The final round of the Lotte Lenya Competition takes place April 16 at Kilbourn Hall at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York. Fifteen young singer-actors have been named as finalists for the 2016 Lotte Lenya Competition, including two Eastman School of Music alumni – Reilly Nelson (BM ‘11) and Lindsay O’Neil (BM ‘07). Selected from thirty-one semifinalists, this year’s finalists represent a diverse range of performers, ages 21 to 31, from across the United States, Canada, Europe, and Israel. All will sing repertoire from the operatic, golden age, and contemporary musical stages, and of course, the music of Kurt Weill.
The finalists include: Gan-ya Ben-gur Akselrod (28, Tel Aviv, Israel), Curtis Bannister (30, Green Bay, Wisconsin), Erika Cockerham (31, St. Louis, Missouri), Talya Lieberman (31, Forest Hills, New York), Reilly Nelson (26, Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Canada), Lindsay O’Neil (30, New York, New York), Eric Parker (24, Los Angeles, California), Tony Potts (23, Fargo, North Dakota), Tom Schimon (31, Vienna, Austria), Jim Schubin (26, Plainsboro, New Jersey), Briana Silvie (24, San Rafael, California), Bradley Smoak (31, Cary, North Carolina), Brian Vu (26, Los Angeles, California), Dennis Wees (21, Dallas, Texas) and Kayla Wilkens (25, Salem, Oregon).
Kurt Weill Foundation President Kim Kowalke stated, “This year’s finalists are the largest and most diverse group in the Competition’s 19-year history, with contestants currently working on- and off-Broadway, in national touring companies, and in major regional theaters and opera companies. Many are well on their way to distinguished careers.”
Each finalist will present a fifteen-minute program of four selections in the daytime round, from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. An evening concert, in which contestants sing only part of their programs, follows at 8:00 p.m. The concert concludes with the announcement of awards and prizes. Both the daytime round and evening concert are free and open to the public. All finalists receive a minimum cash award of $1,000, with additional discretionary awards of $3,500 each, and top prizes ranging from $7,500 to $15,000. Total prizes will exceed $60,000.
Returning to judge for the tenth time, international opera legend Teresa Stratas leads the judges’ panel. The Lenya Competition remains the only vocal competition she has ever consented to adjudicate. Joining her on the jury are Rodgers & Hammerstein Organization President and former American Theater Wing Chairman Theodore S. Chapin (also returning for his tenth time), and Broadway (and Audra McDonald’s) music director, conductor and accompanist Andy Einhorn.
Past prize winners have gone on to appear on major theater, opera, and concert stages around the world. Don’t miss the competition described by Opera News as “target[ing] today’s total-package talents, unearthing up-and-coming singers who are ready for their close-ups.”
ABOUT THE KURT WEILL FOUNDATION
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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