David Katz, chief judge
David Katz is proud to serve as Chief Judge of The American Prize. One of the most versatile artists of his generation, Mr. Katz brings more than thirty years of experience to this new undertaking. He is an award-winning composer, with compositions in the catalogs of G. Schirmer and Carl Fischer, among others, a professional conductor of more than sixty orchestras and opera companies in the U.S., Canada and Mexico, including the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and the Mississippi and Corpus Christi Symphonies, a playwright, author and actor now touring internationally in MUSE of FIRE, his acclaimed one-man play about the art of conducting, and an arts entrepreneur and advocate. Founder and for twelve seasons chief of the judging panel of the Friedrich Schorr Memorial Performance Prize in Voice International competition, and co-founder of Opera!Lenawee, he is founder of vocal and instrumental competitions in three states. In addition, David Katz has served as an adjudicator and clinician for the Music Educators National Conference, the American Choral Directors Association, the League of American Orchestras, the Michigan School Band and Orchestra Association and the Sorantin Competition.
David Katz holds baccalaureate and master's degrees in composition and conducting respectively, from the Hartt School of Music of the University of Hartford where he was the protégé of the great Lithuanian conductor, Vytautas Marijosius, and the first in the school's history to be awarded an Artist's Diploma in Conducting. Katz also studied for five years under Maestro Charles Bruck at the Pierre Monteux School for Conductors in Maine, and later founded Opera Maine, the Monteux Opera Festival, and the Chamber Orchestra of Maine. He has partnered such artists as Itzhak Perlman and Misha Dichter in concert and has worked with some of the greatest composers of the age, including William Schuman, Hans Werner Henze, Milton Babbitt and Elliott Carter. Former associate conductor of the Elgin Symphony Orchestra under Margaret Hillis, and for twelve years music director of the Adrian Symphony Orchestra and Opera!Lenawee in Michigan, Katz is the founding music director of the Chicago Bar Association Symphony Orchestra and Chorus and artistic director of Hat City Music Theater, Inc. Mr. Katz believes deeply in the mission of The American Prize to recognize and reward great art in this country, wherever and whenever it is made.