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Choral Arts Initiative: 2014 American Prize Winner in Choral Performance!
Among judges' comments: "I found myself wishing I could be a part of this musical family."
The CHORAL ARTS INITIATIVE, Brandon Elliott, music director, of Orange County, CA, has been selected as the 2014 winner of The American Prize in Choral Performance, in the community chorus division. The CAI was selected from applications reviewed this summer from all across the United States. The American Prize is a series of new, non-profit competitions unique in scope and structure, designed to recognize and reward the best performing artists, ensembles and composers in the United States based on submitted recordings. The American Prize was founded in 2009 and is awarded annually in many areas of the performing arts. Complete information on the website: www.theamericanprize.org.
Upon announcement of the American Prize Finalists, David Katz, chief judge of the competitions, wrote:
"Never in the five year history of The American Prize, to my recollection, has such a large percentage of semi-finalists in the choral conducting and ensemble categories been advanced to the final round. Even accounting for differences in the size, make-up, location and repertoire of the groups these conductors lead, there is excellence here, albeit of different kinds, deserving of finalist status, additional scrutiny and further evaluation.
However much the media may try to tell us that classical music is "dead," it is clear that is simply incorrect. If this year's finalists for The American Prize are any indication, the choral art is thriving all over the county, worthy of our attention and our support. Bravi, tutti."
THE AMERICAN PRIZE—History & Judges
The American Prize grew from the belief that a great deal of excellent music being made in this country goes unrecognized and unheralded, not only in our major cities, but all across the country: in schools and churches, in colleges and universities, and by community and professional musicians.
With the performing arts in America marginalized like never before, The American Prize seeks to fill the gap that leaves excellent artists and ensembles struggling for visibility and viability. The American Prize recognizes and rewards the best America produces, without bias against small city versus large, or unknown artist versus well-known.
David Katz is the chief judge of The American Prize. Professional conductor, award-winning composer, playwright, actor and arts advocate, he is author of MUSE of FIRE, the acclaimed one-man play about the art of conducting. Joining Katz in selecting winners of The American Prize is a panel of judges as varied in background and experience as we hope the winners of The American Prize will be. Made up of distinguished musicians representing virtually every region of the country, the group includes professional vocalists, conductors, composers and pianists, tenured professors and orchestra, band and choral musicians.
“Most artists may never win a Grammy award, or a Pulitzer, or a Tony, or perhaps even be nominated,” Katz said, “but that does not mean that they are not worthy of recognition and reward. Quality in the arts is not limited to the coasts, or to the familiar names. It is on view all over the United States, if you take the time to look for it. The American Prize exists to encourage and herald that excellence.”
By shining a light on nationally recognized achievement, winners of The American Prize receive world-class bragging rights to use in promotion right at home. “If The American Prize helps build careers, or contributes to local pride, or assists with increasing the audience for an artist or ensemble, builds the donor base, or stimulates opportunities or recruitment for winning artists and ensembles, then we have fulfilled our mission,” Katz said.
The American Prize sponsors competitions for conductors, ensembles, vocalists, composers, chamber musicians and pianists.
The American Prize is administered by Hat City Music Theater, Inc., a 501(c)3 non-profit performing arts organization based in Danbury, Connecticut.
Lorraine Joy Welling