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The mission of the ACDA is to inspire excellence in choral music through education, performance, composition, and advocacy.


Location: Connecticut, USA
For immediate release: March 17, 2014
Contact: David Katz, chief judge of The American Prize, telephone: 203 746-2694

Categories for professional, college/university, school and community ensembles and their leaders.
April 7th is the extended postmark deadline for conductors, directors, administrators and their ensembles to apply for The American Prize, 2014, the national, non-profit competitions in performing arts. Since 2010, The American Prize has provided evaluation, recognition and reward to America’s finest performing artists and composers. The American Prize is unique—the only national, nonprofit competitions in the performing arts based solely on the evaluation of commercial and noncommercial CD and DVD recordings. The American Prize has awarded more than $25,000 in prize money in all categories since 2010.
  • No live competition. The American Prize judges recorded performance only.
  • No age limits.
  • Separate divisions for professional, college/university, community, or high school age ensembles & their conductors & directors.
  • Few repertoire restrictions.
  • Expert written evaluations to all contestants who rank “finalist” or higher.
  • Personalized certificates to all participants.
  • Cash prizes up to $500.
  • Published timelines for the announcement of semi-finalists, finalists and winners.
  • 1-page application form.
  • Low application fees.
  • Not-for-profit organization.
Complete information, application forms, biographies of judges and past winners:
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 schools and churches, in colleges and universities, and by community and professional musicians.
In an age when the performing arts are more marginalized than ever before and media coverage harder than ever to get, The American Prize provides the visibility and recognition conductors and their organizations need to stand out from the rest.
Winners of The American Prize receive cash awards, award certificates, and unbiased written evaluations from our national panel of distinguished judges, but more importantly, laureates of The American Prize at all levels of achievement derive local, regional and national recognition to help generate jobs, build audiences and sustain careers.
2014 National Competitions for Conductors and Ensembles:
    The American Prize in Conducting &
    The American Prize in Ensemble Performance
                    band/wind ensemble
                    music theater
                    orchestral programming
                    arts administration/marketing

Postmark Deadline Extended to Monday, April 7, 2014

Applicants need not prepare a special recording for The American Prize. A previous recording, whether of a concert made in front of an audience or one created in a recording session without an audience, is perfectly acceptable. Neither the location nor the repertoire of any qualified individual or ensemble limits eligibility, provided the general guidelines have been met. Excellence within categories is the primary criteria for the selection of finalists and winners. The competitions are open to US citizens living in this country or abroad and others studying or working in the U.S. There is no restriction against previous winners re-applying.
Complete information:
Questions: please email
The American Prize seeks to fill the gap that leaves many excellent artists and ensembles struggling for visibility and viability. It 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 was the founder and for twelve years chief judge of the Friedrich Schorr Memorial Performance Prize in Voice international competition.
“Many excellent artists will never win a Grammy award, or a Pulitzer, or a Tony, or perhaps ever 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.”
The American Prize avoids bias through its unique structure. “People sometimes ask how a community symphony can possibly compete with a professional orchestra. They don’t. Non-professional orchestras have their own category, as do professionals, faith based and school ensembles,” Katz said. Within each category, The American Prize takes into account the size of the ensemble and the community it’s from. Judges of The American Prize are charged to recognize and reward quality wherever it is found: whether it is an extraordinary performance by a community orchestra in a tiny Midwestern town, or a remarkable church, college or high school choir in the South, East or Far West.
“Any musician worthy of the name knows excellence when he hears it, regardless of its pedigree,” Katz said, “The American Prize will tell you about it.”
Joining Katz in selecting winners of The American Prize is a panel of judges as varied in background and experience and as geographically diverse as Katz hopes the winners of The American Prize to be. Made up of distinguished musicians representing every region of the country, the group includes choral, wind, opera and orchestral conductors of professional, school, community and faith-based ensembles, tenured professors and orchestral, wind, choral and vocal musicians.
Application fees for The American Prize are $40 for individuals, $70 for ensembles, far less than the costs associated with traveling to adjudicated music festivals. Financial awards range up to $500, depending on the category and the number of applicants. In addition to cash prizes and commentary from judges, winners will be profiled on The American Prize website, with video and audio links to winning performances.
“Winning prize money is good, of course,” Katz said, “but the rewards of The American Prize are more than financial. By shining a light on nationally recognized achievement, winners of The American Prize get world-class bragging rights to use in promotion right at home. If The American Prize builds local pride, or helps increase the audience, or grows the donor base, or stimulates recruitment for winning ensembles and their conductors, then we have fulfilled our mission.”
The American Prize is administered by Hat City Music Theater, Inc., a non- profit performing arts organization based in Danbury, Connecticut. Complete information, including competition guidelines, application forms and judges’ bios may be found on the website:
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