Doctoral conducting student Anna Edwards and the community orchestra she founded this past year in partial fulfillment of her degree requirements were recognized recently with top honors in the 2013 American Prize competitions.
Edwards placed second in the community orchestra conducting division and her Seattle Collaborative Orchestra placed second in the orchestral performance competition for community orchestras. The competitions, hosted annually by the non-proft Hat City Music Theater in Danbury, Conn., confer cash awards, professional adjudication, and regional, national, and international recognition for the best recorded performances by American ensembles and artists at the professional, college/university, church, community, and secondary school levels.
The Seattle Collaborative Orchestra, a multi-generational group of musicians from three centers of Seattle’s classical music community—Roosevelt High School, the University of Washington, and Seattle Symphony Orchestra (SSO)—performed Rachmaninoff’s Symphonic Dances and other works to a capacity audience at Roosevelt’s performance auditorium in its public debut last October and staged a second performance in April of works by Ravel, Barber, and Poulenc.
Edwards’ connections to all three music organizations run deep. Her studies at UW bring her into daily contact with many former students from Roosevelt High School, where she has been director of the school’s award-winning orchestra for thirteen years. Under her direction, the Roosevelt Orchestra has performed with Seattle Symphony members in several side-by-side concerts, most recently in 2012.
A violinist with Auburn Symphony Orchestra, Edwards also has worked for many years with the Seattle Youth Symphony program, conducting the Symphonette Symphony Orchestra for 8 years (1997-2005) and the Festival String Orchestra for the Marrowstone-In-The-City summer music program for students ages seven to ffteen.
Seattle Collaborative Orchestra member Rachel Swerdlow, a violist with the Seattle Symphony, wrote about her experience working with the group in an article posted to Seattle Symphony’s website. “The common denominator in the group was Anna herself as every one of us had experienced her love of music in one form or another,” she wrote. “One of my Symphony colleagues told me that she was his frst youth symphony conductor when he was a little kid growing up in Seattle.”
The group’s next performance is set for February 4, 2014, and features violinist Maria Larianoff and violist Stephanie Chase performing Bruch’s Double Concerto for Violin & Viola, among other works.
For more information on the Seattle Collaborative Orchestra, visit www.seattlecollaborativeorchestra.org.