Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Composer LEE ACTOR named HONORED ARTIST of The American Prize

Lee Actor, of Monte Sereno, CA, is one of five American composers chosen as the first Honored Artists of The American Prize, the national nonprofit competitions in the performing arts.  Honored Artists are individuals who have proven themselves to be musicians of  “sustained excellence" over a number of seasons as contestants in the competitions.

The American Prize competitions are unique in scope and structure, designed to recognize and reward the best performing artists, ensembles and composers in the United States, based on submitted recordings. The American Prize is presented annually in many areas of the performing arts and has awarded nearly $35,000 in prize money since its founding in 2009.

Additional information about the competitions may be found on the website:

Earlier this fall, Maestro David Katz, chief judge of The American Prize, expressed a hope for the competitions "to do more" to advance the art. The creation of the Honored Artist designation is one way the competition seeks to bring additional recognition to laureates it deems especially worthy.

The five composers selected as Honored Artists of The American Prize for 2014 are:

Lee Actor, Monte Sereno CA
Second Place—Music for Orchestra, 2011
Finalist, 2012
Finalist, 2013
Finalist, 2014

David Avshalomov, Santa Monica CA
Special Judges' Citation—Orchestral Music, 2012
Finalist, 2013
Third Place—Music for Band, 2014

Jesse Ayers, Canton OH

Winner—Orchestral Music, 2011
Finalist, 2013
Finalist, 2014

Nancy Bloomer Deussen, Mountain View CA

Finalist, 2012
Second Place—Chamber Music, 2013
Finalist, 2014

David Sartor, Hermitage TN
Third Place—Music for Chorus, 2012
Third Place—Chamber Music, 2013
Finalist, 2014

“The American Prize has auditioned many works by these five composers over several seasons,” Katz said, “Each of the five exhibits a unique voice, a substantial catalog, multiple performances and serious intent. Each deserves every opportunity to be heard. We are delighted to bring added attention to their considerable gifts.”

Composer and conductor Lee Actor ( has received numerous commissions, and has won many awards for his compositions, which are characterized by their dramatic impact and emotional expressivity.  In the past 10+ years, he has created an extensive catalog of works for large ensembles, which have been performed by more than 60 orchestras and bands in the U.S. and around the world.  He has studied composition with Donald Sur, Brent Heisinger, Charles Jones, and Andrew Imbrie, and conducting with Angelo Frascarelli, David Epstein and Higo Harada.  Actor has been Composer-in-Residence of the Palo Alto Philharmonic since 2002, following his appointment as Assistant Conductor in 2001.

Honored Artists will be highlighted in a separate section on The American Prize website and on the competition’s Facebook pages, will receive expanded listings on The American Prize blog, will be featured in individualized press releases sent to local, regional and national media, and receive a special, framed certificate. Honored Artists also receive an application fee waiver for a future competition.

The American Prize Honored Artists must meet these criteria:

  • May be nominated by any member of The American Prize national judging panel.
  • Will have reached finalist status or higher and/or received an Honorable Mention or Special Judge's Certificate in at least three different competition years, which need not be consecutive.
  • Will have won The American Prize (first place) no more than one time.
  • Will have consistently received exceptional evaluations in their chosen area of endeavor.
  • Will be honored during a season in which they are an active participant.
  • Accept the designation.
  • There is no minimum or maximum number that will be awarded each season.

"Honored Artists of The American Prize" are given in memory of David Katz’s father, Abraham R. Katz, a gifted amateur musician, who died in 1999.

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