Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Winners: BACON AWARD (American Music Performance), ensembles, 2019-20

Ernst Bacon as a young man

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 winners, runners-up, and honorable mentions of the ERNST BACON MEMORIAL AWARD for the PERFORMANCE of AMERICAN MUSIC, 2019-20, in the ensemble division. Congratulations! (An announcement in the solo division has been made separately.)

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.

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.

The American Prize ERNST BACON MEMORIAL AWARD for the PERFORMANCE of AMERICAN MUSIC, PROFESSIONAL ensemble division, 2019-20

The American Prize winner:
Oliver Caplan 
Juventas New Music Ensemble
Boston   MA
Shell & Wing (David Biedenbender)

Juventas New Music Ensemble
Juventas New Music Ensemble is a contemporary chamber group with a special focus on emerging voices. Juventas shares classical music as a vibrant, living art form. We bring audiences music from a diverse array of composers that live in today’s world and respond to our time.

Since its founding in 2005, Juventas has performed the music of over 200 living composers. The ensemble has earned a reputation as a curator with a keen eye for new talent. It opens doors for composers with top-notch professional performances that present their work in the best possible light.

Recognition for the ensemble’s work includes the American Prize in Opera Performance and support from the National Endowment for the Arts, Massachusetts Cultural Council, and Boston Foundation. Juventas is featured on albums by Innova Recordings, Parma Records and New Dynamic Records, and has held residencies at Boston Conservatory, Harvard University, Longy School of Music, Middlebury College, and Worcester Polytechnic Institute.

Juventas has a storied history of dynamic collaboration with artists in other media, including dancers, painters, scientists, poets, puppeteers and robotics engineers. A leader in the field, Juventas also facilitates the Boston New Music Festival, a weeklong showcase of Boston’s contemporary music scene.


2nd Place:
Dean Whiteside      
New World Symphony
Miami Beach  FL
Chamber Symphony No. 2  (Arnold Schoenberg)

Dean Whiteside      
Dean Whiteside was born in New York City and trained in Vienna at the University of Music and Performing Arts. He has served as Resident Conductor of the Atlantic Music Festival and co-founder and Director of the Nashville Sinfonietta. He worked as an assistant conductor at orchestras including the Los Angeles Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, and Dallas Symphony. He recently completed a three year position as the New World Symphony’s acclaimed Conducting Fellow and Assistant Conductor to Michael Tilson Thomas. His performances won the 2018 American Prize in Conducting, and the South Florida Classical Review named him Best New Artist of 2018, writing: “Dean Whiteside has been one of New World Symphony’s most gifted conducting fellows. Whether leading Wagner, Fauré or Ligeti, Whiteside not only maintains tight control and well-balanced ensemble but imbues each score with idiomatic flair and sensitive interpretive instincts.”

Mr. Whiteside came to international attention after winning Second Prize and the Zagreb Philharmonic Orchestra Award at the Sixth International Competition of Young Conductors Lovro von Matačić. He has conducted orchestras including the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Dallas Symphony Orchestra, Danish National Symphony Orchestra, Jacksonville Symphony, Juilliard Orchestra, Opéra Orchestre National Montpellier, Orlando Philharmonic, Polish Baltic Philharmonic, Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich, Wiener Kammerorchester and Zagreb Philharmonic, as well as the Vanderbilt Orchestra on a five-city tour of China. Other awards include the 2017 Mahler Conducting Fellowship, Bruno Walter Memorial Foundation Conducting Scholarship, David Effron Conducting Fellowship at the Chautauqua Institution, Bayreuth Festival Scholarship, and David Rabin Performance Prize. He holds degrees from the University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna and Vanderbilt University.


3rd Place (there was a tie):
Tyson Deaton 
US Army Soldiers' Chorus and Field Band
New York  NY
The Falling and the Rising    (Zach Redler/Jerre Dye) 

Tyson Deaton 
Known for his broad range of repertoire and versatility of style, Tyson Deaton has established a reputation for leading energetic and inventive performances. With his musical roots firmly planted in the traditions of the standard operatic canon, his affinity for contemporary works is also acclaimed by audiences and critics.

Frequently entrusted with new work development and premieres as a musical authority specifically with vocal and orchestral writing, Deaton conducted the world premiere of Zach Redler and Jerre Dye's The Falling and the Rising, co-commissioned by the United States Army Soldiers' Chorus and Field Band, and subsequent performances in New York City.

He joined San Francisco Opera for Sweeney Todd, soon followed by L'elisir d'amore at Opera Birmingham. Deaton has also worked with New York City Opera, American Modern Ensemble, Anchorage Opera, Atlanta Opera, Sarasota Opera, Opera Company of North Carolina, among many others.

Deaton made his Fort Worth Opera debut leading Cipullo's Glory Denied, which received much critical acclaim, along with the first professional recording of this work (Albany), rated “Best of 2013” (Washington Post), and one among “12 Best Full-Length Opera Recordings of 2014” (OperaNews).

Adept on the concert stage also as a pianist, Deaton has partnered with numerous artists including Denyce Graves, Michael Norsworthy, Talise Trevigne, Matthew Worth, Judith Kellock, Julie Landsman, Steven LaBrie, Matthew Grills, and Sherrill Milnes, at venues such as The John F. Kennedy Center and The Brooklyn Academy of Music.  Tyson Deaton makes his home in New York City.


3rd Place (there was a tie):
Jason  Lim
McKinney Philharmonic 

McKinney TX
Three Latin American Sketches; Music for Movies (Copland)

McKinney Philharmonic
Recognized by the Denton-Record Chronicle as one of “2012’s Most Fascinating People,” the career of conductor Jason Lim is on the rise. Lim was born in Penang, Malaysia and began his formal training in viola performance when he won a scholarship to study at the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts with Alice Waten. He commenced his studies at the Canberra (Australia) School of Music, and completed his bachelor’s degree with honors at the Australian Institute of Music in Sydney. Jason received his Masters degree in orchestral conducting from the University of North Texas.

Known for his fine technique in performances and innovative programming, Jason began his conducting studies in Australia: first as an apprentice with the Canberra Youth Orchestra, and later as an Assistant Conductor with the Ku Ring Gai Philharmonic Orchestra in Sydney, a position that was awarded in conjunction with winning 1st Prize in the New South Wales Ministry of Arts Conducting Prize. Most recently, Jason won 1st Prize in the 2016-2017 the American Prize Competition for professional conductors. In 2015 Jason was the 2nd Prize Winner. Additionally, In 2016 Jason received the Ernst Bacon Memorial Award for excellence in performing American Music.

In 2010, Jason was among eight conductors selected to participate at the Ithaca International Conducting Workshop under the tutelage of Gustav Meier. Jason has also attended the Pierre Monteux School for Conductors in Maine. Jason remains an active performing violist, having performed with the Abilene Philharmonic Orchestra, Amarillo Symphony Orchestra, Las Colinas Symphony Orchestra, National Symphony of Malaysia, Australian National Opera Orchestra and Texas Baroque Ensemble. He served as conductor and educator for 10 years with the Abilene Summer Music Festival in conjunction with Hardin Simmons University, the Pan American Music Festival in Edinburgh Texas, as well as the Penang State Orchestra Workshop in Penang, Malaysia and serves as Artistic Director of the Summer Music Intensives in McKinney, TX since 2015. Jason currently also serves as Artistic Director of the Greater North Texas Youth Orchestra and is also Artistic Director of the Summer Music Intensives in McKinney, Texas.

Currently, Jason is the Artistic Director and conductor of the Odysseus North Texas Chamber Orchestra, a group he founded in 2012. In 2014 the orchestra was awarded second prize in the Professional Orchestra division of the American Prize Competition and third prize the previous year.


The American Prize ERNST BACON MEMORIAL AWARD for the PERFORMANCE of AMERICAN MUSIC, COLLEGE/UNIVERSITY ensemble division, 2019-20

The American Prize winner:
William B. Drury  
New England Conservatory Symphonic Winds  
Boston MA
Whitman Tropes (Richard Toensing)

New England Conservatory Symphonic Winds  
NEW ENGLAND SYMPHONIC WINDS is composed primarily of Freshmen and Sophomores. The ensemble performs at least seven concerts per year, two of which are the extremely popular Holiday’s Concerts, which are a combination of the Symphonic Winds, Navy Band Northeast and the NEC Chamber Choirs. The ensemble plays music from the 16th century to music of the present day. Guest artists have included Charles Schlueter, Shawn Edmonds, Marvin Stamm, Jerry Bergonzi, George Garzone, Helen Sung, Charlie Powers, James Nova, Douglas Monroe, Will Frampton, Yukiko Takagi, and Stephen Drury.


2nd Place:
Carolyn Watson 
University of Kansas Symphony Orchestra    
Kansas City  KS
Fanfare Ritmico (Jennifer Higdon) 

University of Kansas Symphony Orchestra    
The University of Kansas Symphony Orchestra (KUSO) is one of the outstanding collegiate orchestras in the country. KUSO provides performance majors the highest quality preparation for a professional career in orchestral playing. KUSO offers a comprehensive course of orchestral studies and performs repertoire spanning from the Baroque to the 21st century, including premieres of new works.  In addition to large-scale symphonic programming, each season includes performances of major solo works featuring faculty, student, and leading international guest artists who recently have included Blake Pouliot, Joshua Roman and Simone Porter. The KU Symphony Orchestra also regularly collaborates with KU Theatre and KU Opera productions, for whom it is the resident ensemble. The orchestra combines with KU Choirs for the immensely popular annual Holiday Vespers concerts and other choral/orchestral literature throughout the year, and showcases the works of student composers in the KU Composition studio.  KUSO's concert stage is the magnificent 2,000-seat Lied Center of Kansas and the orchestra also regularly performs at the nationally renowned Kauffman Center in Kansas City. https://music.ku.edu/orchestra


3rd Place (there was a tie):
Dr. Eddie W. Airheart
The TCU Wind Symphony     
Fort Worth   TX
The Seven Deadly Sins (Robert Xavier Rodriguez)

The TCU Wind Symphony     
CONDUCTOR
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.

ENSEMBLE
Under the direction of Bobby R. Francis, the Texas Christian University Wind Symphony has established itself as one of the outstanding collegiate wind bands in America. Past performances of the ensemble include Fort Worth’s Bass Hall, New York’s Carnegie Hall, the prestigious 84th Annual Convention of the American Bandmasters Association, several National CBNDA Conferences as well as numerous performances at the Texas Music Educators Association annual convention.

COMPOSER
Robert Xavier Rodríguez is “one of the major American composers of his generation” (Texas Monthly).  Born in 1946, Rodríguez received his musical education in San Antonio and in Austin (UT), Los Angeles (USC), Lenox (Tanglewood), Fontainebleau (Conservatoire Américain) and Paris.  A student of Nadia Boulanger and others, Rodríguez first gained international recognition in 1971 when awarded the Prix de Composition Musicale Prince Pierre de Monaco. Rodriguez’s Tom Johanningmeier “The Seven Deadly Sins” was commissioned by the East Texas State University Wind Ensemble, Gary W. Hill, conductor, and premiered February 28, 1985 at the National CBDNA Convention in Boulder, Colorado.


3rd Place (there was a tie):
Scott Jones  
Texas A&M University Kingsville Wind Symphony  
KingsvilleTX
Innsmouth, Massachusetts—1927   (Roy D. Magnuson)

Texas A&M University Kingsville Wind Symphony  
Comprised of 60 talented musicians from South Texas, the Wind Symphony is the premiere concert band at Texas A&M University-Kingsville. Directed by Dr. Scott Anthony Jones, the Wind Symphony maintains a highly active annual performance schedule of five to six concerts, regular collaborations with composers, and serves as host ensemble to the winners of the Texas A&M University-Kingsville Music Department Concerto and Conducting Competitions. The ensemble is also committed serving the region through concert tours, clinics, and its High School Invitational Concert series. Since 2014, the Wind Symphony has performed off-campus for over 40 public schools and more than 10,000 students, educators and families.

This distinguished ensemble has been recognized for its outstanding performances at the Texas Music Educators Association Convention in 1993, 2001, 2006, 2010 and 2019, and at the 2002 College Band Directors National Association Southwest Division Conference in Houston. In recent years, the ensemble has developed a tradition of commissioning new works by composers such as Joseph Schwantner, Frank Ticheli, James Syler, Zhou Tian, Jess Langston Turner, Roy Magnuson, and others.


Finalist Honorable Mention:
Daniel Cook
Northwestern University Chamber Ensemble   
Evanston IL
Appalachian Spring   

Daniel Cook
Daniel Cook serves on the faculty at the University of North Texas as Assistant Director of Wind Studies, where he conducts the Wind Ensemble and is the director of the Green Brigade Marching Band. Daniel has completed coursework toward a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Wind Conducting at Northwestern University, where he studied with Dr. Mallory Thompson.

Daniel graduated magna cum laude with his Bachelor of Music degree in Music Education from the University of Georgia in Athens, Georgia. There, he was also recognized as a Theodore Presser Scholar. Daniel holds his Master of Music degree in Conducting from Northwestern University.

Prior to his arrival in Evanston, Daniel 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.

Daniel is an active clinician and guest conductor. Daniel is currently the assistant brass caption at the Phantom Regiment and has previously served on staff at the Blue Knights. During his time in Florida, he was a member of the Florida Bandmasters Association, chairing marching and concert band events. Additionally, he served as staff pianist and organist at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church in Daytona Beach His professional affiliations include NAfME, NBA, CBDNA, and Kappa Kappa Psi, and Phi Mu Alpha.


Finalist Honorable Mention:
Michael Hancock
University of Oklahoma Wind Symphony
Norman OK
Urban Requiem; Labyrinth of Love  (Michael Colgrass/Michael Daugherty)

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.


The American Prize ERNST BACON MEMORIAL AWARD for the PERFORMANCE of AMERICAN MUSIC, COMMUNITY ensemble division, 2019-20

The American Prize winner:
Michael Driscoll
Andover Choral Society    
Andover  MA
Abraham Lincoln Walks at Midnight (Florence Price)  

Andover Choral Society    
The Andover (MA) Choral Society is a non-auditioned 65-85 voice SATB community chorus with a mission to present exceptional performances, connect to the larger community, and foster an appreciation of choral music. The chorus performs two concerts per year, singing a repertoire that focuses on fine choral and choral-orchestral works from the Baroque period to the twenty-first century. Since 1929, membership has been open to anyone with a love for great choral music and a desire to share that love with others. Dr. Michael Driscoll began his tenure as Music Director of Andover Choral Society in the fall of 2013. Under Dr. Driscoll’s leadership the chorus has performed works by lesser-known composers from previous eras and the present.

Florence Price (1887-1953) was the first African-American woman to be recognized as a symphony composer and to have a composition played by a major orchestra. In 2009, a substantial collection of her works and papers was found in an abandoned house on the outskirts of Chicago, Illinois. Among these works was Abraham Lincoln Walks at Midnight, a 30-minute work for chorus, soloists, and accompaniment, set to a poem by Vachel Lindsay. Price left two versions of this work: one for orchestra and organ and the other for piano. From Price’s unpublished manuscript, Dr. Driscoll prepared a new performing edition of the piano version for this performance. This recording is believed to be the first recording of this version of Price’s work.


2nd Place:
Matthew Melendez
Great Bend Chorale & Youth Chorale    
Union   WA
Borders  (John Muehleisen)  

Great Bend Chorale & Youth Chorale    
The Salish people—the indigenous people of the Pacific Northwest Coast of North America—think about music very differently. They understand that making music is inherently an act of community, and as a result, their culture has great reverence for the power of song. So great is their respect for this power that there are rich cultural traditions (and taboos) about how and when and by whom (and with whom) individual songs may be performed.
Imagine being visited by an entirely different race of people who look and dress very differently, wielding completely alien technology and an unrecognizable language – and choosing to sing a song of welcome to them! This was the response of several tribal communities from the Olympic Peninsula in Washington state upon first contact with European explorers. The Salish knew that making music meant making community; that singing illuminates all that we have in common.

Commissioned for the Great Bend Chorale’s Carnegie Hall debut, American composer John Muehleisen’s cantata Borders draws from many of the constituent cultures that make up the American tapestry. Scored for soprano solo, adult choir, children’s chorus, strings, piano, and percussion, and beginning with a Salish song of welcome, Muehleisen weaves together European, African, Asian, and Middle Eastern folk songs with settings of the poetry of Emma Lazarus, Brian Bilston, and Alberto Ríos in a powerful and moving musical journey that explores the historical roots of immigration and the modern relevance of America’s identity as the great melting pot.


3rd Place (there was a tie):
Donald L.  Appert 
Clark College Orchestra   
Vancouver WA
Symphony No. 2  (David Diamond)

Clark College Orchestra   
The Clark College Orchestra is a college/community ensemble ranging in number from 75 to 90 musicians depending on the repertoire. Awards include 2nd Place in the 2016 American Prize ERNST BACON MEMORIAL AWARD in the PERFORMANCE of AMERICAN MUSIC, COMMUNITY division and 3rd Place in The American Prize in Orchestra Performance – community orchestra division. As part of an ongoing podium exchange program the orchestra has had guest conductors and soloists from New Zealand, Italy, Slovakia, France, Spain, Portugal, Macedonia, Sweden, Russia, Turkey, El Salvador, and Romania.

New music has been a consistent part of the programming: Amanda Harberg’s Viola Concerto with Brett Deubner who commissioned the work, Eric Ewazen’s Palmetto Suite for Alto Trombone and Orchestra composed for Ronald Barron, Principal Trombonist of the Boston Symphony and the Clark College Orchestra, Matt Doran’s Variations for Orchestra, and Symphony No. 5 works commissioned by the Clark College Orchestra. 


3rd Place (there was a tie):
Erik  Peregrine      
Ensemble Companio 
Northeastern US    
Wonderous Glow; The New Colossus; Hard Times  (Valverde; Choi; Foster)

Ensemble Companio 
An award-winning chamber choir drawing membership from across the Northeastern region, Ensemble Companio lives out its mission “to build bridges between people through authentic, inspiring performances of the finest choral music” through its fresh programming, frequent collaborations, and uniquely accessible model.

Ensemble Companio takes its name from a Latin form of “companion”, the etymology 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.  With rehearsals and performances distributed throughout Boston, New York City, Philadelphia, and other locations along the eastern seaboard, Ensemble Companio attracts a diverse community of highly dedicated, exemplary musicians from a variety of professions who are unified in their passion for the power of choral singing.


The American Prize ERNST BACON MEMORIAL AWARD for the PERFORMANCE of AMERICAN MUSIC, YOUTH/SCHOOL ensemble division, 2019-20

The American Prize winner:
Wes Kenney
Denver Young Artists Orchestra
Denver CO
Fanfare for the Uncommon Woman #4 (Joan Tower)

Denver Young Artists Orchestra
The Denver Young Artists Orchestra (DYAO) was formed in 1977 under the auspices of the Denver Symphony Orchestra, now the Colorado Symphony Orchestra (CSO).  It was started as a means for Colorado’s most talented young musicians to rehearse and perform together under demanding professional standards. DYAO has operated independently since 1979, and has maintained a close relationship with the CSO, now an affiliate organization.

The mission of the Denver Young Artists Orchestra Association (DYAO) is to provide the finest possible youth orchestra programs, inspiring and educating young musicians through the performance of great works of music, and offering valuable cultural opportunities to the community. For thirty-nine years, DYAO has nurtured the talents of the Rocky Mountain region’s finest young musicians. Today, the organization’s five orchestras and group strings classes train nearly 250 students ages seven to twenty-three annually.

Wes Kenney has been the Music Director and Conductor for the Young Artists Orchestra since 2013.  In the past two seasons, DYAO has received the Mayor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts as well as The American Prize for performance of American music.


2nd Place:
Michael Isadore
John Foster Dulles HS Honors Orchestra
Sugar Land  TX
Supermaximum (Kenji Bunch)  

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:
Dr. Michael G. Martin 
Hilliard Darby Symphonic Choir
Hilliard OH
Great God Almighty; Angelus Ad Virginem; Peace Like a River   (Stacey G. Gibbs/ Carol Barnett/ Mack Wilberg)

Hilliard Darby Symphonic Choir
Dr. Michael G. Martin is the Director of Choral Activities at Hilliard Darby High School. Martin pursued a college career at The Ohio State University, earning a Bachelor, Masters, and Doctor of Musical Arts Degree in choral music education and conducting. Martin’s passion continued to grow deeper and resulted in the development of multiple choral groups within the educational and community environment and numerous compositions/arrangements published.

While at Ohio State, Martin had the opportunity to study with and serve as accompanist for Robert Shaw. He has performed/conducted major concerts throughout Germany, Switzerland, Austria, England, Italy, France, and has appeared on the BBC network.

He serves as Director of Music for New Albany Methodist Church and is called upon as clinician and commissioned composer for honor choirs and festivals.

The Hilliard Darby Symphonic Choir is a mixed, auditioned choir, relentless in its quest for vocal excellence. Conducted by Dr. Michael G. Martin and assisted by Mrs. Hannah Sterman-Wilson, the group continually ranks as one of the top choral programs in the country, receiving top ratings in local and international competitions. Whether singing in Salisbury Cathedral, or receiving superior ratings at adjudicated events, this group pursues its craft, putting teamwork, technique, and musicality at the forefront. Symphonic has performed multiple times for OMEA Conferences and have performed for two ACDA Central Division Conventions. In addition, they have worked with notable conductors, such as Dr. Donald Neuen, Eric Whitacre, Dr. Ann Howard Jones, Professor James Gallagher, and Dr. Craig Jessop.

***

Congratulations!



Friday, September 4, 2020

Winners: ORCHESTRAS, 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, runners-up, and citation recipients of The American Prize in Orchestral Performance, 2019-20, in all 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 Orchestral Performance, professional division, 2019-20
 

The American Prize winner:
Cape Cod Chamber Orchestra         
Matthew Scinto 
Harwich Port  MA      

Cape Cod Chamber Orchestra         
Founder and Music Director Matthew Scinto has a vision for the future of classical music on Cape Cod; by collaborating with local Cape individuals, arts organizations, and local causes, our orchestra aims to create a unique concert experience while providing high quality, enriching, and memorable orchestral music. Past season projects have included collaborations with poet Judy Askew, the Harwich Guild of Artists, the Edward Gorey House, and the Whydah Pirate Museum.
Recently named the "Best New Cultural Attraction of 2019" by Yankee Magazine, we believe the key to inspiring our audience is by infusing contemporary music with local Cape flavor, performing music by traditionally under-represented composers, and engaging with our audiences on a deeply personal level.


2nd Place:
McKinney Philharmonic Orchestra
Jason Lim
McKinney TX
McKinney Philharmonic Orchestra
The McKinney Philharmonic Orchestra was founded by Artistic Director Jason Lim as the Odysseus Chamber Orchestra in May 2012 in Denton, Texas. The orchestra consists of professional classical musicians from the Dallas/Fort Worth area dedicated to deepening, strengthening and broadening the organization’s relationship with the communities it serves
through music.

In its short history, the orchestra has garnered a growing national reputation as an emerging ensemble, winning second and third prizes in the American Prize Competition for professional orchestras in 2014 and 2015, respectively. In 2016, the orchestra was awarded the Ernst Bacon Memorial Award for excellence in performing American Music. In addition, the orchestra has supported local service clubs like the Denton Breakfast Kiwanis Club and the Robson Ranch Kiwanis Club, and sponsored events such as the Eliminate Project Cruise and the Passing of the Banner Dinner. In recent years, it has expanded its outreach by providing free chamber music series concerts, free amenity concerts in neighborhoods, educational school performances and collaborating with the Arts and Music Guild to organize the Summer Music Intensives. In 2017, exciting new programs were launched such as the Young Artist Viola Competition– the first of its kind in North Texas; the Mentorship Program, which provides high school orchestra students the opportunity to rehearse and perform side-by-side with members of the professional orchestra; and the Greater North Texas Youth Orchestra.

In 2019, the organization changed its name to the McKinney Philharmonic Orchestra (MPO) to better reflect its growing ties with and support received from the City of McKinney.


The American Prize in Orchestral Performance, college/university division, 2019-20

The American Prize winner:
Baylor University Symphony Orchestra        
Stephen Heyde  
Waco    TX      

Baylor University Symphony Orchestra        
The 90 students of the Baylor Symphony annually present six concerts of standard repertoire, opera productions, concerto accompaniments, new music readings, choral collaborations and children's concerts which reach 6000 area schoolchildren.

The Symphony has appeared at the T.M.E.A. Convention eight times, at Piccolo Spoleto and national conventions of A.S.T.A and CODA and recorded a PBS Special seen by six million viewers. The BSO has collaborated with many distinguished American performers including Van Cliburn, Joseph Gingold, Robert Shaw, Corey Cerovsek, Jacob Druckman, Lorin Hollander, Roberto Diaz, Andrew Balio and Peter Schickele among others, taken international tours of Costa Rica (2004) and Belgium (2010) and has won the prestigious American Prize four consecutive times (2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018).

Former members of the BSO have won positions in many professional orchestras including New York Philharmonic, Metropolitan Opera, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Dallas, Detroit, Pittsburgh, Seattle, Cincinnati and Fort Worth among others.


2nd Place:
University of Kansas Symphony Orchestra 
Carolyn Watson 
Lawrence KS  

University of Kansas Symphony Orchestra 
The University of Kansas Symphony Orchestra (KUSO) is one of the outstanding collegiate orchestras in the country. KUSO provides performance majors the highest quality preparation for a professional career in orchestral playing. KUSO offers a comprehensive course of orchestral studies and performs repertoire spanning from the Baroque to the 21st century, including premieres of new works.  In addition to large-scale symphonic programming, each season includes performances of major solo works featuring faculty, student, and leading international guest artists who recently have included Blake Pouliot, Joshua Roman and Simone Porter. The KU Symphony Orchestra also regularly collaborates with KU Theatre and KU Opera productions, for whom it is the resident ensemble. The orchestra combines with KU Choirs for the immensely popular annual Holiday Vespers concerts and other choral/orchestral literature throughout the year, and showcases the works of student composers in the KU Composition studio.  KUSO's concert stage is the magnificent 2,000-seat Lied Center of Kansas and the orchestra also regularly performs at the nationally renowned Kauffman Center in Kansas City. https://music.ku.edu/orchestra

Carolyn Watson is Director of Orchestral Studies at The University of Kansas. A major prizewinner at the 2012 Emmerich Kálmán International Operetta Conducting Competition in Budapest, Carolyn was a Fellow of the American Academy of Conducting at the Aspen Music Festival where she studied with David Zinman. She has conducted orchestras throughout Europe, Australia and the US. From 2013-15 she held the position of Music Director of the Interlochen Arts Academy Orchestra, and has conducted the Dallas Opera, Lyric Opera of Kansas City, Austin Symphony, Detroit Symphony Civic Orchestra and World Youth Symphony Orchestra. Carolyn holds a PhD in Performance (Conducting) from the University of Sydney where the subject of her doctoral thesis was Gesture as Communication: The Art of Carlos Kleiber.  www.carolyn-watson.com


3rd Place (there was a tie): 
Miami University Symphony Orchestra     
Ricardo Averbach
Oxford   OH

Miami University Symphony Orchestra     
The Miami University Symphony Orchestra (MUSO), with a history dating back to 1890, is dedicated to the quality performance of the orchestral repertoire from the Baroque era until our days, including world premieres by contemporary composers. The ensemble combines undergraduate and graduate students of all majors in pursue of high artistic standards, as well as the professional and artistic growth of its members.

The ensemble has an extensive performance schedule on and off campus, which includes in addition to the orchestral repertoire, a full opera production, concertos with renowned soloists as well as student soloists, choral-symphonic repertoire, ballet and music from other traditions and genres.

Director of Orchestral Studies at Miami University of Ohio since 2002, Brazilian conductor Ricardo Averbach has also served as President of the College Orchestra Directors Association (CODA) and guest conductor of professional orchestras in almost 20 countries.

As a dedicated advocate of contemporary music, Dr. Averbach has performed and recorded several world premieres for major labels, which have sold more than half a million copies around the globe. In 2018 he was the recipient of the Ohio Governor’s Award in the Individual Artist category. Averbach is passionate about working in a university environment, and challenging his students to think out of the box and use music as a tool for civil engagement, cultural erudition and artistic refinement.


3rd Place (there was a tie):
University of Washington Symphony Orchestra  
David A. Rahbee 
Seattle  WA
    
University of Washington Symphony Orchestra  
The top orchestral ensemble on campus, performing major symphonic literature, giving 6-7 concerts per year (an average of 2 per quarter). This orchestra is made up of music majors and non majors alike. Seating auditions are held at the start of each academic year; seating rotates throughout the year. Open to both undergrads and graduate students. Non music majors who may not be enrolled in lessons with faculty are welcome and are strongly encouraged to participate.

Led by Director of Orchestral Activities David Alexander Rahbee, the orchestra participates in ongoing collaborations with well known soloists, grammy award winning faculty including conductors Ludovic Morlot (Affiliate Professor of conducting) and Stephen Stubbs (Pacific MusicWorks), side-by-side concerts with Seattle Symphony and Pacific MusicWorks, a yearly performance in Benaroya Hall, as well as yearly collaborations with chorus. Also from time to time the orchestra is split up into smaller orchestras known as the UW Chamber Orchestra.


Finalist Honorable Mention: 
OSU Symphony Orchestra 
Dr. Thomas  Dickey 
Stillwater   OK     

OSU Symphony Orchestra 
The OSU Symphony Orchestra is one of the Michael and Anne Greenwood School of Music's premier performing ensembles, showcasing some of the university’s finest players performing traditional orchestral repertoire in a series of dynamic concerts.  In addition to approximately seven annual performances, the OSUSO also provides music for the Opera Theater’s fully staged productions and serves as the lab orchestra for various academic classes, from composition to orchestral conducting.  The OSUSO is dedicated to the study and performance of significant orchestral music, and to that end often collaborates with faculty and guest soloists in performances of major concerto literature.


Finalist Honorable Mention: 
Davidson College Symphony Orchestra
Tara Villa Keith  
Davidson NC   
 
Davidson College Symphony Orchestra
The Davidson College Symphony Orchestra (DCSO), directed by Tara Villa Keith, is an active undergraduate ensemble in a top ten liberal arts setting. Winners of The American Prize in Orchestral Performance 2017-18, college division, the DCSO is composed of approximately fifty musicians, including students, faculty, and community members. Every January, the orchestra tours regionally, performing concerts and giving clinics at various schools and churches. As a local orchestral hub, DCSO performs in seven to ten concerts each season, features local and internationally-renowned guest artists and winners of the student concerto competition, and serves as a workshop orchestra for student conductors.  The DCSO is also in its eleventh season of Concerts for a Cause, in which ticket sales and/or donations are accepted at the door at each of its main concerts.  One-hundred percent of the donations are given to various charitable organizations.  Please visit us at www.davidson.edu/academic-departments/music/ensembles/symphony-orchestra.


The American Prize in Orchestral Performance, community division, 2019-20

The American Prize winner: 
Los Angeles Doctors Symphony       
Ivan Shulman
Los Angeles  CA     

Los Angeles Doctors Symphony       
The Los Angeles Doctors Symphony Orchestra is one of the oldest medically oriented community orchestras in the country. Over the years the orchestra has broadened its membership to encompass musicians with diverse backgrounds including the legal profession, science, and education, as well as other dedicated amateur musicians. Our mission is to offer high-quality affordable concerts to the diverse communities of Southern California, to support important medical causes, to partner with groups that support young musicians in their pursuit of the discipline and joys found in musical expression, and to provide musical growth and fellowship for its performing members.  We perform four programs each year in a variety of venues, featuring soloists from the Los Angeles area, exploring not only the classics but new music as well as less commonly heard works from the past. We strive for high quality performances which we hope meet these goals.


2nd Place:
Texas Medical Center Orchestra     
Libi Lebel
Houston  TX       
 
Texas Medical Center Orchestra     
Established in November 2000, Texas Medical Center Orchestra (TMCO) is one of very few community orchestras in the United States and the world with its origin in the health professions. It includes physicians, dentists, nurses, medical students, biomedical scientists, social workers and other allied health professionals who are dedicated to making music. Part of the orchestra’s mission is to provide health care professionals a creative outlet; offer affordable concerts to a diverse public audience; and bring public attention and support for, medically related and/or educational charities. The orchestra made its debut in Carnegie Hall in 2013 conducted by Libi Lebel.

Russian-born conductor Libi Lebel, founder and artistic director of TMCO, has a strong and growing reputation in the music world. Ms. Lebel has been listed as one of the 50 most influential women in Houston. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Julliard in piano performance and a master’s from Westminster Choir College in conducting. She has conducted in New Jersey, New York, Texas, Russia and Romania. Since its inception in 2000, conductor Lebel has led TMCO in notable achievements: performing in  Carnegie Hall and winning first place, community orchestra division of the national American Prize competition. She is dedicated to highlighting the interplay of music, visual arts and dance. She champions music outreach to Houston schools. Ms. Lebel says: “What inspires me is to make music come alive. It affords us an opportunity to connect to the very essence of our humanity, expressing our most profound creativity.”


3rd Place (there was a tie):
Midwest Philharmonic Orchestra     
Taka Matsunaga          
Schaumburg   IL   
   
Midwest Philharmonic Orchestra     
Midwest Philharmonic Orchestra (MPO, founder Taka Matsunaga) started as Midwest Chamber Strings in 2007 and became a full orchestra in 2010. In addition to hosting 2 annual concerts each year, MPO has traveled to Detroit in 2015 to perform at “Summer in the Park Classical Tuesday”. In March 2016, MPO has made its debut to perform at Orchestra Hall at Symphony Center in Chicago to appear at The 6th Annual Chicago International Music Festival. In 2017, MPO had the first oversea tour to Vienna and Salzburg. In March 2018, MPO traveled to New York to perform at Carnegie Hall for 2 consecutive nights. In April 2020, MPO is going back to Symphony Center to perform Dvorak’s 6th Symphony. In the summer of 2020, MPO will travel to Prague, Bratislava and Budapest for 8 nights 10 days concert tour.


3rd Place (there was a tie):
Parthenon Chamber Orchestra        
David P. Sartor 
Nashville TN      

Parthenon Chamber Orchestra        
In the Nashville area there is a need for a chamber orchestra that performs not only historical literature but works by living composers - especially those in Middle Tennessee. The Parthenon Chamber Orchestra is an exciting and dynamic ensemble chartered in 2015 to fulfill both aspects of that mission.

The name "Parthenon" was selected because the Parthenon replica in Centennial Park is unique to Nashville, and Nashville is known as "the Athens of the South." The orchestra includes some of the finest musicians in the Nashville area, and David P. Sartor is the Music Director.


Finalist Honorable Mention: 
Seattle Collaborative Orchestra    
Anna Edwards
Seattle  WA 
 
Seattle Collaborative Orchestra    
The Seattle Collaborative Orchestra (SCO) is a diverse, multigenerational performing arts organization dedicated to promoting diversity in symphonic classical music. SCO musicians include approximately 80 students, community members, and professionals who work together to create a unique and collaborative musical experience that represents a creative mix of traditional orchestral music, works by female composers, composers of color and emerging Pacific Northwest performing artists.

Our musical goals create engaging, educational, and collaborative experience by coupling committed student and community members with experienced professionals representing premier Seattle-area ensembles. Our organization provides an avenue for professional musicians wishing to contribute to the sustainability of orchestral music through nurturing and mentoring students within a challenging performance experience. Working alongside professional musicians, students learn to reach higher levels of musicianship and develop traits of professional responsibility.


Finalist Honorable Mention: 
Waynesboro Symphony Orchestra  
Peter Wilson      
Waynesboro   VA 
     
Waynesboro Symphony Orchestra 
The Waynesboro Symphony Orchestra was founded in 1996 as the Waynesboro Community Orchestra under the baton of Eric Stassen. In its debut concert, 23 musicians performed works by Lully, Bach and Haydn. In the Orchestra’s 10 season, the organization officially adopted its current name. In 2006, Jean Montès succeeded Mr. Stassen, leading the ensemble for a single season. In May 2007, Peter Wilson was appointed the WSO’s 3rd Music Director. Highlights from recent seasons include performances of Strauss’ “Death and Transfiguration,” Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, Shostakovitch's 5th Symphony, Tchaikovsky’s 4th Symphony, Holst’s “The Planets,” Brahms’ 3rd Symphony, Saint-Saëns’ 3rd “Organ” Symphony and Mahler's Symphony No. 1. In addition, the orchestra regularly collaborates with professional soloists while remaining deeply committed to the WSO String School, which provides free violins and free weekly lessons to Boys and Girls Club members. The organization recently completed its 23rd Season.


The American Prize in Orchestral Performance, youth orchestra division, 2019-20

The American Prize winner: 
Houston Youth Symphony 
Michael Webster     
Houston  TX 
      
Houston Youth Symphony 
Founded in 1946, Houston Youth Symphony (www.HoustonYouthSymphony.org) is the recipient of national acclaim, including the 2018 first-prize winner of the Mark of Excellence Award from The Foundation for Music Education and the 2017-18 American Prize. Under the direction of Artistic Director Dr. Michael Webster, this season 430 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 access to free music education through the Melody Program, providing free private music lessons, and the Coda Music Program, an after-school effort at six area elementary schools modeled after El Sistema.


2nd Place:
Denver Young Artists Orchestra     
Wes Kenney
Denver   CO    
  
Denver Young Artists Orchestra     
The Denver Young Artists Orchestra (DYAO) was formed in 1977 under the auspices of the Denver Symphony Orchestra, now the Colorado Symphony Orchestra (CSO).  It was started as a means for Colorado’s most talented young musicians to rehearse and perform together under demanding professional standards. DYAO has operated independently since 1979, and has maintained a close relationship with the CSO, now an affiliate organization.


The mission of the Denver Young Artists Orchestra Association (DYAO) is to provide the finest possible youth orchestra programs, inspiring and educating young musicians through the performance of great works of music, and offering valuable cultural opportunities to the community. For thirty-nine years, DYAO has nurtured the talents of the Rocky Mountain region’s finest young musicians. Today, the organization’s five orchestras and group strings classes train nearly 250 students ages seven to twenty-three annually.

Wes Kenney has been the Music Director and Conductor for the Young Artists Orchestra since 2013.  In the past two seasons, DYAO has received the Mayor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts as well as The American Prize for performance of American music. www.dyao.org


3rd Place: 
Elite Academy for Strings Chamber  
Michael Shane Wittenburg         
Engelwood Cliffs  NJ  
   
Elite Academy for Strings Chamber  
Currently in its second season, the Elite Academy for Strings Chamber Orchestra is an ensemble of string players drawn from the greater New York Metropolitan area. An initiative of the Elizabeth Faidley Violin Studio, the Chamber Orchestra is is the capstone ensemble of the Elite Academy program, a pre-college with intensive chamber music and smaller violin ensemble training. Led by it's music director Michael Shane Wittenburg,The Chamber Orchestra's inaugural performance was given this past May in the Riverside Theater at New York's Riverside Church, and some of the members subsequently participated in a performance tour of Austria and Hungary including Salzburg Cathedral and St. Stephen's in Vienna, also led by Maestro Wittenburg.


Finalist Honorable Mention:
All About Music San Diego          
Mary Gerard 
San Diego  CA

All About Music San Diego          
All About Music San Diego is a youth orchestra that began ten years ago in 2009. It consists of middle school, high school and college age children.  We meet once per week on Saturdays for our 2 1/2 hour rehearsal.  We play the masterpieces of music on the highest level similar to a professional Symphony Orchestra in venues throughout San Diego. We dig deep in rehearsals to understand the emotional content and stylistic meaning of each phrase. What makes this organization unique is the fun we have along the path to seeking greatness.  Coaches play side by side with students, setting professional examples of the style, techniques, and phrasing that is required to bring out the deepest meaning of the compositions.  The orchestra performs in venues throughout San Diego. www.allaboutmusicsd.com


The American Prize in Orchestral Performance, school division, 2019-20

The American Prize winner:
Denver School of the Arts Orchestra
Enrique Lasansky
Denver   CO

Denver School of the Arts Orchestra
DSAO is an intensive program for string musicians seeking to develop their talent, understanding, and passion for music. As the Rocky Mountain Region’s only public 6-12 school for the arts, and a member of the Denver Public Schools, DSA welcomes promising young students who seek a challenging and inspiring environment in which to pursue their musical passion.

The DSAO serves talented and dedicated string musicians who play the violin, viola, cello or double bass. Our program explores a diverse spectrum of musical styles and genres with an emphasis on classical technique and repertoire. Admittance into the program is by successful audition. Auditions are open to any student living in the United States. Although most of our students come from Colorado, students from as far away as Texas, Wisconsin and Florida have recently joined our orchestras.


2nd Place: 
Seven Lakes HS Symphony Orchestra  
Desiree Overree
Katy  TX     
 
Seven Lakes HS Symphony Orchestra  
During the past fourteen years of our campus’ existence, the Seven Lakes Orchestras have striven to be a leader in musical performance through innovative programming and performances. Since its opening, the ensembles have earned top honors at local, regional, and state contests, as well as performed at major venues, including the Meyerson Symphony Hall and Chicago’s Symphony Center. The Symphony Orchestra, which is comprised of the top two string orchestras and wind symphony students at SLHS, annually places in the top 8 orchestras in TMEA’s Honor Orchestra competition. In 2016, they were named the TMEA Honor Full Orchestra and performed at their annual convention in front of thousands of music educators. The Foundation of Music Education has named the Symphony Orchestra a National Winner in the Mark of Excellence / National Honors Project for the past four years. In 2017, the Symphony Orchestra won the American Prize in Music (High School Division), with the Sinfonia Orchestra earning First Runner-Up. Seven Lakes High School is located in Katy, Texas. The ensemble is conducted by Desiree Overree and John Mays.


3rd Place:
Seven Lakes HS Sinfonia Orchestra  
Desiree Overree
Katy  TX      

Seven Lakes HS Sinfonia Orchestra  
During the past fourteen years of our campus’ existence, the Seven Lakes Orchestras have striven to be a leader in musical performance through innovative programming and performances. Since its opening, the ensembles have earned top honors at local, regional, and state contests, as well as performed at major venues, including the Meyerson Symphony Hall, Chicago’s Symphony Center, and Indianapolis’ Hilbert Hall. The Sinfonia Orchestra, which is the top string ensemble, annually places in the top ten orchestras in TMEA’s Honor Orchestra competition. The Foundation of Music Education has named the Sinfonia Orchestra a National Winner in the Mark of Excellence / National Honors Project for the past four years. In 2017, the Symphony Orchestra won the American Prize in Music (High School Division), with the Sinfonia Orchestra earning First Runner-Up. Seven Lakes High School is located in Katy, Texas. The ensemble is conducted by Desiree Overree.
 
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Congratulations!

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.



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Congratulations!