AMERICAN PRIZE - UD musicians garner national awards

AMERICAN PRIZE - UD musicians garner national awards

Four members of the University of Delaware Department of Music have been recognized with American Prize honors, which are awarded to the best in the performing arts in the United States.

The American Prize, founded by composer and conductor David Katz almost a decade ago, honors artists in categories encompassing large and small organizations, from professional orchestras and community-based ensembles to individual artists and student musicians.

Recognized this year were

• the UD Symphony Orchestra and James Allen Anderson, director of orchestral studies;

• Christopher Nichols, assistant professor of clarinet;

• Michael Knight, currently completing a temporary assignment as assistant professor of music and Wind Ensemble conductor; and

• Daniel Despins, a senior composition major.

“These awards are well-deserved and significant personal achievements, and a great distinction for the department, said Russell E. Murray Jr., who chairs the Department of Music. “They also reinforce what we already know -- that the department’s faculty and students are among the best in the nation and that a UD education in music is a great opportunity."

Instrumental performance
Christopher Nichols, assistant professor of clarinet, was honored with third place in Instrumental Performance (professional division) in the second year that the American Prize has included this category.

His submissions of Paul Harvey’s Etude After I Got Rhythm, Aurelio Magnani’s Elegia and John Cage’s Sonata for Clarinet show technical skill in the contrasting styles of jazz, lyrical and abstract.

Nichols said he agrees with Murray that the honors are a good avenue for UD to reach beyond the region and grow its national reputation. As a musician, Nichols said he always looks for opportunities to learn and advance. In addition to the recognition, he appreciates the detailed feedback and critique from the judges, and that the different divisions make the American Prize something he can encourage his own students to aim for.