The American Prize, 2024-25
Vytautas Marijosius Memorial Award in Orchestral Programming

The American Prize—Vytautas Marijosius Memorial Award in Orchestral Programming honors the memory of the great Lithuanian conductor, Maestro Vytautas Marijosius, music director of the Lithuanian State Opera, and for nearly thirty-five years Director of Orchestral Activities at the Hartt School of Music. The Prize recognizes and rewards the best achievement in the unique field of orchestral programming, where the selection of repertoire by knowledgeable, creative and courageous music directors builds orchestras and audiences, educates young people and adults, and enriches the community.

The American Prize is more than monetary. The Prize grew from the belief that a great deal of excellent music being made in this country goes unrecognized and unheralded, not only in our major cities, but all across the country...in schools and churches, in colleges and universities, and by community and professional musicians. Laureates of The American Prize at all levels of achievement derive local, regional and national recognition to help generate jobs, build audiences and sustain careers. Semi-finalists, finalists and winners are announced to national arts media and on our websites, where winners are profiled. Semi-finalists, finalists and winners earn the right to use The American Prize logo and official seal on printed programs and other documents, and on the web. Thousands of artists have derived benefit from their participation in the contests of The American Prize.

SEMI-FINALISTS: All semi-finalists receive official certificates.

FINALISTS and RUNNERS-UP: All finalists receive certificates and short comments about their audition. Runners-up receive certificates and written, unbiased evaluations from our distinguished national panel of judges. When winners are announced on The American Prize blog, RUNNERS-UP are also profiled on the blog with their photos, biographies and website links.

WINNERS: A single winner in each category and/or division is selected. Winners receive certificates, written evaluations, personalized press releases sent by us to local media and other contacts you provide as part of your application, and cash prizes up to $500, depending on the year, the category and the number of entrants. Only with your explicit permission, excerpts of winning performances may be posted to The American Prize channel on

The judges reserve the right to award citations and honorable mentions as warranted, and to combine categories when necessary. The decision of the judges is final.



PRELIMINARY DEADLINE: Tuesday, May 28, 2024, with extensions available by email request. Questions? Email: theamericanprize@gmail.com

The American Prize—Vytautas Marijosius Memorial Award in Orchestral Programming, recognizes and rewards orchestra music directors in America who, in the opinion of the judges, have created the best season of orchestral concerts during a past year in the United States. The Award may be offered in as many as four categories, depending on the number and quality of entries. You may make separate applications in as many categories as you are eligible, and may apply additionally for conducting prizes for yourself, or performances prizes for your ensemble. (See Conducting Prizes, the Bacon Award for the Performance of American Music, and Orchestral Performance Prizes.)

The categories for the Orchestral Programming Award are:
    1. professional orchestra (all musicians are paid)
    2. community orchestra (some musicians may be paid/some may be students)
    3. college/university orchestra (mostly students/no paid players except temporary "ringers"/faculty participation ok)
    4. youth orchestra (student membership from more than one secondary or high school or an arts magnet school)


New MARIAN ANDERSON AWARD IN SOCIAL JUSTICE: Any applicant may self-nominate for this additional award, either because of personal circumstances, or in recognition of the nature of the repertoire provided in the audition. This is a subcategory of the main contests for which a separate prize will be awarded, should there be enough entrants. There is no additional application fee required to be considered in the additional category. Simply highlight the designation on the application form. The American Prize National Nonprofit Competitions in the Performing Arts, based in Danbury, Connecticut, is honored to rename its Social Justice award in memory of the internationally acclaimed contralto and longtime Danbury resident, Marian Anderson. Henceforth to be known as The American Prize Marian Anderson Award in Social Justice, the award honors the extraordinary legacy of one of America’s greatest performing artists, while annually recognizing and rewarding The American Prize laureate who best exemplifies the singer’s courage and trailblazing fortitude as an artist of Diversity, Equality and Inclusion. Questions? Please email Maestro Katz at theamericanprize@gmail.com

The competitions of The American Prize are open to all U.S. citizens, whether living in this country or abroad, and to others who have lived, worked or studied (or are currently living, working and/or studying) in the United States of America, its protectorates and territories. The American Prize does not discriminate on the basis of ethnicity, gender, age, spiritual or personal belief, disability, sexual preference or gender identification. All application fees must be remitted in U.S. funds.


Every applicant must send certain required information by email.

Applicants can then complete their application either of two ways:


A. ONLINE ONLY: pay fees online, submit the downloaded application as a PDF or scan, along with the required emailed information (see application form), and including PDF or scanned flies of your programs and philosophy. (Application forms for The American Prize can be filled out on computer, saved and emailed by using Adobe Reader 11. Download it free here.)

B. BY MAIL & EMAIL: mail the completed, downloaded application form included program information and philosophy as hard copies, and email the required information (see application form), pay fees online, or by check, money order or credit card.


    1. Download the application form for The American Prize in Orchestral Programming. Select the category which best identifies the applicant.
    2. MAIL the completed application form by the deadline date or EMAIL it as a PDF or scan with your required email.

    3. If providing programs and philosophy ONLINE, send PDFs or scans with your required email (see application form.)

    4. If providing programs and philosophy BY MAIL, include two identical, collated copies.
    5. Be sure to sign the form and pay the application fee. Pay ONLINE (click "FEES/GIFTS" in the menu bar, above),or use this link: "Pay competition fees", or send check, money order or credit card information by mail.
    6. Be sure to email the required information (see application form.)

The application fee is $65 per application. Pay ONLINE (click "FEES/GIFTS" in the menu bar, above) or use this iink: "Pay competition fees" pay by credit card, or make checks payable to HCMT/The American Prize (see application form.) Application fees are nonrefundable. No incomplete applications will be accepted. When paying online, BE SURE to identify the applicant with the payment.

The American Prize—Vytautas Marijosius Memorial Award in Orchestral Programming: BY MAIL (see EMAIL option later in the paragragh): send two collated, chronological sets of photocopies of each of the program pages—one concert per sheet—for every concert performed by your orchestra (or related ensembles, including chamber ensembles) during any one of the 2020-21, 2021-22, 2022-23 or 2023-24 seasons, including any classical, pops, educational, run-out and other performances for which you selected the repertoire, whether conducted by you or by a guest or assistant. (Do not send the entire program book, the program notes or other material.) Do not include programs from affiliated ensembles (such as youth orchestras sponsored by your organization) unless you have personally programmed those concert seasons yourself. BY EMAIL: attach to the required email PDFs or scanned programs containing all the information requested above. If printed programs were not created for a concert, or series of concerts, you may send simple listings of individual programs, in concert order, with the date of the performance indicated.

The winner(s) will not necessarily be the conductor(s) who have programmed the most new music (although premieres and commissions may work to a music director’s advantage.) Rather, the judges seek evidence of inspiration and creativity from concert to concert, a balance of the familiar with the less well-known in interesting combinations, creating what appears to be a unified whole. You may include a written statement about the season, if you followed a particular philosophy in planning it, or, if you have a general philosophy of programming, tell us how the season’s submitted programs work to meet your goals. There are no other restrictions. No materials will be returned.

SEND required email to: theamericanprize@gmail.com

Completed applications will be confirmed by email.

GENERAL TIMELINE for this competition:

In general, the competition process is completed over a number of months. Semi-finalists are selected in-house, then finalists are announced in the winter & spring, followed by winners—after which all certificates, evaluations and prizes are mailed. Specific dates for the announcement of each stage of the competition are posted in regular updates to the competition's blog and facebook pages. Find those links on the homepage of this website.



The American Prize competitions are administered by Hat City Music Theater, Inc. (HCMT), the 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization based in Danbury, CT.