peoria Symphony, and the Phoenix Symphony. http://www.wiu.edu/cofac/choirs/


The American Prize in Choral Performance, community division, 2019-20 

The American Prize winner:
San Francisco Choral Artists 
Magen Solomon, conductor  
San Francisco  CA 
San Francisco Choral Artists 
www.sfca.org Acclaimed as “...amongst the foremost unaccompanied singing groups...on this or any other coast” (artssf.com), San Francisco Choral Artists is a chamber ensemble specializing in innovative programming, performance excellence, and fostering the work of living composers. Affirming our reputation for eclectic programming and stunning performances of music spanning 600 years, SFCA has premiered over 300 works and is winner of the 2012 and 2015 ASCAP/Chorus America Award for Adventurous Programming. Through our Roger Nixon Living Music Initiative, SFCA supports living composers and the creation of new music in programs such as our New Voices Project for composers under 30, Composer-in-Residence and Not-In-Residence programs, Composers Invitational, and SFCA+1 Artist Project. We also actively seek to encourage and develop young student composers through student-composer outreach programs. We offer audiences three concert sets per season in locations across the San Francisco Bay Area, showcasing new works by living composers programmed alongside masterworks and favorites from the choral repertoire.


2nd Place (there was a tie):
Baltimore Choral Arts Society   
Anthony Blake Clark, conductor  
Baltimore   MD

Baltimore Choral Arts Society   
The Baltimore Choral Arts Society, now in its 54th season, is one of Maryland's premier cultural institutions. The Symphonic Chorus, Chorus, and Chamber Singers perform throughout the Mid-Atlantic region, as well as in Washington, D.C., New York, and Europe. Choral Arts’ international profile rises with a tour to England in January 2020, following previous tours to France and Spain. Choral Arts provides a number of thoughtful and impactful music education programs that serve Baltimore-area youth.

Choral Arts enjoys artistic partnerships with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Maryland Symphony Orchestra, Maryland Institute College of Art, Peabody Youth Orchestra, and others. Baltimore Choral Arts’ innovative programs often feature both choral and orchestral music, stage and theater works.

For 24 years, ABC’s WMAR-TV has featured Choral Arts in a broadcast special on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. This Emmy Award-winning program, called Christmas with Choral Arts, is also broadcast on WBJC-FM and WYPR-FM.


2nd Place (there was a tie):
Susquehanna Chorale
Mitchell Sensenig     
Mechanicsburg PA 
Linda Tedford, conductor

Susquehanna Chorale
Called “a treasure in central Pennsylvania” by the late choral and conducting icon Robert Page, the Susquehanna Chorale is a nationally acclaimed adult chamber ensemble of 36 auditioned singers. Founded in 1981 by Artistic Director and Conductor Linda L. Tedford, the group is known for its commitment to artistic and expressive performance of a wide range of repertoire. Audiences have consistently cited the Chorale’s “ethereal blend,” “unparalleled tone,” and emotional connection to the music.

In addition to its subscription concerts, the Chorale frequently performs major works with the Harrisburg Symphony Orchestra, and has performed by invitation or audition at American Choral Directors Association (ACDA) conventions, The Chautauqua Institution in New York, and at venues throughout Europe.

The Chorale’s eight nationally-distributed professional recordings include three that were considered for Grammy® nomination.The group works to inspire future generations of choral enthusiasts through its highly successful educational choirs for children and youth.
Learn more at www.susquehannachorale.org.

3rd Place:
Illuminati Vocal Arts Ensemble   
Tony Thornton     
Amherst  MA

Illuminati Vocal Arts Ensemble   
Founded in 2013 by Dr. Tony Thornton, Director of Choral Studies at the  University of Massachusetts Amherst, Illuminati Vocal Arts Ensemble is an auditioned group of 32-36
skilled singers, carefully selected for musicianship, vocal color, and commitment to beautiful, communicative performance. Our mission is to deepen and enrich the artistic/emotional life of our community. Over seven seasons, performing  3-5 concerts a year, we have offered programs of choral miniatures, masterworks, and new music by local composers, and collaborated with the
UMass Bach Festival, the Hampshire Young People’s Chorus, Arcadia Players baroque orchestra, and the Springfield Symphony.


The American Prize in Choral Performance, youth division, 2019-20 

The American Prize winner:
Angelica Cantanti Treble Singers
Philip Brown  
Bloomington  MN   

Angelica Cantanti Treble Singers
The Treble Singers is made up of soprano and alto voices in grades 9-12 with members that come from 29 high schools and communities from all over the Twin Cities. The group rehearses once a week, September-May at the Bloomington Center for the Arts, Bloomington, Minnesota. Through the intense study and performance of our art, our primary goal is to share our hearts and minds with each other and our audience, ultimately making a positive impact on the world in which we live. The organization provides a premiere musical experience through consistent, high quality choral music education and artistic excellence in performance.
angelicacantanti.org


2nd Place:
Parker Elementary School Chorus  
Marianna Parnas-Simpson   
Houston  TX 

Parker Elementary School Chorus  
Since 1975, Parker Elementary School in the Houston Independent School District (HISD) has been a magnet school for music dedicated to the development of musical talent and skill. Over 700 children are involved in Music Program at Parker Elementary.  Suzuki Violin, Cello, Guitar, Piano, Band and Chorus instructions are offered to the students. Its excellence has been recognized by the National GRAMMY® Foundation which named it a Signature Elementary School of the Year in 2002.
Under the direction of Marianna Parnas-Simpson, Parker’s Chorus grew from 30 to 250 students.
The Parker Advanced Chorus performs extensively for community events in the city of Houston and in Texas and USA.

Parker Chorus was the only one elementary school chorus ever selected to perform at the American Choral Director’s Association (ACDA)Convention, and it happened three times-New York 2003, Miami 2007& Dallas, 2013.

Other Parker Chorus performance highlights include:
Texas Music Educators Association (TMEA) Convention -2003, 2005, 2012 & 2017
Houston Chamber Choir Invitational Choral Festival-2001, 2002, 2009, 2013 & 2019
Mahler 3rd Symphony with the Houston Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Maestro Andres Orozko-Estrada, 2015

Here is one of many testimonies about Parker Chorus.  This one is from Dr. Anton Armstrong, Professor of Choral Studies at St. Olaf College: "The concert presented by the Parker Elementary School Chorus was THE HIGHLIGHT of the ACDA National convention for me.  Your young choristers sang with incredible beauty of vocal technique and an exceptional maturity of musical expression.  Your impressive pedagogy reminded us that GREAT music and artistry CAN happen in our public elementary schools."


3rd Place:
Notre Dame Children's Choir  
Dr. Mark Doerries     
Notre Dame   IN 


Notre Dame Children's Choir  
Founded in 2013, the Notre Dame Children's Choir Chamber Choir has toured from Los Angeles to New York City, performed for the Hymn Society, the Organ Historical Society, National Pastoral Musicians’ Association, the Indiana Music Education Association, and led the TEDx Talk What If Children Were More Than Cute?. O Emmanuel, a commissioned cantata, debuted at #1 on Billboards’ Chart of Traditional Classical Music. In 2018 the choir released Arturo Sandoval’s Christmas at Notre Dame with ten-time Grammy winning trumpeter Arturo Sandoval. The ensemble toured England and performed at Walt Disney Concert Hall and the Meyerson Symphony Center in Dallas in 2019. The choir publishes through the Notre Dame Children’s Choir Choral Series and records on Universal, Arsis, and Dynamic Catholic labels. Their album, Magnificat: Evening Prayer with the Notre Dame Children’s Choir, includes commissioned music for Evensong and Vespers. Dr. Mark Doerries is the Artistic Director; sma.nd.edu.


The American Prize in Choral Performance, high school division, 2019-20

The American Prize winner:  
Urbandale Singers
Ted Brimeyer     
Urbandale    IA
  
Urbandale Singers
Urbandale Singers is the premier Urbandale High School choir of students who exhibit developed musical skill, are young people of high integrity, and are committed to excellence in choral music. Membership is earned through an audition comprised solo singing, sight-reading, and tonal memory exercises. Work in this choir emphasizes healthy singing technique, musical independence, advanced literacy, and precision with a deliberate emphasis on unaccompanied singing. Students in this ensemble volunteer for frequent performances throughout the community. Urbandale Singers performs a wide variety of choral repertoire in multiple concerts throughout the school year, often sharing concerts with renowned collegiate choirs. Each singer participates in the department’s solo contest. The choir’s success has recently been recognized with invitations to present solo programs for the 2016 North Central Division ACDA Conference, 2017 Iowa Choral Showcase in Pella, 2018 Dorian Vocal Festival at Luther College, and the 2019 American Choral Directors Association Conference.

2nd Place: 
Connetquot HS Concert Choir  
Brad Drinkwater   
Bohemia  NY    

Connetquot HS Concert Choir  
Connetquot High School is a large, suburban high school in Suffolk County, NY. The CHS Concert Choir is an eight-part choral ensemble comprised of tenth- through twelfth-grade students. The choir and its director are proud of its reputation for quality performances of sophisticated choral music, particularly newer works by American composers. The choir regularly tours the United States with director Brad Drinkwater, often collaborating with collegiate and other high school choirs. Most importantly, the choir serves as a means for students, alumni, and our community to engage with each other through the arts.


3rd Place:
Centennial HS A Cappella Choir   
Francis Vu 
Frisco TX
 
Centennial HS A Cappella Choir   
The Centennial High School A Cappella Choir is a 20-voice treble choir comprised of the finest singers and musicians at Centennial High School in Frisco, TX. Under the direction of Mr. Francis Vu, the CHS A Cappella has performed at state and regional competitions throughout the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Known for their “beautiful concept of tone,” “masterful vocal technique,” and their “beautiful attention to style and musicianship,” the CHS A Cappella has received consistent Superior ratings in Concert and Sight Reading at the Texas UIL Contests. The singers in this premier ensemble also have the experience of singing in All-Region and All-State Choirs. This ensemble of voices strongly believes that music can change lives, and sings to inspire their audiences through their remarkable choral performances.


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Congratulations!