American Prize series announced that it has awarded Professor of Music Jesse Ayers, D.M.A., The American Prize in
Composition (Orchestral Division) 2011 for The Passion of John Brown, commissioned by the Akron Symphony Orchestra, Christopher
Wilkins, music director.
PRIZE—History & Judges
From The American Prize website:
The American Prize is a series of new, non-profit, national competitions unique in scope
and structure, designed to recognize and reward the very best performing
artists, ensembles and composers in the United States based on recorded
performances. 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.
Winners of The American Prize in
Composition receive cash prizes, professional adjudication and regional,
national and international recognition based on submitted recordings of works
previously performed. In addition to monetary rewards and written evaluations
from judges, winners are profiled on The
American Prize website, where links will lead to video and audio
excerpts of winning performances.
JESSE AYERS's (b. Knoxville, TN 1951)
music has been performed in Japan, New Zealand, South Africa, Russia, Poland,
Serbia, Slovenia, and more than 100 U.S. cities, and has twice been selected to
represent the United States at the ISCM World Music Days. His awards include a
MacDowell Fellowship, an Individual Creativity Excellence Award from the Ohio
Arts Council, annual awards from ASCAP, and grants from Meet the Composer and
the American Music Center. For more about Dr. Ayers and The Passion of John
Brown, please visit www.jesseayers.com.
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, Katz 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 and choral musicians.
“Many artists may never win a Grammy award, or a Pulitzer, or a Tony, or
perhaps ever 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, or only to graduates of the most famous
schools. 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, ensemble or
composer, builds the donor base, or stimulates opportunities or recruitment for
winning artists and ensembles, then we have fulfilled our mission,” Katz said.
In 2011 The American Prize
sponsors competitions for conductors, ensembles, vocalists, pianists and
composers. The American Prize is
administered by Hat City Music Theater, Inc., a 501(c)3 non-profit performing
arts organization based in Danbury, Connecticut.