Thursday, August 27, 2020

Winners: CONDUCTORS (band/wind ensemble), 2019-20


The American Prize wishes everyone safety and health during this difficult time.


The American Prize National Nonprofit Competitions in the Performing Arts, David Volosin Katz, chief judge, is honored to announce the winners and runners-up of The American Prize in Conducting, 2019-20, in band/wind ensemble divisions. Congratulations!

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.

COVID EXTENSIONS: Because of the current national and international situation, many rules have been changed and requirements eased to make it easier to apply for The American Prize 2020-21. In addition, application deadlines have been extended. We will accept applications from COMPOSERS, CLASSICAL VOCALISTS, PIANISTS, CHAMBER ENSEMBLES and INSTRUMENTAL SOLOISTS postmarked or emailed by Wednesday, October 14, 2020. Applications from CONDUCTORS, STAGE DIRECTORS, CONDUCTED ENSEMBLES, ARTS ADMINISTRATORS (arts marketing, arts education) and in the performance of American Music (BACON AWARD) will be accepted until Wednesday, October 14, 2020. Further extensions may be granted pending the most current information about the virus.

Please make us aware of any misprints: theamericanprize@gmail.com


The American Prize in Conducting—band/wind ensemble (college/university division), 2019-20

The American Prize winner:
Verena Mosenbichler-Bryant  
Duke University Wind Symphony        
Durham  NC

Verena Mosenbichler-Bryant  
Verena Mösenbichler-Bryant serves as Associate Professor of the Practice of Music at Duke University, Director of the Duke University Wind Symphony, Director of Undergraduate Studies for the music department, and Artistic Director & conductor of the Durham Medical Orchestra.

Mösenbichler-Bryant is the Executive Director of the World Youth Wind Orchestra and World Adult Wind Orchestra Projects, both part of the annual Mid-Europe festival in Austria (www.mideurope.at).

Verena Mösenbichler-Bryant’s transcription of John Corigliano’s Grammy-winning work, Mr. Tambourine Man, for Wind Ensemble and Amplified Soprano, published by G. Schirmer, was strongly praised by the composer, and has received numerous performances. Additionally, she has arranged and premiered Eric Whitacre’s Goodnight Moon for Soprano and Wind Ensemble, available through Hal Leonard. Verena serves frequently as cover conductor for the North Carolina Symphony, and as guest conductor and clinician across the United States, Taiwan, Japan, Germany, France, as well in her native Austria. verenaconductor.com


2nd Place (there was a tie):
Jack A. Eaddy, Jr.           
The United States Marine Band        
Washington   DC 
     
Jack A. Eaddy, Jr.           
Jack A. Eaddy, Jr., a native of Orangeburg, SC, is the Assistant Director of Bands at McNeese State University. Dr. Eaddy earned the Doctor of Musical Arts in Wind Conducting from the University of North Texas. He holds a Master of Music in Wind Conducting from the University of Georgia, and a Bachelor of Music Education degree from Florida State University. Dr. Eaddy taught for twelve years in Orlando, FL, where he developed a program that was recognized throughout the state for maintaining high standards despite the challenges his students experienced. Dr. Eaddy received the FMEA Tom Bishop Award recognizing a director who turned a program around, making a positive difference. Dr. Eaddy has presented at several conferences, including the Midwest Clinic. As a conductor, he was a participant in the 2018 US Pershing’s Own Army Band’s conducting workshop and is a semi-finalist for the 2019 American Prize.


2nd Place (there was a tie):
Marc Sosnowchik           
University of South Florida Symphonic     
Tampa  FL
     
Marc Sosnowchik           
Marc Sosnowchik serves as Associate Director of Bands and Director of Athletic Bands at the University of South Florida. His current teaching responsibilities include conducting the Symphonic Band, teaching courses in conducting and music education, directing the Herd of Thunder Marching Band, and overseeing all aspects of Athletic Bands at USF. Previously, Dr. Sosnowchik was Assistant Director of Bands at Oklahoma State University.

In addition to his teaching responsibilities, Dr. Sosnowchik maintains an active schedule as a clinician, conductor, adjudicator, and arranger. He conducts honor bands throughout the United States, and in the summer teaches on the faculty of the World Youth Wind Orchestra Project/World Adult Wind Orchestra Project as part of the Mid-Europe Festival in Schladming, Austria.

Dr. Sosnowchik earned his bachelor’s degree in music education from the University of Alabama, and both his master’s and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees in conducting from The University of Texas at Austin.


3rd Place (there was a tie):

Lauren Reynolds             
University of Delaware Wind Ensemble      
Newark   DE 
 
Lauren Reynolds             
Lauren Reynolds is Assistant Professor of Music and Director of Concert Bands at the University of Delaware, where she conducts the UD Wind Ensemble and teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in conducting and wind literature. She received her B.M. (music education) and M.M. (conducting) from the University of Delaware, and her D.M.A. (Wind Conducting) from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, where she studied with Rodney Winther. Dr. Reynolds is the founder and Music Director of the Delaware Youth Wind Ensemble. She resides in Avondale, Pennsylvania with her husband, a professional bassoonist, and her two young children.


3rd Place (there was a tie):
Corey Seapy                
Bands at the UMKC Conservatory       
Kansas City   MO   
 
Corey Seapy                
Corey Seapy is a dynamic conductor and educator, who has spent the last decade maximizing the artistic potential of a wide variety of ensembles. He was recently appointed Director of Bands at Millikin University in Decatur, IL after completing a DMA at the University of Missouri – Kansas City Conservatory, where he served as a Graduate Teaching Assistant and studied conducting with Steven D. Davis. Prior to his time in Kansas City, Seapy conducted and taught in Massachusetts, where he served as Music Director of the Charles River Wind Ensemble and Director of Bands at Ipswich High School. He holds a MM in Conducting from Ithaca College, where he studied with Stephen Peterson, Cynthia Johnston Turner, and Jeffery Meyer, and a BM in Music Education from Gordon College (MA), where he studied conducting with David Rox, Gerald Dolan, and Kenneth Phillips.


Finalist, Career Encouragement Certificate:
Lindsay Bronnenkant          
University of Michigan Students      
Ann Arbor   MI    
  
Lindsay Bronnenkant          
Lindsay Bronnenkant currently studies with Mark Scatterday at the Eastman School of Music in pursuit of a Doctorate of Musical Arts degree in wind conducting. She received her master’s degree in wind conducting from the University of Michigan under the tutelage of Michael Haithcock. Her talents as a conductor have earned her several honors, including an invitation to conduct the United States Army Band “Pershing’s Own” at their 2017 Conductors Showcase.

Prior to her graduate studies Bronnenkant served as Director of Bands at the Aquinas Institute of Rochester, Director of the University of Rochester Pep Band, and Interim Conductor of the Brighton Symphony Orchestra. She is an alumna of the Nazareth College of Rochester (B.M. Music Education), where she studied conducting privately with Jared Chase and Nancy Strelau. She additionally holds a degree in science from the University of Rochester (B.S. Brain and Cognitive Sciences).


Finalist Honorable Mention:

Eddie W. Airheart             
TCU Wind Symphony
Fort Worth  TX

Eddie W. Airheart             
Eddie W. Airheart earned his Doctoral of Musical Arts degree in Conducting at Texas Christian University, studying with Bobby R. Francis, Dr. Germán Gutiérrez and Dr. Christopher Aspaas. In August 2019, he was appointed Assistant Director of Bands/Professor of Music/Professor of Woodwinds at Tyler Junior College in Tyler, Texas where he works extensively with both the Wind Ensemble and Symphonic Band, as well as the over-200 member TJC Apache Marching Band.

Dr. Airheart has extensive experience with ensembles throughout his career and recent work at TCU and at TJC. He serves as Conductor-in-Residence for the Clear Creek Music Festival in Halfway, Oregon, and his wind band research has been presented for the College Band Directors National Association. He will be featured in Vol. XII of the “Teaching Music Through Performance in Band” series.


Finalist Honorable Mention:
Michael Hancock              
University of Oklahoma Wind Symphony      
Norman  OK   
     
Michael Hancock              
Dr. Michael Hancock is the Assistant Director of Bands at the University of Oklahoma and conductor of the Symphony Band. He has previously served as the Interim Director of Bands at the University of Oklahoma and conductor of the Wind Symphony.  He co-directs the graduate instrumental conducting program, and teaches undergraduate conducting.

Dr. Hancock enjoys a diverse career that spans the United States and Europe, and is active in conducting professional and educational ensembles.  As the Music Director of the Heidelberg Arts Ensemble in Germany, he conducted and oversaw a multifaceted ensemble presenting concerts throughout Europe. His commitment to the performance of new music have been praised by prominent contemporary composers including Michael Colgrass, Michael Daugherty, Paul Dooley, Joel Puckett, Steven Bryant, and Walter Mays.  He continues his commitment for advocating an artful music education, and frequently serves as a guest conductor and clinician throughout the United States and Europe.


Finalist Honorable Mention:
Tremon Kizer                
University of Central Florida        
Orlando  FL    

Tremon Kizer                
Tremon Kizer serves as the Associate Director of Bands, Director of Athletic Bands, and Assistant Professor of Music at the University of Central Florida. In addition to serving as the lead administrator for the UCF athletic band program, he conducts the Symphonic Band, teaches courses in music education, conducting, and observe music education student interns.

In addition to his work at UCF, Dr. Kizer serves on the National Band Association Revelli Composition Contest Selection Committee, is on the Board of Directors for the Florida Youth Symphony Orchestra, and in 2021, will host the CBDNA Athletic Band Symposium. He is an active guest conductor, adjudicator, and leadership consultant. As a guest conductor, he has conducted numerous district and regional honor bands and professional ensembles such as the United States Army Band. He has been on staff for numerous music camps, drum major clinics, and collegiate and high school concert and marching band camps.

As a champion for diverse music, he conducts and presents numerous works for chamber and wind band. He frequently presents on programming literature that reflect the demographics of the students in the music classroom. He has given lectures and presented at the Midwest Band and Orchestra International Conference, the College Band Director National Conference (CBDNA), the Southern Division CBDNA Conference, the CBDNA Athletic Band Symposium, the Florida Music Educators State Conference, Kansas Music Educators State Conference, and the Kansas Bandmasters Association State Conference. He has been featured in Marching Arts Education and Teaching Music.


The American Prize in Conducting—band/wind ensemble (community/schools division), 2019-20

The American Prize winner:
Nicolas Propes               
Big River Brass Band                 
Quad Cities  IA/IL    

Nicolas Propes               
Nicolas Propes conducts the Big River Brass Band, a British-style band consisting of members from the Quad Cities (IA/IL) area. The Big River Brass Band performs in Iowa and Illinois through the summer with a holiday concert in December. Nicolas earned his Bachelor's Degree in Music Education from the University of Iowa in 2002 and his Master's Degree in Conducting from the American Band College of Sam Houston State University in 2015. He began directing school bands in 2003 and established himself as a qualified and respected teacher. His ensembles received top ratings at festivals and contests, but more importantly, he inspired countless students to create music through their school years, many of whom became life-long appreciators of music. He continues conducting as director of the Big River Brass Band, an adult community ensemble, and works with students at every opportunity including ensemble/sectional coaching, guest conducting, and one-on-one conducting lessons.


2nd Place:
Greg Jackson              
Saint James Symphonic Ensemble       
Montgomery    AL  

Greg Jackson
Dr. Gregory Jackson is the Director of Bands at Saint James School in Montgomery, AL and a well-recognized percussionist, composer, educator, and author.  Dr. Jackson has published more than a dozen books sold worldwide, along with several recordings.  As a composer, Jackson has completed four symphonies, and over one hundred and twenty five compositions.  He was a semi-finalist for the American Prize in Chamber Composition.  Currently, he is a member of the Percussive Arts Society Composition Committee.  In the Percussive Arts Society International Collegiate Snare Competition, Jackson won 3rd Prize performing one of his own compositions.  He received a BS in Performance with Composition Specialization at Austin Peay State University, a MM in Music Composition and Theory at The University of Alabama, and a DMA in Percussion Performance at The University of Alabama.  Jackson proudly endorses Innovative Percussion, Remo Inc., and Pearl Percussion.  For more information, please visit www.inner3.com.


3rd Place:
Matthew Salvaggio            
University Heights Symphonic Band    
University Heights  OH
   
Matthew Salvaggio            
Matthew Salvaggio is an American conductor currently holding several musical directorships. The 2019/20 season marks his third year as Music Director of the Euclid Symphony Orchestra, where his responsibilities include conducting classical, pops and educational concerts.  Additionally, he is in his fifth year as Musical and Artistic Director of the University Heights Symphonic Band, and is the conductor/co-founder of Orchestra 19, a 19th-century historical performance practice orchestra based in Cleveland.

Prior to these appointments, Matt has served as Director of Bands on the faculty at Hiram College, and adjunct professor of conducting at Lakeland Community College. An advocate for new music, Matthew has helped commission fifteen works for winds in the last decade from composers including Mark Camphouse, Anthony O’Toole, Michael Kallstrom, Kevin Waczyk and Tony Manfredonia. Artistic collaborations include John Rautenberg (Cleveland Orchestra), John DiCesare (Seattle Symphony), Joshua Lauretig (Buffalo Philharmonic), Kyra Kester (Akron Symphony), Cameron Leach, J.c. Sherman, Emily Cornelius and ESO concertmaster Liesl Hook.

In 2019, Matt was a finalist for conducting positions with both the United States Army and Air Force Bands – an honor reserved for a select few each year. In 2015, he was a semi-finalist in the National Band Association’s Young Conductor Mentor Project. Mr. Salvaggio is active as a guest conductor and clinician and has been invited to conduct local public-school bands, community bands, summer music camps and honors ensembles. For more information, visit him on the web at www.matthewsalvaggio.com.



*** 
Congratulations!

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Winners: CONDUCTORS (orchestra), 2019-20


The American Prize wishes everyone safety and health during this difficult time.


The American Prize National Nonprofit Competitions in the Performing Arts, David Volosin Katz, founder and chief judge, is honored to announce the winners, runners-up, and honorable mentions of The American Prize in Conducting, 2019-20, in orchestra divisions. Congratulations!

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.

COVID EXTENSIONS: Because of the current national and international situation, many rules have been changed and requirements eased to make it easier to apply for The American Prize 2020-21. In addition, application deadlines have been extended. We will accept applications from COMPOSERS, CLASSICAL VOCALISTS, PIANISTS, CHAMBER ENSEMBLES and INSTRUMENTAL SOLOISTS postmarked or emailed by Wednesday, October 14, 2020. Applications from CONDUCTORS, STAGE DIRECTORS, CONDUCTED ENSEMBLES, ARTS ADMINISTRATORS (arts marketing, arts education) and in the performance of American Music (BACON AWARD) will be accepted until Wednesday, October 14, 2020. Further extensions may be granted pending the most current information about the virus.

Please make us aware of any misprints: theamericanprize@gmail.com


The American Prize in Conducting—professional orchestra division, 2019-20

The American Prize winner:
Markand Thakar
Baltimore Chamber Orchestra 
Baltimore MD  

Markand Thakar
Markand Thakar is Music Director of the Baltimore Chamber Orchestra. His career has taken him to orchestras in Europe, Asia, and across North America, including concerts with the New York Philharmonic, the National Symphony, and some 40 others.

Highlights of his 15 seasons with BCO include a five-concert tour of China and three CDs for the Naxos label, including a disc named to Naxos’ 2009 “Best of the Best” list. In a 12-year tenure as Music Director of the Duluth Superior Symphony the orchestra saw dramatic growth to what Minnesota Public Radio called “Minnesota’s other great orchestra.”

Noted internationally as a pedagogue, his annual intensive conductor training programs draw conductors from five continents.

Thakar is a protégé of the legendary Sergiu Celibidache, and author of three seminal books on music, including On the Principles and Practice of Conducting (University of Rochester Press.)


2nd Place:
Ryan Murray
Modesto Symphony
Modesto CA

Ryan Murray
Ryan Murray is the newly appointed Artistic Director & Conductor of Music in the Mountains, the Associate Conductor for the Modesto Symphony Orchestra, Music Director for the Modesto Symphony Youth Orchestra and Music Director of Opera Modesto. Ryan is also the current Director of Orchestra at California State University, Sacramento. Ryan was the 2016/17 winner of the American Prize in Opera Conducting (Professional Division), the 2014 winner of the Vienna Philharmonic’s Ansbacher Fellowship. He previously studied at the Eastman School of Music's Summer Conducting Institute and has attended masterclasses around the world, studying with some of the world’s top conductors including Kurt Masur and Susanna Mälkki.  Ryan also previously served as Music Director for Fresno Grand Opera, and was a staff conductor for BASOTI and the Opera Academy of California. Ryan is currently pursuing a master’s degree in Music Business from the Berklee College of Music. Visit www.ryanjmurray.com for news and upcoming engagements.


3rd Place:
Victor Shlyakhtenko  
South Coast Symphony
Orange County CA

Victor Shlyakhtenko  
Hailed by the Los Angeles Opus for his “formidable display of pianism” and “impeccable clarity,” seventeen-year-old pianist and conductor Victor Shlyakhtenko has appeared with ten orchestras in the United States, soloed on the stages of Walt Disney Concert Hall and Carnegie Hall, and recently made his conducting debut leading the South Coast Symphony in a performance of Tchaikovsky’s Romeo and Juliet Fantasy-Overture.

In April 2019, Victor received second place in the 22nd International Virginia Waring Intermediate Concerto Competition, as well as an honorable mention in the competition’s solo category. Later that month, Victor was awarded the Elvin S. McGaughey Platinum Prize in the Glendale Piano Competiton. Victor’s other accolades include first prizes in the Los Angeles International Liszt Competition, Music Center’s Spotlight competition, American Prize in Piano,  among others.

Victor made his concerto debut at the age of 12, performing Mendelssohn’s Concerto No. 1 with the Orange Coast Symphony. Since then, he has appeared with numerous orchestras, performing concerti by Chopin, Grieg, Liszt, Mendelssohn, and Mozart, as well as Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy.  Victor intends to pursue a double major in piano performance and conducting.


The American Prize in Conducting—college/university orchestra division, 2019-20

The American Prize winner:
David A. Rahbee
University of Washington Symphony Orchestra 
Seattle WA

David A. 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.


2nd Place (there was a tie):
Ian Passmore
Indiana University Symphony Orchestra 
Bloomington IN  

Ian Passmore
“Ian Passmore is a rising young conductor,” one who “doesn’t press forward with unneeded aggression—the music simply unfolds” (Fanfare! Magazine). Currently the Assistant Conductor of the Omaha Symphony, Dr. Passmore leads their programs in the areas of education, youth, and community engagement. Prior to his appointment in Omaha, he served as Associate Instructor of Orchestral Conducting at the renowned Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, where he led all aspects of the IU Conductor’s and All-Campus orchestras, and organized the day-to-day activities of the Orchestral Conducting department.

Dr. Passmore studied conducting at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music (Doctor of Music), University of Delaware (Master of Music), University of North Carolina (Post-Bachelor’s studies), and University of North Carolina at Greensboro (Bachelor of Arts). His principal conducting teachers were David Effron, Arthur Fagen, James Allen Anderson, Tonu Kalam, and the late Robert Gutter. Dr. Passmore is a member of the League of American Orchestras, Conductors Guild, and the honors music society Pi Kappa Lambda. In 2019, he was elected to the Conductors Guild Board of Directors. For more information regarding Dr. Ian Passmore, please visit MaestroPassmore.com.


2nd Place (there was a tie):
Ji Hyun Yim
U-Wisconsin Symphony Orchestra
Madison WI    

Ji Hyun Yim
A native of Busan, Korea, Ji Hyun (Jenny) Yim developed a love and passion for music at a young age which led and continues to lead her through multitudes of challenges, achievements, and accolades. Yim, who maintains an active career as a conductor was an apprentice conductor of the Abilene Philharmonic; assistant conductor of the UNT Symphony Orchestra; conductor of Nova, UNT’s new music ensemble; music director of the Korean Central Baptist Church (Irving, Texas); and founder of the Onnuri Church’s Joshua Choir.

Yim is currently pursuing a doctoral degree in orchestral conducting at the UW–Madison Mead Witter School of Music, where she serves as music director of the Medical Orchestra of University of Wisconsin and assistant conductor for the UW–Madison Symphony Orchestra and University Opera. Yim believes that music is a universal language and changes lives, filling them with joy; she expresses her feelings without verbal communication.


3rd Place (there was a tie):
Daniel Cook
Northwestern University Chamber Ensemble
Evanston IL

Daniel Cook
Daniel Cook serves on the faculty at the University of North Texas College of Music. Daniel has completed coursework toward a Doctor of Musical Arts degree at Northwestern University, where he studied with Dr. Mallory Thompson. He holds his Master of Music degree in Conducting from Northwestern University and his Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Georgia.

Daniel previously taught in the public schools in Florida. His students have enjoyed success, earning superior ratings at district and state solo, small ensemble, and large group performance festivals. His ensembles have performed at the FMEA In-Service Conference and the Music for All National Concert Band Festival. Additionally, while in Florida, served as staff pianist and organist at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church in Daytona Beach. Daniel is currently the assistant brass caption head at the Phantom Regiment and is an active clinician and guest conductor.


3rd Place (there was a tie):
Jeffrey Klefstad
All University Orchestra-Carnegie Mellon University
Pittsburgh PA 

Jeffrey Klefstad
Jeffrey Klefstad is Music Director and Conductor of the All University Orchestra (AUO) at Carnegie Mellon University. He has led orchestras throughout North America and Europe, including the Aurora Festival Orchestra (Sweden), the Bohuslav Martinu Philharmonic (Czech Republic), McGill Symphony Orchestra (MGSO) and Contemporary Ensemble (MCE). He has collaborated with the saxophone quartet, Quasar, and worked with the Meitar Ensemble (Israel) under the guidance of Pierre-André Valade.

Previously, Klefstad served as assistant conductor for Resonance Works (Pittsburgh), was guest conductor in residence for l’Orchestre du Conservatoire de la Montérégie (Montreal), and cover conductor for the Pittsburgh, Akron and Edgewood Symphony Orchestras, and the Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh. He has worked with acclaimed conductors and composers, Leif Segerstam, Kurt Masur, Manfred Honeck, Steve Reich, Jennifer Higdon, Roberto Sierra, and Samuel Jones, among others. He is a student of Alexis Hauser.


Finalist Honorable Mention:
Robert Denham
Biola Conservatory New Music 
La Mirada CA    

Robert Denham
Robert Denham (RobertDenham.com) holds music degrees from the University of Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music, UCLA, and Biola University.  He studied conducting with Robert Feller and Rodney Winther, and currently serves as director of the New Music Ensemble at the Biola Conservatory of Music (11 years), and as music director for the Biola Youth Theater orchestra (also 11 years).  He also occasionally directs the Biola Symphony Orchestra, and has made guest appearances conducting both the California State University Bakersfield Concert Band and the combined-university wind ensemble at the 35th Annual Intercollegiate Symposium for New Band Music in Virginia.  He directs ensembles of various sizes in a wide range of musical repertoire that includes Beethoven, Puccini, Shostakovich, Rogers and Hammerstein, and myriads of current professional and student composers.  Each year he works with high-school and middle-school level ensembles in honor band and clinic settings.



The American Prize in Conducting—community orchestra division, 2019-20

The American Prize winner:
Ji Hyun Yim  
Medical Orchestra of 
University of Wisconsin
Madison WI   
 
Ji Hyun Yim
A native of Busan, Korea, Ji Hyun (Jenny) Yim developed a love and passion for music at a young age which led and continues to lead her through multitudes of challenges, achievements, and accolades. Yim, who maintains an active career as a conductor was an apprentice conductor of the Abilene Philharmonic; assistant conductor of the UNT Symphony Orchestra; conductor of Nova, UNT’s new music ensemble; music director of the Korean Central Baptist Church (Irving, Texas); and founder of the Onnuri Church’s Joshua Choir.

Yim is currently pursuing a doctoral degree in orchestral conducting at the UW–Madison Mead Witter School of Music, where she serves as music director of the Medical Orchestra of University of Wisconsin and assistant conductor for the UW–Madison Symphony Orchestra and University Opera. Yim believes that music is a universal language and changes lives, filling them with joy; she expresses her feelings without verbal communication.


2nd Place:
Scott E. Woodard 
Charleston Chamber Orchestra  
Charleston WV 
   
Scott E. Woodard 
Scott E. Woodard is the music director of the West Virginia State Philharmonic Orchestra (formerly known as the Charleston Chamber Orchestra) and the Ashland Ballet Orchestra. Woodard’s study and pursuit of conducting has taken him all over the world. Past podiums include: guest conductor of the Macon Symphony Orchestra (2006), associate conductor (2016-17) and cover conductor (2013-16) of the West Virginia Symphony Orchestra, finalist in the Pittsburgh Philharmonic Orchestra conductor search (2019), guest conductor for the Gwinnett Symphony Chamber Orchestra (2020), and finalist in the Butler Philharmonic Orchestra conductor search (2020). Future podium dates are booked with the Ohio Valley Symphony Orchestra in Gallipolis, Ohio.  Woodard was named First Prize winner of the International Conductor’s Workshop Competition (2006) and First Prize winner at the International Academy of Advanced Conducting in St. Petersburg, Russia, where he is now a full faculty member of the Academy.  Celebrated guest artists with whom Dr. Woodard has worked include Victoria Fatu, Romanian violinist Gabriel Croitoru, Israeli tenor Michael Riskin, Cristian Fatu, and Yip Wai Chow.

Dr. Woodard’s primary teachers were Dr. Leonid Korchmar of the Mariinsky Theatre and the St. Petersburg Conservatory and Dr. Oleg Proskurnya, with whom he studied the methods of the Leningrad School of Conducting developed and taught by Maestro Ilya Musin at the Leningrad Conservatory from 1932-1999.In 2005 and 2011, Woodard conducted orchestras of the St. Petersburg Philharmonic Society and the Mariinsky Theatre in concerts throughout the former Russian capitol. He is a member of the Conductor’s Guild and Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia fraternity.


3rd Place (there was a tie):
Michael Isadore 
Houston Civic Symphony
Houston TX 

Michael Isadore 
An energetic and dynamic musician, Michael Isadore serves as Associate Conductor of the Houston Civic Symphony, Philharmonia Conductor with the Houston Youth Symphony, and director of orchestras at Dulles High School.  Under his direction, the Dulles High School orchestra symphony and string orchestras have been consistent “commended winners” in the Mark of Excellence competition and recognized as the 2012 National Winner. Other honors include performances at the Midwest Clinic in 2016 and 2004 and runner up for TMEA Honor Orchestra in 2005. In 2010 Mr. Isadore was recognized with the Spec’s Charitable Foundation Award for Excellence in Music Education presented by the Houston Symphony.

An accomplished clarinetist, Isadore also holds the second clarinet position with the Victoria Symphony and freelances in the Houston area.  Isadore holds degrees in clarinet and conducting from Baylor University and the University of Missouri—Kansas City, Conservatory of Music.


3rd Place (there was a tie):
Taka Matsunaga
Midwest Philharmonic Orchestra 
Schaumburg IL 


Taka Matsunaga
Taka Matsunaga came to the U.S. in 1998 to pursue his violin studies with David Taylor, Joseph Golan and Robert Chen, while attending Roosevelt University and Northeastern Illinois University, where he received a Master of Arts in Music. From 1999-2001, he was a regular member of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago. In March 2000, he performed at Carnegie Hall under the baton of Maestro Daniel Barenboim. While playing in the Civic Orchestra, Taka has played with many world known conductors including Neeme Jarvi, Christoph Eschenbach, Osmo Vanska, Pierre Boulez, Pinchas Zukerman, to name just a few. Taka has played with the Illinois Symphony Orchestra, South Bend Symphony Orchestra and Southwest Michigan Symphony Orchestra. Taka has made his conducting debut at Orchestra Hall at Symphony Center in Chicago in 2016, and at Carnegie Hall in New York in 2018. He is a founder of the Midwest Philharmonic Orchestra. From the fall of 2019, Taka will start serving as an adjunct faculty (Orchestra Director) at Elmhurst College, Elmhurst, Illinois.


Finalist Honorable Mention:
Martha Stoddard
Oakland Civic Orchestra 
Oakland CA  

Martha Stoddard
Martha Stoddard enjoys a rich and varied career in the Bay Area as conductor, educator, composer and flutist. She was appointed Artistic Director of the Oakland Civic Orchestra in 1997, and has been an Associate Conductor of the San Francisco Composers Chamber Orchestra for over a decade. She served as Resident Conductor for Enriching Lives Through Music in San Rafael for three years and  is Chair of the Performing Arts Department at Lick-Wilmerding High School. She also worked as Director of the John Adams Young Composers’ Program at the Crowden Music Center for two years, and recently assumed role of conductor for the Piedmont Chamber Orchestra.


Finalist Honorable Mention:
Ivan Shulman
Los Angeles Doctors Symphony  
Los Angeles CA 
   
Ivan Shulman
Ivan Shulman is an award winning conductor, teacher, clinician and virtuoso performer, who became Music Director of the Los Angeles Doctors Symphony Orchestra in 1990. Although trained as a surgeon, he has never been far from music, playing oboe professionally including many appearances with the Los Angeles Philharmonic as both tour physician and oboist.  In 2008 he received a Master’s degree in Music in orchestral conducting from the California State University at Long Beach, where he wrote a thesis on and conducted the Second Symphony of Charles Ives. For his efforts, he received the Outstanding Graduate Thesis award from the University, and subsequently was on the music faculty. In addition to his musical activities, he currently is a Voluntary Assistant Clinical Professor of Surgery at the University of California-Los Angeles, where he delights in teaching the next generation of physicians at the David Geffen School of Medicine. 


The American Prize in Conducting—youth/school orchestra division, 2019-20

The American Prize winner:
Mary Gerard
All About Music San Diego
San Diego CA    

Mary Gerard
Mary Gerard, conductor, is celebrated for her success as a teacher of violin and viola. Throughout her career she has produced string students who now occupy principal positions in noted professional orchestras throughout the nation.

Mary held first violin and viola positions with the San Diego Symphony, the San Diego Chamber Orchestra, the San Diego Opera Orchestra and Starlight Opera. She holds a B.A., M.A. Certificate from Dreilinden Conservatory in Switzerland and classes completed for a Ph.D. at UCSD. Her teachers include Nick Stamon, Gilbert Bach of the Berlin Philharmonic, Gerhart Heizel, concertmaster of Vienna Philharmonic, Wolfgang Schneiderhan, soloist for Deutch Gramophone.  Her career includes a professorship in the music department of SDSU, teaching violin, viola, symphonic literature, chamber music literature, and coaching chamber music classes.  Her quartet performed for Young Audiences for ten years, and her ERA trio made a debut in New York’s' Carnegie Recital Hall."


2nd Place: 
Michael Webster
Houston Youth Symphony
Houston TX  
 
Michael Webster
Michael Webster is Professor of Music at Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music and Artistic Director of the Houston Youth Symphony, winner of six national awards between 2008 and 2011. Described by the Boston Globe as “a virtuoso of burgeoning prominence,” he has collaborated with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, the Tokyo, Cleveland, Muir, Ying, Enso, Leontóvych, and Chester String Quartets and many internationally-known artists including Yo-Yo Ma, Joshua Bell, Lynn Harrell, and many others. He has been associated with some of North America’s finest festivals, including Marlboro, Santa Fe, Chamber Music West and Northwest, Norfolk, Angel Fire, Steamboat Springs, Sitka, Park City, Skaneateles, Stratford (Ontario), Maui, La Musica di Asola, Victoria (BC), and Domaine Forget (Quebec). As a soloist he has appeared with many orchestras, including the Philadelphia Orchestra with Aaron Copland and the Boston Pops with John Williams, and was for many years Aaron Copland’s favorite interpreter of his Clarinet Concerto.

Webster’s recital career began at Town Hall in 1968 with his eminent father, Beveridge Webster, as pianist. That same year he won Young Concert Artists’ International Competition and became Principal Clarinetist of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra. Since then he has performed in all of New York City’s major halls, across the United States, and in Canada, Mexico, Central America, South America, Japan, Europe, Australia and New Zealand. He has appeared as guest artist at the 92nd Street “Y”, Da Camera of Houston, and Context. High Fidelity/Musical America placed his CRI recording of American clarinet music on its Best Recordings list and Artists International selected him for its Distinguished Artist Award.


3rd Place: 
Michael Shane Wittenburg
Elite Academy for Strings Chamber 
Englewood Cliffs  NJ
    
Michael Shane Wittenburg
Conductor and pianist Michael Shane Wittenburg made his European debut with the Romanian National Theater of Opera and Ballet “Oleg Danovski” conducting Puccini’s Turandot and has served as assistant conductor with multiple opera companies including in Nashville, Orlando, and Sarasota. As a symphony conductor, he has appeared in concert with Adelphi Chamber Orchestra (NJ), Norwalk Symphony (CT) and Ocala Symphony (FL).  He was Music Director of both the Chamber Orchestra and Opera Theatre while an Assistant Professor of Music at Lee University.  The former Artistic Director of the Hudson Valley Chorale, he is currently the Chorus Master of NJ Association of Verismo Opera, a faculty member of the Precollege for Manhattan School of Music, is on the conducting staff of Manhattan Opera Studio and Amore Opera, and is the Organist and Director of Music at Christ Lutheran Church of Paramus, NJ. 


Finalist Honorable Mention:
Alex Wise
MISA Summer Festival Youth Orchestra 
Shanghai China  

Alex Wise
Alex Wise is a conductor and educator from the United States and currently lives in Shanghai, China where he is Music Director of the Shanghai Children's Art Theatre Jr. Orchestra and the Pinghe Youth Orchestras. Alex has served on the faculty of Shanghai Orchestra Academy and has been invited as guest lecturer at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music. He has served as Conductor for Shanghai Symphony Orchestra’s MISA Summer Festival Youth Orchestra since 2016.

Prior coming to China, Alex received his DMA in conducting from the University of South Carolina. His appointments included Music Director of the Kamera Orchestra of Columbia, The APS Youth Summer Festival, The New Music Festival of Louisiana and held the position of Assistant Conductor with the Rapides Symphony Orchestra. His guest conducting appearances include the Sonoma County Philharmonic, Aurora Symphony Orchestra, Louisiana Symphonietta, and the Topeka Opera Society. His website is www.alexwiseconductor.com



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Congratulations!

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

WINNERS: stage directors (opera), the Charles Nelson Reilly Prize, 2019-20

Charles Nelson Reilly

The American Prize wishes everyone safety and health during this difficult time.
 

The American Prize National Nonprofit Competitions in the Performing Arts, David (Volosin) Katz, founder and chief judge, is honored to announce the winners, runners-up, and honorable mention recipient of The American Prize in Directing—The Charles Nelson Reilly Prize, 2019-20, in the opera theater division. (Theater/musical theater division winners will be posted separately.) Congratulations!

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.

Charles Nelson Reilly was a Tony Award-winning actor and Broadway stage director, and an acclaimed opera director and teacher. Far more than the zany television personality by which he was most often identified, Reilly nurtured the creation of a whole series of unique one-person stage plays. Most famously, he directed Julie Harris in her Tony Award-winning star turn in "The Belle of Amherst", on the life and poetry of Emily Dickinson. Among Reilly's many Broadway directing credits were Ira Levinʼs "Break a Leg", Larry Shueʼs "The Nerd", and the revival of "The Gin Game", starring Julie Harris and Charles Durning, for which Mr. Reilly was the sole American director to be nominated for a Tony in 1997. Mr. Reillyʼs career as an opera director included productions for Chicago Opera Theater, Dallas Opera, San Diego Opera, Palm Beach Opera, Toledo Opera, Milwaukee Opera and Opera Pacific. Charles Nelson Reilly and The American Prize chief judge David Katz were friends for three decades, first meeting through their mutual Hartford voice teacher, Mrs. Friedrich Schorr. Mr. Reilly served as honorary chairperson of the Friedrich Schorr Memorial Performance Prize in Voice from the competition's founding in 1990, until his death. To read more about the career of Charles Nelson Reilly, .

COVID EXTENSIONS: Because of the current national and international situation, many rules have been changed and requirements eased to make it easier to apply for The American Prize 2020-21. In addition, application deadlines have been extended. We will accept applications from COMPOSERS, CLASSICAL VOCALISTS, PIANISTS, CHAMBER ENSEMBLES and INSTRUMENTAL SOLOISTS postmarked or emailed by Wednesday, October 14, 2020. Applications from CONDUCTORS, STAGE DIRECTORS, CONDUCTED ENSEMBLES, ARTS ADMINISTRATORS (arts marketing, arts education) and in the performance of American Music (BACON AWARD) will be accepted until Wednesday, October 14, 2020. Further extensions may be granted pending the most current information about the virus. 


Please make us aware of any misprints: theamericanprize@gmail.com

The American Prize in Directing—The Charles Nelson Reilly Prize, opera division, 2019-20

The American Prize winner:
Dean Anthony              
SUNY Potsdam—Crane School of Music   
Potsdam  NY                
MAYO (Cipullo)

Dean Anthony              
Dean Anthony draws inspiration and expertise from a comprehensive career spanning over 30 years and innumerable turns as performer, director, educator, and producer. Frequently engaged as a stage director, Mr. Anthony’s artistic process is hallmarked by an energetic, gritty, and physical style. His portfolio stretches across the repertoire from Le Nozze di Figaro to Dead Man Walking and includes regular engagements at regional houses across the United States. Most recently, he was appointed Artistic and Producing Director of Asheville Lyric Opera and served as the Director of Opera at SUNY Potsdam for the 2018-2019 school year. Mr. Anthony is currently the Director of Opera with the Janiec Opera Company at the Brevard Music Center and has served on the Brevard faculty since 2008. A passionate educator, he has shared his insights through a unique movement and acting masterclass series at opera companies, universities, and music festivals the world over from the Boston Cnservatory to the Festival Lyrique de Belle Ile en Mer.
 

2nd Place (there was a tie):
Dugg McDonough            
Turner-Fischer Center for Opera at Louisiana State University  
Baton Rouge LA         
Elizabeth Cree (Puts)

Dugg McDonough            
Dugg McDonough has directed for companies ranging from New York City Opera to the Taipei International Arts Festival.  Recent professional successes have included Little Women, La cenerentola, and Sweeney Todd for Pensacola Opera; Susannah, Dialogues of the Carmelites, La rondine, Elektra, and The Tragedy of Carmen for Des Moines Metro Opera; and Madama Butterfly and Amahl and the Night Visitors for Opéra Louisiane.  Mr. McDonough also worked for The Santa Fe Opera, Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, Florida Grand Opera, OperaDelaware, and New York’s Center for Contemporary Opera.  International credits include Le nozze di Figaro and La cenerentola for Operafestival di Roma and Tristan und Isolde in Bulgaria.  For 20 seasons, Mr. McDonough was Co-Director of Des Moines Metro Opera’s Apprentice Artist Program as well as faculty at Temple University.  He is now Fruehan Associate Professor and Artistic Director of the Turner-Fischer Center for Opera at Louisiana State University.


2nd Place (there was a tie):
David Holley
University of NC—Greensboro
Greensboro NC                    
Falstaff       

David Holley
David Holley is the Director of Opera at UNCG and the General and Artistic Director of Greensboro Opera. Recent directing/producing credits include Greensboro Opera productions of Madama Butterfly, Hansel and Gretel, The Barber of Seville, Carmen, La Cenerentola, and La fille du régiment.  Of the latter, the Greensboro News and Record said, “Simply put, Holley and the cast put on one of the finest performances in recent Triad memory.”  In the Spring of 2009, he produced and directed the World Premiere of Picnic, an opera by American composer Libby Larsen, for which he also wrote the libretto.  His productions have consistently won awards in the National Opera Association's annual Opera Production Competition, including seven first place and five second place NOA awards since his arrival at UNCG.  2016's Amahl and the Night Visitors recently won honorable mention in the American Prize Competition, and three productions have been American Prize finalists.


3rd Place:
Rachel M. Harris
University of Missouri
Kansas City  MO         
La Finta Giardiniera (Mozart)

Rachel M. Harris
Rachel M. Harris is a free-lance opera director based in Baton Rouge, LA. She began her directing career in 1997 working with Boston University and the Boston University Tanglewood Institute. Dr. Harris is a Guest Artist Stage Director for Heartland Opera Theatre, Joplin MO; Southeastern Louisiana University, Hammond, LA and a former Guest Artist Director for the University of Utah, Logan.  Her free-lance credits include: The Varna International Opera Academy, Bulgaria; Opera Louisiane, Baton Rouge, LA; University of Missouri, Kansas City; Loyola University, New Orleans; Druid City Opera Workshop, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa; Raven Summer Opera, Sam Houston State, Huntsville, TX and Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA. Dr. Harris holds a DMA from Louisiana State University, a BM in Vocal Performance from Fredonia State University and a MM in Opera from Binghamton University in conjunction with the Tri-Cities Opera Artist Residence Training Program. For more information, her website: http://rharrisdirector.wixsite.com/rachel-harris-opera


Finalist Honorable Mention:
Marc Callahan             
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill  NC         
One Who Says Yes (Der Jasager) (Weill)

Marc Callahan             
Marc Callahan holds degrees from Oberlin College, the Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music, and the École Normale de Musique de Paris and the Schola Cantorum. As a director, he has received international critical acclaim for his production of Jean-Philippe Rameau’s Les Indes Galantes, saying it was “designed and directed with jaw-dropping invention” and his production of Lohengrin was at the New World Center was ranked no. 2 in the top ten classical music event in Florida 2018. He has worked on productions at the Royal Opera House, the Aldeburgh Festival, the Holland Festival, Scottish Opera, Miami Music Festival, the New World Center, and the Théâtre du Capitole. Recent productions include The Marriage of Figaro, Cinderella, and The Blue Forest, Help, Help, the Globolinks!, Lohengrin, Alcina and Die Walküre, and Der Jasager.Upcoming productions include: L’incoronazione di Poppea, Die Zauberflöte, Il Sogno di Scipione, and Atlas. He will also act as collaborateur artistique for the grand re-opening of the new Théâtre du Châtelet in 2019.


Finalist Honorable Mention:
Tracelyn Gesteland            
University of South Dakota Opera     
Vermillion  SD         
The Consul        

Tracelyn Gesteland            
Dr. Tracelyn Gesteland is Associate Professor of Voice/Opera at the University of South Dakota and holds the Walter A. and Lucy Yoshioka Buhler Endowed Chair.  She is the recipient of several national awards for her opera direction at USD, including accolades from The American Prize and the National Opera Association.  Other recent directing credits include productions with the Lone Star Lyric Theater Festival, the Houston Opera Project, and the South Dakota Vocal Arts Festival, in addition to serving as a directing apprentice with the Harrower Opera Workshop in Atlanta.  She is also an active performer on the opera, concert and recital stage, having been referred to by reviewers as "powerful" and "striking" (Great Britain's Organists' Review), “remarkable” and a “highlight of the evening” (Sioux City Journal), and “an engaging and versatile singing actress” (Madison Isthmus).  Dr. Gesteland was the winner of the Belbas-Larson Award for Excellence in Teaching, USD’s highest teaching honor.


Finalist Honorable Mention:
Copland Woodruff             
Lawrence University
Appleton WI         
Mass (Bernstein)

Copland Woodruff             
Copeland Woodruff, director of opera studies at Lawrence University, has held teaching appointments at University of Memphis, The Julliard School, Oberlin Conservatory, and Temple University as well as the Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia. He is dedicated to the re-imagining of the artist and of the artist’s creative dialogue with the world, especially in recital, concert, and operatic performance practice. Woodruff is a proud member of AGMA and Actor's Equity Association. 

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Congratulations!

Monday, August 17, 2020

WINNERS: stage directors (theater/music theater), the Charles Nelson Reilly Prize, 2019-20

Charles Nelson Reilly

The American Prize wishes everyone safety and health during this difficult time.
 

The American Prize National Nonprofit Competitions in the Performing Arts, David (Volosin) Katz, founder and chief judge, is honored to announce the winners, runners-up, and honorable mention recipient of The American Prize in Directing—The Charles Nelson Reilly Prize, 2019-20, in the theater/musical theater division. (Opera division winners will be posted separately.) Congratulations!

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.

Charles Nelson Reilly was a Tony Award-winning actor and Broadway stage director, and an acclaimed opera director and teacher. Far more than the zany television personality by which he was most often identified, Reilly nurtured the creation of a whole series of unique one-person stage plays. Most famously, he directed Julie Harris in her Tony Award-winning star turn in "The Belle of Amherst", on the life and poetry of Emily Dickinson. Among Reilly's many Broadway directing credits were Ira Levinʼs "Break a Leg", Larry Shueʼs "The Nerd", and the revival of "The Gin Game", starring Julie Harris and Charles Durning, for which Mr. Reilly was the sole American director to be nominated for a Tony in 1997. Mr. Reillyʼs career as an opera director included productions for Chicago Opera Theater, Dallas Opera, San Diego Opera, Palm Beach Opera, Toledo Opera, Milwaukee Opera and Opera Pacific. Charles Nelson Reilly and The American Prize chief judge David Katz were friends for three decades, first meeting through their mutual Hartford voice teacher, Mrs. Friedrich Schorr. Mr. Reilly served as honorary chairperson of the Friedrich Schorr Memorial Performance Prize in Voice from the competition's founding in 1990, until his death. To read more about the career of Charles Nelson Reilly, .

COVID EXTENSIONS: Because of the current national and international situation, many rules have been changed and requirements eased to make it easier to apply for The American Prize 2020-21. In addition, application deadlines have been extended. We will accept applications from COMPOSERS, CLASSICAL VOCALISTS, PIANISTS, CHAMBER ENSEMBLES and INSTRUMENTAL SOLOISTS postmarked or emailed by Wednesday, October 14, 2020. Applications from CONDUCTORS, STAGE DIRECTORS, CONDUCTED ENSEMBLES, ARTS ADMINISTRATORS (arts marketing, arts education) and in the performance of American Music (BACON AWARD) will be accepted until Wednesday, October 14, 2020. Further extensions may be granted pending the most current information about the virus. 


Please make us aware of any misprints: theamericanprize@gmail.com

The American Prize in Directing—The Charles Nelson Reilly Prize, theater/music theater division, 2019-20

The American Prize winner:
Belinda Andrews-Smith        
Denison University 
Granville OH         
Chicago        

Belinda Andrews-Smith        
Dr. Belinda Andrews-Smith is the Director of Opera/Music Theatre and the Coordinator of Vocal Studies at Denison University.  Belinda joined the Denison music faculty in 1998. During her twenty years of service to the University, she has directed over 40 productions of music theatre, opera, and operetta. Singer's Theatre, the theatrical ensemble created by Dr. Andrews-Smith at Denison, has become an extension of her vocal and theatre training, connecting the voice studio to the stage. Her mastery of commercial and classical singing techniques and opera performance has created a unique method of theatrical direction. Dr. Andrews-Smith’s productions are extremely popular and have become "standing room only" events on the Denison University campus. In 2019 Singer's Theatre Workshop was nationally recognized, winning third place in The American Prize competition and Dr. Smith won second place in the directing category. Students trained in her distinctive music program have applied their undergraduate theatrical instruction to graduate programs throughout the United States, leading roles on Broadway, and National Broadway tours.

 
2nd Place:
Geoffrey Arndt
Saint Patrick Summer Theatre           
Chicago  IL       
Sweeney Todd

Geoffrey Arndt
Geoffrey is a teacher, director, and interdisciplinary artist from Chicago. He has served for twelve years as the Director of Theatre at Saint Patrick High School and runs the Saint Patrick Summer Theatre Company that supports students, community members, and professional actors through workshops, intensives, classes, and a summer musical. He has directed over forty productions in community and educational settings. Some of his favorites include Man of La Mancha, Amadeus, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Pippin, Phantom of the Opera, Dracula, Macbeth, and Robin Hood. Geoffrey has also adapted and devised works for the stage as well as designed and fabricated puppets for production, as well. He is currently pursuing his Master of Fine Arts in Directing through the University of Idaho. www.geoffreyarndt.com


3rd Place (there was a tie):
Dr Darren P. Lawson
Bob Jones University
Greenville SC         
Titanic: The Musical  

Dr Darren P. Lawson
Dr. Darren P. Lawson is dean of the School of Fine Arts and Communication at Bob Jones University in Greenville, SC. He has a BA in Rhetoric and Public Address and an MA in Platform Arts from Bob Jones University and PhD in Communication Studies from the University of Kansas. He is a member of the University Classic Players and has portrayed such roles as Cyrano in Cyrano de Bergerac, Leontes in The Winter’s Tale, Gloucester in King Lear, Henry in King Henry IV, Duke of Buckingham in Richard III: The Terrible Reign, Bottom the Weaver in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Macduff in Macbeth, Jaques in As You Like It, Feste in Twelfth Night, and others. He stage directs for the BJU Opera Association with productions including Titanic: The Musical, Little Women: The Broadway Musical, Aida, Samson et Dalila, Andrea Chenier, Mefistofele, L’Elisir d’Amore, Rigoletto, Il Trovatore, and Simeon. http://www.bju.edu/events/fine-arts/concert-opera-drama/archive/


3rd Place (there was a tie):
David Schwingle           
Bob Jones University
Greenville SC   
King Lear

David Schwingle            
As a voice and acting coach (RRT), playwright, director, and actor, David regularly creates new plays and acts in Shakespeare’s.

In 2015, David's short play, Separate, was produced at Tesseract Theatre in St. Louis, Missouri (April 17-25). In 2016, David’s 10-minute play, The Match, was produced in September (Roanoke, VA).

In April, 2017, David's 10-minute play Winning with Shakespeare! won the new works festival at the Atlantic Stage (Myrtle Beach, SC).

David is the founder of 11th Hour Theatre. He recently finished playing Hamlet. (Greenville, SC). He recently completed the Patsy Rodenburg voice and acting Certification program (RRT) housed at the Michael Howard Studios in NYC. He recently directed King Lear in Greenville, SC.


Finalist Honorable Mention:
Geoffrey Arndt
Saint Patrick High School      
Chicago  IL       
We All Rise Above—an anti-bullying play devised and directed by Mr. Arndt with the students at Saint Patrick High School

Geoffrey Arndt
Geoffrey is a teacher, director, and interdisciplinary artist from Chicago. He has served for twelve years as the Director of Theatre at Saint Patrick High School and runs the Saint Patrick Summer Theatre Company that supports students, community members, and professional actors through workshops, intensives, classes, and a summer musical. He has directed over forty productions in community and educational settings. Some of his favorites include Man of La Mancha, Amadeus, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Pippin, Phantom of the Opera, Dracula, Macbeth, and Robin Hood. Geoffrey has also adapted and devised works for the stage as well as designed and fabricated puppets for production, as well. He is currently pursuing his Master of Fine Arts in Directing through the University of Idaho. www.geoffreyarndt.com

 
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Congratulations!