Friday, August 31, 2012


The American Prize is pleased to announce the WINNERS and runners-up in all divisions of The American Prize in Orchestral Performance. 

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The American Prize in Orchestral Performance—Professional Division

The American Prize winner: 
Piotr Gajewski, conductor
Montgomery County, Maryland
A judicious merging of the National Chamber Orchestra and Masterworks Chorus on July 1, 2003 created an ensemble with a 55-year combined history of high caliber musical performances in the local area. The mission of the National Philharmonic is to be the dynamic organization of choice providing the highest quality orchestral, choral and other musical experiences to enrich and inspire the lives of people in Montgomery County, the Washington, DC metropolitan area and beyond through concerts and educational programs for all ages.  The Philharmonic serves the residents of Montgomery County, Maryland and the Greater Washington Metropolitan Area. The primary goal of the organization is to provide audiences with high quality, professional performances at a convenient location and an affordable price. The National Philharmonic also aims to appeal to the diverse cultural backgrounds of the community through its musical performances and educational initiatives at the world-class Music Center at Strathmore. With its long-standing history of reasonably priced concert tickets and free admission to all young people ages 7-17, the National Philharmonic is an accessible, enriching component in the Greater Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Area.

Stephen Lipsitt, music director
Boston, MA

The Boston Classical Orchestra is a professional per-service chamber orchestra made up of many of the city's finest freelance instrumentalists, offering a subscription season in historic Faneuil Hall. These musicians also play with Boston Lyric Opera, Boston Ballet, and the Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra, and teach at area schools. Founded in 1980, the orchestra recently concluded its 30th-anniversary season with its first-ever performance of Schumann's Symphony No. 2, prompting The Boston Globe to observe: "Schumann's symphony was completely persuasive...The music seemed to soar on its own of the city's lesser-known gems capped its 30th anniversary season with a magnificent success...this orchestra & Lipsitt are capable of taking on big challenges."

Roberta Carpenter, music director
Oconomowoc, WI
The Oconomowoc Chamber Orchestra, a parent organization with two orchestras (Professional & Avocational), a Music Appreciation Series, and a historical instrument project, is in it's third season, preceeded by a year of planning. The Community Orchestra (LCO) performs 4 concerts per year, and The Score Came Second… series is a Music Appreciation/Performance program, featuring guest artists.

The OCO's Debut Concert featured two compositions for Lake Country, a brilliant Paganini Violin Concerto, Copland's Fanfare for the Common Man, and Beethoven's Fifth Symphony. The concert was recorded and recently released (CD and DVD) incorporating video, photographic, aerial, and artistic images.

The American Prize in Orchestral Performance—Community Division

The American Prize winner: 
David Bernard, music director 
New York, NY
Since its founding in 1999, the Park Avenue Chamber Symphony has built a loyal following, both in New York City and worldwide through its extensive catalog of recordings on iTunes, Naxos/ClassicsOnline, Amazon and Spotify.  Most recently, the Park Avenue Chamber Symphony performed a 9 city concert tour of the People’s Republic of China.  The Park Avenue Chamber Symphony's performances are acclaimed by New York Critics as “Triumphant...polished…exquisite…with a strong sense of style and commitment…with the depth and fervor of the old school European orchestras.”

The ensemble regularly features important soloists including Carter Brey (principal cellist, New York Philharmonic), David Chan (concertmaster, Metropolitan Opera Orchestra), Jon Manasse (clarinet soloist) and Whoopi Goldberg (Oscar Winning Actor and Entertainer), as well as emerging artists from Juilliard, Manhattan School of Music and Mannes. The Park Avenue Chamber Symphony performs at All Saints Church on the Upper East Side of NYC, with additional performances at Carnegie Hall, Alice Tully Hall and Avery Fisher Hall.

Through its fundraising efforts, the Park Avenue Chamber Symphony has helped establish a new Scholarship Fund for students at theJuilliard School’s Pre-College Division, as well as support  The Harmony Program—a New York City organization that provides music lessons to economically disadvantaged children and is modeled after Venezuela's world-famous model of music education, "El Sistema".

Guido Lamell, music director
Los Angeles, CA
The Los Angeles Musician's Symphony is a newly formed ensemble under the Music Directorship of Guido Lamell comprising many of the finest musicians in the Los Angeles Area who have come together voluntarily to raise money for various worthy causes. It was formed specifically in May of 2011 to organize and perform a benefit concert to raise money to help the victims of the devastating earthquake and tsunami of March 11th, 2011. The orchestra in now planning a benefit concert to help victims in the United States of the many Tornadoes which have struck so recently in many of the central states regions of the US.

Christopher Koch, music director
Springfield, MO

The Springfield-Drury Civic Orchestra (SDCO) is southwest Missouri’s regional community orchestra. Founded in 2005, the 100-member ensemble comprises a combination of Drury students, students from most of our region’s universities, professional performers and educators, and dedicated community members (ages 15-75). Now beginning its 7th season, the SDCO presents a yearly 3-concert season of orchestral masterworks—all free and open to public. 

The American Prize in Orchestral Performance—College/University Division

The American Prize Winner:
Tonu Kalam, music director
Chapel Hill, NC

The UNC Symphony Orchestra is a 100-member ensemble which rehearses twice weekly and performs four major concerts each year. Enrollment is open by audition to music majors, non-majors, graduate students in any field, and recent graduates of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Led by its Music Director and Conductor, Tonu Kalam, the orchestra often presents faculty and student musicians as concerto soloists and has regularly collaborated with UNC opera and choral ensembles. Concert repertoire is selected to provide the musicians with a wide perspective of major orchestral works spanning the 18th through 21st centuries.

Lawrence Golan, music director
Denver, CO

The Lamont Symphony Orchestra (LSO) is the resident orchestra of the University of Denver’s Lamont School of Music. It performs 7 symphonic concerts and 2 fully-staged opera productions each year. Under the leadership of its Music Director and Conductor Lawrence Golan, the LSO has won an ASCAP Award for the Adventurous Programming of Contemporary Music 6 out of the last 8 years. In addition, Golan and the LSO have won Downbeat Magazine’s award for Best College Symphony Orchestra twice, in 2003 and 2012.

Daniel Sommerville, conductor
Wheaton, IL

The Wheaton College Symphony Orchestra of the Wheaton Conservatory of Music is an all-undergraduate ensemble with a typical membership of 75-80 (45-50
string players).  Most recently the orchestra was invited and played for the 2012 College Orchestra Directors Association national conference at Northwestern University.  The orchestra performed in Orchestra Hall, Chicago in 2011, and in 2006 it was the orchestra for the Conductors Guild national conducting workshop.  The orchestra regularly performs with Maestro John Nelson, on such works as Britten¹s War Requiem, Berlioz¹s Requiem, Handel's Messiah, Mendelssohn¹s Elijah, and Brahms' German Requiem.  Daniel Sommerville is their conductor.

The American Prize in Orchestral Performance—Youth Orchestra Division

The American Prize Winner:  
Daniel Alfred Wachs, music director
Orange County, CA

The Orange County Youth Symphony Orchestra, now in its 42nd season, is the official youth orchestra of Orange County. Conducted by Music Director Daniel Alfred Wachs, the non-profit OCYSO provides the highest level of pre-professional orchestral training for young musicians in Southern California. OCYSO’s mission, to introduce great music into the lives of young people, is fulfilled in part through its highly acclaimed “Concerts for Fifth Graders,” in the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall at the Orange County Performing Arts Center. Additionally, OCYSO presents a concert series in the historic Memorial Auditorium at Chapman University.

Michael Webster, conductor
Houston, TX

Houston Youth Symphony was founded in 1947 and now serves approximately 300 students in four orchestras.  Michael Webster has been Artistic Director since
1997, and has led the Symphony, its most advanced orchestra, at the inauguration of Houston mayor Lee Brown, the 2002 National Youth Orchestra Festival and at Carnegie Hall.  HYS is the national first prize winner of the Foundation for Music Education's Mark of Excellence competition in 2008/9/10/11 and the American Prize in 2010/11.

Thomas Taylor Dickey, conductor
Dubuque, IA

The Dubuque Youth Symphony Orchestra (DYSO), founded in 1968, is an honors youth orchestra for students living in the Dubuque area.  Musicians in the Dubuque Youth Symphony Orchestra gain experience performing standard classical repertoire in a full orchestra setting. The DYSO is conducted by Thomas Taylor Dickey.


The American Prize in Orchestral Performance—High School Division

The American Prize Winner:  
Jonathan Handman, conductor
La Grangeville, NY

Arlington High School is located in LaGrangeville, NY and Philharmonia is the most advanced of the four orchestras in the school and was the grand champion winner of the ASTA National Orchestra Festival in March 2012.  The program consists of one ninth grade string orchestra and three symphonic orchestras for students in grades 10-12, of which Ms. Elizabeth Handman and Mr. Jonathan Handman are the directors.  In total, the program has over 250 string students and 75 wind/percussion members that join the strings every other day as their second ensemble in addition to the band program that they are members of.  Arlington Central School District’s High School Principal is Dr. Brendan Lyons.

Beau Benson, conductor
Waco, TX

The Midway Philharmonic is the most advanced orchestral ensemble offered by the Midway Independent School District.  Primarily a string ensemble, the orchestra often collaborates with the MHS Wind Symphony to perform challenging literature from the symphonic repertoire.  Since its beginning, the Midway Philharmonic has earned consistent sweepstakes awards at UIL Concert and Sight Reading Contest, and has been featured as a demonstration ensemble twice at the Texas Music Educators Association annual convention.  In addition, the orchestra has collaborated with nationally and internationally recognized soloists and clinicians, and has twice been selected as a finalist for the TMEA Honor Orchestra competition.

Congratulations to all winners and runners-up.

1 comment:

  1. The primary goal of the organization is to provide audiences with high quality, professional performances at a convenient location and an affordable price. The National Philharmonic also aims to appeal to the diverse cultural backgrounds of the community through its musical performances and educational initiatives at the world-class Music Center at Strathmore.
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