For release: July 28, 2011
For press information, contact Gabrielle Maxey, 901/678-2843
The University of Memphis Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Pu-Qi Jiang, placed second
in the American Prize competition for Orchestra Performance (college/university).
The University of Michigan Symphony Orchestra won first place; the Ithaca College
Symphony Orchestra finished third.
Orchestras competing in the American Prize submit a DVD rather than performing live.
The U of M Symphony recorded Gustav Mahler’s Symphony #2 (Resurrection) at Germantown Performing Arts Centre earlier this year. The orchestra’s 84 musicians
were joined by the University Singers for the 60-minute performance.
Jiang chose Mahler’s symphony in recognition of the 100th anniversary of the Austrian composer’s death in 1911. Mahler also was the subject
of Jiang’s doctoral dissertation 20 years ago. Jiang also conducted the premier of
the new Chinese-language version of Mahler’s symphonic piece The Song of the Earth in Shanghai in 2005.
“The symphony orchestra’s second place award in the American Prize competition clearly
demonstrates the high quality of the education a student receives in music at the
University of Memphis,” said Dr. Richard Ranta, dean of the College of Communication
and Fine Arts. “Just as everyone is proud of the achievements of the Tiger basketball
players, everyone should be proud to know that University of Memphis students can
receive as high a level of academic instruction and achievement here as at any other
Dr. Randal Rushing, director of the Rudi E. Scheidt School of Music, agreed. “The
fact that our orchestra even attempted a work as monumental as the Mahler Symphony #2 is in itself quite a feat,” he said. “The fact that Maestro Jiang and the orchestra
received such a prize is especially gratifying; it is a clear reflection of the hard
work and talent of our students and faculty.”
The American Prize is a series of new, non-profit national competitions providing
cash awards, professional adjudication, and regional, national and international recognition
for the best recorded performances of music by ensembles and individuals in the United
States at the professional, college/university, church, community, and secondary school
The U of M symphony will be featured in the University’s Centennial Kick-Off Concert
on Sept. 30 at the Cannon Center for the Performing Arts.