Saturday, January 2, 2016


The American Prize is honored to announce the winner and runners-up of The American Prize in Conducting: Opera Division, 2015. 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: Opera Division, 2015.

The American Prize winner:
Jun Kim
    University of Wisconsin Milwaukee    Milwaukee, WI
    for Suor Angelica

Jun Kim
The recent prize winner of 2013 Orquesta de Cordoba Conducting Competition in Spain and 2012 Black Sea Conducting Competition in Romania, Jun Kim has conducted extensively in North America and Europe. Jun Kim has appeared with the orchestras in Romania, Russia, Germany, Austria, Spain, Lithuania, Poland, Canada and US.  He has been selected as a Discovery Series Conductor at the Oregon Bach Festival under Maestro Helmuth Rilling and the Kurt Masur conducting seminar in New York. In addition, he has worked for the production of Verdi's La Traviata at National University of Music in Bucharest, Romania. Most recently, Jun Kim has been selected to participate at St. Magnus Festival in U.K. to work with the BBC Symphony Orchestra and worked with Cincinnati Symphony and the May festival Chorus, and also with Baltimore Symphony Orchestra with Marin Alsop.  Dr. Jun Kim is the director of orchestral activities at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and artistic director of Washington Chamber Orchestra in D.C.

2nd Place:
Brian DeMaris
    Mill City Summer Opera    Ithaca, NY
    for Tosca

Brian DeMaris
Brian DeMaris currently serves as Music Director of Mill City Summer Opera and Artist-Faculty at the Aspen Music Festival. He has worked with New York City Opera, Florida Grand Opera, Glimmerglass Opera, Opera Theater of Saint Louis, Syracuse Opera, Tri-Cities Opera, Anchorage Opera, American Opera Projects, American Lyric Theater, Ash Lawn Opera Festival, Music Saint Croix and the Israel Chamber Orchestra. He has appeared at the United Nations, the Aspen Music Festival, Boston’s Jordan Hall, New York’s Studio 54, Jazz at Lincoln Center, Symphony Space, Alice Tully Hall, and in recitals, competitions, and master classes throughout the United States and abroad. He is the 2nd place winner of the 2013 American Prize in Opera and Musical Theater Conducting. Having served as Director of Opera and Musical Theatre at Ithaca College since 2008, in 2015 he joined the faculty of Arizona State University as Artistic Director of the Lyric Opera Theatre program.

DeMaris has also taught at Lawrence University, New England Conservatory School of Continuing Education, George Mason University's International Opera Alliance, the International Vocal Arts Institute in Tel Aviv, and "Meet the Artist" at Lincoln Center. He has served on panels with Opera America and the National Opera Association, and presented master classes with the National Association of Teachers of Singing, New York State Music Teachers Association and New York State School Music Association. His students have performed on Broadway, film and television, and at opera companies and festivals throughout the world.

3rd Place:
Michael Sakir
    Northwestern University Bienen School of Music
    Evanston, IL
    for Dead Man Walking (Heggie)

Michael Sakir
In the 2014-15 season, Michael Sakir makes his conducting debuts at Northwestern University for the Chicago premiere of Jake Heggie's Dead Man Walking, American Opera Projects for the touring premiere production of Laura Kaminsky's As One, Opera in the Ozarks for Rossini's La Cenerentola, and Opera North (NH) for Aaron Copland's The Tender Land. Sakir also returns to the Boston Opera Collaborative as conductor and harpsichordist for Handel's Rinaldo. Sakir has held chorus master, assistant conductor, and coach positions for nearly three dozen productions with Santa Fe Opera, Florida Grand Opera, Sarasota Opera, Des Moines Metro Opera, Pensacola Opera, and Opera Boston. Between 2008 and 2013, Sakir received critical acclaim as Music Director of the Boston Opera Collaborative’s The Magic Flute, Carmen, Little Women (for which he was awarded 3rd Place in the 2011 American Prize in Conducting - Opera Division), and Dead Man Walking.


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