Press Releases

Lauren Michelle Wins $15,000 First Prize
Awards Exceed $85,000

April 21,2015: In a record-breaking year for the number of prizes and total cash awarded, Lauren Michelle, of Los Angeles, won the $15,000 First Prize in the finals of the 2015 Lotte Lenya Competition, sponsored by the Kurt Weill Foundation for Music and held on April 18, 2015, in Kilbourn Hall of the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, N.Y. Robin Bailey, of London, U.K., and Jordan Davidson, of Philadelphia, N.Y., both won Second Prizes of $10,000, and two Third Prizes of $7,500 each were awarded to Adam Fieldson, of Lincoln, Neb., and Michael Maliakel, of New York.

"The judges found it difficult to choose only three top winners because of the consistently high level of talent, versatility, and preparation of all the finalists," said Kim H. Kowalke, President of the Kurt Weill Foundation and founder of the Competition. "I'm so glad that the Foundation had the resources to enhance the amounts awarded. In addition to giving five top prizes and special awards, we decided on the spot to double the amount that the remaining finalists received to $2,000 each." The Kurt Weill Foundation distributed a total of $85,500 in prizes this year.

The panel of judges included three-time Tony Award nominee Rebecca Luker, British opera and musical theater conductor James Holmes, and Rodgers & Hammerstein President and American Theatre Wing Vice-Chairman Theodore S. Chapin. Finalists were selected from an initial pool of 225 contestants later narrowed to 28 semi-finalists, who were adjudicated and coached in the semi-final round by Judith Blazer and Andy Einhorn.

Each of the 14 finalists presented four selections ranging from opera/operetta to contemporary musical theater. Michelle impressed the judges and audience with her powerful performance of a diverse program composed of "My Own Morning" from Hallelujah, Baby, "Denn wie mann sich bettet" from Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny, "I'll Be Here" from Ordinary Days, and "My Man's Gone Now" from Porgy and Bess. The audience acknowledged her with a standing ovation when she received her award. Michelle will represent the United States in the 2015 BBC Cardiff Singer of the World contest.

Discretionary $3,500 Lys Symonette Awards for Outstanding Performance of an Individual Number went to Talya Lieberman, of Queens, N.Y., for "Non, monsieur mon mari," from Les mamelles de Tirésias and Florian Peters of Köln, Germany, for "Bilbao Song" from Happy End. Briana Silvie Gantsweg, of Brooklyn, N.Y., won a special $3,500 Carolyn Weber Award for her creative programming and sensitivity to text-music relationships. The remaining finalists, who each received an award of $2,000, were: Anthony Heinemann, of St. Louis, Mo.; Carter Lynch, of New York; Katherine Riddle, of Annapolis, Md.; Jim Schubin, of Colorado Springs, Colo.; Annie Sherman, of Los Angeles; and Christine Cornish Smith, of New York.

Now in its 18th year, the Lotte Lenya Competition is an international theater singing contest that recognizes exceptionally talented singer/actors, ages 19-32, who are dramatically and musically convincing in a wide range of repertoire, with a focus on the works of Kurt Weill. Since 1998, the Kurt Weill Foundation has awarded more than $700,000 in prize money to outstanding young performers and continues to support previous winners with professional development grants.

Previous Lenya Competition winners enjoy successful careers performing in major theaters and opera houses around the globe. Their recent and upcoming credits range from Broadway (Lauren Worsham [Tony nomination], Amy Justman, A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder; Analisa Leaming, On the Twentieth Century; Kyle Scatliffe, Les Misérables), National Tours (Cooper Grodin, Katie Travis, Amy Justman, The Phantom of the Opera; Doug Carpenter, Dirty Dancing; Maria Failla, Evita; Jacob Keith Watson, Chicago), and regional theaters (Erik Liberman, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, La Jolla Playhouse and Paper Mill Playhouse; Ariela Morgenstern, Next to Normal, Baltimore Center Stage) to major opera houses including the Metropolitan Opera (Ginger Costa-Jackson), San Francisco Opera (Matthew Grills), Los Angeles Opera (Liam Bonner, Jonathan Michie, Lauren Worsham), Glimmerglass Festival (Ben Edquist, Maren Weinberger), Royal Opera House, Covent Garden and English National Opera (Noah Stewart), Deutsche Oper Berlin (Edward Mout), Oper Frankfurt (Elizabeth Reiter), Dutch National Opera (Rebecca Jo Loeb), and Théâtre Royal de La Monnaie (Justin Hopkins). Concert highlights include Sweeney Todd (Zachary James, Justin Lee Miller) and Show Boat (Lauren Worsham) with the New York Philharmonic and the upcoming U.S. premiere of The Road of Promise, a concert adaptation of Kurt Weill and Franz Werfel's The Eternal Road (Justin Hopkins, Megan Marino, Lauren Michelle) with The Collegiate Chorale and Orchestra of St. Luke's on May 6-7, 2015, at Carnegie Hall.

Click on the image below for a printable image of the top five prizewinners:

2015 Lotte Lenya Competition Top Prizewinners
Caption: 2015 Lotte Lenya Competition winners (L to R): Robin Bailey, Jordan Davidson, Lauren Michelle, Michael Maliakel, Adam Fieldson. Photo by Nadine Photography, provided by the Kurt Weill Foundation.

Click on the image below for a printable image of the three award winners:

2015 Lenya Competition three award winners
Caption: 2015 Lotte Lenya Competition Award winners (L to R): Talya Lieberman, Florian Peters, and Briana Silvie Gantsweg. Photo by Nadine Photography, provided the Kurt Weill Foundation.

Click on the image below for a printable image of the judges with First Prize winner Lauren Michelle:

2014 Lenya Competition judges with First Prize winner Lauren Michelle
Caption: 2015 Lotte Lenya Competition judges and First Prize winner (L to R): James Holmes, Lauren Michelle, Rebecca Luker, Theodore S. Chapin. Photo by Nadine Photography, provided by the Kurt Weill Foundation.

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14 Finalists from the United States, United Kingdom, and Germany Will Compete for Top Prize of $15,000;
Rebecca Luker, Theodore S. Chapin, and James Holmes Will Judge

March 19, 2015: Fourteen exceptionally talented singer-actors from the United States, United Kingdom, and Germany have been selected as finalists in the 2015 Lotte Lenya Competition, held annually by the Kurt Weill Foundation for Music. They will compete for top prizes of $15,000, $10,000 and $7,500 on Saturday, April 18, 2015, in Rochester, New York. Broadway leading lady and Tony Award nominee Rebecca Luker, British opera and musical theater conductor James Holmes, and Rodgers & Hammerstein President and American Theatre Wing Vice-Chairman Theodore S. Chapin will judge.

Now in its 17th 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, from opera and operetta to contemporary Broadway musicals, with a focus on the works of Kurt Weill.

Rebecca Luker, who judges for the fifth time this year, said of the contest, "There is no other singing competition quite like it. The Lotte Lenya competitor must have it all: acting and singing chops from a wide variety of theatrical and musical realms and also that certain something--charisma, star-quality, call it what you will--that puts them above all others. It's always extremely difficult to pick only a handful of winners from a group that is always wholly excellent."

Finalists were selected from a group of twenty-eight semi-finalists from the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico, Germany, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom after auditions in New York on March 13-14, 2015. Contestants were required to prepare four selections: an aria from the opera or operetta repertoire; two songs from the American musical theater repertoire (one from the pre-1968 "Golden Age" and one from 1968 or later); and a theatrical selection by Kurt Weill. Drama Desk nominated singer, actor, and voice teacher Judy Blazer and Broadway music director and conductor Andy Einhorn served as adjudicator/coaches, evaluating and working with each of the semi-finalists.

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).

Finalists will perform their entire programs for the judges on Saturday, April 18 between 11 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. At 8 p.m., they will perform a concert of selections which will conclude with the announcement of the winners. Both events are free and open to the public, and will take place in Kilbourn Hall at the Eastman School of Music, 26 Gibbs Street, Rochester, N.Y.

Since the inception of the Lotte Lenya Competition in 1998, the Kurt Weill Foundation has awarded over $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. Their 2014-15 credits range from Broadway (Lauren Worsham [Tony nominee], Amy Justman, A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder; Analisa Leaming, On the Twentieth Century; Kyle Scatliffe, Les Misérables), National Tours (Cooper Grodin, Katie Travis, Amy Justman, The Phantom of the Opera; Doug Carpenter, Dirty Dancing; Maria Failla, Evita; Jacob Keith Watson, Chicago), and regional theaters (Erik Liberman, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, La Jolla Playhouse and Paper Mill Playhouse; Ariela Morgenstern, Next to Normal, Baltimore Center Stage) to major opera houses including the Metropolitan Opera (Ginger Costa-Jackson), San Francisco Opera (Matthew Grills), Los Angeles Opera (Liam Bonner, Jonathan Michie, Lauren Worsham), Glimmerglass Festival (Ben Edquist, Maren Weinberger), Royal Opera House, Covent Garden and English National Opera (Noah Stewart), Deutsche Oper Berlin (Edward Mout), Oper Frankfurt (Elizabeth Reiter), Dutch National Opera (Rebecca Jo Loeb), and Théâtre Royal de La Monnaie (Justin Hopkins). Concert highlights include Sweeney Todd (Zachary James, Justin Lee Miller) and Show Boat (Lauren Worsham) with the New York Philharmonic and the upcoming U.S. premiere of The Road of Promise, a concert adaptation of Kurt Weill and Franz Werfel's The Eternal Road (Justin Hopkins, Megan Marino) with The Collegiate Chorale and Orchestra of St. Luke's on May 6-7 at Carnegie Hall.

Judges

Theodore S. Chapin: Theodore S. Chapin is President of Rodgers & Hammerstein, a position he has held for many years. They are currently represented on Broadway with the Lincoln Center Theater production of The King and I, and Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella is currently touring the country. Chapin serves on several boards including The American Theatre Wing (where he was Chairman for four years), Goodspeed Musicals, and New York City Center where he was part of the creation of the Encores! series. He served as a Tony Awards nominator for two seasons, and is currently a member of the Tony Administration Committee. His career began as production or directorial assistant for the Broadway productions of Follies, The Rothschilds and The Unknown Soldier and His Wife, as well as Bernstein's Mass at the Kennedy Center and Candide in San Francisco. As Associate to Alan Arkin, he worked on the original Broadway production of Neil Simon's The Sunshine Boys and the CBS-TV special of George Furth's Twigs starring Carol Burnett. He has been a visiting lecturer at several universities and colleges, including Yale, NYU, Lawrence University, and St. Catherine's College in Oxford. His book Everything Was Possible: The Birth of the Musical "Follies", was published by Alfred A. Knopf in 2003, and is currently in print in paperback by Applause Books. He is honored to be making his ninth appearance as a judge of the Lotte Lenya Competition.

James Holmes: Equally at home in the fields of opera and musical theater, James Holmes has enjoyed an extremely wide-ranging musical life as conductor, pianist, and arranger. As principal coach and staff conductor with English National Opera and later Opera North as Head of Music he conducted a wide range of operatic repertoire as well as working with many leading singers and conductors: he has been Simon Rattle's assistant for productions at the Metropolitan Opera, the Aix and Salzburg Festivals and at Glyndebourne--including the much acclaimed Porgy and Bess. Classic musical theater has been a career-long interest and includes productions of Sweeney Todd, Of Thee I Sing, Paradise Moscow (Opera North), Candide (Manchester RNCM), Into The Woods (Royal Opera House), Pacific Overtures (ENO and a US Grammy-nominated recording), two acclaimed productions of Carousel (Royal National Theatre and Opera North) and last year, an acclaimed production of The King and I at the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris. He has as wide an association with the works of Kurt Weill as anyone in the world, encompassing, among others, Street Scene (ENO, Berlin and recordings for BBC TV and arte DVD); Mahagonny (ENO); Seven Deadly Sins, Arms And The Cow (Der Kuhhandel), One Touch of Venus (all Opera North); One Touch of Venus, Down In The Valley (Kurt Weill Fest); Songs From A Hotel Bedroom and the British première of Zaubernacht (Royal Opera House) as well as concerts with ensembles ranging from the London Sinfonietta to Symphony Silicon Valley and recently, the Ensemble Modern. He was conductor for I'm a Stranger Here Myself, a BBC TV documentary on Weill in America, and worked on the first complete recording of One Touch of Venus, released in the fall of 2013. He has also appeared with such orchestras as the Halle, LSO, CBSO, Montreal Symphony and the Norwegian Radio Orchestra, and with artists ranging from Willard White, Lesley Garrett and Lisa Vroman to Eartha Kitt, Patti Smith and Antony and the Johnsons. He has arranged material for concerts and recordings featuring leading British singers such as Bryn Terfel and Sally Burgess. As Artist-In-Residence for the 2013 Kurt Weill Festival in Dessau he premiered Raft On The River, his new version of Weill's last songs for Huckleberry Finn, with former Lenya Competition prizewinners and the Ensemble Modern Academy. In December 2012 he joined the Board of Trustees of the Kurt Weill Foundation.

Rebecca Luker: Rebecca Luker most recently starred in the Kennedy Center production of the world premiere of Ahrens and Flaherty's critically acclaimed new musical, Little Dancer, directed by Susan Stroman. Her Broadway credits are Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella, Mary Poppins, Nine, The Music Man, The Sound of Music, Show Boat, The Secret Garden, and The Phantom of the Opera. Other New York productions include Maury Yeston's Death Takes a Holiday, X, The Life and Times of Malcolm X, and Brigadoon with New York City Opera. Off-Broadway: Indian Blood (Primary Stages), Can't Let Go (Keen Company) and The Vagina Monologues. Regional theater: Passion (Clara, Kennedy Center), Time and Again (Old Globe), Harmony (La Jolla Playhouse) and She Loves Me (Reprise! series, LA). Concert: Boys From Syracuse and Where's Charley? (Encores!). As a guest artist she appeared with the Royal Stockholm and London Symphonies and the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, and has performed at Carnegie Hall, the Library of Congress, and the White House. Ms. Luker has appeared multiple times with the American Songbook Series in the Allen Room, as well as the the Kennedy Center's Terrace Theater for the Barbara Cook Spotlight Series, at Feinstein's at the Regency, and Café Carlyle. Film credits include Not Fade Away (dir. David Chase) and The Rewrite, starring Hugh Grant (dir. Marc Lawrence). Television appearances include: Boardwalk Empire, The Good Wife, Law and Order-SVU, CBS TV Movie Cupid and Cate, An Evening with the Pops, An Oscar Hammerstein Celebration, A Tribute to Rodgers and Hart (PBS), The Kennedy Center Honors honoring Julie Andrews and also Barbara Cook, and a Richard Rodgers celebration with the Boston Pops (PBS). Recordings: I Got Love, Greenwich Time, Leaving Home, Anything Goes: Rebecca Luker Sings Cole Porter, the Aria series, and original cast recordings of The Secret Garden and the revivals of Show Boat, The Sound of Music and The Music Man. Born and raised in Birmingham, Alabama, Rebecca received an honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts from The University of Montevallo, and now resides in New York City with her husband, actor Danny Burstein, and her stepsons Alex and Zach.

2015 Lotte Lenya Competition finalists

Finalists
Robin Bailey

Robin Bailey: The singer-actor hails from the United Kingdom where he recently performed Rodolpho in the Olivier Award-winning OperaUpClose production of La bohème, Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni, Tony in West Side Story (Grange Park Opera) and Fenton in Falstaff (Iford Arts Opera). Robin performs regularly in concert and has appeared with Polyphony, BBC Singers, the Gabrieli consort, and was a founding member of the award-winning Voces8. The recipient of the Young Artist's Prize at France's Les Azuriales Competition, Robin can be heard on film track recordings including Dracula Untold, The Great Gatsby, Prometheus, and Dark Shadows. A rugby enthusiast, his performance of the French national anthem at the opening of the RBS 6 Nations Championship was broadcast worldwide from the sold-out stadium. Robin completed his Bachelor of Music degree at the Royal Academy of Music and is working toward a Masters of Music/Opera at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.

Jordan Davidson

Jordan Davidson: The 2012 First Prize winner in Syracuse's Civic Morning Musicals Competition just completed a term as a Young Artist at Utah Festival Opera and was also a 2013 Studio Artist at Saratoga Opera. While a 2011 College Light Opera Resident Artist, Jordan appeared in On the Twentieth Century, Oklahoma!, and Kiss Me, Kate. A graduate of the Crane School of Music, SUNY Potsdam, the New Yorker is continuing his studies toward a Masters of Music in Vocal Performance at James Madison University.

Adam Fieldson

Adam Fieldson: The Nebraskan's credits include performances as Nicely Nicely in Guys and Dolls and Galahad in A Connecticut Yankee at Ohio Light Opera Company, Eisenstein in Die Fledermaus at New York Opera Exchange and Jack in Into the Woods at Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre. Adam holds both a Bachelors and Masters of Music from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln where he performed the title role of Candide, Nerone in L'incoronazione di Poppea, Lysander in A Midsummer Night's Dream and Romeo in Roméo et Juliette in UNL productions. This summer Adam will return Central Lovell, Maine, where he will perform again at the beautiful Quisisana Resort.

Briana Silvie Gantsweg

Briana Silvie Gantsweg: Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, Briana now calls Brooklyn home. The singer-actor is a recent graduate of UCLA, where she performed Lillian Holiday in Weill's Happy End, L'enfant in Ravel's L'enfant et les sortilèges, and Valletto in Monteverdi's L'incoronazione di Poppea. At the Interlochen Arts Academy, she performed Gertrude McFuzz in Seussical: The Musical and Meg March in Little Women the Broadway Musical. Briana can be heard on video games, musical, and soundtrack recordings for Sony Music Entertainment Japan, Hal Leonard, MTI Broadway Jr., Skywalker Sound, and Universal Pictures.

Anthony Heinemann

Anthony Heinemann: The singer-actor from the "Show Me State" is a graduate of St. Louis University (Bachelor of Music – Vocal Performance) and Washington University (Master of Music – Vocal Performance). His operatic roles include Pedrillo in Die Entführung aus dem Serail, Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni, Nemorino in L'elisir d'amore and the title role in Albert Herring, which he performed while a graduate student. Upcoming opera engagements include the title role in The Impresario with Gateway Opera and Borsa in Rigoletto with Union Avenue Opera in St. Louis. Currently a Young Artist with the Bach Society of St. Louis, he recently performed as soloist in Haydn's Seven Last Words of Christ with the First Presbyterian Church of Kirkwood, MO.

Talya Lieberman

Talya Lieberman: An alumna of San Francisco's 2014 Merola Opera Program, Talya returns this spring to the San Francisco Opera Center to make her debut as part of the Schwabacher Debut Recital series. This summer she will perform Susanna in Le nozze di Figaro at Wolf Trap Opera. While pursuing her Artist Diploma at Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, the Italo Tajo Award recipient performed Gretel in Hansel and Gretel. She anticipates her first professional opera engagement in 2016 when she will perform Musetta in La bohème at Opera Columbus. In addition to her vocal studies, Talya completed a Master of Music degree in Trumpet Performance at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts and a Bachelor of Arts degree with Highest Distinction in Linguistics at Duke University. Born in New York, Talya now calls Ohio home.

Carter Lynch

Carter Lynch: A leading artist at College Light Opera Company, Carter has performed Tommy in Brigadoon, Giuseppe in The Most Happy Fella, Bill Snibson in Me and My Girl, Mr. Andrews in Titanic and the title role(s) in Jekyll & Hyde. In demand for Gilbert & Sullivan productions, Carter has performed Frederic in Pirates of Penzance at New York's Symphony Space and Richard Dauntless in Ruddigore at the 2014 G&S Festival in Harrogate, England. The Maryland native is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where he majored in Dramatic Arts with minors in Music and History. Upon graduation, Carter joined the National Tour of Beauty and the Beast covering the roles of the Beast and Gaston and performing both roles on numerous occasions. Carter was a Finalist in the 2014 Lotte Lenya Competition.

Michael Maliakel

Michael Maliakel: The First Place Winner of the 2014 National Music Theater Competition appeared on the musical theater stage as Roger in A New Brain, Sky Masterson in Guys and Dolls and Man 2 in Songs for a New World. While an undergraduate at Peabody Institute of The Johns Hopkins University, the singer-actor appeared in productions of Postcard from Morocco, Manon, L'enfant et les sortilèges, and Les mamelles de Tirésias. The New Jersey native also performed Raimondo in Lucia di Lammermoor at the Bethesda Summer Music Festival and as the baritone in Phillip Glass's Hydrogen Jukebox with the American Opera Theatre at Georgetown University.

Lauren Michelle

Lauren Michelle: A finalist in the 2014 Lotte Lenya Competition, Lauren will make her Carnegie Hall debut this spring performing in the U.S. Premiere of Kurt Weill's The Road of Promise with The Collegiate Chorale. A graduate of both The Juilliard School and UCLA, the singer-actor has appeared internationally as Musetta in La bohème in Tel Aviv, Helena in A Midsummer Night's Dream at The Banff Center in Canada, and both Lauretta in Gianni Schicchi at Teatro Romano di Fiesole and Papagena in Die Zauberflöte at Teatro Malibran in Italy. As a participant in the Britten-Pears Programme, Lauren performed at Aldeburgh Music in England. The Californian is honored to represent the United States in the 2015 BBC Cardiff Singer of the World contest.

Florian Peters

Florian Peters: Born in the German Rhineland, Florian studied at the Bayerische Theaterakademie August Everding in Munich, receiving the equivalent of a master's degree in Music Theater. He has performed the role of Mark in Rent in Berlin, Claude in Hair at Theater Trier and at the Nordharzer Stadtebundtheater, and Peter in Jesus Christ Superstar at the Staatstheater am Gärtnerplatz in Munich. He is currently performing Chevalier Danceny in a new musical version of Dangerous Liaisons in Munich. The versatile singer-actor has also performed Egon von Wildehagen in the operetta Der Vetter aus Dingsda in Berlin and created the role of Nahino in the opera Der Flaschengeist by Wilfried Hiller for the Munich world premiere.

Katherine Riddle Katherine Riddle: With her Bachelor of Arts in Vocal Performance Magna Cum Laude from American University, Katherine Riddle is an in-demand singer-actor around the Capitol Beltway. She performed Sarah Brown in the Rockville (MD) Musical Theatre production of Guys and Dolls and both Liesl in The Sound of Music and Fredericka in A Little Night Music with Live Arts Maryland. Weathervane Playhouse audiences enjoyed her performances as Laurey in Oklahoma! and Cosette in Les Misérables. The Annapolis native is also a frequent guest artist with the Fairfax Symphony in Virginia and with the West Virginia Symphony Orchestra.
Jim Schubin

Jim Schubin: A finalist in the 2014 Lotte Lenya Competition, Jim Schubin appeared as The Boy in the long-running production of The Fantasticks at the Snapple Theatre in NYC. Originally from Colorado Springs, he performed the Beast in Beauty and the Beast, Freddie in Chess, and Rusty Charlie in Guys and Dolls with Rocky Mountain Repertory Theatre. Since moving east, he has appeared as The Courier in 1776 at the Cape Playhouse and The Intruder in See How They Run at Barrington Stage. With West Virginia Public Theatre, he performed Jesus in Godspell. Jim holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Musical Theater from Emerson College.

Annie Sherman

Annie Sherman: Born in Maryland, Annie headed west for her training and to launch her performing career. She completed a Bachelor of Arts in Music at Stanford, receiving a Golden Medal for Excellence. While an undergraduate, she performed the leading role of the Boy in Kurt Weill's Der Jasager, as well as Luisa in The Fantasticks, Cathy in The Last Five Years, and Maxine in the world premiere of Giancarlo Aquilanti's Oxford Companions. In 2013 Annie also performed the title role of Poppea in L'incoronazione di Poppea with Opera NEO. Crown City Theatre's production of Cabaret, in which the she played Frenchie, received an Eddon Award for "The Best in LA Theatre for 2014." Currently at UCLA completing her Masters of Music in Vocal Performance, the singer-actor was the winner of the UCLA Concerto Competition performing Barber's Knoxville: Summer of 1915. This spring she performed Inez in the West Coast premiere of I due Figaro at UCLA.

Christine Cornish Smith

Christine Cornish Smith: A graduate of University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Music Theater, Christine performed Polly Peachum in Robin Guarino's production of The Threepenny Opera, which was part of a year-long Kurt Weill Festival on campus. She also appeared in Into the Woods, Oklahoma! and Anything Goes. Upon graduation, she joined the National Tour of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Christine is currently in the Guys and Dolls cast at the Goodspeed Opera House (CT). The singer-actor made her Lyric Opera of Chicago debut in Oklahoma!. In her native Texas, she was a Hot Box Girl in Guys and Dolls at Water Tower Theatre, made her Lyric Stage debut as Cutie in Fiorello!, and was a principal dancer with the Dallas Metropolitan Ballet. Christine was a recipient of an Emerging Talent Award in the 2014 Lotte Lenya Competition.

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Call for Nominations

February 18, 2015: The Kurt Weill Foundation for Music invites nominations for the 2015 Kurt Weill Book and Article Prizes. Awarded biennially, the prizes recognize distinguished scholarship in 20th and 21st century music theater, including opera and dance. Two 2015 Kurt Weill Prizes will be awarded: a cash prize of $5,000 to the author of the winning book entry; and a prize of $2,000 to the author of the winning article entry. Books and articles first published in 2013 and 2014 are eligible.

In the previous round, in 2013, prizes were awarded to Stephen Hinton, for his book Weill's Musical Theater: Stages of Reform (University of California Press), and Christopher Chowrimootoo, for his article "Bourgeois Opera: Death in Venice and the Aesthetics of Sublimation" (Cambridge Opera Journal).

The Kurt Weill Foundation for Music welcomes nominations from individuals, publishers, scholarly societies, and institutions, and also encourages self-nominations. There are no citizenship or language restrictions. Formats of nominated works may include not only print media (book, major scholarly article in a journal, chapter or essay, critical edition), but also audio-recordings, video-recordings, multi-media projects, and online publications, provided there is a significant scholarly component. Edited multi-author collections of essays are not eligible in the book category, although single essays from such collections may be nominated in the article category. Works addressing the American music theater are particularly encouraged.

To make a nomination, the address of the author and five copies of the nominated work must be submitted before 30 April 2015 to the Kurt Weill Foundation for Music, 7 East 20th Street, 3rd Floor, New York, NY 10003, USA. For further information, please write to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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International Theater-Singing Contest Seeks Exceptional Talent
Applications Open Today, 1 October 2014
Top Prize $15,000

October 1, 2014: Kim H. Kowalke, President of The Kurt Weill Foundation for Music, announced today the launch of the 2015 Lotte Lenya Competition, a program of the Foundation. The Lotte Lenya Competition seeks exceptionally talented young singer/actors who excel in a wide range of musical theater styles for the 2015 contest. Contestants will compete for top prizes of $15,000, $10,000 and $7,500; total prizes awarded will exceed $50,000.

Established in 1998, the Lotte Lenya Competition is a unique international contest that bridges the worlds of opera/operetta and Broadway musical theater, following the example of Lenya's husband, composer Kurt Weill. The contest emphasizes wide-ranging repertoire, including works by Weill, and the acting of songs and arias within a dramatic context.

The 2015 Lotte Lenya Competition is open to singer/actors of all nationalities, ages 19-32, who were born after December 31, 1982 and before January 1, 1996.

Contestants are required to prepare a program of four selections, which must include: one theatrical selection by Kurt Weill (any genre); two songs from the American musical theater repertoire (one pre-1968 and one from 1968 or later); and one aria from the opera or operetta repertoire. They will be judged not only on their vocal talent, but on their ability to create believable characters in a variety of dramatic situations.

"The Lotte Lenya Competition is not a typical voice competition because it emphasizes both acting and singing with a very wide range of repertoire," said Kowalke, who founded the Competition. "Every judge looks for a different combination of skills, but I think they're all looking for the complete package. If you look at the list of winners of the Competition you can't come up with a template for the winner. They're all very different. The one thing they have in common is that they have to show that they can pretty much do it all."

The Kurt Weill Foundation for Music encourages participation by a geographically diverse pool of talented artists. Applicants may compete in the preliminary round of auditions by uploading a video, thereby making the first round universally accessible and overcoming any travel barriers. Travel stipends are offered to contestants in the semi-final and final rounds.

To enter the 2015 Competition, contestants must submit an online application by 5 January 2015. Preliminary auditions may be by video and submitted electronically or performed live in an audition in New York City. Both types of audition will be weighed equally. In-person auditions will take place on 24 January 2015; appointments are limited and will be assigned on a rolling basis. Video auditions must be submitted by 2 February 2015. Guidelines, application forms, and instructions are available at http://www.kwf.org/LLC.

Semi-finalists will be invited to audition in New York City on 13 or 14 March 2015. Finalists will each receive an award of $1,000 and compete for top prizes at the Finals on 18 April 2015 at the Eastman School of Music, Rochester, New York.

A panel of distinguished musical theater and opera professionals will judge the Competition. Past judges have included world-renowned soprano and actress Teresa Stratas; legendary director and producer Harold Prince; President of Rodgers & Hammerstein and past Chairman of the American Theater Wing Ted Chapin; and Broadway leading ladies Victoria Clark and Rebecca Luker.

A documentary about the Lotte Lenya Competition, Singing the Story, premiered on public television in March 2014. Produced by the Kurt Weill Foundation for Music, Inc., and directed, filmed, and edited by Granny Cart Productions, the film traces the journey of the 2013 Competition, on stage and off, through the semi-finals, finals, and a 15th anniversary celebration concert at New York's Symphony Space. Through live footage and interviews, Singing the Story reveals the rigorous and unique nature of the Lotte Lenya Competition. A shorter version of the film is available for viewing, sharing, and embedding at http://www.YouTube.com/KurtWeillFoundation.

Lotte Lenya Competition 2015 poster

Previous Lenya Competition winners perform regularly on Broadway, in regional theaters and national/international tours, and in major opera houses in the United States and Europe. Highlights of their current and upcoming performances include: Lauren Worsham as Phoebe D'Ysquith (Drama Desk Award, Tony nomination) in A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder (Broadway), Jacob Keith Watson as Amos in Chicago (National Tour), Noah Stewart as Rodolfo in La bohème (Nashville Opera), Kyle Scatliffe as Enjolras in Les Misérables (Broadway), Ariela Morgenstern as Diana in Next to Normal (Baltimore Center Stage), Jonathan Michie as Valentin in Faust and Malatesta in Don Pasquale (Leipzig Opera), Erik Liberman as Clopin in The Hunchback of Notre Dame (La Jolla Playhouse), Arlo Hill (swing) in The Phantom of the Opera (Broadway), Cooper Grodin as The Phantom in The Phantom of the Opera (25th Anniversary National Tour), Doug Carpenter as Billy Kostecki in Dirty Dancing (National Tour), and Liam Bonner as Aeneas in Dido and Aeneas (Los Angeles Opera). At Carnegie Hall on May 6 and 7, 2015, past winners and finalists Justin Hopkins, Megan Marino, and Lauren Michelle will perform in the North American premiere of The Road of Promise, a concert adaptation of Kurt Weill and Franz Werfel's The Eternal Road, with The Collegiate Chorale and the Orchestra of St. Luke's.

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If you'd like more information about this topic, please contact Kate Chisholm at the Kurt Weill Foundation: (212) 505-5240 x 210 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


September 3, 2014: Kim H. Kowalke, President of The Kurt Weill Foundation for Music, announced today the launch of the 2015 Foundation Grant Program. Grant applications may now be submitted for projects and performances taking place on or after 1 January 2015 and before 30 June 2016.

Grant Program

The Kurt Weill Foundation Grant Program awards financial support worldwide to not-for-profit organizations for performances of musical works by Kurt Weill and Marc Blitzstein, to individuals and not-for-profit organizations for scholarly research pertaining to Kurt Weill, Lotte Lenya, and Marc Blitzstein, and to not-for-profit organizations for relevant educational initiatives.

Funding is awarded in the following categories:

  • Professional Performance
  • Media
  • College/University Performance
  • Educational Outreach/Community Engagement (including Kurt Weill Mentors)
  • Kurt Weill Dissertation Fellowship
  • Publication Assistance
  • Research and Travel

The application deadline for the 2015 Grant Program is 1 November 2014. An additional application deadline of 1 June 2015 is restricted exclusively to College/University Performance grants for productions taking place in the fall 2015 semester. Applications for support of major professional productions/festivals/exhibitions, etc., may be evaluated on a case-by-case basis without application deadlines.

More information, guidelines, evaluation criteria, and application forms may be found here. Inquiries may be directed to Janice L. Mayer, Director of Programs and Promotion, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Sponsorships

In addition to its established Grant Program, the Kurt Weill Foundation cultivates relationships with professional arts organizations and leading educational institutions in connection with major projects and initiatives. Organizations may approach the Foundation with ideas for major projects, and the Foundation may on occasion present proposals to the organizations. Collaborative projects are developed through extended discussion between the Foundation and the organizations, and the Foundation provides substantial funding in order to make them possible.

Overview

The Kurt Weill Foundation for Music was founded in 1962. Although a few awards were made in the early years of the Foundation, the grant and sponsorship program began to flourish in the mid-1980s. Since 1984 independent grant panels have recommended, and the Board of Trustees has awarded, more than 500 grants and $3,000,000 to organizations and scholars worldwide in support of excellence in the presentation and study of Kurt Weill's compositions. In 2013, the Marc Blitzstein catalogue joined the list of works eligible for support.

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If you'd like more information about this topic, please contact Kate Chisholm at the Kurt Weill Foundation: (212) 505-5240 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


 

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