Fourteen exceptionally talented young singer-actors from the United States and Europe will compete for the top prize in the finals of the 2015 Lotte Lenya competition, which will be held at the Eastman School of Music’s Kilbourn Hall on Saturday, April 18. Both the daytime finals and the evening concert are free and open to the public.
The finalists will compete for top prizes of $15,000, $10,000, and $7,500 in front of a panel of judges composed of acclaimed Broadway leading lady and Tony Award nominee Rebecca Luker, British opera musical theater conductor James Holmes, and Rodgers and Hammerstein President and American Theater Wing Vice Chairman Theodore S. Chapin.
Each finalist will present a varied program, including an opera/operetta aria, two American musical theater numbers, and a Kurt Weill selection. They will perform their entire programs for the judges between 11 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 18. At 8 p.m., they will perform a concert of their selections which will conclude with the announcement of the winners.
Held annually by the Kurt Weill Foundation for Music and celebrating its 17th anniversary this year, the Lotte Lenya Competition is an international theater singing contest that recognizes talented young singer-actors, ages 19-32, who are dramatically and musically convincing in a wide range of repertoire, and emphasizes the acting of songs and arias within a dramatic context.
The 2015 finalists, ranging in age this year from 23 to 31, are: Robin Bailey (London, UK), Jordan Davidson (New York, USA), Adam Fieldson (Nebraska, USA), Briana Silvie Gantsweg (California, USA), Anthony Heinemann (Missouri, USA), Talya Lieberman (Ohio, USA), Carter Lynch (Maryland, USA), Michael Maliakel (New Jersey, USA), Lauren Michelle (California, USA), Florian Peters (Köln, Germany), Katherine Riddle (Maryland, USA), Jim Schubin (Colorado, USA), Annie Sherman (Maryland, USA), and Christine Cornish Smith (Texas, USA).
The Lenya Competition has grown into an internationally recognized theater singing competition since its founding 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 for Music.
Since the inception of the Lotte Lenya Competition in 1998, the Kurt Weill Foundation has awarded more than $600,000 in prize money to young performers and continues to support previous winners through professional development grants. Previous winners enjoy successful stage, concert, and recording careers around the globe. In 2014-2015 alone past contestants have made their debuts on Broadway, the Metropolitan Opera, San Francisco Opera, Los Angeles Opera, and the New York Philharmonic.
The Kurt Weill Foundation for Music, Inc. (http://www.kwf.org) is dedicated to promoting understanding of the life and works of composer Kurt Weill (1900-1950) and preserving the legacies of Weill and his wife, actress-singer Lotte Lenya (1898-1981). The Foundation administers the Weill-Lenya Research Center, a Grant Program, the Kurt Weill Book Prize and the Lotte Lenya Competition, and publishes the Kurt Weill Edition and the Kurt Weill Newsletter.
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