Nan Harrison Washburn, entering her 15th season as Music Director and Conductor of the Michigan Philharmonic, has been named the 2013 winner of The American Prize in Conducting – Professional Orchestra Division, according to Philharmonic management on September 19, 2013.
“Ms. Washburn was selected from applications reviewed this summer from all across the United States,” said The American Prize organization in a statement. The American Prize is a series of competitions unique in scope and structure designed to recognize and reward the best performing artists, ensembles and composers in the nation based on submitted recordings.
“These recordings confirm Nan Harrison Washburn’s excellent reputation… Her performances are sensitive, thoughtful, serious, gracious – words that mark her self-evident musicality,” commented the panel of judges in selecting Ms. Washburn as this year’s national winner.
The American Prize in Conducting for 2013 adds to the array of national recognition with which Ms. Washburn has been awarded during her career. Her diverse collection of accolades was further enhanced this past June, when she was awarded an ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming of Contemporary Music by the League of American Orchestras, the 18th time that Ms. Washburn has been honored with the award. Previously, she has received the New York Women Composers’ Distinguished Service Award, the Girl Scout Role Model Award, KQED San Francisco’s Outstanding Local Hero Award, Women in Leadership Award from the City of West Hollywood, and was recognized as an Sigma Alpha Iota National Arts Associate.
Ms. Washburn was selected for her leadership role at the Michigan Phil in 1999, having been recruited from California successes, including her dynamic tenure as Artistic Director and Conductor at the West Hollywood Orchestra. She first came to national attention as a co-founder, Artistic Director, and Associate Conductor of the San Francisco-based Women’s Philharmonic from 1980 to 1990.
“Nan Washburn [is] a conductor of many musical gifts… a rare presence…” wrote Harold Farberman, Director and Founder of the Conductors Institute and former Director of the Leopold Stokowski Competition; “[she] has earned the right to stand on the podiums in front of our finest orchestras.” Mark Stryker, Detroit Free Press Music Critic, has noted that “under the direction of conductor Nan Washburn, [the Michigan Philharmonic] remains one of the most ambitious orchestras of its size in the country.”
Ms. Washburn’s conducting can next be enjoyed live in the Detroit area on Sunday, October 6th as she conducts the Michigan Philharmonic in its season opener, “The Golden Flute.” The 2:00 p.m. matinee concert will take place at the Village Theater at Cherry Hill in Canton, MI. Tickets can be purchased by phone at (724) 451-2112, or online at the orchestra’s website, michiganphil.org.