The American Prize National Nonprofit Competitions

in the Performing Arts

Hailed as “a musician’s musician” by Copland Award-winning composer, Judith Lang Zaimont, David Volosin Katz is one of the nation’s most versatile performing artists. Professional conductor, award-winning composer, acclaimed playwright and actor, arts entrepreneur, arts advocate and educator, Katz was recently honored with the Hartt Alumni Award, presented by his alma mater, The Hartt School of the University of Hartford, for creating and sustaining The American Prize National Nonprofit Competitions in the Performing Arts. Katz has also been honored by Musical America International as a “Top Professional of the Year” for his work spearheading the creation of The American Prize. (To read Maestro Katz's comments on receiving the Hartt Alumni Award, entitled "A Short Rage Against the Machine," please follow this pdf link.)


Founder and for twelve seasons chief of the judging panel of the Friedrich Schorr Memorial Performance Prize in Voice international competition, (now part of The American Prize family of contests), Katz is the creator 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. Mr. Katz brings more than forty years of professional experience to The American Prize undertaking.


David Katz has led more than sixty orchestras and opera companies throughout the U.S., Canada and Mexico as guest conductor, including concerts conducting the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, the Mississippi Symphony, the Corpus Christi Symphony, the Oregon Mozart Players, the Bellas Artes Chamber Orchestra (Mexico City), the Otsu Philharmonic (Japan), and conducting appearances with the orchestras of Pensacola (FL), San Angelo, Garland, Victoria and Las Colinas (all in Texas), as well as symphony orchestras and opera companies in Maine, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Ohio, Michigan, Illinois, Arkansas, Wyoming, Oregon, Quebec, Ontario and Saskatchewan, among many others.

About to complete his 38th season as the founding music director of The Chicago Bar Association Symphony Orchestra, Katz has led Chicagoland’s unique all-lawyer ensemble more than 150 times during his long tenure, including three appearances at Orchestra Hall / Symphony Center, home of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Katz’s repertoire with the CBASO ranges from Trial By Jury, (the first performances of Gilbert & Sullivan’s courthouse operetta ever presented in a working courtroom with a cast and orchestra made up entirely of legal professionals) to major orchestral and choral-orchestral works by Beethoven, Brahms, Britten, Bruckner, Dvorak, Haydn, Mahler, Mendelssohn, Mozart, Poulenc, Respighi, Rossini, Shostakovich, Tchaikovsky and scores of others, including the music of no fewer than six laureate composers of The American Prize.


Former associate conductor of the Elgin (IL) Symphony Orchestra under music director Margaret Hillis, for twelve years music director of the Adrian (MI) Symphony Orchestra, and co-founder of the professional OPERA!Lenawee in Lenawee County, Michigan, Katz was honored by the Governor of Michigan for his service to the arts in his adpoted state. He is currently chairman and artistic director of Hat City Music Theater, Inc., in Connecticut, with whom he has conducted many opera and orchestra performances. HCMT serves as the 501(c) 3 nonprofit administrator of The American Prize contests.


Professional playwright and actor, Katz tours internationally in his own acclaimed one-man play, , about the secrets of conducting. He has presented the play more than sixty times throughout the Midwest, Northeast, and in Canada, in an extended engagement in Chicago, for the Conductors Guild, the College Orchestra Directors Association, the Pierre Monteux School, the Conductors Retreat at Medomak, the Maine Center for the Arts, the University of Michigan, the University of Maine, Acadia University, Malone University, and Bates, Adrian and Hillsdale Colleges, and for orchestras and theater companies in Connecticut, New Jersey, Maine, Illinois, Michigan, Kentucky and Wisconsin, among dozens of other performances. MUSE of FIRE was the last play directed by famed Tony Award-winning actor and director Charles Nelson Reilly. Two books by David Katz, Muse of Fire: A Symposium on the Art of Conducting, and One is Down!, a companion volume of stories about the legendary (and notorious) conducting pedagogue, Charles Burck, will be published by Del Gatto Press. Katz is also at work on Wonderful Counsellor, a memoir about more than three decades of music-making with Chicago lawyers. A volume about the art of orchestra programming, called “114 Programs” is also planned.


David Volosin Katz holds baccalaureate and master’s degrees in composition (B.M.) and conducting (M.M.) from The Hartt School of the University of Hartford. He was a student of the great Lithuanian maestro, , where he was the first in the school’s history to be awarded an Artist’s Diploma in Conducting. Katz also studied for five years under 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.


David has partnered such artists as Itzhak Perlman, Misha Dichter, Lorin Hollander and Simone DInnerstein in concert, and worked with some of the greatest twentieth century composers, including William Schuman, Hans Werner Henze, Milton Babbitt and Elliott Carter. Katz’s own compositions have been performed by members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, commissioned by the Elgin Symphony, honored by the National Federation of Music Clubs, and are published by Carl Fischer, G. Schirmer, and J.S. Palach, among others. His first opera, Light of the Eye, received a special award in the Brooklyn College Opera competition.


David Katz is deeply committed to the mission of The American Prize, to recognize and reward great art and artists in this country, wherever and whenever they are found.


The triple portrait (detail) “Maestro Katz conducts Beethoven” by Diana Cutrone (2005)