Skip to main content

SDSU Wind Symphony receives two national recognitions

The South Dakota Wind Symphony performs on stage in the Oscar Larson Performing Arts Center.

The South Dakota State University Wind Symphony has received two national recognitions from The American Prize National Nonprofit Competitions in the Performing Arts. 

Judged against ensembles from across the United States, the group received second-place honors for the Ernst Bacon Memorial Award for the Performance of American Music and third-place honors in the Outstanding Wind Ensemble/Concert Band Performance category. 

Eleven ensembles nationwide were named semifinalists for The American Prize in Outstanding Wind Ensemble/Concert Band Performance, and 17 ensembles nationwide were named semifinalists for the Ernst Bacon Memorial Award for the Performance of American Music. 

Founded in 2009, The American Prize is a series of national nonprofit competitions that “evaluates, recognizes and rewards the best performers, ensembles, composers, directors and administrators in the United States,” according to the series website. The competitions in the performing arts have presented more than $125,000 in prizes to performers nationwide since 2010. 

The American Prize “grew from the belief that a great deal of excellent music being made in this country goes unrecognized and unheralded,” making the awards more than just monetary. The recognitions build audiences and sustain careers. 

These awards and prizes are given to performers in a variety of fields such as solo, chamber ensemble and large ensemble performance, conducting, opera and musical theatre direction, composition and artistic achievement. The fields are divided into categories that represent amateur, professional and educational participation. 

To be considered for recognition, video recordings are submitted for review by a panel of experts in the field. Led by professional conductor, award-winning composer and maestro David Katz, judges come from a variety of backgrounds to provide diversity in geographical location and expertise. The entire process takes a little over a year. 

For the SDSU Wind Symphony, recordings from performances in spring 2022 were submitted by Jacob Wallace, associate professor of music and director of concert bands. 

While this was the first year SDSU has applied for awards and received recognition, Wallace was named the winner of The American Prize in Conducting in 2019. 

“Recognition at this national level shows that the SDSU School of Performing Arts and the band program at SDSU are thriving,” Wallace said. “The faculty and staff are doing remarkable work teaching our students, and in turn those students are buying in to the process that allows them to demonstrate their performance excellence. It shows that we’re on the rise and building a national reputation for artistic achievement.”



You may republish SDSU News Center articles for free, online or in print. Questions? Contact us at or 605-688-6161.