Western Illinois University Singers Take First Place in American Music Prize


The Western Illinois University Singers were named the first national co-winners of the American American Music Prize (college / university division), winning the coveted Ernst Bacon Memorial American Music Prize for their performance of “Considering

University singers Fall 2018

Matthew Shepard.

Ensembles of all types (instrumental, stage and vocal) and of all levels, from high school to professional, from across the United States, submitted recordings in late April 2020. From these recordings, a national panel of judges has selected the semi-finalists, finalists and finally winners in each category.

“I could not be more honored and proud to accept this award on behalf of all of those who have worked hard on this project,” said WIU Director of Choral Activities Brian J. Winnie. “Composer Craig Hella Johnson also expresses his pride in the performance of the WIU Singers. We spent an hour with the composer on Zoom during the process to discuss his compositional perspective and how it relates to Matthew’s story. This work was so important to us, and we were honored to be one of the first ensembles to perform the work in its entirety. Congratulations to all the singers at Western Illinois University, past and present, for touching the lives of so many people with this performance. “

The American Prize is a national competition in the performing arts providing professional judgment and regional, national and international recognition for the best performances recorded by ensembles and individuals each year in the United States at vocational schools, colleges / university, religious, community and secondary. levels. The National US Prize in the Performing Arts competitions are the most comprehensive series of classical art competitions in the country.

Ernst Bacon (1898-1990) was one of that pioneering generation of composers who, along with Thomson, Copland, Harris and others, found a voice for American music. Winner of a Pulitzer Fellowship (for his Symphony in D minor) and no less than three Guggenheim Fellowships, Bacon set out to create compositions that express the vitality and assertiveness of our country. It is fitting and with honor that The American Prize creates an annual Bacon Memorial Prize, recognizing the best performances of American orchestral music around the world. To learn more about Bacon’s music and legacy, visit the Ernst Bacon Company.

Western Illinois University Singers Take First Place in American Music Prize

Sean Leary is an author, director, artist, musician, producer and entrepreneur who has written professionally since his debut at the age of 11 in the pages of the Comics Buyers Guide. A graduate with honors from the University of Southern California’s master’s program, he has written over 50 books, including best-selling books The Arimathean, Every Number is Lucky to Someone, and We Are All Characters.


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