Music students named semi-finalists for American Prize
Jessica Crowell '17 and Desirée Hargrave '18 were named national semi-finalists for the American Prize Ernst Bacon Memorial Award for the Performance of American Music in the College/University Division for their performance in Malone Professor of Music Jesse Ayers' work, "Beneath Suspicion."
Malone vocal performance majors Jessica Crowell '17 and Desirée Hargrave '18, of Millersburg; performing under the auspices of the Malone Opera Theater, have been named national semi-finalists for the American Prize Ernst Bacon Memorial Award for the Performance of American Music in the College/University Division. They received this honor for their performance last April on the Malone campus of Malone Professor Jesse Ayers’ work, Beneath Suspicion.
According to the American Prize, the award "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, competing in separate divisions.” Other semi-finalists included student groups from the Eastman School of Music, the Peabody Conservatory of Music, Yale University, and Cornell University.
Beneath Suspicion also garnered an Honorable Mention Finalist award for Professor Ayers for his work as a composer in the American Prize for Composition—Opera competition. Ayers won the inaugural American Prize in 2011, and has had seven compositions advance to the finals in the past five years.
Beneath Suspicion is based on a true, little-known story of two daring Richmond women, one a middle-aged, wealthy, white abolitionist and the other a freed slave barely in her 20s, who played on prevailing gender and racial stereotypes to fight slavery by spying for the Union during the Civil War.