Monday, July 15, 2019

WINNERS: conductors (orchestral programming), 2018-19

Vytautas Marijosius
The American Prize National Nonprofit Competitions in the Performing Arts, David (Volosin) Katz, founder and chief judge, is pleased to announce the 2018-19 winners and runners-up in orchestral programming, The Vytautas Marijosius Memorial Award. Congratulations!

The American Prize—Vytautas Marijosius Memorial Award in Orchestral Programming honors the memory of the great Lithuanian conductor, Maestro Vytautas Marijosius, music director of the Lithuanian State Opera, and for nearly thirty-five years Director of Orchestral Activities at the Hartt School of Music. The Prize recognizes and rewards the best achievement in the unique field of orchestral programming, where the selection of repertoire by knowledgeable, creative and courageous music directors builds orchestras and audiences, educates young people and adults, and enriches the community.  

You can read more about Maestro Marijosius here:
Or visit the collection of historic documents, programs and photographs of the artist here:

Complete listings of finalists and semi-finalists in The American Prize competitions may be found elsewhere on this blog. Please use the chronological tool in the right-hand column to find specific results.

QUICKNOTES: Although The American Prize does not usually provide written evaluations to semi-finalists, some semi-finalist composers will receive in their certificate packets short comments, suggestions or overall impressions made during the judging. We hope they will prove valuable. All finalists receive written evaluations from a member of The American Prize judging panel.

REMINDER: Because of many requests from artists with late spring and early summer performances, The American Prize 2019-20 will accept applications from CLASSICAL VOCALISTS, PIANISTS, CHAMBER ENSEMBLES and INSTRUMENTAL SOLOISTS postmarked or emailed by the new extended deadline date of
Monday, July 1, 2019, with extensions available by email request. (

Applications from COMPOSERS, CONDUCTORS, STAGE DIRECTORS, CONDUCTED ENSEMBLES, ARTS MARKETERS and in the performance of American Music (BACON AWARD) will be accepted until  
Monday, August 5, 2019. (Please note that although the dates on the application forms may not be changed, rest assured that your materials will be accepted if sent by the new deadline dates in the respective contest areas.)

Please make us aware of any misprints:

The American Prize in Orchestral Programming / Vytautas Marijosius Memorial Award—college/university division

The American Prize Winner:
Jeffery Meyer
ASU Symphony Orchestra
Tempe AZ     

Jeffery Meyer
An accomplished conductor, pianist, and educator, Jeffery Meyer launched his career as a champion of contemporary orchestral music and innovative collaborations. He currently holds positions as Director of Orchestras at Arizona State University and as the Artistic Director of the St. Petersburg Chamber Philharmonic. In recent concert seasons, he has performed as a chamber musician and conductor throughout North America, Europe, China, Russia, and Southeast Asia.

In 2010, he led the St. Petersburg Chamber Philharmonic in its United States debut with three performances at Symphony Space’s “Wall-to-Wall” Festival in New York City which the New York Times called “impressive”, “powerful”, “splendid”, and “blazing.” His programming in the United States has been recognized with three ASCAP Awards for Adventurous Programming. He was a prizewinner in the 2008 International Conducting Competition “Antonio Pedrotti” and the winner of the 2013 American Prize in Conducting.

2nd Place:
Rachel L. Waddell
University of Rochester Orchestras
Rochester NY 

Rachel L. Waddell
Rachel L. Waddell is in her second season as Director of Orchestral Activities at the University of Rochester, where she directs the symphony and chamber orchestras. Prior to Rochester, she served as the Associate Conductor of the Canton Symphony Orchestra and Music Director of the award-winning Canton Youth Symphonies. While with Canton, Waddell conducted over eighty performances. In 2016 she conducted the Ohio premier of Christopher Theofanidis’ Dreamtime Ancestors with the CSO.

In addition to her work with the CSO and CYS, Waddell became the first women to guest conduct Cleveland’s Suburban Symphony Orchestra in 2016. In January 2018 she guest conducted the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra in a performance of Peter and the Wolf with the Nazareth College Dance Ensemble. Cleveland Classical describes Waddell’s conducting as “distinctly animated” with “charismatic fervor….a sensibility eagerly reciprocated by the orchestra as it responded with marvelous tonal depth and palpable exuberance.” 

3rd Place (there was a tie):
Chris Younghoon Kim
Cornell Orchestra
Ithaca NY  

Chris Younghoon Kim with Wynton Marsalis at Cornell.
Cornell Orchestras under the direction of Chris Younghoon Kim, present multiple concerts during each academic school year and consists of Cornell Chamber Orchestra and Cornell Symphony Orchestra. The membership of the orchestra is formed from students of all colleges and departments across the university-wide community.  It is the only non-music major orchestra to win first place among collegiate orchestras the ASCAP award for Adventurous Programming of Contemporary music during the 2008-2009 season. It has won the Adventurous awards for 6 years in a row from 2008-2014. For the last nine seasons Cornell Orchestras have been jointly producing the Ithaca International conducting masterclasses with Ithaca College Symphony Orchestra.

3rd Place (there was a tie):
David Rahbee
University of Washington Symphony Orchestra
Seattle WA   

David Rahbee
David Alexander Rahbee is currently Senior Artist in Residence at the University of
Washington School of Music in Seattle, where he is Director of Orchestral Activities and teaches conducting. He also serves of faculty of the Pierre Monteux School and Music Festival as Conducting Associate. He is recipient of the American- Austrian Foundation's 2003 Karajan Fellowship for Young Conductors, the 2005 International Richard-Wagner-Verband Stipend, and the Acanthes Centre in Paris in 2007. He has recently worked with the Seattle Symphony, Orchesterakademie der Bochumer Symphoniker, the Seattle Modern Orchestra, and Orquesta Sinfónica de Loja. He participated in masterclasses with Kurt Masur, Sir Colin Davis, Jorma Panula, Zdeněk Mácal, Peter Eötvös, and Zoltán Peskó. His principal conducting teachers were Charles Bruck and Michael Jinbo at the Monteux School. He holds degrees from Indiana University, New England Conservatory, and University of Montreal. He also studied at Universität für Musik und Darstellende Kunst, Vienna.

The American Prize in Orchestral Programming / Vytautas Marijosius Memorial Award—community/youth division

The American Prize Winner:
David William Oertel
Starlight Symphony Orchestra
Wimberley TX   

David William Oertel
David William Oertel is the Music Director and Conductor of the Starlight Symphony Orchestra (TX) and the Austin Philharmonic. Oertel is working with David Daniels as a co-author for the book, “Daniels’ Orchestra Music” the 6th Edition. He has also appeared as a guest conductor in venues from Houston, TX to St. Petersburg, Russia. Oertel has taught music in the public schools and has been on the faculty of universities in North Carolina. He has worked with youth orchestras, musical theatre and opera pit orchestras, concert and jazz orchestras as well as numerous small ensembles. He studied at the University of North Texas, University of Houston and the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Oertel’s influential conducting mentors include Robert Linder, David Daniels, Max Rudolf, Kirk Trevor, Hans Graf, Niklaus Wyss, Adrian Gnam and Franz Krager.

2nd Place:
Robert Boardman
South Bend Youth Symphony Orchestras
South Bend IN

Robert Boardman
Robert Boardman is the 1st place winner nationally for The American Prize 2015 Maestro Vytautas Marijosius Memorial Award in Orchestral Programming, and 2nd Place winner in 2016 and 2014. Robert's passion for orchestral performance emerges from the transformative power of experiencing the profound works of human craft, ingenuity, and creativity. Boardman seeks to both discover and re-discover ways in which the orchestra can be a vital social force in our dynamically changing world.

His recent artistic engagements include the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music where he has served as Assistant Conductor for two seasons. As assistant to Music Director Maestra Marin Alsop, he worked along side composers John Adams, Philip Glass, Jennifer Higdon, and Mark Anthony Turnage, to name a few. Robert has relished a lifelong interest in contemporary orchestral music. In addition to having composed over a dozen original works, he is drawn to the music's freshness, sense of event, and artistic relevance to our time.

Since 2006, Boardman has served as Assistant Conductor for Howard Shore's film score "The Lord of the Rings Symphony" with CAMI Music for which he has assisted in over 30 performances, including a tour of Germany. In this position, he has worked with the orchestras and choruses of the Colorado Symphony Orchestra, Vancouver Symphony, Calgary Philharmonic and Minnesota Orchestra, among others.

3rd Place (there was a tie):
Donald L. Appert
The Jewish Community Orchestra of Portland
Portland OR   

Donald L. Appert
Donald Appert has been Music Director/Conductor of the Jewish Community Orchestra in Portland, Oregon since 2012. He has guest conducted orchestras in Europe, Central America, Japan and Australia. Currently he is a Professor of Music and Head of the Music Department at Clark College in Vancouver, Washington. In addition he is the Music Director/Conductor of the Clark College Orchestra and of the Oregon Sinfonietta.  He received The American Prize in Orchestral Programming—Vytautas Marijosius Memorial Award in 2011, an Honorable Mention in 2012, 3rd Place in 2014, and 2nd Place in 2015. He was also Honored Artist of the American Prize in 2015. In 2014 he received the Clark County (WA) Arts Commission Lifetime Achievement in the Arts Award. He has received the ASCAPLUS Award numerous times. Videos of his conducting and his original compositions may be seen and heard via the Internet on his web site at

3rd Place (there was a tie):
Reuben Blundell
Landsdowne Symphony Orchestra
Landsdowne PA 

Reuben Blundell
In 2017-18 the LSO released its first CD, on the New Focus label, featured by Spotify, WRTI’s Fleisher Discoveries, and other radio stations across the United States. Recent and upcoming soloists include Philadelphia’s David Kim and David Cramer, cellist Julian Schwarz, violist Roberto Díaz, and soprano Lisa DiNolfo. The orchestra was founded in 1946 and is widely regarded as the best of the Philadelphia area’s community orchestras.

The year was Reuben Blundell’s fourth as Music Director. Attaining degrees in violin performance in Australia, he attended Tanglewood and Michael Tilson Thomas’ New World Symphony. With a doctorate in conducting from Eastman (Neil Varon and Zvi Zeitlin), and Monteux School studies, his career has included two tenure-track positions, conducting three commercial CDs, directing the Riverside Orchestra in New York, and conducting the Chelsea Symphony, and orchestras in Chile, Iraq and Lebanon. He also teaches at Trinity School, NYC.


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