Eastman Students Awarded Vocal, Accompanying Prizes in Annual Lieder Competition

May 16, 2017

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

From left, George Warren, Edward Rothmel, Christopher Kayler, Graham Johnson, Robin Steitz, Hannah Harrow, Emma Ruth Ritter


The 36th annual Jessie Kneisel Lieder Competition for Eastman School of Music voice students and for piano and accompanying students was held in Kilbourn Hall on Saturday, May 13, in the school’s Kilbourn Hall.

The adjudicator for the competition was Graham Johnson, one of the world’s leading vocal accompanists and song scholars. His career includes many successes as a performer, collaborator, author, and educator. The Independent newspaper in London described him as “indefatigable . .  .  the one-man powerhouse behind a remarkable flowering of accompanied performance and recording over the past four decades.”

This year’s vocal winners are: Robin Steitz, from the studio of Carol Webber, First Prize; Hannah Harrow, from the studio of Robert Swensen, Second Prize; and Emma Ruth Ritter, from the studio of Jan Opalach, third prize.

This year’s winning pianists are: Christopher Kayler, from the studio of Jean Barr, First Prize and the Ann Clark Fehn Memorial Award; Edward Rothmel, from the studio of Jean Barr, Second Prize; and George Warren, from the studio of Rebecca Penneys, Third Prize.

Steitz and Kayler will present a Winners’ Recital on Saturday, May 20, at 8 p.m. in Kilbourn Hall.

The annual competition, which highlights the German art songs that figure prominently in vocal recitals at Eastman, was started by alumnus George McWhorter (BM ’57) to honor Jessie Kneisel. Dr. Kneisel taught courses in German, German diction, and German libretti for 45 years beginning in 1931. She also served as Dean of Women.

The awards for the Kneisel Competition and Ann Clark Fehn Memorial Award are possible through the generosity of George T. McWhorter, Margaret V. Clark, and Udo Fehn.

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