Thursday, August 2, 2018

THE AMERICAN PRIZE honors Sixteen American Orchestral Conductors

The American Prize, the national nonprofit competitions in the performing arts, has honored sixteen American orchestral conductors nationwide for musical excellence within their divisions, for community outreach, and educational enrichment. The honorees include conductors of professional, community, college/university, youth, and high school ensembles, representing twelve U.S. states.

The first place (winning) conductor in each division receives a cash award up to $500. All conductors receive certificates, written professional adjudication, and regional, national and international recognition based on recorded performances. There is no live competition. In addition to written evaluations from a member of The American Prize's distinguished panel of judges, winners are profiled on The American Prize websites, where links will lead to video and audio excerpts of artist performances.

The American Prize is a series of new, non-profit competitions 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 has attracted hundreds of qualified contestants from all fifty states since its founding, has awarded more than $50,000 in prizes in all categories since 2010, and is presented annually in many areas of the performing arts.

The First Place orchestral conductors in each division for the 2017-18 contest year are:

Professional Orchestra: Dean Whiteside
New World Symphony
Miami Beach FL

University Orchestra: Mathias Elmer
University of Memphis Symphony
Memphis TN

Community Orchestra:
Anna Edwards
Seattle Collaborative Orchestra
Seattle WA

Youth Orchestra: Michael Webster
Houston Youth Symphony
Houston TX

High School Orchestra: Michael Isadore
Dulles HS Honors Orchestra
Sugar Land TX

Photos and short biographies of each of these conductors, as well as those of the runners-up in each division, making up the total sixteen, may be found here:

A larger list of conductors, advanced to the finals earlier this season, may be found here:

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


The American Prize National Nonprofit Competitions in the Performing Arts grew from the belief that a great deal of excellent music being made in this country goes unrecognized and unheralded, not only in our major cities, but all across the country: in schools and churches, in colleges and universities, and by community and professional musicians.

With the performing arts in America marginalized like never before, The American Prize seeks to fill the gap that leaves excellent artists and ensembles struggling for visibility and viability. The American Prize recognizes and rewards the best America produces, without bias against small city versus large, or unknown artist versus well-known.

David Katz is the chief judge of The American Prize. Professional conductor, award-winning composer, playwright, actor and arts advocate, he is author of MUSE of FIRE, the acclaimed one-man play about the art of conducting. Joining Katz in selecting winners of The American Prize is a panel of judges as varied in background and experience as we hope the winners of The American Prize will be. Made up of distinguished musicians representing virtually every region of the country, the group includes professional vocalists, conductors, composers and pianists, tenured professors, and professional orchestra, band and choral musicians.

“Most artists may never win a Grammy award, or a Pulitzer, or a Tony, or perhaps ever even be nominated,” Katz said, “but that does not mean that they are not worthy of recognition and reward. Quality in the arts is not limited to the coasts, or to the familiar names, or only to graduates of a few schools. It is on view all over the United States, if you take the time to look for it. The American Prize exists to encourage and herald that excellence.”

By shining a light on nationally recognized achievement, winners of The American Prize receive world-class bragging rights to use in promotion right at home. “If The American Prize helps build careers, or contributes to local pride, or assists with increasing the audience for an artist or ensemble, builds the donor base, or stimulates opportunities or recruitment for winning artists and ensembles, then we have fulfilled our mission,” Katz said.

The American Prize is administered by Hat City Music Theater, Inc., a 501(c)3 non-profit performing arts organization based in Danbury, Connecticut.


RELATED STORY: THE AMERICAN PRIZE honors Twenty-Two American Orchestras

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