December 17, 2004

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Eastman Office of Communications, 585-274-1050

Rochester, NY — Four talented vocalists, all students at the Eastman School of Music, walked away winners in the annual voice competition sponsored recently by the Friends of Eastman Opera (FEO) — a membership organization that supports Eastman Opera Theatre in the Rochester community.

The competition, held November 20 in Kilbourn Hall, continues to build its reputation of recognizing rising stars. This year’s event featured nine Eastman voice students who, upon successfully completing a preliminary round earlier this month, each sang two prepared vocal works, vying for bragging rights and cash prizes totaling nearly $2,000. Robert L. Larsen, artistic director of Des Moines Metro Opera, served as guest adjudicator.

Bass Marc Webster, a Rochester native, placed first in this year’s competition, and was awarded the Lynne Clarke Vocal Prize (in the amount of $800), named in honor of the late wife of founding FEO board member John Clarke. Webster is a first year master’s student at Eastman and is a student of Carol Webber. Second prize ($500) went to baritone Munenori Sugitani, and third prize ($400) was awarded to soprano Annamarie Zmolek. Both Sugitani and Zmolek are students of Robert Swensen. Mezzo-soprano Margaret Gawrysiak, another student of Carol Webber, received a prize for honorable mention ($200).