Six Eastman School of Music voice students and six piano and accompanying students will compete in the school’s 34th annual Jessie Kneisel Lieder Competition starting at 1 p.m. Saturday, May 12 in Kilbourn Hall. This year’s adjudicator is acclaimed countertenor David Daniels.
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 Jessie Kneisel Prizes in German Lieder are given each year to outstanding singers and collaborative pianists.
This year’s competitors are: soprano Natalie Buickians, doctoral student, partnered by pianist Corey Silberstein; baritone Mark Hosseini, second-year master’s degree student, with pianist Gloria Engle; soprano Athene Mok, doctoral student, with pianist Ting Hong; tenor Anders Namestnik, a senior, with pianist Zoe Yucong Wang; soprano Gileann Tan, first year master’s student, with pianist Gloria Engle; and baritone Adam Wells, second-year master’s student, with pianist Ting Hong. Soprano Sarah Forestieri, a first-year master’s student, has been designated alternate in case of illness; her partner is pianist Jeremy Vigil.
Each Eastman singer/pianist team will present a 20-minute program in the order listed above. Winners will be announced after the completion of the competition. First, second, and third places are given separately to singers and pianists. The first-place pianist receives an award in memory of Ann Clark Fehn, given by Udo Fehn and Margaret V. Clark. The singer awarded first prize will present a Winner’s Concert with his or her pianist at 8 p.m. on Saturday, May 19, in Kilbourn Hall.
David Daniels is known for his superlative artistry, magnetic stage presence, and a voice of singular warmth and surpassing beauty, which have helped him redefine his voice category for the modern public. The American countertenor has appeared with the world’s major opera companies and on its main concert and recital stages. He made history as the first countertenor to give a solo recital in the main auditorium of Carnegie Hall. The Chicago Tribune has called Daniels “today’s gold standard among countertenors.”
Highly sought after for the works of Handel, Monteverdi, Gluck, Mozart, and Britten, David Daniels has been featured on the great operatic stages of the world to overwhelming critical acclaim. Gramophone magazine acknowledged his contribution to recorded excellence as well as his expansion of the repertoire for his voice type by naming him one of the “Top Ten Trailblazers” in classical music today. Daniels is Professor of Music at the University of Michigan.
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About Eastman School of Music:
The Eastman School of Music was founded in 1921 by industrialist and philanthropist George Eastman (1854-1932), founder of Eastman Kodak Company. It was the first professional school of the University of Rochester. Mr. Eastman’s dream was that his school would provide a broad education in the liberal arts as well as superb musical training. The current dean is Jamal Rossi, appointed in 2014.
About 900 students are enrolled in Eastman’s Collegiate Division—about 500 undergraduate and 400 graduate students. Students come from almost every state, and approximately 20 percent are from other countries. They are guided by more than 95 full-time faculty members. Six alumni and three faculty members have been awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Music, as have numerous GRAMMY Awards. Each year, Eastman’s students, faculty members, and guest artists present more than 700 concerts to the Rochester community.