Friday, April 16, 2021

Finalists: COMPOSERS (opera/theater/film/dance), 2021

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

The American Prize National Nonprofit Competitions in the Performing Arts, David Lazaar Katz, founder and chief judge, is pleased to announce 2021 FINALIST composers in the OPERA/THEATER/FILM/DANCE division. Congratulations!

As the contests unfold, finalists, runners-up and winners will be selected from this list. To know the exact date when winners will be announced, please like our Facebook page or follow us on Twitter #AmericanPrize, where that information will be published first.

From Maestro Katz: 

"Why so many finalists?" Different from some other contests, The American Prize is first and foremost about encouraging artists, not about eliminating contestants. Each of the individuals below was judged to be worthy of further consideration as we move towards selecting winners and runners-up in the various divisions. At the end of the contest year each will receive a written evaluation. Especially during this most difficult time for performing artists everywhere, we hope the recognition will prove valuable. Thanks to all these individuals for their artistry. —DK

If you are not a finalist this year, please remember that the contests are not yet over. The American Prize reserves the right to award Honorable Mentions and Citations for Special Achievement to any contestant, regardless of final placement. TAP has honored a number of semi-finalists and quarter finalists in the past--to recognize a unique talent or focus, unusual repertoire, vital programming or outreach. Citations and Honorable Mentions are usually awarded at the same time as winners and runners-up, but can be presented at any time up to the last winners' announcement of the contest year.

All contestants are reminded they are responsible for the viability of their online links to audition materials. Those links must remain active until the end of the contest year. Questions, or to make us aware of any misprints in the listings below, please email: 

We invite finalists to make the most of their selection by announcing it on social media, and including a link to this announcement on their website or blog. A sample announcement may be found at the end of the post.

The American Prize National Nonprofit Competitions in the Performing Arts is the nation's most comprehensive series of contests in the performing arts. The American Prize is unique in scope and structure, designed to recognize and reward the best performing artists, ensembles and composers in the United States at professional, college/university, community and high school levels, based on submitted recordings. Now in its tenth year, The American Prize was founded in 2010 and is awarded annually in many areas of the performing arts. Contestants hail from all fifty states, representing literally hundreds of communities and arts organizations across the nation. 

NATIONAL FINALISTS: The American Prize in Composition—OPERA/THEATER/FILM/DANCE, professional division, 2021

Joey Bargsten   

Hollywood    FL        



Clint Borzoni    

Long Island City   NY        

When Adonis Calls       


Otter Dreaming   

Decorah      IA        

Waiting for In        


Bruno C. Faria      

Jamaica Plain  MA        

Voices Followed: The Illumination of Joan of Arc          


Alden Jenks      

Oakland      CA        



Eva Conley Kendrick   

Millis   MA        



Douglas Knehans    

Cincinnati   OH        

Backwards from Winter   


Steven Mark Kohn       

Chagrin Falls   OH        

The Trial of Susan B. Anthony            


Alla Pavlova    

Huntington   NY        

Thumbelina Ballet Suite 


Dave Ragland    

Nashville    TN        

One Vote Won            


Kyle Simpson    

Washington   PA        

Kingdom of the Fairies  


Kyle Simpson    

Washington   PA        

Trip to the Moon        


Dawn Lenore Sonntag    

Olympia      WA        

Verlorene Heimat (Lost Homeland)        


Judith Lynn Stillman   

Providence   RI        

Beneath A Silent Blue Sky                


Judith Lynn Stillman   

Providence   RI        

Essential Business      


William Vollinger  

Woodcliff Lake  NJ        

Now Shall My Head Be Lifted Up Above my Enemies           


Hsin-Hua Wang       

Los Angeles  CA        



Amir Zaheri     

Tuscaloosa   AL        

May I Take Your Picture?  (Film)          


Amir Zaheri     

Tuscaloosa   AL        

The Flow of Boats    


NATIONAL FINALISTS: The American Prize in Composition—OPERA/THEATER/FILM/DANCE, student division, 2021

Steven Crino      

Moorestown   NJ        

Tomb of Beauty 

Daniel Ruffing    

Norwalk      OH        

Here, Run 

Nathaniel Trost      

Tuscaloosa   AL        

Like It or Not, It's Going to Happen   


We encourage finalists to make the most of their selection by announcing it on social media, and including a link to this announcement on their website or blog. 

Here is a sample announcement:

"Great News! I've just been selected as a finalist in the (blank) division of The American Prize national non-profit competitions in the performing arts. Here's the link: (copy link here). The American Prize will be announcing winners in my division soon. You can learn more about this prestigious national competition here: or follow the news on Facebook: or Twitter: "

Please feel free to modify or expand this announcement to suit your needs.

Congratulations to all finalists.

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