Thursday, December 5, 2019

Semi-finalists: PIANO (solo), 2019-20


The American Prize is delighted to announce SEMI-FINALIST piano soloists for 2019-20. Congratulations! (Be sure to check all divisions. The American Prize may have moved an audition to a more appropriate category.) As the contests unfold, finalists, runners-up and winners will be selected from these lists. To know the exact date when finalists will be announced, please like our Facebook page or follow us on Twitter #AmericanPrize, where that information will be published first.

We invite semi-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.

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: theamericanprize@gmail.com

The American Prize in Piano Performance, 2019-20, professional solo division:

J. Bradley Baker  
Newton     KS

Ezra Donner
Ypsilanti  MI

Karen Salicath Jamali              
Winter Park     FL

Jiyoung Jeoung 
Muncie     IN

John Kamfonas    
Devon PA

Lei Weng   
Greeley    CO

Jentao Yu 
Oakland    CA

Yuting Zhou   
New York   NY


The American Prize in Piano Performance, 2019-20, college/university solo division:

Igor Filipe Do Amaral 
New York   NY     

Eunhae Choi   
Savoy IL     

Shun-Jung Hsu    
Madison    WI     

Bogyeong   Lee    
North Liberty  IA     

Jiayun Li 
Panzhihua  Sichuan

Zhan  Shi 
Panzhihua  Sichuan

Chenyu Wang   
Hartford   CT  


The American Prize in Piano Performance, 2019-20, high school solo division:

Marc Soong  
Alhambra   CA     

Christopher Zhu    
West Roxbury   MA


***

Semi-finalists: make the most of your selection by announcing it on your facebook page, tweet the news, and include a link to this announcement on your website or blog.

Here is a sample announcement:

"Great News! I've just been selected as a SEMI-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 FINALISTS in my division later this year. You can learn more about this prestigious national competition here: www.theamericanprize.org or follow the news on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-American-Prize-celebrating-American-excellence-in-the-arts/214320622728 or Twitter: https://twitter.com/americanprize "

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

Congratulations to all semi-finalists!

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Semi-finalists: PIANO (concerto), 2019-20 —The Lorin Hollander Award


Lorin Hollander
The American Prize is delighted to announce SEMI-FINALIST piano concerto soloists for 2019-20, The Lorin Hollander Award. Congratulations! (Be sure to check all divisions. The American Prize may have moved an audition to a more appropriate category.) As the contests unfold, finalists, runners-up and winners will be selected from these lists. To know the exact date when finalists will be announced, please like our Facebook page or follow us on Twitter #AmericanPrize, where that information will be published first.

The American Prize LORIN HOLLANDER AWARD celebrates the artistry of one of the greatest pianists of his generation. Lorin Hollander has appeared as guest soloist with virtually every major symphony orchestra in the world and is a veteran of over 2,500 performances across the globe. The American Prize is delighted to share the legacy of this legendary artist through the re-naming of the award for Piano Concerto Performance in his honor. For more about the extraordinary life and career of Lorin Hollander, please visit http://lorinhollander.com/

We invite semi-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.

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: theamericanprize@gmail.com


The American Prize in Piano Concerto Performance, 2019-20, The Lorin Hollander Award, professional division:

Hyekyeong Hanna Cho 
Lacey WA      

Anna Dmytrenko    
Newark DE      

Susan Merdinger    
Highland Park IL      

Amaury Morales  
Pittsburgh PA      

Lei Weng
Greeley CO        


The American Prize in Piano Concerto Performance, 2019-20, The Lorin Hollander Award, college/university division:

Eunhae Choi
Savoy   Il      

Bogyeong Lee 
North Liberty   IA        




***

Semi-finalists: make the most of your selection by announcing it on your facebook page, tweet the news, and include a link to this announcement on your website or blog.

Here is a sample announcement:

"Great News! I've just been selected as a SEMI-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 FINALISTS in my division later this year. You can learn more about this prestigious national competition here: www.theamericanprize.org or follow the news on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-American-Prize-celebrating-American-excellence-in-the-arts/214320622728 or Twitter: https://twitter.com/americanprize "

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

Congratulations to all semi-finalists!

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Semi-finalists: INSTRUMENTAL SOLOISTS, 2019-20

The American Prize is delighted to announce SEMI-FINALIST instrumental soloists for 2019-20. Congratulations! (Be sure to check all divisions. The American Prize may have moved an audition to a more appropriate category.) As the contests unfold, finalists, runners-up and winners will be selected from these lists. To know the exact date when finalists will be announced, please like our Facebook page or follow us on Twitter #AmericanPrize, where that information will be published first.

We invite semi-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.

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: theamericanprize@gmail.com

SEMI-FINALISTS: The American Prize in Instrumental Performance, 2019-20, professional division:

Mary Elizabeth Bowden
Winston-Salem  NC 
Trumpet 

Mili Chang 
Jersey City NJ 
Flute
 
Christopher Dickey
Pullman WA 
Tuba 
 
Andrew Harrison
Riverside CA 
Alto Saxaphone 
 
Cora Swenson Lee
Rochester NY 
Cello
 
Christopher Leslie
New York NY 
Euphonium 
 
Sam Nelson
Sarasota  FL 
Organ
 
Todd Oxford
Austin TX 
Saxophone 
 
Sarah Shin  
Centreville VA 
Flute
 
Kellach Waddle
Austin TX 
Bass 


SEMI-FINALISTS: The American Prize in Instrumental Performance, 2019-20, college/university division:

Nicholas Buonanni
Lansing MI 
Flute
 
Giorgio Consolati  
Baltimore MD 
Flute
 
Logan Fox
Greenwood IN 
Percussion
 
Anita Graef 
Evanston IL 
Cello
 
Sooah Jung  
Rochester NY 
Violin  
 
Rajan Kapoor
Hebron CT 
Cello
 
Zachary Ploeger 
Pipestone MN 
Trumpet 


SEMI-FINALISTS: The American Prize in Instrumental Performance, 2019-20, high school division:

Aaron Hsia 
Santa Clara CA
Violin 
 
Phoebe Wang 
Englewood CO
Cello
 
Christian Wong 
Huntington NY
Violin 

Sheeline Yu
Brentwood TN
Violin  


***

Semi-finalists: make the most of your selection by announcing it on your facebook page, tweet the news, and include a link to this announcement on your website or blog.

Here is a sample announcement:

"Great News! I've just been selected as a SEMI-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 FINALISTS in my division later this year. You can learn more about this prestigious national competition here: www.theamericanprize.org or follow the news on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-American-Prize-celebrating-American-excellence-in-the-arts/214320622728 or Twitter: https://twitter.com/americanprize "

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

Congratulations to all semi-finalists!

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Semi-finalists: CHAMBER MUSIC ENSEMBLES, 2019-20

(This list was updated on 12/6/19 to correct a clerical error.—DK)

The American Prize is delighted to announce SEMI-FINALIST chamber ensembles for 2019-20. Congratulations! (Be sure to check all divisions. In certain cases, The American Prize may have moved an auditioning ensemble to a more appropriate category.)

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

We invite semi-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.

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: theamericanprize@gmail.com

SEMI-FINALISTS: The American Prize in Chamber Music Performance, 2019-20, professional division:

Szlubowska-Belsky Duo
Svetlana Belsky
Northbrook  IL

Fidelis Quartet
Jeffrey Butler
Houston TX

Amosa Duo 
Chia-Ying Chan 
Urbana IL

Anima Vox
Carole Jean Ott Coelho
Greensboro NC

Duo MemDi
Igor Kalnin
Decorah IA
 
Prairie Duo
Jessica Koebbe
Leawood KS

Serenade Duo
Michelle LaPorte
Saint James NY

Pure Winds
Natalie Law
Lansing MI

Pegasus Chamber Ensemble
Jonathan Lusher
Guanajuato  GTO

RASHAN
Aria Minasian
Bainbridge Island WA

Fenglire
Ashley Rollins
McKinney TX

Eason-Seregow Duo
Michael Seregow
Muncie IN

Sophia Tegart and Michael Seregow
Michael Seregow
Muncie IN

Luna Nova
Sabrina Laney Warren
Cordova TN


SEMI-FINALISTS: The American Prize in Chamber Music Performance, 2019-20, college/university division:

The Raritan Trio
Alexander Bui
Egg Harbor  NJ

Khroma Quartet
Michael Chapa
The Colony  TX

Tsukervanik-Liu Duo
Ming-Jui Liu
Arcadia  CA


SEMI-FINALISTS: The American Prize in Chamber Music Performance, 2019-20, high school division:

Zeitlos Trio
Tia Chang 
Palo Alto  CA 

Trio Centauri
Lei Gui 
San Jose CA 

Vivo String Quartet 
Ya-Fei Hsu 
Pittsburgh PA 

Quantum Quartet
Mark Smith 
Carrollton TX 



***

Semi-finalists: make the most of your selection by announcing it on your facebook page, tweet the news, and include a link to this announcement on your website or blog.

Here is a sample announcement:

"Great News! Our ensemble just been selected as a SEMI-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 FINALISTS in my division later this year. You can learn more about this prestigious national competition here: www.theamericanprize.org or follow the news on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-American-Prize-celebrating-American-excellence-in-the-arts/214320622728 or Twitter: https://twitter.com/americanprize "

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

Congratulations to all semi-finalists!

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Remembering TAP Laureate Composer NANCY BLOOMER DEUSSEN

NANCY BLOOMER DEUSSEN
The American Prize notes with sadness the passing of TAP Laureate composer, Nancy Bloomer Deussen. A multi-year participant in The American Prize competitions, she was a second place winner in chamber music in 2013, received several honorable mentions for her music and was one of the first Honored Artists of The American Prize, presented in 2014. She was 88.

Nancy Bloomer Deussen, a prominent Californian, was co-founder of the San Francisco Bay Area National Association of Composers, also serving on the national body for a number of years.

Deussen was educated at the Juilliard School, the Manhattan School of Music, USC School of Music and San Jose State University, studying composition with Vittorio Giannini, Lukas Foss, Ingolf Dahl and Wilson Coker.

Bloomer Deussen’s was an advocate of accessible contemporary music, a fact reflected in her own style, which is melodic and tonal. She also was known for using the natural world as a source for inspiration.

A recipient of many grants, including The Peninsula Community, Silicon Valley Arts Council, The American Composer's Forum, The Contemporary Record Society and the Mu Phi Epsilon Memorial Foundation, she also won the Mu Phi Epsilon Original Composition Contest for her Woodwind Quartet (1987), The Bay Area Composer's Symposium Award for Reflections on the Hudson, for orchestra (1994), The Britten on-the-Bay Prize for Trio for Violin, Clarinet and Piano (1996) and the Mu Phi Epsilon Original Composition Contest for Concerto for Clarinet and Small Orchestra (1999).

Maestro David Katz writes: "Nancy was a composer of gracious insight and lovely, lyrical music. We communicated often and I was delighted to conduct her music more than once. I was so pleased to be able to extend to her additional recognition when she was named one of the first Honored Artists of The American Prize. Lovely lady. She will be missed."

Saturday, November 9, 2019

WINNERS: The American Prize Chicago Oratorio Award, 2019 (MESSIAH SOLOISTS)

The four individuals below have been selected to perform the solo roles in Handel's MESSIAH with the Chicago Bar Association Symphony Orchestra and CBA Chorus in St James Episcopal Cathedral, Chicago, as winners of The American Prize Chicago Oratorio Award, 2019. Congratulations! The performance, Wednesday, December 11, 2019 at 7:30 pm, will be under the direction of Maestro Stephen Blackwelder, director of the CBA Chorus.

The winners are:
Laura STRICKLING, soprano
St Thomas VI

Kara MORGAN, mezzo-soprano
Andover MN

Daniel O'HEARN, tenor
Tinley Park IL

Will HUGHES, baritone
Richardson TX

Purchase tickets here. (Substantial savings for advance purchase.)

***

Laura STRICKLING
Soprano
St Thomas VI


First place winner of the inaugural American Prize in Vocal Performance (Opera, Professional Division, 2011) Laura Strickling was praised by The New York Times for her, "flexible voice, crystalline diction, and warm presence." She has performed at Carnegie Hall, Avery Fisher Hall, the Kennedy Center, National Sawdust, Trinity Church on Wall Street, Washington National Cathedral, Tanglewood Music Festival, Ravinia Music Festival, Songfest at the Colburn School, Mexicoliederfest, Liederfest in Suzhou (China), and the Afghanistan National Institute of Music. An acclaimed oratorio soloist, she has appeared with the Indianapolis Symphony, Richmond Symphony, Asheville Symphony, Berkshire Choral International, and the Cathedral Choral Society. Ms. Strickling created the role of Fanni Radnòti in the World Premiere of Tom Cipullo's opera The Parting with Music of Remembrance. A devoted recitalist, she curated The NewMusicShelf Anthology for Soprano, and has appeared with the Brooklyn Art Song Society, Yellow Barn Music Festival, New Music Gathering, Lyric Fest of Philadelphia, and Trinity Concerts at One. Her discography includes her recording of James Matheson's Times Alone , Glen Roven's The Vineyard Songs, Jake Heggie's Edna St. Vincent Millay, and Tom Cipullo's Of a Certain Age. A Chicago native, Ms. Strickling is an avid traveler, having lived in Morocco, where she studied classical Arabic at the Arabic Language Institute of Fez, and Afghanistan, where her husband was the founding chair of the Department of Law at the American University of Afghanistan in Kabul. She currently makes her home in St. Thomas, U. S. Virgin Islands. For further information, visit www.laurastrickling.com.


Kara MORGAN
Mezzo-soprano
Andover MN


Kara Morgan is a mezzo soprano pursuing her passion to make a name for herself in the opera house and on the concert stage. This fall, Kara returned to Fargo-Moorhead Opera as Hansel in their production of Hansel and Gretel after making her company and role debuts earlier this year singing Dorabella (Così fan tutte) and Mercédès (Carmen) as a Gate City Bank Young Artist. Kara spent her summer with the Lakes Area Music Festival covering the title role in their production of Offenbach's La belle Hélène and with Mill City Summer Opera covering Dorabella in Così fan tutte. Kara has sung lead roles with The Gilbert and Sullivan Very Light Opera Company (Melissa, Princess Ida) and the College Light Opera Company (Mad Margaret, Ruddigore) and was heard as an Apprentice Artist with the Santa Fe Opera in 2017. As a student, Kara realized the roles of Ottone (Agrippina), Angelina (La Cenerentola), the Old Prioress (Dialogues of the Carmelites), Mrs. Soames (Our Town), Katisha (The Mikado) and Dritte Dame (Die Zauberflöte) among others. A longtime lover of concert and choral repertoire, Kara made her debut with the Oratorio Society of Minnesota this November as a soloist in their performance of Duruflé's Requiem and Roger-Ducasse's Crux Fidelis. Kara is an alumna of Drake University (BM '14) and the New England Conservatory (MM '16). More information about Kara and her upcoming events can be found on her website at kmorganmezzo.com.


Daniel O'HEARN
Tenor
Tinley Park IL


Daniel O'Hearn is a tenor from Tinley Park, Illinois. He has most recently performed as Egisto in Francesco Cavalli's "L'Egisto," Captain Macheath in John Gay/Benjamin Britten's "The Beggar's Opera," and as Endymion in J.S. Bach's "Hunting Cantata." Within the last year, Daniel was the Casa Italia Vocal Scholarship Raimondi Scholar 2018, first place winner of the graduate division of the  Kleinman Vocal Competition 2019, and the first place winner of the Joseph P. Glimco Vocal Competition 2019. Daniel was the 2018 Musica nella Marche Angeli Scholar, and received a scholarship to sing, study opera, and learn the Italian language in Urbino, Florence, Verona, and Venice last summer. He is currently working on his master's degree in operatic vocal performance at the DePaul University School of Music in Chicago, Illinois, where he studies with the tenor on the school's faculty, Scott Ramsay. Daniel also performs the national anthem for the DePaul Blue Demons at sporting events throughout the school year. Outside of the world of public performance and academia, Daniel has been on the faculty at The House of Music in Orland Park, IL as a private voice instructor for over four years, where he teaches people of all ages from all over Chicagoland how to sing.


Will HUGHES
Baritone
Richardson TX


Will Hughes, a Dallas, TX native, has recently performed and covered roles in La bohème (Schaunard), Doctor Atomic (Jack Hubbard), Ariadne auf Naxos (Harlequin), Madama Butterfly (Yamadori, Yakusidé), Les pêcheurs de perles (Zurga), The Consul (John Sorel), Così fan tutte (Guglielmo), and the title role in Billy Budd for The Santa Fe Opera, The Dallas Opera, Des Moines Metro Opera, and Florida Grand Opera. He has also performed scenes from Wuthering Heights (Heathcliff), A Street Scene (Henry), and the title role in Gianni Schicchi with The Santa Fe Opera and Iphigénie en Tauride (Oreste) and Sweeney Todd (Anthony) with Des Moines Metro Opera.

Will has recently sung the title role in a fully staged version of Elijah. His other concert work includes the baritone solos in the requiems of Brahms, Duruflé, and Fauré: the latter of which he sang under the baton of Maestro Rutter along with the baritone solo in the maestro's Mass of the Children. Will has also sung the role of Petrus in a partially staged version of Bach's Matthäus-Passion with the Philadelphia Symphony under the direction of Yannick Nézet-Séguin. Will earned his Bachelor of Music and Master of Music degrees from Wheaton College and Westminster Choir College respectively.

Friday, September 27, 2019

WINNERS: Bacon Award (American Music Performance), ensemble division, 2018-19

Ernst Bacon as a young man
The American Prize National Nonprofit Competitions in the Performing Arts, David (Volosin) Katz, founder and chief judge, is honored to announce winners, runners-up, citation recipients and honorable mentions of the ERNST BACON MEMORIAL AWARD for the PERFORMANCE of AMERICAN MUSIC, 2018-19, in the ensemble division. Congratulations! (An announcement in the solo division has been made separately.)

The extensive results are listed below in this order:
* professional division
* college university instrumental division
* college university choral division
* community instrumental division
* community choral division
* youth/high school division

Among the many contests of The American Prize, the Ernst Bacon Memorial Award for the Performance of American Music is unique. It recognizes and rewards the best performances of American music by ensembles and individual artists worldwide, based on submitted recordings. Applications are accepted from professional, college/university, community and high school age solo artists, chamber ensembles or conducted ensembles, competing in separate divisions, and from composers with excellent recordings of their works. Beginning in 2017-18, categories were expanded to encompass performances of American music in practically any instrumentation or genre, with very few repertoire restrictions.

Focused exclusively on works by American composers from any period and in any style, the contest not only judges performances, but in the case of new or unfamiliar works, the music itself.

Ernst Bacon (1898—1990) was one of that pioneering generation of composers who, along with Thomson, Copland, Harris, and others, found a voice for American music. Winner of a Pulitzer Scholarship (for his Symphony in D minor) and no fewer than three Guggenheim Fellowships, Ernst Bacon set out to create compositions that expressed the vitality and affirmative spirit of our country. It is fitting, and with honor, that The American Prize creates an annual award in the memory of Ernst Bacon, recognizing the finest performances of American orchestral music worldwide. To learn more about the music & legacy of Ernst Bacon, please visit the website of the Ernst Bacon Society.


The American Prize ERNST BACON MEMORIAL AWARD for the PERFORMANCE of AMERICAN MUSIC, PROFESSIONAL ensemble division, 2018-19

The American Prize winner:
Elaine Rinaldi
Orchestra Miami
Miami FL
Marvin David LevyInquisition & Masada
Elaine Rinaldi
Elaine Rinaldi, Founder and Artistic Director of Orchestra Miami, is a Miami native who has chosen to return home and reinvest in her community. Under her artistic supervision and direction, Orchestra Miami has performed high quality classical music concerts to literally thousands of people through its annual Free Outdoor Concerts and introduced over 25,000 school children to classical music through its collaboration with the MDCPS Cultural Passport Program, In-School Performances and Carnegie Hall Link Up concerts. Critics have called her work “absolutely exceptional” (El Nuevo Herald). Of her work, Lawrence Budmen of the Miami Herald wrote “Rinaldi clearly has a penchant for offering interesting thematic programming and promising soloists” and Daniel Fernandez of El Nuevo Herald wrote, “Rinaldi is a conductor who marries her professionalism with an exquisite sensitivity”.

Her recent engagements have included debuts at the Miami Music Festival for Die Zauberflöte and Monteverdi’s L’incoronazione di Poppea, Opera Orlando for Don Giovanni, Mezzano Romantico Summer Festival (Fiera di Primiero, Italy) for Suor Angelica/Gianni Schicchi and at the Tri-Cities Opera for Don Giovanni. She was the Principal Guest Conductor at the Dicapo Opera Theatre from 2001-2006 and has led several tours for the National Lyric Opera, twice appeared as a guest conductor with the Albany Symphony for the Shaker Mountain Performing Arts Festival, and conducted performances of La Traviata for Island Opera Theater in Key West. Rinaldi has held many positions as an Assistant and/or Cover Conductor in many of this country’s leading regional opera theaters. From 1997-2000, she held the positions of Resident Associate Conductor and Chorus Master at the Florida Grand Opera in Miami. Critics called her work with the chorus “exquisite”, and Tim Smith of the Ft, Lauderdale Sun Sentinel said “the chorus, under Elaine Rinaldi’s direction, gets better and better.” (La Boheme).

Her awards have included the Agnis Varis/Intercities Performing Arts grant, the League of American Orchestra’s mentorship with Joann Faletta, Finalist for the American Prize for Orchestral Conducting and Orchestra Performance, the Newton Swift Prize for Accompanying at the Mannes College of Music and the M. B. Byrd full tuition scholarship at the University of Miami Frost School of Music.


2nd Place:
Dean Whiteside
New World Symphony
Miami Beach FL
Barber—Symphony in One Movement

Dean Whiteside
Dean Whiteside was born in New York City and trained in Vienna at the University of Music and Performing Arts. He is in his third season as the New World Symphony's "gifted Conducting Fellow" (South Florida Classical Review), where he leads a variety of performances and serves as assistant to Artistic Director Michael Tilson Thomas. He appears on select subscription concerts at the New World Center and Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, assisting and sharing performances with such conductors as Michael Tilson Thomas, Roberto Abbado, James Conlon, Peter Oundjian, Robert Spano, Osmo Vänskä, and Mark Wigglesworth.

Mr. Whiteside is co-founder and director of the Nashville Sinfonietta, hailed by The Tennessean as “a virtuoso band.” His European debut came in 2011 after winning the Jorma Panula Blue Danube Masterclass and Competition. He has conducted orchestras including the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Jacksonville Symphony, Juilliard Orchestra, Opéra Orchestre National Montpellier, Orlando Philharmonic, Polish Baltic Philharmonic, Rousse State Opera Orchestra, Sibiu Philharmonic, Wiener Kammerorchester and Zagreb Philharmonic, as well as the Vanderbilt Orchestra on a five-city tour of China. He has served as Assistant Conductor to MTT and the San Francisco Symphony.

Mr. Whiteside came to international attention after winning Second Prize and the Zagreb Philharmonic Orchestra Prize at the Sixth International Competition of Young Conductors Lovro von Matačić. Other awards include the 2017 Mahler Conducting Fellowship, Bruno Walter Memorial Foundation Conducting Scholarship, David Effron Conducting Fellowship, Bayreuth Festival Scholarship, and David Rabin Performance Prize. He has received fellowships from the Aspen Music Festival, Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music, Castleton Festival and Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich.


3rd Place (there was a tie):
Special Judges' Citation: Championing the Music of Lionel Semiatin
Edward Benyas
Southern IL Music Festival Orchestra
Southern IL
Lionel Semiatin—American Symphony

Lionel Semiatin with members of the orchestra
Edward Benyas
Lionel Semiatin (1917-2015) began to compose classical music in the 1930s.  His works have been performed by the Omaha Symphony, Denver Chamber Orchestra, Westchester Philharmonic, Southern Illinois Music Festival and Manhattan String Quartet, among many others. He won first prizes in competitions by the National Foundation for Jewish Culture, the Jewish Music Commission of Los Angeles, and the American Society of Jewish Music. Semiatin was born on June 6, 1917, in Dublin, Ireland, the son of renowned Cantor Herman Semiatin, who moved the family to America in 1920. He is a veteran of the Second World War, serving in the European Theater. Like Alexander Borodin and Charles Ives, Semiatin earned his livelihood outside of music, as the Executive Director of Temple Israel Center in White Plains, New York for 30 years. He and his wife Edith were married for 70 years, producing four children, six grandchildren and two great grandchildren. Semiatin was a graduate of Brooklyn College and received his Masters in Music Education from Columbia University. SIFest programmed three of his pieces in 2014, to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Normandy, and gave the world premiere performance of the complete American Symphony in 2015. Semiatin wrote the following about his American Symphony, in preparation for the 2015 world premiere:

"It takes living outside of the United States to fully appreciate the magnificence of this country and how widely it is admired.  While I was living in Montreal, Canada many years ago, it was inevitable that I should have this experience. Being an American living outside my country impelled me to start to compose an American Symphony – one which could continue the great symphonic traditions, but in an American way. The first movement – an energetic and forceful expression – was composed from 1939 to 1941.  The second movement – more reflective of our wide-open plains and ranges – was completed in 1942. When I entered the U.S. Army in 1943, only the first eight bars of the third movement were completed. After I returned from WWII and left the Service, I completely forgot about this symphony for several decades. But in 1975, I read that the American Bicentennial was about to occur in 1976, and that prompted me to return to the symphony, which I completed in the summer of 1975. In the revised version, about five percent of the first movement was revised, as well as all of the orchestration of the first two movements. An alto saxophone was inserted in three of the four movements. The third movement – lively and joyful, and the fourth movement – in similar spirit – were completed in 1975. The last movement (the fourth) has an extensive summary of all of the main themes of the symphony. It might be interesting to note that this entire four-movement symphony was composed without the use of the piano or any other aural device or instrument, going directly from the composer’s mind to the page as a musical score. The first and third movements have been played before, both by the Westchester Philharmonic Orchestra, and in separate concerts. This performance will be the World Premiere of the entire American Symphony."

Edward Benyas is Professor of Oboe and Conducting at SIU Carbondale, Music Director of the Southern Illinois Symphony, the New Chicago Chamber Orchestra—with which he made his European conducting debut—and founder and Artistic Director of the Southern Illinois Music Festival, which presents three-dozen concerts annually each June. The Illinois Council of Orchestras named him “Conductor of the Year” in 2005, the Carbondale Chamber of Commerce presented him the inaugural “Keeping the Arts in Business” Award in 2007, the Southern Business Journal named him a “Leader Among Us” in 2012, he received the Legacy Award from Carbondale Community Arts in 2015, the Carbondale Lions Club honored him with the David Kenney Award for Outstanding Service to Country and Community in 2017, and he was named the Southern Illinois University College of Liberal Arts’ Outstanding Scholar in 2018. Under his leadership, the Southern Illinois Symphony was named Community Volunteer Orchestra of the Year. A student of Ray Still, Robert Morgan, Victor Yampolsky, and the late Charles Bruck and Georg Tintner, Mr. Benyas holds graduate degrees in Orchestral Conducting and Oboe Performance from Northwestern University, as well as Bachelor and Juris Doctor degrees from the University of Michigan. He has conducted orchestras and opera companies throughout North America and in Europe and China. Of one appearance, a California reviewer wrote: “Maestro Benyas simply swept the audience away with a beautiful presentation of this piece.” His conducted repertoire includes over 400 works, including a dozen world premieres and several dozen complete operas and ballets. Mr. Benyas also enjoys an active career as an oboe and English horn player, having performed with the Chicago Symphony under Daniel Barenboim, the Lyric Opera under Zubin Mehta, the Milwaukee and Grant Park Symphonies, the Ravinia Festival Orchestra, at the Spoleto and Banff summer music festivals, as Principal Oboe of the Des Moines Metro Opera for six seasons and for Andrea Bocelli’s National Tour. He is a member of the state bar of Illinois and has been elected to the Jackson County Board and the Carbondale Elementary School District Board of Education.


3rd Place (there was a tie):
Tom Trenney
Sounding Light
Plymouth MI
Diorio / Clausen / Elder  

Sounding Light
Known for its inspiring and illuminating performances, sounding light was recently honored with the invitation to perform at the 2017 National Convention of the American Choral Directors Association.  Since its birth in 2003, sounding light has been privileged to sing with Anton Armstrong, David Davidson, Joseph Flummerfelt, Stacey Gibbs, Alice Parker, and William Weinert, and has premiered works by Carmen Cavallaro, David DiChiera, Jake Runestad, Tom Trenney, and Anne Wilson. To celebrate its fifteenth anniversary this season, sounding light has recently released its fourth CD recording - Unclouded Day.   The ensemble's founder, Tom Trenney, is in his 16th season as conductor of sounding light. He serves as Minister of Music to First-Plymouth Church in Lincoln, Nebraska, where he leads four adult choirs, accompanies the congregation in worship, and preaches. First-Plymouth’s choirs have been featured at recent conventions of the Nebraska Music Educators Association and the Nebraska, North Central and National American Choral Directors Association (ACDA).  A graduate of the Cleveland Institute of Music and the Eastman School of Music, Tom has performed and taught at choral, organ, and church music conferences from coast to coast. His recordings are featured regularly on public radio, and his choral compositions have been published by Augsburg, Morningstar, Galaxy, G. Schirmer, Musicspoke, and Pavane.



The American Prize ERNST BACON MEMORIAL AWARD for the PERFORMANCE of AMERICAN MUSIC, COLLEGE / UNIVERSITY instrumental division, 2018-19

The American Prize winner:
Jeffrey D. Gershman
Capital University Symphonic Winds
Columbus OH
Ives—Variations on America

Capital University Symphonic Winds
The Capital University Symphonic Winds, under the direction of Jeffrey D. Gershman, is the premier wind band in the Conservatory of Music. The Symphonic Winds perform programs that draw from the cornerstones of the wind literature, the finest contemporary works, and the rich and varied repertoire composed for chamber winds.  The ensemble frequently hosts nationally and internationally recognized guest soloists, guest composers, and guest conductors and its recording with the Boston Brass, Heroes and Legends, is available nationally through Summit Records.

Outside of their campus concerts, the ensemble has toured throughout the United States and abroad and has earned frequent invitations to perform at professional conferences.  Appearances have included the Ohio Music Education Association Professional Development Conference, the College Band Directors National Association Regional Conference, and a weeklong tour of Taiwan.


2nd Place:
Chris Knighten
University of Arkansas Wind Ensemble
Fayetteville AR
Daugherty—Bells for Stokowski

University of Arkansas Wind Ensemble
The University of Arkansas Wind Ensemble is comprised of approximately sixty students who have demonstrated outstanding musicianship and are committed to musical excellence. Dedicated to the study and performance of traditional and contemporary repertoire, the Wind Ensemble performs two or three concerts each semester. Flexible instrumentation and part rotation allow diverse musical experiences and responsibilities in the performance of chamber works as well as pieces for orchestral winds or large symphonic band.

Recent tours included performances at the Meyerson Symphony Center in Dallas, TX, the Robinson Center for the Performing Arts in Little Rock, AR, and performances at the 2014 and 2016 College Band Directors National Association Southwest Division conferences, in Fayetteville, AR and Boulder, CO, respectively. The Wind Ensemble also hosts an annual conducting symposium for public school music educators in addition to touring to public schools throughout the mid-south and southwest regions of the country.


3rd Place:
Heather C. Barclay
Palomar/YPO Percussion Ensemble
San Marcos CA
Daugherty / Peel / Davilla

Palomar/YPO Percussion Ensemble
The Palomar/YPO Percussion Ensemble was formed in partnership with the Youth Philharmonic Orchestra and Palomar College both in San Diego California in 2014.  The ensemble, open to advanced percussionists aged 15 to 25, performs from the vast array of literature for percussion ensemble.  Members of the ensemble learn different and unusual techniques of playing styles and experience the use of a variety of percussion instruments, both traditional and nontraditional. The ensemble has been under the direction of Heather Barclay since it started in 2014.


Finalist Honorable Mention
Special Judges’ Citation: Championing the Music of Adolphus Hailstork
Joseph P. Scott
University of Maryland Wind Ensemble
College Park MD
Adolphus Hailstork—American Guernica
Joseph P. Scott
JOSEPH P. SCOTT graduated this spring with a Master of Music in Conducting from the University of Maryland, studying under Dr. Michael Votta.  Before coming to the UMD, Joseph was the Director of Instrumental Music at Clayton Valley Charter High School in Concord, California.

Joseph earned his B.M. in Music Education from the University of Oregon where he studied with Dr. Wayne Bennett and Robert Ponto.  After graduating, he returned to San Francisco where he received his teaching credential from San Francisco State University.  While at SFSU, Joseph was on staff at the Ruth Asawa School of the Arts where he conducted the Concert Band and taught Music Theory and Survey classes.  Joseph is a member of the College Band Directors National Association and served for three years as a board member of the California Music Educators Association-Bay Section.   Joseph was selected as a tier one conductor for the 2017 Frederick Fennell Memorial Conducting Masterclass at the Eastman School of Music where he worked with Mark Scatterday, Donald Hunsberger, and Craig Kirchhoff. 

While in the Bay Area, Joseph kept an active schedule playing the clarinet, performing with the Contra Costa Chamber Orchestra, Chabot Wind Symphony, Golden Gate Park Band, and the San Francisco Wind Ensemble, which performed at the World Association of Symphonic Bands and Ensembles in 2015 and recorded its inaugural CD at Skywalker Ranch in 2014.   Joseph looks forward to returning to the UMD where he will begin coursework towards a Doctor of Musical Arts degree.


Finalist Honorable Mention:
Joseph Higgins
Rowan University Wind Ensemble
Glassboro NJ
Corigliano—Mr. Tambourine Man

Joseph Higgins
Joseph Higgins is a musician who strives to inspire curiosity, creativity, and understanding through art. He believes in the expressive power of new music to communicate with modern audiences and is a passionate advocate of socially conscious programming. In 2015, Joseph joined the faculty of Rowan University in Glassboro, New Jersey, where he conducts the wind ensembles and teaches courses in conducting. He was awarded the University’s 2018 Values Award for Inclusivity in recognition of his curating a “Music of Social Justice” performance series. Joseph regularly serves as a guest conductor-clinician with outstanding professional, community, and student ensembles throughout the country. He earned doctor and master of music degrees in conducting from Northwestern University, where his primary teacher was Mallory Thompson, and a bachelor of music degree in music education from the University of Georgia. Prior to graduate study, he taught at North Gwinnett High School in Suwanee, Georgia.


Finalist Honorable Mention:
Travis Jurgens
Ohio Northern Symphony
Ada OH
Jeff Midkiff—Mandolin Concerto: From the Blue Ridge

Travis Jurgens
Jeff Midkiff
Travis Jürgens, a winner of the Leon Guide Outstanding Conductor Award, has conducted the Rochester Philharmonic, Colorado Symphony, and Alabama Symphony Orchestras, among others. He has worked with esteemed conductors, including Michael Tilson Thomas and Marin Alsop. Jürgens has been praised as "a superior conductor" and "well on his way to becoming a major conductor in the world of symphony orchestras" (Opus Colorado). Jürgens is the Music Director of the Ohio Northern Symphony and the Lima Area Youth Orchestra. Previously, Jürgens was the Music Director of the Philharmonia of Kansas City for six seasons, Associate Conductor of the Boulder Philharmonic, and a cover conductor for the Colorado Symphony. Travis earned his Bachelor’s in Piano from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, his Master’s in Orchestral Conducting from the University of Illinois, and his Artist Diploma from the Lamont School of Music. More details at www.travisjuergens.com.



The American Prize ERNST BACON MEMORIAL AWARD for the PERFORMANCE of AMERICAN MUSIC, COLLEGE / UNIVERSITY choral division, 2018-19

The American Prize winner:
Kevin Sutterlin & Michael Culloton, conductors
The Concordia Orchestra & Chorus
Moorhead MN
Hanson—Song of Democracy

The Concordia Orchestra
Kevin Sutterlin
The nationally and internationally acclaimed Concordia Orchestra was founded in 1967. The college’s musical ensembles earned the prestigious EMMY award for its nationally broadcasted 2016 Christmas Concert productions. The Concordia Orchestra has concertized extensively across the globe, the most recent tours including Greece (2018) and The Holy Land (2014). Concordia Orchestra members have gone on to significant professional careers, as well as faculty positions at public schools, colleges and universities nationwide. About half of the students in the orchestra choose to major in fields outside of music. Regardless of career choice, the experience of performing outstanding repertoire for audiences both home and abroad is among the most cherished memories for alumni of The Concordia Orchestra.

In 2016 the college welcomed Dr. Kevin F.E. Sütterlin as the fourth orchestra conductor in the history of the college. A dedicated 21st-century musician, Sütterlin is passionate about exploring new, nontraditional forms of musical experience. He is co-music director of Sinfonietta Memphis as well as artistic director of the Northern Valley Youth Orchestras. The German conductor is an awardee of the Hirschmann Foundation scholarship (Switzerland), Hendrickson Fine Arts Grant, The University of Memphis International Research scholarship as well as the Creative Achievement Award. Recent guest conducting activities led him to The University of Hawaii, the Youth Orchestra Project of Buenos Aires, Argentina, the Shanghai Conservatory of Music, and the Fox Valley Symphony Orchestra in Appleton, WI. www.ConcordiaCollege.edu/orchestra


2nd Place (there was a tie):
Jeremy Wiggins
The Florida State University Choral Union
Tallahassee FL
Libby Larsen—O Magnum Mysterium
The Florida State University Choral Union
Jeremy Wiggins
Jeremy Wiggins is an active conductor, adjudicator, and clinician, who has worked with middle, high school, and collegiate ensembles throughout the United States. Wiggins is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Choral Conducting and Music Education at Florida State University. Prior to pursing his doctorate, Wiggins taught secondary choral music in southern California for nine years. His choirs at San Clemente High School and West Covina High School toured nationally and received top ratings and scores at regional and national choral festivals. Wiggins also served as a faculty member for the Opera Program at the Southern Orange County High School for the Arts. Wiggins holds a B.A. in Choral Music Education and M.M. in Choral Conducting from California State University, Fullerton.

FSU Choral Union: The Choral Union is one of eight ensembles at The Florida State University. This non-auditioned ensemble of eighty singers performs frequently throughout the year and is conducted by the graduate students in choral conducting. While this choir performs music from the entire cannon of choral music, it often promotes the new works by American composers. This last Spring, while composer Libby Larsen was in residence at FSU, the Choral Union was featured in a performance highlighting her choral works.


2nd Place (there was a tie):
Lisa Wong
The College of Wooster Chorus
Wooster OH
Runestad / Whitacre / Lauridsen

The College of Wooster Chorus
Founded in 1964, The College of Wooster Chorus is comprised of undergraduate students representing all academic areas within The College of Wooster’s liberal arts program.  Located in Wooster, Ohio, approximately 55 miles south of Cleveland, Wooster is considered America’s premier college for mentored undergraduate research, and has been called the “best-kept secret in higher education.” (Colleges That Change Lives) The chorus collaborates annually with The Cleveland Orchestra and Cleveland Orchestra Chorus.  Enthusiastic about the performance of new music, Wooster has recently premiered works by several American composers including Eric Whitacre and Jake Runestad.  The Chorus has performed at the Central Division conference of the American Choral Directors Association, and also at the state conference (2014, 2016, and 2018) of the Ohio Music Education Association.


3rd Place (there was a tie):
Ianthe Marini
Columbus State University Schwob Singers
Columbus GA
Whitacre / Bernstein / Hogan 

Ianthe Marini
DR. IANTHE MARINI is the Paul S. and Jean R. Amos Distinguished Chair for Choral Activities and Assistant Professor of Music in the Schwob School of Music at Columbus State University.  She has served as the Professional Chorus Master for the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington, DC, and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra in Baltimore, MD.  She currently serves as Professional Chorus Master for the Columbus Symphony Orchestra in GA. Her professional preparations include: Handel’s Messiah for the National Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center; the a cappella repertoire of Sir James MacMillan under his own baton at the Kennedy Center; Pops concerts at the Kennedy Center and Meyerhoff Symphony Hall; Verdi’s Requiem for the Columbus Symphony Orchestra, and Bach’s Magnificat in D for the CSU Philharmonic.  Marini received her Doctorate of Musical Arts from the University of Maryland where she studied with Edward Maclary and James Ross.  She was the recipient of the University’s Pomeroy Prize for scholarship and performance in 17th and 18th century music.  She also served as the First Female Conductor of the University of Maryland Men’s Chorus.  Dr. Marini’s research involves the effects of acting on choral singing and her work focuses on the honest communication of text.  An active performer, she was recognized by Boston Broadway Awards as Best Actress in a Musical for her work as Anita in West Side Story, and has created a rehearsal method that focuses on the growth of choral singers as active critical thinkers, honest communicators, and vulnerable actors.  She is an active clinician across the United States.


3rd Place (there was a tie):
Chris David Westover
Denison University Wind Ensemble
Granville OH
Persichetti—Celebrations

Denison University Wind Ensemble
Chris David Westover
Prior to his current appointment as assistant professor of music at Denison, Westover led wind ensembles, orchestras and operatic performances at Bethel College (KS), the University of Oklahoma, and the Meadows School of the Arts at Southern Methodist University. He is in constant demand as a conductor and has received acclaim for his performances with educational and professional ensembles. Westover’s conducting has been described as “elegant, bold, vibrant, inspiring and centered,” by Augusta Read Thomas.

He is currently completing a critical wind-band transcription of Persichetti's Seventh Symphony to be premiered in the 2018-2019 season. He has lectured at Hong Kong Baptist University and CBDNA and will give a paper at the Internationale Gesellschaft zur Erforschung und Förderung der Blasmusik in July 2019. He has conducted across the United States and in the People's Republic of China and is currently developing artistic projects in Sri Lanka.

His career spans operatic performances and educational work with young singers and community orchestras. Westover commands a broad and diverse repertoire including the core symphonic repertoire and the contemporary repertoire of the symphony orchestra and wind ensemble. He served as a staff conductor for the 4x4 Prizes at OU, and has commissioned and premiered works by Ching-chu Hu, HyeKyung Lee, Kathryn Salfelder, Ken Amis, Michael Weinstein, Brad Baumgardner, Andrew McManus, and Dan Lazerescou. In 2010, Westover led the critically acclaimed Dallas premiere of Daniel Roumain’s “Darwin’s Meditation for the People of Lincoln” during the inaugural season of the Winspear Opera House. Westover’s conducting teachers include Jonathan Shames, John Carmichael, Jack Delaney, Kenneth Kiesler, and Eric Smedley. Dr. Westover is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma, Southern Methodist University, and Western Kentucky University.


Finalist Honorable Mention:
Nicholle Andrews
University of Redlands Chapel Singers
Redlands CA
Christopher Theofanidis—Messages from Myself
University of Redlands Chapel Singers
The University of Redlands Chapel Singers is an advanced 25-voice chamber choir composed of undergraduate and graduate students. Founded in 1965, the ensemble has a long tradition of musical excellence. Chapel Singers regularly performs concerts, church services, and educational workshops in Southern California. The ensemble has toured extensively in the United States and internationally. Under the direction of Nicholle Andrews, Chapel Singers performed at the California Music Educators Conference, the Sixth National Collegiate Choral Organization convention in Portland, Oregon as well as the 2016 California All-State Music Education Conference in San Jose. In the summer of 2018, Chapel Singers will be the only American choir invited to perform at Podium, Choral Canada’s Biannual National Convention in Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada. Performing a wide variety of repertoire, Chapel Singers was featured on the hit series Glee, as well as performed with The WHO in the Los Angeles during their 2017 tour.


Finalist Honorable Mention:
Mark Bartley
West Texas A&M University Choirs and Orchestra
with Canyon HS Chamber Singers
Canyon TX
Rene Clausen—Psalm 150
West Texas A&M University Choirs and Orchestra
with Canyon HS Chamber Singers
In addition to its performances of symphonic works, opera productions, choral-orchestral masterworks, and dance collaborations, the West Texas A&M University Symphony Orchestra has gained notoriety for its live cinema presentations of silent films with newly-composed synchronized soundtracks.  The 70-member orchestra includes graduate and undergraduate students, both those majoring in music as well as those studying other majors.  The ensemble frequently tours the West Texas region, but in May 2016 completed its first international tour with performances in Prague, Budapest, and Vienna.  Honors include awards from the American Prize, National Opera Association, Golden Nail Awards, and an appearance at the Texas Music Educators Association (TMEA) convention in San Antonio. http://www.wtamu.edu/academics/school-of-music-orchestra.aspx

World-renowned composer Dr. René Clausen has served as conductor of The Concordia Choir since 1986.  Prior to that appointment, Dr. Clausen was Director of Choral Activities at West Texas A&M University (WTAMU), then West Texas State University.  The Choirs and Orchestra of WTAMU along with the Chamber Choir from Canyon High School salute him with a rare full-orchestra performance of his Psalm 150. http://wtamu.edu/academics/music.aspx


The American Prize ERNST BACON MEMORIAL AWARD for the PERFORMANCE of AMERICAN MUSIC, COMMUNITY instrumental division, 2018-19

The American Prize winner:
Reuben Blundell
Lansdowne Symphony Orchestra
Lansdowne PA
David Stanley Smith / Carl Busch  

Lansdowne Symphony Orchestra
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. www.lansdowneso.org

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. www.reubenblundell.com


2nd Place (there was a tie):
Libi Lebel
Texas Medical Center Orchestra
Houston TX
Howard Hanson—Merry Mount Suite

Texas Medical Center Orchestra
Established in 2000, the Texas Medical Center Orchestra (TMCO) is one of few community orchestras in the United States and the world with its origins in the health professions. It highlights local musicians and explores the interplay of music, visual arts, and dance. The orchestra’s mission is to provide a creative outlet, offer affordable concerts, and support medical and educational charities.
Founder and music director Libi Lebel has dedicated herself to maintaining the group’s musical excellence while keeping the experience fun and accessible to both members and audiences.


2nd Place (there was a tie):
Lois Ferrari
Austin Civic Orchestra
Austin TX  
Welcher / Still / Actor

Austin Civic Orchestra
The Austin Civic Orchestra was founded in 1977 and has since evolved into an 80-piece fully volunteer symphonic orchestra. The ACO is committed to bringing high quality classical music to Austin area communities and to supporting young musicians in particular. To this end, the Orchestra offers free admittance to all students under the age of 18 and sponsors the annual Pearl Amster Chamber Music Festival as well as the Texas Rising Stars Concerto Contest in conjunction with the University of Texas. A champion of new music, ACO Music Director Lois Ferrari founded the bi-annual Composition Contest in 2005. The ACO was awarded 2nd place in the 2016 American Prize competition and was named finalist for 2014 and 2012. www.austincivicorchestra.org

It should be noted that the ACO’s 2017-2018 season, entitled Made in America, was devoted to performing music written entirely by American composers.  

Lois Ferrari is Professor of Music at Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas and has been a member of the faculty since 1993. Dr. Ferrari conducts the SU Orchestra and Wind Ensemble, teaches conducting classes, and serves as host and clinician for the SU Conductors Institute. In addition to conducting clinics and festivals throughout the state of Texas, Dr. Ferrari has conducted all-state and all-county ensembles in Washington and New York states. An enthusiastic champion of new music, Dr. Ferrari founded the ACO Composition Contest and is proud to have premiered more than twenty-five works during the course of her career. She has also been intimately involved with nurturing future virtuosi, most notably through the ACO's Pearl Amster Chamber Music Festival and Texas Rising Stars Contest. A graduate of the Eastman School of Music, where she received a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Conducting, Dr. Ferrari received a full doctoral fellowship and was appointed Assistant Conductor of the Eastman Wind Ensemble. Her principal teachers were Donald Hunsberger, Rodney Winther, David Effron, and Donald Neuen. Dr. Ferrari was awarded 2nd place in the 2016 and 2012 American Prize Competition in Community Orchestra Conducting.


3rd Place:
Curt Ebersole
Westchester Symphonic Winds
Tarrytown NY
Michael Daugherty—Brooklyn Bridge

Westchester Symphonic Winds
Curt Ebersole
Steve Cohen
Westchester Symphonic Winds is an adult community wind ensemble based at Tarrytown Music Hall, Tarrytown, NY. We exist to promote music locally, instill pride in our nation and heritage, provide opportunities for personal expression and growth within our membership, and nurture the love of music by offering an exceptional musical experience. Our programs have included a Side-by-Side Concert with the Mahopac (NY) Central School District and Exchange Program with the Northshore Concert Band of Evanston, IL. We made our Lincoln Center debut at Avery Fisher Hall in 2010, performed at the Association of Concert Bands National Convention in 2012 and New York State Band Directors Winter Symposium in 2017, and have performed to sold-out crowds at the Caramoor Festival annually since 2014. We have been the subject of articles in The New York Times and Teaching Music, the magazine of the National Association for Music Education. 

Curt Ebersole has served as the Conductor/Music Director (John P. Paynter Memorial Chair) of WSW since 2008. He retired from high school teaching in 2013 and now teaches at The Masters School, in Dobbs Ferry, NY. He earned undergraduate and graduate degrees from Northwestern University, and is in frequent demand as a guest conductor and clinician.

Steve Cohen is active as both a soloist and chamber performer throughout the U.S. and around the world. He is the Professor of Clarinet at Northwestern University, and was formerly Principal Clarinetist with the New Orleans Symphony, later known as the Louisiana Philharmonic.


Finalist Honorable Mention
Special Judges’ Citation: Championing the Music of Morton Gould
Ronald Demkee
The Allentown Band
Allentown PA
music by Morton Gould
 
The Allentown Band
Ronald Demkee
The Music of Morton Gould 
Since its first performance on July 4, 1828, Allentown Band’s venerable existence is a testament to the value the community has placed upon its contributions to the arts, culture and education.  Celebrating 190 years of service in 2018, the band has broadened its impact and reach through increased concert programming and extensive concert repertoire. Presenting 45+ stellar concerts annually with national and regional guest artists the band additionally offers high-quality youth educational opportunities reaching more than 14 regional school districts.  As a charitable organization the band presents unparalleled music experiences for all ages with performance level concerts like those performed by the premier U.S. military service bands in Washington DC and major symphony orchestras.  Band members are highly engaged in the success of the organization. Membership represents diverse occupations that include: doctors, dentists, banking personnel, educators, administrators, private business owners and accountants, all who value musicianship and stellar artistic standards.

Ronald Demkee joined the Allentown band in 1964 as tuba soloist and was elected conductor in 1977. Under his leadership the band has recorded 31 Volumes of the highly acclaimed "Our Band Heritage" series of CDs which have reached listeners in all 50 states and 24 foreign countries. and traveled to Europe four times, performing concerts in Switzerland, Austria and France. He also serves as Principal Tuba, Associate Conductor and Pops Conductor with the Allentown Symphony Orchestra. Demkee served as  Band and Orchestra Director at Freedom High School, Bethlehem, PA for 30 years and also served as an adjunct faculty in the music departments of both  Muhlenberg and Moravian Colleges. 


Finalist Honorable Mention:
Donald L. Appert
Clark College Orchestra
Vancouver WA
Donald L. Appert—Concerto for Cello and Orchestra

Clark College Orchestra
Donald L. Appert
The Clark College Orchestra is a college/community ensemble ranging in number from 75 to 90 musicians depending on the repertoire. The orchestra has had guest conductors and soloists from New Zealand, Italy, France, Spain, Portugal, Macedonia, Sweden, Russia, Turkey, El Salvador, and Romania. The orchestra received 3rd Place in the 2013 American Prize in Orchestra Performance – community orchestra division. In 2014, it received 3rd Place The American Prize in Orchestral Programming - Vytautas Marijosius Memorial Award – Community Orchestra Division  and then 2nd place for the same award in 2015. In 2016, it received 2nd Place in The American Prize ERNST BACON MEMORIAL AWARD in the PERFORMANCE of AMERICAN MUSIC, COMMUNITY division. The orchestra has performed premieres of works by Donald Appert, Matt Doran, and Eric Ewazen. In January of 2014 the orchestra was featured on All Classical Radio’s “Played in Oregon” show for their performance of Elgar’s Cockaigne Overture.

Donald Appert has been Music Director/Conductor of the Clark College Orchestra since 1990. His music has been performed in the US, Japan, Australia, Central America, and throughout Europe. His Viola Concerto is currently a finalist in The American Prize ERNST BACON MEMORIAL AWARD in the PERFORMANCE of AMERICAN MUSIC, COMMUNITY division. In 2015 the Rocco Parisi Bass Clarinet Quartet performed his Quartetto Basso at the  Fifth Annual European Clarinet Festival in Ghent, Italy. They recorded the work in 2013 for Amirani Records (www.amiranirecords.com) on the CD “A tempo, a modo” Path-tracking Vito Marsico. In 2012 he was a Semifinalist for the American Prize in Composition – Orchestra, Professional Division. 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 Oregon Sinfonietta and Music Director/Conductor of the Jewish Community Orchestra, both in Portland, Oregon.  He received The American Prize in Orchestral Programming—Vytautas Marijosius Memorial Award in 2011 for his work with the Oregon Sinfonietta.In 2014 he received the Lifetime Achievement in the Arts award from the Clark County Arts Commission. He has received the ASCAPLUS Award numerous times. His music may be heard via the Internet on his web site at www.maestrodonappert.com.



The American Prize ERNST BACON MEMORIAL AWARD for the PERFORMANCE of AMERICAN MUSIC, COMMUNITY choral division, 2018-19

The American Prize winner:
Elizabeth Patterson, conductor emerita
Gloriae Dei Cantores Choir
Orleans MA
American Psalmody: Neswick / Rorem / Adler  

Elizabeth Patterson
Under the inspired leadership of Elizabeth Patterson, Gloriæ Dei Cantores has achieved its present status as a world-class choir internationally recognized for its exceptional artistry and compelling spirituality. Known for her interpretive vision and her commitment to performance authenticity, Ms. Patterson is considered one of America’s finest choral conductors.

As the founding director in 1988, Elizabeth Patterson transformed Gloriæ Dei Cantores from a small church choir to a world-class concert choir. She established an aggressive program of study for the choir including three extended study tours in England with choral masters Dr. George Guest of St. John’s College, Cambridge, and Dr. Stephen Cleobury of King’s College, Cambridge. She has garnered respect from colleagues around the world, including Margaret Hillis, Keith Lockhart, Craig Timberlake, Dorothy Richardson, and Gerre Hancock.

Ms. Patterson directed the choir on numerous national and international tours, from New York to San Francisco, from London to Venice, from Prague to Moscow to Siberia. Her dedication to international understanding and cultural integrity have won her critical acclaim in concert halls throughout Albania, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Czech Republic, England, France, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Russia, Scotland, Slovakia, Switzerland, and Wales.

In addition to conducting the choir’s discography of over 50 recordings, Elizabeth Patterson has overseen the development of a repertoire incorporating over 2,400 works, seeking to preserve sacred choral gems worthy of being heard and performed. In addition, she oversaw the commissioning and world premiers of numerous works including Transfiguration Mass by Samuel Adler, The Vision by Dominick Argento, Resurrexi by Gerald Near, and Folk Mass and Let Us Move by Grammy award-winning artist Mark O’Connor.

Under Ms. Patterson’s direction, Gloriæ Dei Cantores collaborated in ten holiday tours with Keith Lockhart and the Boston Pops; performed at the annual Christmas Tree-Lighting Ceremony at Rockefeller Center where Ms. Patterson directed the premiere of Bruce Saylor’s A Christmas Garland on a televised broadcast; sang with the Regimental Band of Her Majesty’s Coldstream Guards at Boston Garden; and opened the 900th Anniversary Celebration of the Basilica at San Marco in Venice.

“Ms. Patterson is a true choral alchemist, and never fails to draw truly golden sound and beautifully nuanced singing from her hard-working musicians. Sacred illumination is their mission, and they achieve it with spiritual sincerity and power.”
—AMERICAN RECORD GUIDE

Gloriæ Dei Cantores (Singers to the Glory of God) holds a passionate dedication to illuminate truth and beauty through choral artistry, celebrating a rich tradition of Sacred choral music from Gregorian chant through the twenty-first century.

Founded in 1988, Gloriæ Dei Cantores from Orleans, MA, under the direction of Richard K. Pugsley, has touched the hearts of audiences in twenty-three countries in Europe, Russia, and North America, receiving extensive critical acclaim for its artistic elegance, performance authenticity, and compelling spirituality. Distributed in the United States and internationally by Naxos, the choir’s catalog of more than fifty recordings showcases their extensive repertoire, encompassing both masterpieces and rarely performed musical treasures from Gregorian chant to the twenty-first century. “Superb” BBC; “Lovely, pure and radiant” Gramophone; “Rapturous a capella passages” Chicago Tribune.

Highlights of the choir’s career include three invitational tours to Russia, opening the 900th anniversary of St. Mark’s Basilica in Venice, Italy, live radio and television broadcasts with the BBC, film soundtracks, the tree-lighting ceremony at Rockefeller Plaza, and performances in some of the finest concert halls throughout Eastern and Western Europe and across the United States.

The choir’s collaborative ventures have included a sixteen-city US tour of Mozart’s Requiem with Philippe Entremont and the Munich Symphony Orchestra (Columbia Artists, CAMI, LLC), performances in the United States and the United Kingdom with Her Majesty’s Coldstream Guards, concerts of of Mozart’s Requiem with the St. Petersburg Philharmonic in Russia, numerous collaborations with Vox Cæli Symphonia, world premiere concerts and recordings with Grammy-award-winning artist Mark O’Connor, and ten Holiday Tours with Keith Lockhart and the Boston Pops Symphony Orchestra. They have also appeared on the concert stage and in recordings with John Williams, Samuel Adler, Stephen Cleobury, Vladimir Minin, and the late George Guest, Dr. Mary Berry, and Margaret Hillis, among others.

Gloriæ Dei Cantores makes its home at the Church of the Transfiguration (Orleans, MA) where the choir sings weekly worship services, seasonal concerts, and records throughout the year. The members’ ongoing life of worship—Sunday Eucharist, Choral Evensong, and Liturgy of the Hours in Gregorian Chant—is the foundation of the choir’s artistry, enabling their extensive repertoire to become a vibrant form of prayer in any setting. Their music conveys “a kind of utter, rapt, spiritual intensity, that you simply can’t imagine unless you’ve experienced it for yourself.” (American Record Guide)


2nd Place:
Philip Brunelle
Vocal Essence Chorus & Ensemble Singers
Minneapolis MN
Larsen / Heggie / Paulus  

Philip Brunelle
Philip Brunelle, artistic director and founder of VocalEssence, is an internationally renowned conductor, scholar, and visionary. He has made his lifelong mission the promotion of the choral art, especially rarely heard works of the past and worthwhile new music. Under his leadership, VocalEssence has commissioned more than 150 works to date. Philip has conducted symphonies, choral festivals, and operas on six continents. He is editor of two choral series for Boosey & Hawkes and chairman of the review committee for Walton Music. Over the past decade Philip has been deeply involved with the International Federation for Choral Music (IFCM). He served as president of the Sixth World Choral Symposium, held in Minneapolis in 2002. He is a Vice President of the IFCM Board and served as Executive Director for the 2014 World Choral Symposium to be held in Seoul, South Korea. Philip is the recipient of the North Central American Choral Directors Association (ACDA) Weston H. Noble Lifetime Achievement Award; the F. Melius Christiansen Lifetime Achievement Award, ACDA -Minnesota Chapter’s highest honor; and the Michael Korn Founder’s Award for Development of the Professional Choral Art, Chorus America’s highest lifetime achievement award. Philip holds five honorary doctorates and has been recognized for his commitment to choral music by Norway (Commander of the Royal Norwegian Order of Merit), the United Kingdom (Honorary Member of the Order of the British Empire), Hungary (Kodály Medal), Sweden (Royal Order of the Polar Star) and Mexico (Ohlti Recognition Award).


3rd Place (there was a tie):
Ryan Brandau
Monmouth Civic Chorus
Red Bank NJ
Corigliano—Fern Hill
Monmouth Civic Chorus
Ryan Brandau
The Monmouth Civic Chorus is a volunteer community of singers dedicated to artistic excellence. In addition to singing locally in Monmouth County, New Jersey, we have brought the finest in choral music to audiences around the world since 1949. Among our most memorable performances are Carnegie Hall, the New Jersey Performing Arts Center with the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, St. Thomas Church on Fifth Avenue in New York City, St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican in Rome, and St. Patrick's Cathedral in Dublin. The Chorus has been called “close to perfect” and “among the very best in the entire Northeast” (Asbury Park Press). We are proud to be the 2008 winner of the Chorus America/ASCAP Alice Parker Award, given to only one chorus in North America each year, and the 2010 Spinnaker Award for Arts and Culture from the Eastern Monmouth Area Chamber of Commerce. For further information, please call (732) 933-9333 or visit monmouthcivicchorus.org. Artistic Director Ryan James Brandau is on the faculty of Westminster Choir College, where he prepared the Westminster Symphonic Choir for performances with the Philadelphia Orchestra, Vienna Philharmonic, Berlin Philharmonic and New Jersey Symphony. He received the Doctor of Musical Arts and Master of Music degrees from the Yale School of Music, and attended the University of Cambridge in the UK as a Gates Scholar, earning an M.Phil. in historical musicology. He received his B.A. in music, magna cum laude, from Princeton University.


3rd Place (there was a tie);
Erik Peregrine
Ensemble Companio
Niskayuna NY
Betinis / Trumbore   

Ensemble Companio
Ensemble Companio’s mission is to build bridges between people through authentic, inspiring performances of the finest choral music. Founded in 2011 by director emeritus Joseph Gregorio, Ensemble Companio is an award-winning volunteer chamber choir comprised of members who hail from across the Eastern seaboard and perform together throughout the Eastern United States. Ensemble Companio takes its name from a Latin form of “companion”, the historical meaning of which is “one with whom one shares bread.” The name reflects the musicians’ belief that sharing in choral music, like the sharing of food, is an essential, nourishing, and healing experience.  www.ensemblecompanio.org


The American Prize ERNST BACON MEMORIAL AWARD for the PERFORMANCE of AMERICAN MUSIC, HIGH SCHOOL division, 2018-19

The American Prize winner:
Michael Isadore
Houston Youth Symphony Philharmonia
Houston TX
John Mackey—Red Line Tango

Michael Isadore
Houston Youth Symphony Philharmonia
Founded in 1946, Houston Youth Symphony (HYS) is the recipient of national acclaim including the 2017 first prize winner of the Mark of Excellence Award from The Foundation for Music Education and the 2017 American Prize in Orchestral Performance – Youth Orchestra Division Each season approximately 400 musicians between the ages of seven and 19 come from across the greater Houston area to perform in one of five HYS orchestras. In addition to the core orchestra program, HYS offers advanced musicians a chamber music training program and an annual concerto competition.

In the community, HYS provides free private music lessons for talented youth in select economically disadvantaged communities through the Melody Program. In January 2015, HYS launched the Coda Music Program, an after-school effort modeled after El Sistema that brings graduated, intensive string instruction to three elementary schools using classical music and group instruction to build community and social transformation. (www.HoustonYouthSymphony.org)

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.


2nd Place:
Chris Maunu
Arvada West HS Vocal Showcase
Arvada CO
Mulholland / Muehleisen 

Arvada West HS Vocal Showcase
Since Chris Maunu took over Arvada West choirs in 2006, the department has grown from 120 to over 340 students and has become one of the nation’s premier choral programs. Arvada West’s mixed chorus, Vocal Showcase, performed at the 2017 National ACDA Conference in Minneapolis and were winners of the Youth Division of the 2017-2018 American Prize in Choral Performance. Choirs from Arvada West have performed at eight Colorado CMEA conferences since 2009. The ensembles consistently receive superior ratings and 1st place finishes at festivals and contests. AWHS choirs have performed at Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, Orchestra Hall in Chicago and Minneapolis, and High Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome and St. Mark’s Basilica in Venice. Mr. Maunu was 1 of 10 national finalists for the Music Educator Award at the 60th GRAMMY Awards this last January. Away from AWHS, he is co-founder/director of the new 16-voice professional choir, Anima Chamber Ensemble and serves as the High School Repertoire and Resources Chair for Colorado ACDA.


3rd Place (there was a tie):
Catherine Fish
Herricks HS Chamber Orchestra
New Hyde Park NY
Michael Daugherty / David Diamond  

Herricks HS Chamber Orchestra
The Herricks High School Chamber Orchestra is an elite string orchestra from New Hyde Park, NY. Acceptance to this curricular honors-level ensemble is by audition only, resulting in a highly competitive audition process and a rigorous rehearsal environment. Under the direction of teacher and conductor Catherine Fish, the Herricks High School Chamber Orchestra has grown into a nationally recognized ensemble, acclaimed for their performance of challenging repertoire and their nuanced musicianship. In March of 2018, the ensemble won First Prize High School String Orchestra in the American String Teachers Association (ASTA) National Orchestra Festival competition, held in Atlanta, GA. The orchestra’s recent credits also include ratings of “Gold with Distinction” four years in a row at the New York State School Music Association (NYSSMA) Major Organization Festival, a 2017 performance at Carnegie Hall, and annual participation in the Lincoln Center Chamber Music Society’s Young Musicians Program competition.


3rd Place (there was a tie):
David Hattner, conductor
Camerata PYP
Portland OR
Christopher Theofanidis—Muse

Camerata PYP
Camerata PYP, the flexible-instrumentation chamber orchestra of Portland Youth Philharmonic, performs two programs annually of diverse and often unusual repertoire. Recent achievements include a landmark collaborative production of Voices of Light, an oratorio by Richard Einhorn, performed with a screening of the iconic 1928 silent film, The Passion of Joan of Arc, and a collaboration with Hossein and Bobak Salehi featuring music by Bobak Salehi and Henry Cowell.

David Hattner is the fifth Musical Director of the Portland Youth Philharmonic Association. “The Portland Youth Philharmonic roared like a Maserati on Saturday in its first concert under music director David Hattner.” wrote David Stabler for The Oregonian in 2008. David Hattner’s conducting credits include the Eugene Symphony Orchestra, the Garden State Philharmonic Orchestra, Camerata Atlantica, and multi-media work with silent film in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Seattle, Portland, and Sao Paulo, Brazil.


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Congratulations!