Monday, December 23, 2013


The American Prize celebrates its 5th anniversary in 2014.

All 2014 competitions have now been updated on our website:

Contests for 2014 include those for classical vocalists, pianists, composers, conductors and performing arts ensembles.

NEW competitions in 2014:

Chamber Music Performance (Ensembles)

Stage Directors (theater, musical theater, opera)

Theater Performance:

Arts Administrators/Arts Marketing

and for composers:

Music for Theater, Opera, Musical Theater and Film

See the website for deadlines and all requirements. Questions? Please email:

Winners pages will be updated on the site shortly to include 2013 laureates.

Happy holidays from The American Prize!
Wishing all our Laureates, Judges and Friends a most happy, healthy and musical 2014.

Monday, December 16, 2013


The American Prize is pleased to announce a NEW contest in CHAMBER MUSIC PERFORMANCE, 2014, for chamber ensembles of all kinds. Details here:

The following Contest Information has been updated on our website for 2014:

Application deadline for these categories:
February 13, 2014

Art Song/Oratorio
including the Chicago Oratorio Award (additional opportunity)

Concert Band
Chamber Music
new: Opera/Musical Theater/Stage/Film


Additional contests for 2014 (and 2013 winners pages) will be updated shortly.


Deadlines for the other 2014 competitions have been announced.


Thursday, February 13, 2014


NEW COMPETITIONS to be added in 2014:

Chamber Music Ensembles:
Thursday, February 13, 2014

Stage Directors, Arts Administrators:

Updated information and application forms for the remaining contests will be posted to the website soon.

Monday, November 25, 2013

THE AMERICAN PRIZE online auction starts "BLACK" FRIDAY at 6 am!

The American Prize ONLINE AUCTION goes LIVE on "Black" Friday, November 29th at 6am.

Hundreds of performing arts items will be available—from the serious to the frivolous, including lots of printed music, recordings, books and more—for the serious musician and the casual music and performing arts lover.

You must be SIGNED UP for our e-newsletter to get the "secret" website address, (we'll send it in an email later in the week.) The website you can then SHARE with your family and friends.

Click the "get e-newsletter" button next to our LIKES on our FACEBOOK PAGE to sign up. (You can unsubscribe anytime and we never share your email address with anyone.)

Scroll down to learn more about how the auction works. Hope to "see" you Friday!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

HERE's HOW it WORKS: The American Prize Online AUCTION

Hundreds of performing arts items, some at as much as 50-90% off retail, some unique and very special, will be available at The American Prize Online Auction, starting Friday, November 29th, but you must be signed up to receive "On TAP," our e-newsletter to get the private website address to participate in the sale.

Visit our Facebook page and click the "Get Newsletter" icon to sign up. (Don't worry, we never share your email address with anyone and you can unsubscribe at any time.) Or email us at to join.

SHOP our CATALOG—online, or download as a PDF (to be published later this month)
BID by email.
BUY through PAYPAL (or send check, or call with credit card.)


all in support of The American Prize national nonprofit competitions in the arts 


Once you sign-up for "On TAP," the e-newsletter of The American Prize, you will receive the address of our online auction website, where all the items will be listed. You'll be able to search by category, using the navigational links to the right of the listings, or just scroll top to bottom.

Minimum bids start at $5 or less for many, many items—some are as little as $2. Many others are listed at 50% or more off current retail.

Although the TAP Online Auction is a private sale for TAP laureates and others who receive the e-newsletter, you can share the website address (and the sale) with your friends, family and colleagues.

We have created a dedicated email address,, where you can bid on items and ask questions.

Each listing includes an item number and title, a photo, a short description (including the item's condition), and a "MINIMUM BID" amount.

1. Select the item(s) you are interested in.
2. Send us an email at with the item number(s) and title(s), and the amount you would like to bid on each. (You must bid the minimum amount listed for the item, but you can bid more.)
3. We will confirm your bids.
4. If no one else bids on the item, it is yours. We'll email an invoice.
5. If more than one person is interested in an item, we will ask you by email if you want to bid a higher amount (increments of at least $1), until someone decides they have reached their limit. We then email an invoice to the highest bidder.

Payment is accepted through Paypal (preferred)—the link is on the site, or by check, or you can call with a credit card. We then send the item(s) with our sincere thanks. All payments must be made in U.S. funds.

Some items have a "Buy it Now" option at a higher price. It streamlines the process and allows you to buy the item outright without bidding. We invoice you, and the sale is done.

Orders up to $30—$5 shipping regardless of the number of items
Orders $31-$70—$8 shipping
Orders $71-$99—$11 shipping
Orders $100 or above: FREE SHIPPING

actual cost. We'll invoice you.

If you are displeased with an item for any reason, you can return it for a full refund of the purchase price, minus shipping.

We are scrupulously honest: no fake bidders, no buyer's commission, no bait and switch. We'd simply like to raise some much-needed funds for our non-profit competitions and hope we'll have something you'd like to own.

The website goes "live" with all the items listed on
Friday, November 25, 2013 at 6am
and concludes (no more bidding on new items)
Sunday, December 8, 2013 at 11:59 pm.

When you bid, consider it as a binding contract to buy the item at your chosen price (the minimum bid listed for the item or higher, if you choose.) We treat you fairly, we ask that you please do the same. A bid commits you to buy, please.

FOR MORE ABOUT what will be on the auction, please scroll down to the previous post.

Email us at

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

HUNDREDS of PERFORMING ARTS ITEMS some at 50-90% OFF retail!

Hundreds of performing arts items, some at as much as 50-90% off retail, some unique and very special, will be available at The American Prize Online Auction, coming November 29th, but you must be signed up to receive "On TAP," our e-newsletter to get the private website address to participate in the sale.

Visit our Facebook page and click the "Get Newsletter" icon to sign up. (Don't worry, we never share your email address with anyone and you can unsubscribe at any time.) Or email us at to join.

SHOP our CATALOG—online, or download as a PDF (to be published later this month)
BID by email.
BUY through PAYPAL (or send check, or call with credit card.)


all in support of The American Prize national nonprofit competitions in the arts

The first Online Auction of The American Prize features literally hundreds of performing arts items, running the gamut from the intensely serious (Willi Reich's guide to Berg's Wozzeck in the Musical Quarterly of January 1952) to the frivolous (an original 8x10 press photo of coloratura Lily Pons, whooping it up at a party); from the historical (a concert program from 1930 of Stokowski and the Philadelphia Orchestra featuring Maurice Martentot playing his new "electrical instrument", the ondes martenot); to the modern (Muti conducting the Chicago Symphony.)


There are Disney collectibles (including an original 1940 edition of a large hardcover book about Fantasia, full of extraordinary artwork reproductions from the movie), books by and about major musical, dance and theatrical figures from the 19th and 20th centuries, some of them autographed, recordings (both CDs and LPs, some quite rare), brochures, theater programs and other ephemera, music and theater magazines, a section of musical gifts, another for children, and lots of music—for pianists, vocalists, conductors, and chamber musicians, music educators, studio teachers.


A number of the listings were donated by or feature laureates of The American Prize, and we may be proudest of those.

as of today. (More items are being added every day until the auction opens.)



OPERA: Vocal scores, libretti, Opera News back-issues


SOLO VOCAL MUSIC, art song, opera, oratorio



ORCHESTRAL MUSIC, scores and full sets of parts




MUSICAL GIFTS of all kinds

MUSIC MAGAZINES, brochures, catalogs, ephemera (except Opera News & Musical America—see separate listings)


CHILDREN's DEPARTMENT (arts gifts for kids)



The aim of The American Prize Online Auction is to offer "something for most," with a goal to raise money to help our unique nonprofit competitions prosper, but also to continue to build a community of friends and colleagues centered around The American Prize experience—to create a loose extended family of like-minded (and wonderfully talented) artists from all across the U.S. and beyond, who occasionally work together, sharing their news and sharing their successes.


The website goes "live" with all the items listed on
Friday, November 29, 2013 at 6am

and concludes (no more bidding on new items)
Sunday, December 8, 2013 at 11:59 pm.

Email us at

NEXT TIME on our blog: How the auction works.

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."


Saturday, September 28, 2013


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

Congratulations to all these fine orchestras.

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 Orchestral Performance—college/university orchestra

The American Prize winner: 
St Olaf Orchestra, Steven Amundson, music director, Northfield, MN

The 92-member St. Olaf Orchestra is one of the premier ensembles at St. Olaf College, a four-year liberal arts college known for its excellence in music, math, and the sciences.   The St. Olaf Orchestra has a 100-year plus history, and has been touring annually since 1949.  For the past three decades, Professor of Music Steven Amundson has led the Orchestra on tours throughout the U.S. and in a dozen countries, most recently in China. The ensemble has been featured on NPR, PBS, at regional and national MENC (NAfME) conventions, and on Garrison Keillor’s A Prairie Home Companion.   Recognized for its passionate and engaging performances, the St. Olaf Orchestra strives for the highest professional standards. The orchestra program at St. Olaf features two full symphonies and over 120 string students that take weekly private lessons.  65% of the students in St. Olaf Orchestra major in music. All members of this orchestra are full-time undergraduates, and they represent 25 of the 50 United States.

Among judges' comments: "Technically brilliant, exciting performances, full of life...Revueltas especially tight, with exceptional brass contributions."

2nd Place:
Ithaca College Symphony Orchestra, Jeffery Meyer, music director, Ithaca, NY 
Ithaca College Symphony Orchestra
Comprised of approximately 90 to 100 musicians, ICSO is dedicated to performing symphonic repertoire from the baroque through the twentieth century, as well as contemporary works of our time. The Symphony Orchestra is directed by Jeffery Meyer and presents 6 to 10 concerts per year.   The orchestra has collaborated with many of today's most prominent composers including Jennifer Higdon, Michael Gandofli, Steven Mackey, Steven Stucky, Joan Tower, and Chen Yi. Guest soloists who have appeared with the ICSO in recent seasons include Xak Bjerken (piano), Gilbert Kalish (piano) and Steven Mackey (electric guitar).   The ICSO has been distinguished with two consecutive ASCAP prizes for Adventurous Programming by the League of American Orchestras.  The ensemble has performed to high acclaim in Avery Fisher Hall and Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center in New York, the Ithaca "Light in Winter" Festival, the Troy Savings Bank Hall and New York University.

Among judges' comments: "Stunning Sacre, suave Daphnis, performed at a very high level of accomplishment."

3rd Place:
Mannes Orchestra, Taeyoung Lee, conductor, New York, NY

Mannes Orchestra
Praised by the New York Times for its “Youthful exuberance,” the Mannes Orchestra performs a comprehensive symphonic repertoire each year ranging from classical to modern, and collaborates with the Mannes Opera in two productions at the Kaye Playhouse. Guest conductors who have led concerts or readings in recent years include Kurt Masur, Philippe Entremont, Paul Nadler, Leonard Slatkin, and Mannes graduates Yves Abel and JoAnn Falletta. The Mannes Orchestra makes nine public performances every season with David Hayes, Director of Orchestral and Conducting Studies, appearing at Carnegie Hall, Alice Tully Hall, Salvation Army’s Centennial Memorial Temple, Symphony Space, the Kaye Playhouse, and at Mannes College Concert Hall.

Among judges' comments: "Prokofiev 7 full of fire and wit, excellently played."


The field in the College/University Orchestra category was so strong this year that the judges have awarded Special Citations for Technical & Musical Excellence to the following three ensembles and their directors. In alphabetical order they are:

Special Judges' Citation for Technical & Musical Excellence, 2013
Baylor Symphony, Stephen Heyde, music director, Waco, TX

Baylor Symphony
Founded in 1946, the Baylor Symphony has been led by only two conductors, Daniel Sternberg and, since 1984, Stephen Heyde. In a typical year, 105 students from two dozen states and several foreign countries are selected by audition to perform in the ensemble. The orchestra has performed multiple times at the Texas Music Educators Convention and by invitation at the Piccolo Spoleto Festival and a national convention of the American String Teachers Association, among others.  In 2003, the Symphony was featured in a PBS Special that aired nationally to an estimated audience of six million viewers.  The orchestra has performed with many distinguished performers and composers including Josef Gingold and Robert Shaw among others and taken international tours of Costa Rica in 2004 and Belgium in 2010. The Baylor Symphony also presents annual children's concerts for 6000 Waco area school children, an unbroken tradition for 67 years.

Among judges' comments: "Remarkable Don Juan and La Mer, fluent, and confidently performed."

Special Judges' Citation for Technical & Musical Excellence, 2013
Kennesaw State University Symphony Orchestra, Michael Alexander, music director, Kennesaw, GA
Kennesaw State University Symphony Orchestra
The Kennesaw State University Symphony Orchestra began in the Fall of 2004. In its short history the orchestra has already performed with a long list of prestigious guest artists, conductors, and composers. In 2009 the KSU Orchestra was invited to perform at the Georgia Music Educators Association In-Service Conference and hosted and performed at the 2010 College Orchestra Directors Association National Conference. In January 2011, the KSU Orchestra completed a three-concert tour of Beijing and Xian, China. Recently the orchestra performed with the legendary rock band KANSAS and gave the first university orchestra performance of Peter Gabriel’s New Blood.  2012-2013 included the premiere of a new Tuba Concerto for Alan Baer, principal tuba of the New York Philharmonic, and a visit by renowned composer David Lang.  The 2013-2014 Season will feature the premiere of a new Violin Concerto by composer Chen Yi and a performance with pianist, Jeremy Denk.

Among judges' comments: "Beethoven's 9 a significant achievement. Scherzo is tight and full of drive; adagio lovingly shaped, finale has great forward motion."

Special Judges' Citation for Technical & Musical Excellence, 2013
West Virginia University Symphony Orchestra, Mitchell Arnold, music director,  Morgantown, WV
West Virginia University Symphony Orchestra
The WVUSO has been a major performing ensemble at WVU for many decades.  The orchestra not only serves the talented students of the WVU School of Music, but provides Morgantown with an important cultural treasure.  In 2012, WVUSO gave the US premiere of Sofia Gubaidulina's Flute Concerto and traveled on a 3-state tour.

Among judges' comments: "Daphnis stylish and well-wrought—impressively played by the full ensemble—soloists shine throughout."


Tuesday, September 24, 2013


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, 2013. (For other 2013 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 third annual contest for The American Prize in Orchestral Programming—Maestro Vytautas Marijosius Memorial Award, attracted more 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 2013, The American Prize has selected one national winner and two runners-up. 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:
Jason Love   Columbia Orchestra   Ellicott City, MD
Jason Love

As Music Director of the Columbia Orchestra, Jason Love has been praised for his “intelligent and innovative programming” by the Baltimore Sun, who noted that “Love has the musicians playing not only with verve and passion, but with an awareness to enter into the emotional core of the works they perform.” During his tenure with the Greater Baltimore Youth Orchestras he forged community partnerships, led concert tours of Austria, Japan, and Russia and helped create its Bridges program to provide instruments and lessons for hundreds of Baltimore children. Love has premiered dozens of works and was co-founder of Baltimore’s new music group, the New Horizons Chamber Ensemble.
Love has guest conducted a wide variety of ensembles including the Baltimore Symphony, Washington Sinfonietta, Hopkins Chamber Orchestra, and the new music ensemble RUCKUS. He is the 2008 Winner of the “Howie” Outstanding Artist Award, recognizing achievement in the arts in Howard County, Maryland.

Among judges' comments: "A courageous programmer with a clear vision for his audience and his ensemble...Impressive."

2nd Place:
Tara Villa Keith  Lee County Community Orchestra   Sanford, NC "An Orchestral Bouquet"
Tara Villa Keith

Tara Villa Keith is in her tenth season as music director of the Davidson College Symphony Orchestra in Davidson, North Carolina, and in her fourth season with the Lee County Community Orchestra in Sanford, North Carolina.  Keith has conducted various orchestras across the south, including the Union Symphony Orchestra, Macon Symphony Orchestra, and Hot Springs Music Festival Orchestra.  Abroad, Keith 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, and won North Carolina’s Metrolina Theatre Association’s Award for Outstanding Musical Direction/Conducting in 2011.

Among judges' comments: "delightfully creative programming and marketing ideas...absolutely charming, effective and appropriate." 

3rd Place:
Alyze Dreiling   YPO Soloist Ensemble   San Diego, CA
Alyze Dreiling

Presently Ms. Dreiling is on the adjunct faculty at University of San Diego and faculty for the USD Chamber Music Festival and is adjunct faculty at Grossmont College. She is the violinist with Trio Licenza, the piano trio, in residence at USD, she also performs as violist with Grossmont Symphony String Quartet, and she is the violinist with The California Consort, founded by legendary contrabassist, Bertram Turetzky. Violinis/Violist, 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 to name a few. Ms. Dreiling was founding Artistic Director/ Conductor of Classics for Kids. Alyze also 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, 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 and Hutchins Consort.

Among judges' comments: "Working in an educational setting, Dreiling mixes ancient masters and modern music in ways that cannot but help embolden her students for a lifetime of musical exploration."



Monday, September 16, 2013


The American Prize is pleased to announce the 2013 winning CHORUSES, runners-up and citation recipients.


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 Choral Performance
—college/university chorus
The American Prize winner:
Iowa State Singers, James Rodde, director, Ames, IA
Iowa State Singers
The Iowa State Singers is Iowa State’s most select choral ensemble.  Comprised of undergraduates, approximately one half of them music majors, the choir’s membership is drawn from a campus of over 30,000 students.  The group annually presents a five-concert season, which includes a full-scale Madrigal Dinner and choral-orchestral masterwork.  Recent performances include Carmina Burana, the Requiem settings of Brahms, Mozart, and Duruflé, and similar works.  Concert tours have taken them to Western Europe, Russia, China, Australia, Korea, and conventions of the ACDA (2004, 2005, 2009, 2010) and NCCO (2008, 2011).  “Exquisite.... one of the best choral ensembles we have heard!” – Primarily A Cappella

Among judges' comments: "Each track shows a robust voice production; clearly secure singing both in terms of strong fundamentals and direction of unified expression."

2nd Place:
Western Michigan University Chorale, Kimberly Dunn Adams, director, Kalamazoo, MI
Western Michigan University Chorale
Conducted by Dr. Kimberly Dunn Adams, the University Chorale is Western Michigan University’s flagship choral ensemble and represents the university at home and throughout the world.  The Chorale's annual performance itinerary includes concerts and festivals on the WMU campus, appearances in neighboring communities and churches, tours within the U.S., and an international tour every fourth year.

Chorale has a long history of excellence in performance and competition, and has appeared alongside professional ensembles such as the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra and Seraphic Fire. In 2004, Chorale was featured on the opening concert of the Irving S. Gilmore International Keyboard Festival performing Stravinsky's Svadebka.  The ensemble  has performed multiple times at ACDA National, Regional, and State Conventions and at the National Collegiate Choral Organization’s bi-annual conference.  Chorale has released numerous recordings, including a 2010 release with Seraphic Fire of Monteverdi’s 1610 Vespers that topped the iTunes charts and debuted to critical acclaim.

Among judges' comments: "a very solid series of live performances that shows a fine sense of good vocal production, excellent attention to vowel unification, and good musical shape."

3rd Place:
Pacific Lutheran University Choir of the West, Richard Nance, conductor, Tacoma, WA
Choir of the West
The Choir of the West is the premier choral ensemble of the Department of Music at Pacific Lutheran University.  Founded in 1925, the choir was the third Lutheran college choir to tour extensively throughout the country. The ensemble is comprised of undergraduate majors from a wide variety of academic disciplines.  Yearly performances include shared concerts with other PLU ensembles, the annual series of Christmas concerts, campus ministry events, and campus celebratory events. Choir of the West has a rich history of domestic touring, and every four years travels abroad. The choir has performed in China, Japan, Scandinavia, and Europe.  In 2011 Choir of the West won two gold and one silver award at the prestigious Harmonie Festival, held in Limburg-Lindenholzhausen, Germany.  The choir has been selected to appear at several conferences sponsored by the American Choral Directors Association and the National Association for Music Education, most recently the 2013 ACDA national conference held in Dallas, Texas.

Among judges' comments: "a very natural and open sound that is rich with color...diction is extremely well clarified and effective in its interpretive intent." 

The American Prize in Choral Performance—community

The American Prize winner:
Opus 7 Vocal Ensemble   Loren Ponten, director—Seattle, WA

Opus 7 Vocal Ensemble
Formed in 1992 by founding director Loren Pontén, Opus 7 specializes in 19th- through 21st-century a cappella choral music. As a resident ensemble of St. James Cathedral in Seattle, Washington since 1994, Opus 7 is dedicated to performing the works of local and regional composers, regularly commissioning new choral compositions. In addition, since 2000 Opus 7 has fostered new talent in the field of choral music through their unique Student Choral Composition Awards Program.

Among judges' comments: "The diction is impeccably clear and delivered with rhythmic clarity. Unison melodies are crafted with agreement of vowels and tone color."

2nd Place:
Choral Arts   Robert Bode, director—Seattle, WA
Choral Arts
Seattle-based Choral Arts is a thirty-member auditioned choral ensemble led by Artistic Director/Conductor, Robert Bode. Choral Arts has distinguished itself as a significant contributor to the art of choral music and has consistently achieved artistic excellence in its music and programs for the past twenty years. Choral Arts currently has five CDs released under the Gothic label.

Its mission, to inspire, educate and enrich our community through the transformational power of great choral music performed at the highest artistic level, is carried out through its three core commitments:

•          To share the beauty of high-quality choral music in a way that is transforming and special.
•          To provide students with a fresh and oftentimes first experience with choral music through our unique Education Outreach Programs.
•          To honor the talents and contributions of our country’s composers and be a catalyst for the creation of new compositions by American composers.

Among judges comments: "The ensemble has a consistent tone and richness throughout the voice sections and ranges. The diction is rhythmically precise and vowels are uniform, round, and with spacious resonance. "

3rd Place:
The Cecilia Chorus of New York   Mark Shapiro, music director—NY, NY
The Cecilia Chorus of New York
The Cecilia Chorus of New York (formerly known as The St. Cecilia Chorus), founded in 1906, is now a 150 voice mixed chorus.  For many decades the Chorus, with professional orchestra and soloists, has presented two concerts a year at Carnegie Hall.  Under the artistic leadership of Mark Shapiro, appointed the seventh Music Director in July 2011, bold, new directions in programming and repertoire are emerging.  The Chorus commissioned and gave the world premiere performance of Divis Cetera by Rafael Fusco in December 2012. On April 14, 2013 the Chorus performed the NYC premiere of Dame Ethel Smyth’s Mass in D paired creatively with scenes from The Maid of Orleans by Tchaikovsky.  The Cecilia Chorus of New York is a secular not-for-profit organization perpetuating and expanding the classical choral-orchestral repertoire through commissions and performances for diverse audiences (including outreach programs) in major New York area venues.

Among judges comments: "There is a consistent balance between orchestra, choir, and soloists. I enjoyed listening to the round; warm tone color of the female voices. There is an exciting rhythmic integrity on display..."

Singers of the Street (SOS)   Kathleen McGuire, conductor—San Francisco, CA

Singers of the Street (SOS) is a San Francisco-based community choir of people affected by homelessness. Its mission: to raise voices for justice, healing, and joy! SOS was founded by conductor Dr. Kathleen McGuire in September, 2010, inspired by similar organizations in Australia, Canada, and Europe. SOS rehearses Wednesday mornings, followed by a free lunch provided for participants, and performs 2 -3 times per month at churches, schools, and community events. Performance highlights include singing at the centenary celebration of the San Francisco Symphony at Davies Symphony Hall, and appearing - via video performance – in the London Festival at the Royal Opera House as part of the 2012 Olympics. SOS’s repertoire includes pops, world music, and sacred and secular selections reflecting its diverse membership. SOS has had a profound effect upon its participants and audiences, bringing hope of a brighter future to those who are disadvantaged. For more information, visit:

The American Prize in Choral Performance
—youth/high school

The American Prize winner:
Pinecrest High School Chamber Ensemble   Erin E. Plisco, director—Southern Pines, NC
Pinecrest High School Chamber Ensemble
The Pinecrest High School Chamber Ensemble is comprised of 55 students, grades 9-12. The choir regularly performs for the school and community, and is often sought after to perform for local events. The Chamber Ensemble has a long history of superior festival ratings and honors, national performances, and a performance at the NCMEA state conference in 2009 and 2012. Students frequently participate in ACDA Honors Choirs, the NCMEA Honors Choir, and the NC Governor’s School for the Arts. In 2011, the program hosted Grammy award-winning composer Eric Whitacre as artist-in-residence for three days at the high school. In 2012, the program hosted the vocal group Cantus for a master class with the choral students. The choir recently performed at the Heritage Festival of Gold in Chicago, receiving the highest score in the festival. Other recent events include performances at Duke Chapel in Durham, and East Carolina University in Greenville, NC.

Among judges' comments: "This ensemble has a clear understanding of choral style and performance. The repertoire is well-­chosen and appropriate for high school voices. Their diction and sense of phrasing are their strongest points, as is their commitment to working as an ensemble."

2nd Place:
Young Naperville Singers Chamber Singers   Angie Johnson—Naperville, IL
Young Naperville Singers Chamber Singers
Young Naperville Singers (YNS) was founded in 1984 with a mission dedicated to promoting the highest level of artistic excellence in choral music through extraordinary educational and performance experiences that enrich the lives of young people. Based in Naperville, Illinois, the choir consists of eight ensembles whose 318 members range in age from six to seventeen.  Weekly rehearsals are held to prepare for two formal concerts presented each year that feature a varied repertoire and guest musicians.  Informal concerts are held throughout the year. Singers have participated in festivals throughout North America, the most recent being the Coastal Sound International Choral Festival (Canada). YNS has had performance collaborations with Judy Collins, David Benoit and Natalie MacMaster and has premiered commissioned works by noted composers such as David Brunner and Stephen Paulus.  Membership is by audition and all children regardless of race, gender or physical ability are welcome.

Among judges comments: "...loved your repertoire and your are tackling great music...I would enjoy coming to your concerts because you convey such a love for what you are doing."

3rd Place:
Brearley B-Naturals   Karyn Joaquino, director—New York, NY
Brearley B-Naturals
The B-Naturals are the a cappella group of The Brearley School, an all-girls preparatory school in New York City.  The group was founded by students in 1986, and has performed under the direction of Karyn Joaquino since she joined the Brearley faculty in 2000.

The repertoire is intentionally broad, ranging from traditional choral pieces to vocal jazz and pop.  Much of the repertoire is arranged by Ms. Joaquino, but every show or recording is likely to include a few student arrangements, and even original student compositions.  Most members of the B-Naturals pursue their love of a cappella music during their college careers as well, often directing their own groups.

The B-Naturals have sung the national anthem before a Yankees game, opened for jazz pianist Peter Cincotti at Jazz at Lincoln Center, entertained the King and Queen of Sweden, and have brought their music abroad twice to England and Wales.  In addition to live performances, the B-Naturals have recorded five CDs, and have been recognized for their work by Best of High School A Cappella, DownBeat Magazine, and the Contemporary A Cappella Recording Awards (CARAs).

Among judges comments: "You clearly have worked hard and have achieved a high level of performance. Your youthful energy and passion is evident on the recordings..."


Congratulations to all winners and runners-up.