Wednesday, December 19, 2012

THE AMERICAN PRIZE announces 2013 competitions

The American Prize, the national nonprofit competitions in the performing arts, is pleased to announce its 2013 series of contests for individual artists and performing ensembles. Complete information, including application forms and profiles of former winners, may be found on the website:

Contests for Individual Artists:

COMPOSERS of choral, orchestral or band works, or chamber music

Postmark Deadline extended to Thursday, February 14, 2013


Contests for Conductors and Ensembles:


Postmark Deadline is Monday, March 18, 2013


The American Prize is a series of new, non-profit national competitions in the performing arts unique in scope and structure, providing cash awards, professional adjudication and regional, national and international recognition. Each year, The American Prize rewards the best recorded performances by individual artists and ensembles in the United States at the professional, community, college and university, church and school levels. In addition to monetary rewards and written evaluations from judges, winners are profiled on The American Prize websites, where links will soon lead to video and audio excerpts of winning performances. The American Prize has awarded more than $10,000 in cash prizes in all categories since 2010.

The American Prize grew from the belief that a great deal of excellent music being made in this country goes unrecognized and unheralded, not only in our major cities, but all across the schools and churches, in colleges and universities, and by community and professional musicians.

With the performing arts in America marginalized like never before, The American Prize seeks to fill the gap that leaves excellent artists and ensembles struggling for visibility and viability. The American Prize recognizes and rewards the best America produces, without bias against small city versus large, or unknown artist versus well-known.

David Katz is the chief judge of The American Prize. Professional conductor, award-winning composer, playwright, actor and arts advocate, he is author of MUSE of FIRE, the acclaimed one-man play about the art of conducting. Joining Katz in selecting winners of The American Prize is a panel of judges as varied in background and experience as we hope the winners of The American Prize will be. Made up of distinguished musicians representing virtually every region of the country, the group includes professional vocalists, conductors, composers and pianists, tenured professors and noteworthy orchestra and choral musicians.

“Most artists may never win a Grammy award, or a Pulitzer, or a Tony, or perhaps even be nominated,” Katz said, “but that does not mean that they are not worthy of recognition and reward. Quality in the arts is not limited to the coasts, or to the familiar names, or only to graduates of the most famous schools. It is on view all over the United States, if you take the time to look for it. The American Prize exists to encourage and herald that excellence.”

By shining a light on nationally recognized achievement, winners of The American Prize receive world-class bragging rights to use in promotion right at home. “If The American Prize helps build careers, or contributes to local pride, or assists with increasing the audience for an artist or ensemble, builds the donor base, or stimulates opportunities or recruitment for winning artists and ensembles, then we have fulfilled our mission,” Katz said.

The American Prize is administered by Hat City Music Theater, Inc., a 501(c)3 non-profit performing arts organization based in Danbury, Connecticut.

Friday, September 21, 2012

The American Prize lights up Times Square.

The American Prize, and conductor David Bernard, winner of The American Prize in Conducting—Community Orchestra Division, 2012, light up Times Square in New York City this week with news of the win. Bravo, Maestro!

Got a great link or photo to share? Send it to us at

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


The American Prize is pleased to announce the WINNERS, runners-up and citation recipients of The American Prize in Band/Wind Ensemble Performance, 2012. (For other 2012 ensemble and conducting winners, please scroll down.)

Please make us aware of any misprints by emailing: 

The American Prize in Band/Wind Ensemble Performance—College/University Division, 2012

The American Prize winner:
THE MESSIAH COLLEGE WIND ENSEMBLE, Bradley Genevro, conductor,  Mechanicsburg, PA
The Messiah College Bands represent a cross-section of the campus community.  Participation in the groups is decided by auditions held each semester. The Wind Ensemble has performed at the Pennsylvania Music Educators State Convention, several District 7 In-service events and a variety of venues on the East Coast including the International Trumpet Guild Convention in 2009 and the 2010 College Band Directors National Association Eastern Division Conference.  The Wind Ensemble maintains an active recording schedule with several releases under the Mark Custom Record label. 

THE UNIVERSITY of GEORGIA WIND ENSEMBLE, John P. Lynch, conductor, Athens, GA
The UGA Wind Ensemble has earned an international reputation for its artistry.  It is committed to presenting passionate performances of a broad range of high quality repertoire from around the globe while preparing America’s future musical leaders.  The ensemble embraces new music and frequently commissions new works, especially those by talented young composers new to the wind band medium.  Recent achievements include invitations to perform at the American Bandmasters Association and College Band Directors National Association national conventions, a tour of Argentina as part of their Bicentennial Celebration, and two releases on the Naxos recording label.

Cynthia Johnston Turner, conductor, Ithaca, NY
The Cornell University Wind Ensemble is made up of undergraduate and graduate students who represent a variety of majors and most of the colleges on the Ithaca campus, including Engineering, Agriculture and Life Sciences, Arts and Sciences, Human Ecology, Veterinary Medicine, Hotel Administration, Law, and Industrial and Labor Relations. The majority of CU Winds (Wind Ensemble, Wind Symphony, and Chamber Winds) are non-music majors. These students bring a special dedication, intelligence, and joy to their music-making that I have found inspiring.

The Wind Ensemble is one of the premiere ensembles on campus regularly performing for annual commencement ceremonies (with an audience of more than 40,000), as well as performing several concerts on and off campus each semester, and undertaking biennial performing and service-learning tours to Costa Rica. While members of CU Winds rehearse and perform traditional and contemporary wind music as well as transcriptions of other musical genres, we are very interested in experimentation, forging new paths in wind literature, and maintaining Cornell’s dedication to innovation and outreach.

Cynthia Johnston Turner, conductor, Ithaca, NY
"Since 2004, the Cornell University Wind Ensemble has commissioned and premiered music from nationally and internationally renowned composers and has asked the university's talented D.M.A. candidates in composition (who study with Roberto Sierra, Steven Stucky and Kevin Ernste) to compose music that “pushes boundaries.” These exceptional young composers have produced significant contributions to the wind band repertoire."


The American Prize in Band/Wind Ensemble Performance—Community Division, 2012

The American Prize winner:
QUAD CITY WIND ENSEMBLE, Brian Hughes, conductor, Davenport, IA
Founded in 1987 by Dr. Charles B. DCamp of St. Ambrose University, the Quad City Wind Ensemble (QCWE) has become one of the finest adult bands in the nation.  With an annual series of full ensemble and chamber music concerts, the QCWE has also performed at the annual conventions of the Iowa Bandmasters Association and the Illinois Music Educators Association.  Brian Hughes of Dubuque, Iowa, was appointed as the first non-resident conductor of the ensemble and has grown the ensemble's repertoire to include band "classics," and contemporary music, including two world premiere performances.

LOS ALAMOS COMMUNITY WINDS, Ted Vives, music director, Los Alamos, NM
The Los Alamos Community Winds is a wind ensemble made up of members of the Los Alamos, NM community. We comprise both amateur and professional musicians of all ages and backgrounds from middle and high school students to retirees. We perform 4-5 formal concerts each season with repertoire ranging from orchestral transcriptions to original band works, marches, film music, and Broadway. We also perform at civic functions such as the 4th of July fireworks celebrations.


The American Prize in Band/Wind Ensemble Performance—High School Division, 2012

The American Prize winner:
Metea Valley High School, located in Aurora, Illinois, is the newest of three high schools in Indian Prairie School District #204.  Since the opening of the school in 2009 the music program has quickly built a strong sense of traditions and musical excellence.  The music department prepares its students to become lifelong patrons and practitioners of the arts by fostering creativity, promoting critical thinking, and increasing aesthetic awareness. This year’s inaugural Wind Ensemble is Metea Valley’s premier band (one of five curricular bands).  Students enrolled in Wind Ensemble also perform in year-long chamber ensembles and in the Chamber Strings orchestra.

The Frederick Fennell Wind Studies Program was created in 2003 by a generous contribution in honor of legendary wind conductor Frederick Fennell. The Frederick Fennell Wind Studies Program, offers a comprehensive wind studies education that allows students to enroll in masterclasses, work with an inspiring caliber of guest artists, and attend festivals and field trips. The program also provides students with the opportunity to perform in various ensembles, including the Frederick Fennell Wind Ensemble and the Symphonic Band, as well as several individual ensembles for flutes, double reeds, clarinets, brass, saxophones and percussion. The Frederick Fennell Wind Studies Program provides a focused, high-level, quality education to instrumental music students.

STROUDSBURG 9TH GRADE CONCERT BAND, Ben Pritchard, conductor, Stroudsburg, PA
The 55 members of the Ninth Grade Concert Band attend Stroudsburg Junior High School in Stroudsburg, PA. The students rehearse daily for 42 minutes and prepare for three performances each year. This is the student’s third year under the direction of Mr. Ben Pritchard. They make up the largest ensemble that Mr. Pritchard has taught in his 10 years at Stroudsburg. They are a dedicated, talented, hard working group of young musicians who have a great deal of pride in their ensemble. Stroudsburg has a rich concert band tradition beginning with it's inception in 1935.

Congratulations to all winners, runners-up and citation recipients.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

ORCHESTRA/CHORAL music sale ONLINE this week

(For the most recently announced winners, please scroll down.)

The American Prize is sponsoring an ORCHESTRA/CHORAL MUSIC SALE this week:

Wed, Sept. 12, 2012, 8 am EDT.

Thurs, Sept 13, 2012, 1 pm, EDT.

The sale is open to current or former contestants of The American Prize only, until Wed, Sept 19, 2012 at 1 pm EDT, when the sale becomes public.

For more information: Follow this link. (

Dozens of COMPLETE SETS of orchestra parts for sale: symphonies, oratorios & other choral works, overtures, concertos, ballet music, even opera, by such composers as Beethoven, Brahms, Haydn, Mendelssohn, Mozart, Tchaikovsky, and many more, all at prices far below current retail—and all with FREE standard shipping.

A smaller selection of orchestral pops music will also be offered, including classics from Broadway and the movies.

These are real parts—NOT photocopies—gleaned from the libraries of several orchestras clearing their shelves of extra sets, wanting to generate additional income so they can purchase more music.

Most parts are "gently used" and include modest markings (bowings, fingerings and etc.) but all sets have been double-checked and are complete. Included in the posting of each piece will be a list of each individual part in the set as well as string counts; most sets do not include scores.



For the first week, the sale will be private—offered only to contestants of The American Prize, including semi-finalist, finalist and winning conductors and ensembles from the years 2010 through 2012.


After seven days, the sale will be made public—anyone who wishes will be able to purchase any materials still available.

HOW THE SALE WORKS: please click here for details.

Friday, September 7, 2012


The American Prize is pleased to announce the WINNERS, runners-up and citation recipients of The American Prize in Conducting—Orchestral Division, 2012. (For other 2012 ensemble and conducting winners, please scroll down.)

Please make us aware of any misprints by emailing: 

The American Prize in Conducting—Professional Division

The American Prize Winner:
Dirk Meyer, music director, Duluth Superior Symphony Orchestra, Duluth, MN
Dirk Meyer (DMA) holds the position of Associate Conductor to the Sarasota Orchestra.
Meyer’s current season includes debuts with the Toronto Symphony, the Duluth Superior Symphony and the Springfield Symphony, as well as return engagements with the Orlando Philharmonic. Other engagements included the Naples, Mason and Traverse Symphony Orchestras as well as the Florida Orchestra and the Missouri and Jackson Symphony Orchestras. Possessing a passionate interest in the music of our time, Meyer published his book Chamber Orchestra and Ensemble Repertoire. A Catalog of Modern Music in 2011. He is actively involved in the commissioning and performance of new music.

Stefano Sarzani
Born in Italy (1984), Mr. Sarzani has been working on the educational projects of Orchestra Filarmonica Marchigiana. In 2011, he was finalist at the 1st Memphis SO Conducting Competition and at the 18th Capuana Competition, ranking respectively among the top five and the top three. He attended in the Masterclass of B.Haitink in Lucerne, studied at Accademia Chigiana, Siena, with G.Gelmetti and studied at Monteux School. He served as Assistant Conductor, Musical and Diction Coach at Indiana University from 2009 to 2011. He holds masters from Conservatorio Rossini, Pesaro, and from Indiana University, where he studied with David Effron and Athur Fagen.

3RD PLACE: There was a tie.
Lawrence Golan, music director, Yakima Symphony Orchestra, Yakima, WA
Lawrence Golan, 3-time Global Music Award winner, is currently in his second season as the Helen N. Jewett Music Director of the Yakima Symphony Orchestra. In addition, he is a tenured full professor at the University of Denver’s Lamont School of Music where he is Music Director and Conductor of the Lamont Symphony Orchestra and Opera Theatre. Golan guest conducts professional orchestras, opera, and ballet companies in the United States and around the world. Having conducted in 25 U.S. states and 16 countries, recent engagements include performances in Boulder, Macon, Memphis, Tucson, China, Czech Republic, Italy, Korea, and Taiwan.

3RD PLACE: There was a tie.
Steven Lipsitt, music director, Boston Classical Orchestra, Boston, MA 
Steven Lipsitt is recognized for his technically and expressively balanced interpretations. The New York Times’ Allan Kozinn described his work as “compelling” while The Boston Globe’s Richard Dyer called it “an impressive demonstration of talent and discipline.”

Now in his thirteenth season as Music Director of the Boston Classical Orchestra, Lipsitt has conducted orchestras in Russia, Greece, Brazil, China, the Czech Republic, Canada, and the U.S., as well as Scottish Opera, the Kennedy Center Opera House, Boston Lyric Opera, the Boston Pops, and Boston Ballet.

Lipsitt won first prize at the inaugural “Dimitri Mitropoulos” International Conducting Competition, and first prize at the Marienbad “Georg Tintner” Mastercourse.


The American Prize in Conducting—Community Orchestra Division

The American Prize Winner:
David Bernard, music director, Park Avenue Chamber Symphony, New York, NY
Music Director of New York City’s Park Avenue Chamber Symphony, DAVID BERNARD has performed in more than 20 countries on four continents. His incisive performances have been heard in many of the city’s most prestigious venues, among them Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts’ Avery Fisher Hall and Alice Tully Hall and The Riverside Church, as well as on radio stations WNYC and WQXR and telecast on WCBS. He and his work have been profiled in Symphony Magazine,, The Juilliard Journal, New York’s Daily News, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. David Bernard led the Park Avenue Chamber Symphony on a nine-city tour of the People’s Republic of China and has appeared as a guest conductor with the New York Symphonic Arts Ensemble and the Putnam Symphony. David Bernard’s discography includes 17 albums spanning music from Vivaldi to Copland, and released on, iTunes, Napster and Rhapsody.

David Bernard is a pianist and harpsichord/continuo player, and often leads Baroque works from the keyboard and performs in the dual role of soloist and conductor. He has also prepared a new edition of Mendelssohn’s Symphony No. 1 and written a textbook of music theory, The Structural Principles of Music. Mr. Bernard lectures on musicology, music history and musicianship, most recently “Musicianship in Performance,” an exploration of the decisions made when creating performances.

Devoted to the music of our own time, David Bernard has presented world premières of scores by Bruce Adolphe, Chris Caswell, John Mackey and Ted Rosenthal, while distinguished concert collaborators include Carter Brey, David Chan, Catherine Cho, Pedro Días, Bart feller, Whoopi Goldberg, Judith Ingolfsson, Christina Jennings, Jessica Lee, Jon Manasse, Todd Phillips and James Archie Worley.

Prior to the 1999 founding of the Park Avenue Chamber Symphony, David Bernard served as Music Director of the Stony Brook University Orchestra, the Gilbert and Sullivan Light Opera Company of Long Island and Theater Three. He also held the post of Assistant Conductor of both the Jacksonville and Stamford symphony orchestras.

David Bernard is an alumnus of The Juilliard School, Curtis Institute of Music, Stony Brook University, The Tanglewood Music Center and Saratoga Performing Arts Center, and studied with Sergiu Celibdache, David Lawton, Roger Nierenberg and Arthur Weisberg.

Lois Ferrari, music director, Austin Civic Orchestra, Austin, TX
Lois Ferrari is celebrating her tenth year as Music Director of the Austin Civic Orchestra. She is also Professor of Music at Southwestern University in Georgetown, TX and has been a member of the faculty since 1993. A graduate of the Eastman School of Music, where she received a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in conducting, Dr. Ferrari was a recipient of a full doctoral fellowship and was appointed Assistant Conductor of the renowned Eastman Wind Ensemble. She also earned Masters and Bachelors degrees from the Ithaca College School of Music. Her mentors include Donald Hunsberger, Rodney Winther, David Effron, and Donald Neuen.

Robert Helmacy, music director, South Orange Symphony, Orange, NJ
Robert Helmacy holds degrees from Baldwin Wallace College, Juilliard, Boston University; and studied trumpet with William Vacchiano, Mel Broiles, Bernard Adelstein, conducting with Jorge Mester, George Poinar and Walter Susskind, and performance practice with Arthur Weisberg and James Chambers. He has conducted the South Orange Symphony for 40 years, conducted all orchestras and brass ensembles for Eastern Music Festival 1970-94, and founded Northern Tier Symphony (2010). He performed principal trumpet for the North Jersey Wind Symphony where he premiered the Hovhaness Trumpet Concerto, with the Aspen Festival Orchestra, and the South Orange Symphony. He has taught at Susquehanna University, Wilkes University and Caldwell College.


The American Prize in Conducting—College/University Orchestra Division

The American Prize Winner:
Gemma New, assistant conductor, New Jersey Symphony Orchestra
Recently appointed Assistant Conductor of the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, GEMMA NEW makes several guest-conducting debuts this season, including concert appearances with the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra and Orchestra Symphonique de Trois-Rivières in Canada. She is initiator and conductor of the Baltimore-based LUNAR Ensemble—a group of talented singers and instrumentalists who specialize in the performance and promotion of contemporary music. Originally from New Zealand, New worked with the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra, Southern Opera and Christchurch Youth Orchestra before moving to the States in 2009. A recent graduate of the Peabody Institute, New studied with Gustav Meier, and Markand Thakar.

Yorgos Kouritas, Music Director, Boise Philharmonic Youth Symphony, Boise, ID
Yorgos Kouritas is currently the Music Director of the Boise Philharmonic Youth Symphony and from next year he will also be the Assistant and Cover Conductor of the Boise Philharmonic. While pursuing his DMA at Eastman School of Music, he was also the Music Director of the New Horizons Orchestra and the Associate Conductor of Brighton Symphony. He previously had the position of Cincinnati Symphony Conducting Assistant and Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra Assistant Conductor. In summer 2010, he was chosen by Lorin Maazel as a Conducting Fellow for his festival in Virginia and he received great reviews. Other masterclasses he has been chosen to participate in are the Kurt Masur Conducting Seminar (twice), the Winnipeg Symphony Conducting Symposium and the Richmond Symphony Conducting Workshop.

David Rudge, Director of Orchestras and Opera, SUNY—Fredonia, NY
Dr. David Rudge is currently Director of Orchestras and Opera at the State University of New York at Fredonia, and Music Director of the Orchard Park Symphony Orchestra. He has conducted orchestras and operas in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, South and Central America. He was a Senior Fulbright Fellow, an International Artistic Ambassador with the U.S. State Department, a two-time winner of the International Opera Conductors’ Competition in the Czech Republic, and has worked with such soloists as Mark O’Connor and Yo Yo Ma. He has taught conducting in Guatemala, Syria, Taiwan and at the Bard College Conductor’s Institute.


The American Prize in Conducting—Youth Orchestra Division

The American Prize Winner:
Michael Webster, music director, Houston Youth Symphony, Houston, TX
Michael Webster is professor of music at Rice University’s Shepherd School of
Music and artistic director of the Houston Youth Symphony. Formerly principal clarinetist with the Rochester Philharmonic and the San Francisco Symphony, Webster has appeared with many orchestras, string quartets and festivals spanning North America, South and Central America, Europe, Australia, New Zealand and Japan.  He has been on the clarinet and conducting faculties of Eastman, New England Conservatory, and the University of Michigan.

James Feddeck, music director, Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra
James Feddeck is currently in his third season as Music Director of the Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra and Assistant Conductor of The Cleveland Orchestra. In June 2012 he will be leading the youth orchestra on their first international tour to Prague, Vienna, and Salzburg.
He made his debut with The Cleveland Orchestra in August 2009 at the Blossom Music Festival and in March 2011, stepped in at the last minute to conduct the Zurich Opera’s production of Mozart’s Don Giovanni in Cleveland to critical acclaim. Recent conducting engagements include the orchestras of Atlanta, St. Louis, Charlotte, Toledo, Omaha, Grand Rapids, and the Kennedy Center Opera Orchestra. He is a graduate of the Oberlin Conservatory of Music where he was admitted in four areas: piano, oboe, organ and conducting.

Beau Benson, Strings Coordinator, Waco Symphony Youth Orchestra
Beau Benson currently serves as Principal Conductor for the Dallas-based Metroplex Opera Company, as well as Assistant Conductor/Strings Coordinator for the Waco Symphony Youth Orchestra and Director of Orchestras for the Midway Independent School District in Waco, Texas.  Prior appointments include Music Director/Conductor for the Mason Orchestral Society (Michigan), Music Director for the Texas A&M University Orchestra, Assistant Conductor for the Flower Mound Symphony, and Assistant Conductor for The Living Opera Company.  He received his bachelors and masters degrees at Southern Methodist University and his DMA at Michigan State University.


The American Prize in Conducting—Special Citation for Excellence in Music Education
Jonathan Handman, Artistic Director, Stringendo Orchestra School of the Hudson Valley, Poughkeepsie, NY
Jonathan Handman, conductor and cellist is a co-founder and Artistic Director of the Stringendo Orchestra School of the Hudson Valley and is an orchestra director at Arlington High School in Poughkeepsie, NY.   At Stringendo, he directs two orchestras, Vivace and Mazurka, and at Arlington he is the conductor of two symphony orchestras and directs an extensive chamber music program.  In each program, his orchestras have won the Grand Champion prize at the ASTA National Orchestra Festival.   Mr. Handman was Oberlin Conservatory’s invited guest speaker, representing the decade of the 1990’s, celebrating its 100th year anniversary of Music Education.  Jonathan’s studies include The Eastman School of Music (Trombone performance), The Oberlin Conservatory (B.A. in Music Education, Cello) and an M.A in orchestral conducting from SUNY Fredonia.

The American Prize in Conducting—Special Citation for Excellence in Music Education
Christopher T.F. Hanson, artistic director, SMART Orchestra, San Marcos, TX
Conductor, violinist, composer, pedagogue and musicologist, Hanson enjoys performing with a large and eclectic group of ensembles in the state of Texas and abroad. Recently, Hanson received his third Masters in Music theory from Texas State University. Hanson completed his first two Masters Degrees in Music History and Composition at Texas State in 2009. His research and performance engagements as a violinist afford him an array of opportunities across Texas and abroad. Hanson currently works as the orchestra conductor for San Marcos Consolidated Independent School District and the artistic director for the SMART Orchestra in San Marcos, TX.

Congratulations to all winners, runners-up and citation recipients.


Maestro Vytautas Marijosius
The American Prize is pleased to announce the WINNER and runners-up for The American Prize in Orchestral Programming—Maestro Vytautas Marijosius Memorial Award, 2012. (For other 2012 ensemble and conducting winners, please scroll up or down or use the archive feature to the right.)

Please make us aware of any misprints by emailing:

From David Katz, chief judge: "The second annual contest for The American Prize in Orchestral Programming—Maestro Vytautas Marijosius Memorial Award, attracted some of the country's most persuasive and creative music directors—individuals who would be no more likely to program a concert with a standard overture followed by a standard concerto, followed by a standard intermission, followed by a standard symphony as they would be to conduct standing on their heads. These are conductors who recognize program-planning as central to the growth of their ensembles, the enrichment of their audiences and the future of the art.

In 2012, The American Prize has selected one national winner, three runners-up, a citation recipient and four honorable mentions. Each of these music directors is worthy of special recognition; each creates programs with the unique circumstances of their ensemble and their constituency clearly in mind. I hope to elaborate on their strengths in a future blog post. I applaud them all.

For nearly thirty five years Director of Orchestral Activities at the Hartt School, Vytautas Marijosius programmed concerts that were alive in every sense—not programming for novelty’s sake alone, nor neglecting the great masters of the past—but always bringing to the awareness of his students and his audiences great composers of the current time and potential masters of the future. I believe he would be pleased in different ways with each of this year's honorees." —DK

For more about Maestro Marijosius, please visit the companion blog here.

The American Prize in Orchestral Programming—Maestro Vytautas Marijosius Memorial Award

The American Prize Winner:
Lawrence Golan, music director, Yakima Symphony Orchestra, Yakima, WA for "A Titanic Season"
Lawrence Golan, 3-time Global Music Award winner, is currently in his second season as the Helen N. Jewett Music Director of the Yakima Symphony Orchestra. In addition, he is a tenured full professor at the University of Denver’s Lamont School of Music where he is Music Director and Conductor of the Lamont Symphony Orchestra and Opera Theatre. Golan guest conducts professional orchestras, opera, and ballet companies in the United States and around the world. Having conducted in 25 U.S. states and 16 countries, recent engagements include performances in Boulder, Macon, Memphis, Tucson, China, Czech Republic, Italy, Korea, and Taiwan.

Tara Towson Villa, music director Lee County Community Orchestra, Sanford, NC for "The Elements"
Tara Towson Villa is in her ninth season as music director of the Davidson College Symphony Orchestra in Davidson, North Carolina, and in her third season with the Lee County Community Orchestra in Sanford, North Carolina.  Villa has conducted various orchestras across the southeast, including the Union Symphony Orchestra, Macon Symphony Orchestra, and Hot Springs Music Festival Orchestra.  Abroad, Villa has worked with several orchestras across Europe and in Brazil.  She has won conducting competitions and contests in Bulgaria and Germany with the help of grants from the Global Partners Project and the League of American Orchestras.

Timothy Hutto, music director, New York Symphonic Arts Ensemble, New York, NY for "Mahler: Aspects"
Timothy Hutto was appointed the music director of the New York Symphonic Arts Ensemble at the beginning of the 2007-2008 season. His New York conducting debut came with NYSAE in 2000, and subsequently he appeared annually as a guest conductor. Raised and educated in Texas, he holds degrees from Stephen F. Austin State University, the University of North Texas, and Sam Houston State University. From 1996-97, he was music director of the Huntsville Texas Youth Orchestra. In 2000, he was a fellow at the Conductors Institute at Bard College, where his teachers included Harold Farberman and Leon Botstein.

Ken Selden, music director, Portland State University Symphony Orchestra, Portland, OR for 2010-11 Season
In the fall of 2006, Ken Selden was appointed Conductor and Music Director of the Symphony Orchestra at Portland State University. Since arriving in Portland, he has appeared as guest conductor of the Oregon Symphony, Third Angle New Music Ensemble, Portland Youth Philharmonic and the Newport Symphony. Most recently, his recording of Mahler and Debussy arrangements with the newly established Martingale Ensemble was released on MSR Classics.

Richard Chiarappa, founding music director, West Hartford Symphony Orchestra, West Hartford, CT for 2010-11 Season 
Richard Chiarappa is the founding music director and conductor of the West Hartford Symphony Orchestra of Connecticut (2002). As a composer, he completed his first opera in August, 2011, titled The Miraculous Staircase. His work prior to that was “Uncle Sal’s Cello,” a piece for orchestra and narrator. That was preceded by “The Gettysburg Address” for orchestra and narrator, published by Robert Wendel Music of New York City. Chiarappa studied orchestral conducting with Vytautas Marijosius at The Hartt School. Since 1979 he has been a faculty member at the Kingswood Oxford School in West Hartford. His music can be heard at

Donald Appert, music director,  Oregon Sinfonietta, Portland, OR for 2010-2011 Season
Donald Appert has been Music Director/Conductor of the Clark College Orchestra since 1990. He has guest conducted orchestras in Europe, Central America, Japan and Australia. Currently he is a 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 Oregon Sinfonietta in Portland, Oregon.  He received The American Prize in Orchestral Programming—Vytautas Marijosius  Memorial Award in 2011 for his work with the Oregon Sinfonietta. He has received the  ASCAPLUS Award numerous times. His music may be heard via the Internet on his web site at

Alyze Dreiling, artistic director/conductor, YPO Philharmonic String Orchestra and Soloist Ensemble, San Diego, CA for 2010-11 Season and Bartok Birthday Celebration
Ms. Dreiling is honored to have been awarded second prize in The American Prize Competition for her conducting of the YPO Philharmonic String Orchestra and Soloist Ensemble in the 2011 Competition. Presently Ms. Dreiling is on the faculty at University of San Diego and USD Chamber Music Festival and is violinist with Trio Licenza, the piano trio, in residence at USD,she also performs a violinist with Quartetto Sorrento ,and she is the violinist with The California Consort, founded by legendary contrabassist, Bertram Turetzky. Violinist, Alyze Dreiling was born in Detroit, Michigan.  She began her studies with Mischa Mischakoff. Ms. Dreiling graduated from Indiana University where she studied with Josef Gingold. Since then she has appeared as soloist with the Detroit Symphony, Philharmonica Hungarica at the Vienna Summer Festival, the Florida Chamber Orchestra, Knoxville Symphony, Knoxville Chamber Orchestra. Ms. Dreiling was founding Artistic Director/ Conductor of Classics for Kids. Alyze served as the Violinist/Conductor of the International Chamber Players at USIU. She has played concertmaster for Donna Summers, Smoky Robinson, Dionne Warwick and Tom Scott, to name a few and for shows at the Old Globe, Civic Auditorium, LaJolla Playhouse, Lawrence Welk and Starlight Theater. She has also played with San Diego Symphony, San Diego Chamber Orchestra, Hutchins Consort.

Victor Wahby, music director, Musical Medical Group Chorale and Symphony Orchestra, Washington, DC "Veterans Commemoration—Healing for the Nations"
Victor Wahby, MD, Ph.D., FACP is a Renaissance man. Trained in medicine and music, he studied conducting with Joseph Sissi, the Vienna-trained conductor of the Cairo Symphony Orchestra. At Mayo Clinic he conducted the Mayo Medical Chorale and Orchestra, and while on Yale Medical School faculty he conducted the Yale Medical Musical Group, the forerunner of the current national group he founded. The Washington Post praised Dr. Wahby for his "sincere interpretations of music."  Dr. Wahby composed the award-winning Veterans Hymn.  He is the recipient of many recognitions, a Congressional Tribute and, dearest to his heart, awards by various veterans organizations.

Congratulations to all honorees.


The American Prize is pleased to announce the WINNERS and runners-up for The American Prize in Conducting—Choral Division, and The American Prize in Conducting—Band/Wind Ensemble Division, 2012. (For other 2012 ensemble and conducting winners, please scroll up or down or use the archive feature to the right.)

Please make us aware of any misprints by emailing: 

The American Prize in Conducting—Choral Division, Community Chorus

The American Prize Winner:
Richard Hynson, Music Director and Conductor, Bel Canto Chorus of Milwaukee, WI
During his 24 years as Music Director, Dr. Richard Hynson has transformed Bel Canto Chorus of Milwaukee from a venerable community chorus to a vibrant, successful arts organization respected for its artistic excellence, innovative programming, and impactful outreach. Hynson has guest conducted throughout the U.S and has lead Bel Canto on multiple international tours, most recently to Argentina in summer 2011. Under Hynson’s direction, Bel Canto opened its 81st season on Sunday, September 11, 2011, with United We Stand.  This free outdoor concert, attended by 4,000 people, marked the 10th anniversary of the 2001 terrorist attacks and featured Mozart’s Requiem.

Karen Thomas, Artistic Director, Seattle Pro Musica, WA
Karen P. Thomas, composer and conductor, is the Artistic Director and Conductor of Seattle Pro Musica, with whom she has recorded eight critically-acclaimed CDs, and received the Margaret Hillis Award for Choral Excellence and the ASCAP-Chorus America Award. Her compositions are performed internationally, by groups such as The Hilliard Ensemble, and are hailed as “…superb work of the utmost sensitivity and beauty.” She has received awards and grants from the NEA, American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, and ASCAP, among others. Her commissions include works for the International Grand Jubilee in Rome and the American Guild of Organists.

Jonathan Palant, Minister of Music, Kessler Park United Methodist Church, Dallas, TX
Jonathan Palant, a native of Lexington, Massachusetts, is currently Minister of Music at Kessler Park United Methodist Church in Dallas, Texas.  From 2007-2011, he served as Artistic Director of Dallas’ Turtle Creek Chorale.  Prior to that time, Palant was Adjunct Professor of Choral Music at Madonna University in Livonia, Michigan.  He taught secondary choral music at both University School in Cleveland, Ohio and San Pasqual High School in Escondido, California. Palant holds degrees from Michigan State University, Temple University and the University of Michigan.


The American Prize in Conducting—Band/Wind Ensemble Division, College/University

The American Prize Winner:
H. Carl Hess, associate conductor, Duquesne Wind Symphony, director, Symphony Band, Pittsburgh, PA
H. Carl Hess is currently Assistant Professor of Music, Chair of Brass, and Director of Athletic Bands at Duquesne University’s Mary Pappert School of Music. In the spring of 2011, Hess served as interim Director of Orchestral Activities. In this capacity he led performances of Respighi’s Pines of Rome and Fountains of Rome, Britten’s Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra, and Puccini’s Suor Angelica and Gianni Schicchi. After his successful operatic debut, Hess was named Music Director of the Opera Workshop at Duquesne University, and will lead a groundbreaking performance of Mark Adamo’s Little Women in the spring of 2012.

David Wacyk—University of Maryland Wind Orchestra, College Park, MD
David Wacyk is a graduate conducting student at the University of Maryland, where he studies conducting with Michael Votta and James Ross. Prior to his graduate studies at University of Maryland, Wacyk directed bands and orchestras in the Maryland public schools from 2007-2010, during which time he also served as the founder and conductor of the Upper Chesapeake Wind Ensemble.  In 2009, Wacyk was selected as a participant in the Canford School’s Wind Conductor’s Course, and in 2011 he was invited to the conducting symposium at the New England Conservatory. Recently, Wacyk has become director of the Falls Church Concert Band.

Richard Kazuhiko Henebry—New England Conservatory Wind Ensemble, Boston, MA
Richard Kazuhiko Henebry biography: Holding degrees in trombone performance and wind conducting, Richard Kazuhiko Henebry is currently assistant conductor of the Massachusetts Youth Wind Ensemble and is equally at home conducting repertoire as varied as orchestral works, musical theatre classics and 20th century literature for wind instruments, Mr. Henebry’s area of expertise. Recent appointments include cover conductor of the New Haven Chamber Orchestra. Mr. Henebry has participated in several conducting masterclasses, including the Second Annual Frederick Fennell Memorial Masterclass and the West Point Conducting
Workshop. His principal mentors are Charles Peltz, Scott Hartman, and Mark Kellogg.


Congratulations to all winners and runners-up.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012


Marilyn Miller
The American Prize is pleased to announce the WINNERS and runners-up for The American Prize in Musical Theater Performance, 2012. (For opera and other ensemble winners, please scroll down.)

Please make us aware of any misprints by emailing: 

The American Prize in Musical Theater Performance, 2012
High School Division

The American Prize winner:
George Mason High School, Falls Church, VA
George Mason High School—Les Mis

George Mason High School Theater Department hosts two full scale theater productions per year.  Casting is open to all students and casts are drawn from high school grades 8-12.  The school, located in Falls Church, Virginia, offers introductory theater classes to its 8th to 10th grade students and offers International Baccalaureate Theater and Music classes to advanced 11th and 12th grade students.  The philosophy of the theater director is collaborative and developmental, with emphasis on the learning process above the final product.

Youth Musical Theater Company of Berkeley, Berkeley, CA
Youth Music Theater Company—Ragtime
Youth Musical Theater Company is a non-profit, Berkeley-based company which produces professional caliber musical theater while providing exceptional theater training to students from the 7th grade through university level.  We bring together the Bay Area’s most talented and dedicated young singer/actors with professional directors, designers, and musicians to create theater that takes on challenging and sophisticated musical and dramatic themes, and that is always accompanied by a full, live orchestra. From the time it incorporated as a non-profit in 2004, YMTC has grown into a year round production company, producing three fully mounted musicals as well as small scale workshop productions and training workshops throughout the year. Many YMTC graduates have gone on to study music and theater at some of the best conservatories in the United States and abroad; all of them, wherever they go, take with them confidence, empathy, responsibility, and the capacity to imagine. We passionately believe that when young people have opportunities to participate in exceptional training in the arts, they are becoming not only the next generation of artists and arts appreciators, but the next generation of engaged citizens: empowered to pay attention, communicate, and energetically participate in a collaborative process.

East Rockaway Junior/Senior High School, Long Island, NY
East Rockaway Junior/Senior High School—Crazy for You
The East Rockaway Junior/Senior High School company consists of students from grades seven through twelve. Students are chosen each year based on auditions - cast as well as orchestra. Some performers have been involved for a number of years and some are brand new to performing. Being a tight-knit community, a few faculty members (including the school's principal, Mr. Bill Fortgang) participate in the orchestra and behind the scenes. This year's show, "Crazy for You" was directed by Ms. Pam Murano, music directed by Mr. Tom Schloen, vocal music directed by Mr. Daniel Ezell and choreographed by Ms. Shari Berman.


The American Prize in Conducting—Musical Theater Division—high school

The American Prize winner:
Mary Jo West, George Mason High School, Falls Church, VA (Les Mis)
Mary Jo West has been actively conducting musicals in both educational and professional settings for the past 27 years.  Ms West has conducted numerous high school productions in a variety of educational settings including high school musicals in Japan, community college productions in California and the current productions at George Mason High School. As well, Ms West has conducted a variety of local professional and community theater productions including “Aida”, “Guys and Dolls”, “Chicago” and others.

David Crews Moschler, Youth Musical Theater Company of Berkeley, Berkeley, CA (Ragtime)
David Möschler works as a conductor and musical director throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. He has music directed over seventy-five fully-staged productions, most recently with Center Repertory Theater, Shotgun Players, Ray of Light Theatre, Erika Chong Shuch Performance Project, Youth Musical Theater Company of Berkeley and Light Opera Theatre of Sacramento. During the summer Möschler is a principal conductor with College Light Opera Company in Cape Cod, where he has served on the music staff for six seasons. He received his Master of Arts in Music from UC Davis, where he studied orchestral and choral conducting with D. Kern Holoman and Jeffrey Thomas.

Patrick Towey—Ken-Ton Summer Theatre Arts Group Experience (The Wiz) 
Patrick Towey – has served as the Music Director and Pit Orchestra Conductor for Ken-Ton STAGE since 2010 and played in the pit orchestras since 2006. He is currently pursuing a degree in Music Education from the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY. As a pianist, he has played with the Eastman Wind Orchestra, University of Rochester Jazz Ensemble, and has accompanied soloists. As a trombonist, he has played with the Eastman Trombone Choir, U of R Wind Symphony, U of R Brass Choir. He is a 2010 graduate of St. Joseph’s Collegiate Institute where he was very active in the music department.


Congratulations to all winners and runners-up.