Thursday, October 16, 2014

CONDUCTOR WINNER, RUNNERS-UP: college/university chorus

The American Prize is honored to announce the winner and runners-up of The American Prize in Conducting—college/university chorus division. Congratulations! All finalists receive written evaluations from a member of The American Prize judging panel.

Complete listings of finalists and semi-finalists in The American Prize competitions may be found elsewhere on this blog.  

Please make us aware of any misprints:

The American Prize in Conducting
—college/university chorus division

The American Prize winner:
KEVIN L. BAKER, director
Southern Utah University Concert Chamber Choir
Cedar City, UT
Kevin L. Baker holds a Bachelor’s degree in music from Southwest Baptist University, a Master of Music degree in Choral Conducting and the Ph.D. in music Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Missouri-Columbia.  He spent 7 years as a high school choral director, and has held the position of Director of Choral Activities at Mineral Area College, St. Norbert College, Culver-Stockton College and Southern Utah University.  He has been awarded tenure at the high school and collegiate levels and is highly active as a conductor, clinician and adjudicator, having led nearly 100 such events.  He has championed community engagement and the choral/orchestral genre, starting multiple Music Masterworks programs that bring together community singers, instrumentalists and collegiate musicians.  He has held membership in professional organizations such as the American Choral Directors Association, the National Association for Music Education and the National Association of Teachers of Singing.

Among judges' comments: "...clear and expressive, reflecting the musical style of each piece...a conductor easy to sing for..."

2nd Place:
Georgia State University Singers
Atlanta, GA
Dr. Deanna Joseph is director of choral activities at the Georgia State University School of Music, where she conducts the University Singers and leads the master's program in choral conducting. She is also the artistic director of the Atlanta Summer Conducting Institute (ASCI), a weeklong masterclass for conductors that takes place annually in June. In May of 2013, the University Singers competed in La Florilège Vocal de Tours where they placed second overall in the mixed choir category and Dr. Joseph was honored with the Prix du chef de chour. Additional honors from 2013 include an invited performance at the Georgia Music Educator's Association annual conference and the North American premiere of David Bintley's Carmina Burana with the Atlanta Ballet.

Dr. Joseph is an active guest conductor and clinician and has conducted all-state and honor choirs in more than ten states. She is a frequent conductor of choral-orchestral repertoire, and has led performances of Mendelssohn's Elijah, Beethoven Mass in C, Mozart's Requiem, Haydn's Creation and Lord Nelson Mass, Schubert's Mass in A-flat and Bruckner's Mass in D Minor. Dr. Joseph's research in the area of 19th century choral-orchestral performance-practice has led to invited presentations on the topic at several division conferences of the American Choral Director's Association and at the national convention for the National Collegiate Choral Organization. Dr. Joseph holds conducting degrees from the Eastman School of Music, where she was awarded the Walter Hagen Conducting Prize.  She was a semi-finalist for the Grammy Foundation's Music Educator Award in 2014.

Among judges' comments: "Ease and naturalness, comfort and musicality...and a name to remember."

3rd Place:
Ave Maria University Combined Choirs 
Naples. FL
Timothy McDonnell is conductor of the Ave Maria University Chamber Choir, as well as director of choral activities for the University.  Since 2011, Maestro McDonnell has also been the director of the Symphonic Chorale of Southwest Florida.  Dr. McDonnell founded the chamber choir upon assuming his post at Ave Maria University in 2007.  Previous to this he served as the chapel master at the Pontifical North American College, located in Vatican City, Rome.  In this capacity, he led the 38 members of the men’s choir in several liturgical services per week as well as special concert performances in the city of Rome.  From 2002-2005, Dr. McDonnell served as the founding director of the ensemble Schola Nova in Philadelphia, which specialized in performing chamber and choral works from across the centuries.  Dr. McDonnell is active as a composer and arranger and teaches music theory in addition to choral music at Ave Maria University.

Among judges' comments: "The conducting is clear and cues are given so that the orchestra and choir are comfortably together."


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