Tuesday, October 28, 2014

CONDUCTOR WINNERS, RUNNERS-UP: professional orchestra

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

Complete listings of other winners, finalists and semi-finalists in The American Prize competitions may be found elsewhere on this blog. Use the archive navigation tool in the right-hand column. 

Please make us aware of any misprints: theamericanprize@gmail.com

The American Prize in Conducting
—professional orchestra division

The American Prize winner:
JONATHAN GRIFFITH, founder, music director
Distinguished Concerts Orchestra
New York, NY
An acclaimed conductor, educator and lecturer, Jonathan Griffith has led performances across North America, South America, Europe, and Asia. Griffith is co- founder and artistic director of Distinguished Concerts International New York (DCINY), which has brought together, under Griffith’s artistic leadership, thousands of musicians and choral singers in concert at prestigious venues across the United States, including Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, and Disney Hall. The founder and music director of the Distinguished Concerts Orchestra, Griffith also oversees DCINY’s mentoring program for conductors.  Maestro Griffith’s additional conducting credits include the Mormon Tabernacle Choir in Salt Lake City; Manhattan Philharmonic, and New England Symphonic Ensemble, both at Carnegie Hall; The European Symphony Orchestra in Spain; Bohuslava Martin Philharmonia and Philharmonia Chorus, Virtuosi Pregensis Chamber Orchestra, Karlovy Vary Symphony Orchestra, and Dvořák Chamber Orchestra, in the Czech Republic; and the Białystok State Philharmonic in Poland, as well as numerous regional orchestras and choruses across the United States.

Among judges' comments: "energetic, committed, and eminently practical."

2nd Place:
JASON LIM, music director
Odysseus Chamber Orchestra
McKinney & Frisco, TX
Third Prize winner of the 2013 American Prize Conducting Competition and Recipient of the 2011 American Prize "Young Conductor Citation Award,” Jason Lim was born in Penang, Malaysia received his formal training in viola performance at the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts. Jason Lim served as assistant conductor with the Ku Ring Gai Philharmonic Orchestra in Sydney, Australia. Jason added to his awards and achievements, winning the 1995 New South Wales Ministry of Arts Conducting Prize in Sydney, Australia and named Denton's most Fascinating people of 2012 by the Denton Record Chronicle. During his tenure as Music Director of the NOVA Ensemble, Jason led the NOVA Ensemble in its first commercial recording in 2000. Under the auspices of the “Equilibrum” label, conducting the world premier performance of Brian Bavelander’s Distant Visions for orchestra and pre-recorded tape. Jason is currently the Artistic Director of the Odysseus Chamber Orchestra. In 2013 Jason appeared as guest conductor with the Academic State Concert Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine and in 2014 with the Zabrze Philharmonic Orchestra in Poland.

Among judges' comments: "Always in the music, calm and clear, achieving tight ensemble and spirited performances in unusual repertoire."

3rd Place:
REONA ITO, founder, music director
The Reona Ito Chamber Orchestra and Chorus
New York, NY
Mr. Reona Ito was born into a musical family of three generations of conductors in Fukuoka, Japan. He is currently serving as music director for Zagreb Sinfonietta (Croatia) and the Reona Ito Chamber Orchestra & Chorus (New York City). Also he was music director of Japanese American Association of NY Chorus (2007-14), where he tried to be a cultural bridge between US and Japan through music. Mr. Ito holds a Bachelor of Arts in international affairs and also in music at the George Washington University.  After composition and conducting study at The Juilliard School, he received a diploma in orchestral conducting from Mannes College of Music and a Master of Arts in orchestral conducting from the Aaron Copland School of Music, Queens College. He has conducted his orchestra at famous venues including Carnegie Hall (twice), Lincoln Center, and the Euphrasian Basilica, one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Croatia.

Among judges' comments: "A conductor of passion and skill...with hopes for his future musical endeavors."

PAUL MAUFFRAY, conductor
Hradec Kralove Philharmonic
Czech Republic
Conductor Paul Mauffray began his music studies at the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts and Louisiana State University. He was awarded 2nd Prize in the 2007 Bartok Conducting Competition and has 20 years of professional conducting experience with European orchestras and operas in Prague, Brno, Bratislava, Lyon, Salzburg, and Vienna. After studying musicology in Germany and in the Czech Republic, he earned his master's degree in orchestral conducting at Indiana University where he was engaged as Associate Instructor. Recently he conducted at the Bucharest National Opera, Slovak National Opera, Mariinsky Theater in Saint Petersburg, and appeared frequently as conductor with violin-soloist Tomas Vinklat from the Vienna Philharmonic. Paul Mauffray has also been a frequent guest conductor with the Hradec Kralove Philharmonic, Janacek Philharmonic, Bohuslav Martinu Philharmonic Zlin, and with the Schoenbrunn Palace Orchestra in Vienna.  He is currently reconstructing and performing the 1894 opera "Tabasco" by George W. Chadwick.

Among judges' comments: "Good knowledge of scores...intensity in abundance..."


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