The American Prize National Nonprofit Competitions in the Performing Arts is the nation's most comprehensive series of contests in the performing arts. The American Prize is unique in scope and structure, designed to recognize and reward the best performing artists, directors, ensembles and composers in the United States at professional, college/university, community and high school levels, based on submitted recordings. Now in its 12th year, The American Prize has awarded more than $100,000 since its founding and is offered annually in many areas of the performing arts. Thousands of artists from all 50 states have derived benefit from their participation in the contests of The American Prize, representing hundreds of communities and arts organizations across the nation.

“We submitted works, recorded by the Symphony Orchestra within the past two years, by North Carolina-based composer Steven Landis and Latin American composer Eddie Mora,” Víquez said. “We were delighted to send recordings that featured new music written by living composers, not the usual Mozart, Bach or Beethoven that people would expect orchestras to play. USD Symphony Orchestra is a prestigious ensemble that endeavors and takes the lead in the performance of contemporary music in the Midwest.”

The USD Symphony Orchestra has been recognized at the national level in The American Prize - Celebrating Excellence in the Performing Arts, as a finalist for the 2021 Ernst Bacon Memorial Award for the Performance of American Music and the 2021 Vytautas Marijosius Memorial Award in Orchestral Programming. Since 2016, the Symphony Orchestra has performed under the direction of Víquez, earning recognition as one of the most prominent collegiate orchestral ensembles of the Upper Midwest.

“I am so proud of my students,” Víquez said. “To me, they are not just my students, they are my young colleagues whose talent and dedication are crucial for our Symphony Orchestra to receive this national recognition. I am always amazed by the wide diversity of students coming from different backgrounds and a wide variety of majors who speak all the same language once performing with the orchestra. We are included among other prestigious professional orchestras and orchestral programs that are bigger than ours, and for us to take the national stage demonstrates that the music faculty and students are doing outstanding creative research activities at our institution.”

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