Among a field of very strong contenders that included many who program new music on a regular basis (especially within college and university music departments), the focus fell to conductors who take courageous chances, giving over large portions of their programs to unusual (but not necessarily new) repertoire, while balancing it with standard works or composers in ways that appear natural on the page, or who include less common names or pieces on their concerts as a matter of course, or who seem to make “adventure” part of the regular experience for their orchestras and audiences. All these approaches honor the memory of Maestro Vytautas Marijosius, for whom the prize is awarded.
From David Katz, chief judge: “For nearly thirty five years Director of Orchestral Activities at the Hartt School, Vytautas Marijosius programmed concerts that were alive in every sense—not programming for novelty’s sake alone, nor neglecting the great masters of the past—but always bringing to the awareness of his students and his audience great composers of the current time and potential masters of the future. I believe he would be pleased in different ways with each of the four honorees listed below.”
(Additional information about the programs and programming philosophies of the 2011 winner and runners-up will be published soon.)
The American Prize in Orchestral Programming—Vytautas Marijosius Memorial Award:
Donald L. Appert, music director/conductor, Oregon Sinfonietta, Portland, OR
Donald Appert has been Music Director/Conductor of the Clark College Orchestra since 1990. He has guest conducted orchestras in Europe, Central America, Japan and Australia. Currently he is a Professor of Music and Head of the Music Department at Clark College in Vancouver, Washington. In addition he is the Music Director/Conductor of the Oregon Sinfonietta in Portland, Oregon and the Sanctuary Choir Director for the First United Methodist Church of Vancouver, Washington.
David Leibowitz, music director of the New York Repertory Orchestra, New York, NY, placed second.
Jeffery Meyer, director of orchestral activities of the Ithaca College Orchestras, Ithaca, NY, placed third.
Peter Freisinger, music director and conductor of the Freisinger Chamber Orchestra, Boston, MA, received an Honorable Mention.