UCSB voice faculty member, Dr. Linda Di Fiore, recently served as a judge for the Ziering-Conlon Initiative 2015 Art Song Competition. The panel of adjudicators included author and critic Matthew Gurewitsch, author and record producer Michael Haas, and singers and teachers Elizabeth Hynes and Angela Blasi.
The competition finals were held in front of a live audience in the Colburn School’s Zipper Hall on December 6, 2015. Six young singers from across the continent were chosen to participate in the final round of the Young Artist Competition for Performance of Art Song. Finalists included soprano Kristina Bachrach, mezzo-soprano Emily D’Angelo, bass-baritone Calvin Griffin, soprano Julia Metzler, mezzo-soprano Quinn Middleman, and bass-baritone Matthew Scollin. Each finalist developed and performed a short program of art songs drawn from the works of select composers suppressed during the years of the Nazi regime, including Alexander Zemlinsky, Viktor Ullmann, Franz Schreker, Hanns Eisler, Erich Wolfgang Korngold, Kurt Weill, and Eric Zeisl.
The competition was created by the Ziering-Conlon Initiative for Recovered Voices at the Colburn School and James Conlon, Artistic Advisor. This Colburn Conservatory initiative was inspired by LA Opera’s groundbreaking "Recovered Voices" project at the LA Opera. The “Recovered Voices” name is used by permission of LA Opera.
The objective of the competition is to introduce the music of composers suppressed during the Nazi regime to young musicians and to reward excellence in its performance. The 2015 competition focused on Art Song and the next national competition, scheduled for 2017, will focus on another genre.
The competition is open to United States and Canadian musicians under the age of 31. Cash prizes totaling $13,000 ($5,000 First Prize) were awarded to all finalists. Plus, a fully underwritten residency at SongFest 2016 was offered to the winner, courtesy of SongFest.
Linda Di Fiore, Regents Professor Emeritus of the University of North Texas, currently serves as Chair of the Voice Area at UC-Santa Barbara. She has performed professionally for over 40 years in the areas of opera, oratorio, musical theatre, recital, and chamber music throughout the US, Canada, Europe, and Asia. She has served on the juries of the Metropolitan Opera Council Auditions, Ziering-Conlon Song Competition, McCammon Competition, National Opera Association, and the NATS Artist Award National Competition and has presented master classes in Venice, San Juan, Taipei, Salzburg, Toronto, Vancouver, and in dozens of conservatories and universities throughout the US. Current and former students have populated the most prestigious young artist programs in the US and have graced the opera stages of the Met, San Francisco, Chicago Lyric, Houston, Washington DC, Seattle, Dallas, Ft. Worth, and numerous regional houses. She served as a Visiting Professor at the Eastman School of Music in 2005 and spends her summers teaching and performing in the Amalfi Coast Music Festival and the American Institute of Musical Studies in Graz, Austria.
Photo by Jeanine Hill / Competition information courtesy of the Colburn School