CCM Horn Professor wins The American Prize in Instrumental Performance

Denise Tryon won the 2022 American Prize in Instrumental Performance in the professional division

UC College-Conservatory of Music Associate Professor of Horn Denise Tryon is the 2022 winner of The American Prize in Instrumental Performance in the professional division. Tryon was selected from applications reviewed from all across the United States. 

The American Prize National Nonprofit Competitions in the Performing Arts is the nation's most comprehensive series of contests in the performing arts. The American Prize is unique in scope and structure, designed to recognize and reward the best performing artists, directors, ensembles and composers in the United States at professional, college/university, community and high school levels, based on submitted recordings. Now in its 12th year, The American Prize was founded in 2010 and is awarded annually in many areas of the performing arts. Thousands of artists from all 50 states have derived benefit from their participation in the contests of The American Prize, representing hundreds of communities and arts organizations across the nation. 

Winners of The American Prize receive cash prizes, professional adjudication and regional, national and international recognition based on recorded performances. In addition to monetary rewards and written evaluations from judges, winners are profiled on The American Prize websites, where links will lead to video and audio excerpts of artist performances. 

Tryon joined CCM as the Associate Professor of Horn in 2018. She served as Horn Professor of the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore from 2007-19. In 2019, Tryon became the fourth horn of the world renowned American Horn Quartet. Previously, Tryon was fourth horn of the Philadelphia Orchestra (2009-17), the Detroit Symphony (2003-09) and second horn of the Baltimore Symphony (2000-03).

Tryon graduated from the famed Interlochen Arts Academy and in 1993 received her Bachelor of Music degree from the New England Conservatory of Music (NEC) in Boston. She received the Presidential Scholarship while in the Artist Diploma Program at NEC with the Taiyo Wind Quintet. Tryon has released three albums, SO•LOW (2015), A Pair of Aces (2017) and Hope Springs Eternal (2020). These albums include 10 new commissions focusing on the low tessitura of the horn. Learn more on her professional website.

The American Prize National Nonprofit Competitions in the Performing Arts 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.

With the performing arts in America marginalized like never before, The American Prize seeks to fill the gap that leaves excellent artists and ensembles struggling for visibility and viability. The American Prize recognizes and rewards the best America produces, without bias against small city versus large, or unknown artist versus well-known.

David Katz is the chief judge of The American Prize. Professional conductor, award-winning composer, playwright, actor and arts advocate, he is author of MUSE of FIRE, the acclaimed one-man play about the art of conducting. Joining Katz in selecting winners of The American Prize is a panel of judges as varied in background and experience as we hope the winners of The American Prize will be. Made up of distinguished musicians representing virtually every region of the country, the group includes professional vocalists, conductors, composers and pianists, tenured professors, and orchestra, band and choral musicians.

“Most artists may never win a Grammy award, or a Pulitzer, or a Tony, or perhaps even be nominated,” Katz said, “but that does not mean that they are not worthy of recognition and reward. Quality in the arts is not limited to a city on each coast, or to the familiar names, or only to graduates of a few schools. It is on view all over the United States, if you take the time to look for it. The American Prize exists to encourage and herald that excellence.”

By shining a light on nationally recognized achievement, winners of The American Prize receive world-class bragging rights to use in promotion right at home. “If The American Prize helps build careers, or contributes to local pride, or assists with increasing the audience for an artist or ensemble, builds the donor base, or stimulates opportunities or recruitment for winning artists and ensembles, then we have fulfilled our mission,” Katz said.

The American Prize is administered by Hat City Music Theater, Inc., a 501(c)3 non-profit performing arts organization based in Danbury, Connecticut. Learn more at

About CCM Horn Studies

CCM offers a very comprehensive course of study for all horn students from freshman through doctoral levels. Our studio consists of 20 to 25 students from the US and abroad with approximately equal distribution of undergraduate and graduate students.

Students are thoroughly prepared to meet their professional goals, whether those goals are in performance or the academic world. We foster an attitude where intensely focused and purposeful study, structured to realize each student's musical potential, is conducted in a cooperative and friendly environment of very highly talented aspiring professionals. We believe in a "win-win" environment in which students help each other to succeed.

A few examples of professional organizations where CCM horn studio alumni have won positions include orchestras of Indianapolis, Buffalo, Edmonton, Honolulu, Louisville, Toledo, Dayton, Germany, Switzerland, Mexico, Taiwan and China; the Washington DC Air Force, Navy, Army and Marine Bands; theatrical touring companies; academic appointments at University of Wisconsin at Oshkosh, Wright State University, Christopher Newport University and K-12 teaching positions.

CCM hornists have been members of the Verbier Festival Orchestra and Chicago Civic Orchestra, performed with the New World Symphony, won awards and honors at International Horn Society and International Women's Brass Conference workshops, and have been winners and honors recipients at solo competitions such as the International Horn Competition of America, Paxman Young Horn Player of the Year Competition and the Yamaha Young Artists Competition. Our horn students are engaged periodically as extras with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra. They also perform regularly with regional orchestras in Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, West Virginia and Tennessee.

Next Lives Here

At the University of Cincinnati, we realize the impact our teaching, research, artistry and service can have on our community and the world. So, we don’t wait for change to happen. We break boundaries, boldly imagine and create what’s Next. To us, today’s possibilities spark tomorrow’s reality. That’s why we are leading urban public universities into a new era of innovation and impact, and that's how we are defining Next for the performing and media arts.

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We are UC. Welcome to what's Next.

Additional Contacts

Curt Whitacre | Director of Marketing/Communications | UC College-Conservatory of Music

| 513-556-2683