The 2019 HONORED ARTISTS of The American Prize are:
- Oliver Caplan, composer and artistic director, Medford, MA
- Gregory Fritze, composer, Daytona Beach Shores, FL
- Tara Villa Keith, conductor, Davidson, NC
- Darren Lawson, stage director and producer, Greenville, SC
- Susan Merdinger, pianist and chamber musician, Highland Park, IL
- Judith Stillman, pianist and composer, Providence, RI
- William Vollinger, composer, Woodcliff Lake, NJ
- Allentown Band, Ronald Demkee, music director, Allentown, PA
Several years ago Maestro David Katz, chief judge of The American Prize, expressed a hope for the competitions "to do more" to advance the arts. The creation of the Honored Artist designation is one way the contests seek to bring additional recognition to laureates the organization deems especially worthy. First awarded in 2014, Honored Artists of The American Prize will now become an annual part of The American Prize contest activities, presented as New Year's Day honors.
Previously inducted Honored Artists of The American Prize include:
• Lee Actor, composer, Monte Sereno, CA
• Donald Appert, conductor, Vancouver, WA
• Jesse Ayers, composer, Canton, OH
• David Avshalomov, composer, Santa Monica, CA
• Robert Butts, conductor, Madison, NJ
• Peggy Dettwiler, conductor, Mansfield, PA
• Nancy Bloomer Deussen, composer, Mountain View, CA
• Jonathan Handman, conductor, LaGrangeville, NY
• David Sartor, composer and conductor, Hermitage, TN
• Robert Wendel, composer, New York, NY
• University of South Dakota Chamber Singers, David Holdhusen, director, Vermillion, SD
• "Re-choired Element" Chamber Choir of Linn-Benton Community College, James Reddan, director, Albany, OR
Oliver Caplan, composer and artistic director,
Mr. Caplan is the Artistic Director of Juventas New Music Ensemble. He holds degrees from Dartmouth College and the Boston Conservatory, is a voting member of the Recording Academy, and resides in Medford, Massachusetts.
Gregory Fritze, composer, Daytona Beach Shores, FL
Tara Villa Keith, conductor, Davidson, NC
|Tara Villa Keith|
Darren Lawson, stage director and producer,
Susan Merdinger, pianist and chamber musician, Highland Park, IL
Judith Stillman, pianist and composer, Providence, RI
William Vollinger, composer, Woodcliff Lake, NJ
Allentown Band, Ronald Demkee, music director, Allentown, PA
|Allentown Band, Ronald Demkee, music director|
All members of the Allentown Band approach their music-making in a professional manner, though none makes his or her living from music performance alone. Many, however, are teachers of music in schools and in private studios. Some teach a variety of subjects unrelated to music. Others are engaged in engineering, accounting, sales, insurance, medicine and dentistry, or in various office work or building trades. When they meet to perform, however, whether in a public park setting, retirement community, or in Carnegie Hall, both age and daytime vocation disappear. All effort is concentrated, striving for integrity, inspiration and impact whether performing an overture transcribed from opera, a modern composition written especially for concert band, or a Sousa march.
A typical Allentown Band schedule includes roughly forty-five yearly performances. The venue fluctuates, from concert stage to city park, from church picnic to university commencement, from Allentown’s Miller Symphony Hall to New York’s Carnegie Hall. The band realizes the importance of engaging and encouraging our youth, and is committed to Education Outreach, that includes annual free concerts for the greater Lehigh Valley’s elementary and middle school children and a yearly “Side-by-Side Concert,” where talented secondary-school student musicians perform a concert “side-by-side” with the band.
The Allentown Band is recognized worldwide, having appeared on Good Morning America, and The American Experience in a feature called “If You Knew Sousa;” and is heard regularly on radio both regionally and as far away as Sydney, Australia, on a program called “Music That’s Band.” The band has made four European concert tours, performing in Switzerland, Austria and France. The band has recorded 31 Volumes of “Our Band Heritage which have reached listeners in all 50 states and 24 countries.
The honors. awards and accolades accrued by the Allentown Band over the years at local, state and national levels, are too numerous to list here, so perhaps the City of Allentown’s “Arts Ovation Award” presented to the band “for significant contributions to the cultural life of the community” will provide a succinct if not comprehensive summary.
Congratulations to all our honorees.