St. Olaf College | News

St. Olaf Orchestra wins the American Prize

Orchestra300x450The St. Olaf Orchestra, conducted by Steven Amundson, is the 2013 winner of the American Prize in Orchestral Performance.

The American Prize is a series of nonprofit competitions designed to recognize and reward the best performing artists, ensembles, and composers in the United States based on submitted recordings. The St. Olaf Orchestra bested the Ithaca College Symphony Orchestra and the Mannes Orchestra, among other ensembles, to take this year’s top prize.

“It’s humbling to think that this liberal arts college orchestra can compete favorably with so many reputable conservatory and university programs,” Amundson says, noting that the support of his colleagues makes that possible.

“We at St. Olaf are blessed with an amazing community of gifted and devoted students who embrace music-making as an embodiment of our shared humanity. I believe this enables a certain depth of spirit, passion, and emotional conviction that is rare in college orchestras. My students are a daily source of inspiration, and I’m so proud of them,” he adds.

The American Prize judges agreed, praising the St. Olaf Orchestra’s “technically brilliant, exciting performances” for being “full of life.”

The 92-member St. Olaf Orchestra has been featured on NPR and PBS as well as on Garrison Keillor’s A Prairie Home Companion. The ensemble, comprised entirely of full-time undergraduate students, has toured annually for nearly 65 years.