February 10, 2010

More Information:
For Media Only: Helene Snihur (585-274-1057, hsnihur@esm.rochester.edu)
For The Public: 585-274-1110

Eastman Hosts Regional, Final Rounds of Annual Lotte Lenya Competition

Eight Eastman singers—students and alumni—will participate in regional auditions UPDATED Feb. 11, 2010

The Eastman School of Music will again host one of the live regional auditions as well as the finals of the annual Lotte Lenya Competition, giving local audiences plenty of opportunities to catch the rising stars of musical theater.

Twenty-two singing actors, including eight Eastman singers, will audition beginning at noon on Saturday, Feb. 20, in Kilbourn Hall in one of only two live audition rounds for the competition. The other live auditions are being held in New York City March 12 through 14. Contestants are also able to audition by submitting DVDs.

The Lotte Lenya Competition is an internationally recognized theater singing competition sponsored by the Kurt Weill Foundation for Music in Manhattan. Named in honor of the German composer’s wife — the foremost interpreter of his music — the competition was founded in 1998 by Kim Kowalke, the Richard L. Turner Professor in Humanities at the University of Rochester, professor of musicology at the Eastman School, and president of the Kurt Weill Foundation.

Eastman singers who will be competing in Kilbourn Hall on Feb. 20 are junior Natalie Ballenger; seniors Kendra Berentsen, Sarah Franz, and Trevor Strader; master’s degree student Savanna Sokolnicki; and Eastman alumni O’Neill Haynes, Paul Hopper, and Julia Teitel. They will be joined by 14 other contestants who are coming from as far away as Houston, Texas, and Trondheim, Norway. The judge for the local live audition is John Lucas, professor emeritus of theater at Brown University and a director of hundreds of productions of musical theater and opera.

The final round of the Lotte Lenya Competition will be held on Saturday, April 17, in Kilbourn Hall. All rounds are free and open to the public.

Now in its 13th year, the competition has drawn increasing numbers of applicants and bigger audiences each year. In 2009, a standing-room-only crowd filled Kilbourn Hall for the finals, when Berlin-based singer/actor Alen Hodzovic became the first German to ever win the Lotte Lenya Competition. This year, approximately 220 singers, including 42 from such foreign countries as Australia, Austria, Croatia, Finland, Germany, Italy, Spain, and others, will be considered in the audition round.

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Calendar Listings:

Saturday, February 20
Lotte Lenya Competition Preliminary Round. Regional auditions for the annual musical theater repertoire competition.
Noon
Kilbourn Hall, 26 Gibbs St.
Free

Saturday, April 17   
Lotte Lenya Competition Finals, Round One
11 a.m.
Kilbourn Hall, 26 Gibbs St.
Free    

Saturday, April 17   
Lotte Lenya Competition Finals, Evening Concert
8 p.m.
Kilbourn Hall, 26 Gibbs St.
Free