Monday, October 7, 2013


We have combined some blog posts to make it easier to find 2013 ensemble and conductor winners, runners-up and citation recipients by category. Please click on the links below to be taken directly to the listings:






OPERA DIVISION: ensembles and conductors



The American Prize  is pleased to announce 2013 ENSEMBLE and CONDUCTOR WINNERS in the band/wind ensemble division.


To know the exact day and time when additional winners will be announced, please "like" our Facebook page, where the information will be posted. 

The judges reserve the right to award special citations and honorable mentions to any entrant at their discretion.

Please make us aware of any misprints:

The American Prize in Band/Wind Ensemble Performance
The American Prize winner:  
Kennesaw State Univ. Wind Ensemble   David Thomas Kehler, director—Kennesaw, GA
Kennesaw State Univ. Wind Ensemble
Formed in 1996, the Kennesaw State University Wind Ensemble performs a diverse repertoire for winds and percussion encompassing chamber music, wind ensemble repertoire, and works for large bands. Advocating new music, the KSU Wind Ensemble has commissioned leading composers to write new works for wind ensemble, including Michael Markowski, Joel Puckett, James Stephenson, Christopher Theofanidis, Steven Bryant, and an upcoming commission by Pulitzer Prize winner, Joseph Schwantner. Because of KSU’s close relationship with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Georgia Symphony Orchestra and Atlanta Opera Orchestra, collaboration and performances have resulted with many of those principal players. Most recently, the KSU Wind Ensemble was invited and featured as an ensemble at the 2012 Southern Division College Band Directors National Association Association Conference.  The KSU Wind Ensemble continues to be an important cultural musical voice in Atlanta, and has been featured in several performances on 90.1 FM, WABE- Atlanta public radio.

Among judges' comments: "Great brass sound. Good pitch and style. This is a very well rehearsed group. All sections have excellent tone, including percussion. Precise ensemble throughout."

2nd Place:
Clear Creek High School Wind Ensemble   Stephen Meyer, director—League City, TX
Clear Creek High School Wind Ensemble
Clear Creek High School is located in League City, Texas, just south of Houston near the NASA Johnson Space Center. The Clear Creek Wind Ensemble is the top-performing group of three curricular concert ensembles and has had a long tradition of excellence in music performance and artistry, earning exclusively superior ratings at UIL Concert and Sight-Reading Contest for over twenty years. In 2012, the Wind Ensemble was a National Winner in the National Wind Band Honors competition. Members of this ensemble study privately and participate in the All-Region, All-Area, and All-State bands as well as Solo and Ensemble contest each year.

Among judges' comments: " is a very good of the top HS Wind Ensembles in the country, I would venture to say. Overall score 90."

3rd Place:
Frederick Fennell Wind Ensemble   Teren  Shaffer, director—Santa Ana, CA
Frederick Fennell Wind Ensemble
The Frederick Fennell Wind Studies Program was created in 2003 by a generous contribution in honor of legendary 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/field trips. The program also provides students with the opportunity to perform in large ensembles, as well as chamber ensembles. The Frederick Fennell Wind Studies Program provides a focused, high-level, quality education to instrumental music students. The Wind Ensemble, conducted by Teren Shaffer, is recognized for high achievement throughout the country. Regularly earning unanimous superior ratings at festivals, the ensemble won second place in 2012 for The American Prize in Wind Ensemble Performance. In February 2013, the group was featured as the only high school band to represent the state in a performance at the California All-State Music Educators Conference. 

Among judges comments: "Excellent energy and ensemble...quite a good group. Appropriate rep was performed and done well."


The American Prize in Conducting—Band/Wind Ensemble division
The American Prize winner:    
Christopher Unger   Eastman Wind Ensemble/Eastman Wind Orchestra   Rochester, NY
Christopher Unger
Christopher Unger is a graduate student at the Eastman School of Music where he studies conducting with Dr. Mark Scatterday.  Unger currently serves as the Assistant Conductor of both the Eastman Wind Orchestra and the Eastman Wind Ensemble.   In 2011, he received both a Frederick Fennell Fellowship for Advanced Conducting study and the prestigious Evan Whallon Conducting Award.  His role at Eastman provided him with the opportunity to act as a producer on the Eastman Wind Ensemble’s 2013 release Stravinsky-Octet/L’Histoire du Soldat.  Unger has actively participated in conducting symposia across North America including the New England Conservatory’s Conductors Forum, the Frederick Fennell Memorial Masterclass, and the University of Michigan’s Summer Conducting Workshop.

Among judges' comments: "Good stick and energy. Good ensemble playing. Lovely hands and well shaped phrases."

2nd Place:
Thanapol Setabrahmana   CCM Wind Studies      Cincinnati, OH
Thanapol Setabrahmana

Originally from Bangkok, Thailand, Thanapol Setabrahmana holds a Master of Music degree in Wind Ensemble Conducting from the New England Conservatory and a Bachelor of Music degree in Composition from Mahidol University, Thailand. He has been invited to participate in several international conducting masterclasses and performances in Europe and the United States. He has worked with several conducting pedagogues such as Gustav Meier, Larry Rachleff, Leonid Kochmar, Donato Renzetti, Donald Hunsberger, H. Robert Reynolds, Mark Gibson, Neil Varon, and Donald Schleicher among others.

While studying in Thailand, Thanapol conducted Mahidol University Symphonic Band, Mahidol University Symphony Orchestra, Mahidol Young Artists Band, Assumption College Band, and ad hoc new music ensembles.

Thanapol is currently a doctoral conducting associate at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music where he regularly conducts ensembles under CCM Winds Studies, including CCM Wind Orchestra, Wind Ensemble, Chamber Winds, Chamber Players. He also guest conducts CCM Brass Choir and Cafè MoMus Contemporary Ensemble. His mentors include Christopher Hughes, Charles Peltz, and Glenn D. Price.

Among judges comments: "...this is a first class musician. Good control over his scores and very solid technique."

3rd Place:
Joel Bein   High Desert Winds   Santa Fe, NM
Joel Bein
Joel Bein is currently Conductor of the Santa Fe Youth Symphony Orchestra, Assistant Conductor of the High Desert Winds, and Director of Bands at El Dorado Community School in Santa Fe, where his middle school bands have received Superior ratings at NCNMMEA festivals.  In workshop, Mr. Bein has worked with conductors such as Craig Kirchhoff, H. Robert Reynolds, Mallory Thompson, Richard Floyd, Eugene Corporon, and Michael Haithcock. He received the Bachelor's in Music Education from the Crane School of Music in Potsdam, NY, where he studied conducting with Brian Doyle, and where he was Music Director of the Clarkson University Orchestra.  In April 2013 he served as guest conductor for the Concordia Santa Fe Wind Ensemble, conducting Kurt Weill's Kleine Dreigroschenmusik.  With the Santa Fe Youth Symphony, he has collaborated with violinist/conductor Guillermo Figueroa as well as Jared Baca, premiering the composer's chamber work for winds, Ascension, in May 2013.

Among judges comments: "Very solid pulse. Clear stick. Tempo changes handled well."
***Congratulations to all winners and runners-up.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

COLLEGE/UNIVERSITY CONDUCTOR winner, runners-up, 2013

The American Prize  is pleased to announce the CONDUCTING winner and runners-up for 2013 in the college/university category.


To know the exact day and time when additional winners will be announced, please "like" our Facebook page, where the information will be posted. 

The judges reserve the right to award special citations and honorable mentions to any entrant at their discretion.

Please make us aware of any misprints:

The American Prize in Conducting—College/University Orchestra Division

The American Prize winner:  
Jeffery Meyer, Ithaca College Symphony Orchestra, Ithaca, NY
Jeffery Meyer
Jeffery Meyer began his musical studies as a pianist, and continued on to study composition and conducting. He is the Director of Orchestras at Ithaca College School of Music, as well the Artistic Director of the St. Petersburg Chamber Philharmonic in Russia. In recent seasons, he has been seen conducting, performing as piano soloist and chamber musician, as well as conducting from the keyboard in the United States, Canada, Russia, Italy, Spain, Germany and throughout Eastern and Southeastern Asia.

Called “one of the most interesting and creatively productive conductors working in St. Petersburg” by Sergei Slonimsky, his work with the St. Petersburg Chamber Philharmonic has been noted for its breadth and innovation. In 2010, he led the St. Petersburg Chamber Philharmonic in its United States debut with three performances at Symphony Space’s 2010 “Wall-to-Wall” Festival in New York City which the New York Times called “impressive”, “powerful”, “splendid”, and “blazing.”

Among judges' comments: Excellence in all areas. Exciting, persuasive performances and an admirably clean, expressive technique."

2nd Place:
Taeyoung Lee   Mannes Orchestra   New York, NY 
Taeyoung Lee

Taeyoung Lee won the First Prize of the Composition Award in the National Music Competition from the University of Seoul, The Best Player Award of The National Contemporary Music Festival of Taegu Music Association, the Best Conductor Award in the Chamber Music Society of the Korean Contemporary Music, the Third Place in the Orchestral Conducting Award at The American Prize in 2011, and The First Honor Diploma Award in the 31st Master Players International Music Competition in Lugano, Switzerland. He was an assistant conductor of HanYang University Orchestra & Opera, Seoul Metropolitan Opera, Mannes Opera. He is working with Buffalo Philharmonic as a Student Conductor-in-Residence with Maestra JoAnn Falletta. He has conducted the Mannes Orchestra, Lunatics at Large, You N Philharmonic, New York Academic Festival Orchestra, Mannes Repertoire Orchestra in New York, and ChungNam Philharmonic, JeonJu Symphony, JeJu Philharmonic, Halla Orchestra in Korea. Taeyoung is currently studying with David Hayes. He received a Master's degrees and he is a candidate for a Professional Studies Diploma as an orchestra conducting major at Mannes, where he is winner of the Alma Akin Scholarship and Milani Conducting Fellowship.

Among judges comments: "Good command, clear stick, plenty of energy and abundant musicality."

3rd Place: (There was a tie.)
Carlos Espinosa  University of Kansas Symphony Orchestra Lawrence, KS
Carlos Espinosa
Carlos Espinosa recently finished a Masters degree from Michigan State University, and is currently a doctoral student in Orchestral Conducting at the University of Kansas.  He serves as Conductor in Residence of the Taneycomo Music Festival.  His guest conducting appearances include the Hot Springs Festival Orchestra, Philharmonia of Greater Kansas City, Sherborne School of Music in England, the IES Chamber Orchestra in Vienna, Austria, and at the Eutiner Festpiele in Eutin, Germany.  In addition to the orchestral repertoire, Mr. Espinosa is also experienced as a conductor of musical theater, conducting performances of Stephen Sondheim's Merrily We Roll Along and Kurt Wiell's The Threepenny Opera in 2012.  Mr. Espinosa's teachers include Wolfgang Harrer of the Vienna Philharmonic, Nicholas Uljanov, Dr. John P. Lynch, Leon Gregorian, Dr. Raphael Jimenez, and David Neely. He has also conducted in masterclasses with David Lockington and Leonard Slatkin.

Among judges' comments: "Clear beat, clear intentions, good posture, musical. Youthful with lots of excellent potential." 

3rd Place: (There was a tie.)
Vlad Vizireanu   Arizona State University Symphony Orchestra   Tempe, AZ 
Vlad Vizireanu

Described as “a seasoned conductor with refined phrasing and sweeping, expressive gestures,” Vlad Vizireanu made his debut at the Athenaeum in Bucharest with the George Enescu Philharmonic in 2012. He was then invited to the 2012 Jeunesses Musicales Conducting Competition where he was a semifinalist with honorable mention. He was the first-prize winner of the 2010 St. Petersburg Chamber Philharmonic Competition and has attended masterclass throughout the United States and Europe with Marin Alsop, Franz Welser-Möst, Gustav Meier, James Depriest, and Horia Andreescu. He earned his Master’s degree with David Effron and Arthur Fagen at Indiana University Jacobs School of Music and is currently finishing his D.M.A at Arizona State University with Timothy Russell, where he serves as assistant conductor to ASU orchestras and recently directed a production of Die Fledermaus with the ASU Lyric Opera Theater. This year marks Mr. Vizireanu's second year as assistant conductor of the Arizona Pro Arte Ensemble.

Among judges comments: "La Forza most persuasive, the passion and emotion keenly presented, the conducting pitfalls negotiated with aplomb."