Dear ChoralNet colleagues:
As promised, here is information about the new prizes and categories in The American Prize college/university ensemble divisions, including choruses. These changes go into effect for the 2020-21 contest year.
A reminder that the covid-extended email/postmark deadline to apply for the 2020-21 contests of The American Prize is Wednesday, October 14, 2020. Even if your materials will not be fully ready by that time (perhaps your recording is still being mastered) we encourage you to complete as much of the application process by then as you can. If it is incomplete, simply let us know in the email when you anticipate sending the remaining portion. We continue to try to be as flexible as we possibly can during the difficult time. Please write to us with questions at
I wish you all safety and health during this time.
David Katz, founder and chief judge
NEW PRIZES / CATEGORIES in COLLEGE / UNIVERSITY Ensemble Divisions
In an effort to provide additional prizes and to better judge “like with like” we have made major changes to the COLLEGE / UNIVERSITY ensemble divisions for BAND, CHORUS and ORCHESTRA performance, OPERA production, MUSICAL THEATER production, and DIRECTING for 2020-21.
Replacing the COLLEGE / UNIVERSITY division is a new division to be known as “HIGHER EDUCATION,” with separate designations and separate contests for “Larger” and “Smaller” programs. Applicants are now asked on the application form itself to self-designate based on the size of their program (not necessarily the size of their institution). This change, just announced, will be in place for contests in 2020-21. Ensemble programs that have already applied for 2020-21 will be contacted by The American Prize office to ask them to designate their program size for this year’s judging.
This change was encouraged by a number of judges on our national panel, who seek as much as possible to judge “like with like.” Although we understand there are almost as many different ensemble situations as there are music programs in academic institutions throughout the country, it was clear that a simple division of “college” or “university” does not provide enough of an option. Some contestants from universities have few (or no) majors, and smaller programs. Some colleges have very large ensembles and established programs. By asking applicants to self-designate based on their own situation, we hope to attract more applicants, provide more encouragement through additional prizes and rankings, and offer more useful feedback.