Germany And The United States Take Home Medals In The American Vocal Arts 2019 International Collegiate Singing Championship

February 15 20:02 2019
By R. Schmidt

The winners of the American Vocal Arts 2019 International Collegiate Singing ChampionshipTM have been announced! The winners have been chosen from all over the world. The competition, sponsored by American Vocal Arts, emphasizes competitive collegiate singing that spans across borders. The goal of the competition is to award the best singers from around the world who are currently enrolled or have recently graduated from an undergraduate or graduate program in music. The winners were selected based on talent, potential, and overall presentation.

“Although the competition is new, many wonderful singers from the United States, Europe, and Asia submitted materials for consideration. When dreaming up this competition, I thought that vocalists, who are athletes in their own right, should represent their schools much like in the NCAA Championships. There is no other singing competition like this!” – Dr. Mitchell Hutchings, Chief Judge and Coordinator, 2019 International Collegiate Singing Championship

First Place

Carolina López Moreno, Soprano

School: Manhattan School of Music
Teacher: Edith Bers

From: Germany

Carolina López Moreno is a versatile, award-winning soprano known for bringing ‘drama, soft colors and empathy’ (Stuttgarter Zeitung) to every performance.

Soprano Carolina López Moreno is the First Grand Prize winner of the Berliner International Music Competition 2018, and was awarded the Special Prize at the TV production SWR Young Opera Stars 2018. She is a recipient of the DAAD ScholarshipRichard Wagner Federation Scholarship of Richard Wagner Federation and the German Talent Scholarship of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research. Ms. López is currently studying under Edith Bers at Manhattan School of Music in her first-year of her Master’s Degree where she made her New York City Debut and starred as the leading soprano Mariuccia in the production I Due Timidi at the Neidorff-Karpati Hall.

Other principal roles in Germany include; Street Scene (Rose Maurrant), Dialogues des Carmelites (Blanche) and Die Zauberflöte (Pamina). She has performed as a soloist in major works such as Bizet’s Te Deum and Orff’s Carmina Burana. In addition, she has given recitals in prestigious concert venues such as the Berliner Philharmonie and the Jugendstil-Festhalle Landau. Ms. López has recently released her debut album ‘Il bel sogno’ with ARS-Production Records. Future engagements in NYC include her Carnegie Hall Debut in April 2019.

Second Place

Johnathan McCullough, Baritone

School: Curtis Institute of Music

From: Pennsylvania, USA

Baritone Johnathan McCullough spends the 2017/18 season as an Emerging Artist at Opera Philadelphia where he sang Mr. Greatorex in the world premiere of Elizabeth Cree by Kevin Puts and Mark Campbell, as well as Moralès in a new production of Carmen. At the Komische Oper Berlin, he will return for a new Calixto Bieto production of Schreker’s Die Gezeichneten after his recent successful debut as Oromasès in a new production of Rameau’s Zoroastre conducted by Christian Curnyn. He will cover the role of Hawkins Fuller in Fellow Travelers at the Lyric Opera of Chicago and spend the summer of 2018 as a Filene Young Artist at Wolf Trap Opera singing Brother in The Seven Deadly Sins (Weill) and Marullo in Rigoletto. In concert, he will sing Carmina Burana with the Boise Philharmonic and with the National Chorale at David Geffen Hall at Lincoln Center.

He received a Bachelor of Music degree, Master of Music in Opera degree and Artist Diploma, all from the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia. He has been a Young Artist at the Glimmerglass Festival, the Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, and the Aspen Music Festival.

Third Place

Meghan Kasanders, Soprano

School: The Juilliard School

Teacher: Edith Wiens

From: Illinois, USA

Hailed by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch as “…an important voice, big and opulent,” Meghan Kasanders, is quickly gaining recognition as a promising young dramatic soprano. Ms. Kasanders is a second year Artist Diploma in Opera Studies student at the Juilliard School, where she studies with Edith Wiens. Last season, she was featured as Donna Anna in the Act 1 finale of Mozart’s Don Giovanni in a live-streamed Masterclass with Maestro Yannick Nézet- Séguin from the Metropolitan Opera. Ms. Kasanders was also heard on 105.9 WQXR, New York’s Classical Music Radio Station in February and spent her summer debuting the role of Magda Sorel in Opera Saratoga’s production of The Consul. This season, Ms. Kasanders will make her Carnegie Hall debut singing Bernstein’s Songfest with Maestra Marin Alsop. Meghan will also make her Alice Tully Hall debut, singing Sibelius’ Luonnatar under the direction of Barbara Hannigan in February. Ms. Kasanders was recently a featured artist in Modern Singer Magazine and has received awards from the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and Pittsburgh Festival Opera’s Mildred Miller International Voice Competition and has worked with Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, Des Moines Metro Opera, Opera Saratoga, Union Avenue Opera and the Institute for Young Dramatic Voices. Originally from the Chicago area, Meghan currently resides in New York City and holds a Bachelor’s degree from Simpson College and a Master’s from Rice University.

Audience Favorite

Laura Sanders, Soprano

School: Eastman School of Music

Teacher: Katherine Ciesinski

From: California, USA

San Francisco native Laura Corina Sanders is a rising young soprano currently residing in New York City. In April, Laura was one of the top prize winners of the 2018 Lotte Lenya Competition.

She received both her Bachelor of Music and Master of Music degrees from the Eastman School of Music, studying with Katherine Ciesinski. While at Eastman, Laura was featured in major roles in several Eastman Opera Theatre productions, including Lucette in Cendrillon, Mabel in The Pirates of Penzance, Barbarina in Le nozze di Figaro, and the title role in Monteverdi’s L’incoronazione di Poppea. She was the first prize winner of the 2017 Friends of Eastman Opera competition, and the winner of the 2017 Voice Concerto competition, culminating in a rare performance of Hector Berlioz’ cantata Herminie, H. 29 with the Eastman Philharmonia Orchestra.

In the summer of 2018, Laura joined Wolf Trap Opera as a Studio Artist. While at Wolf Trap she performed the title role in Listen, Wilhelmina!, covered the role of Ilia in Idomeneo, and was one of four soloists in The Art of Pleasure, a recital arranged, directed, and played by Steven Blier.

Other roles include Susanna in Le nozze di Figaro with Oswego Opera and First Lady in Die Zauberflöte with Berlin Opera Academy. Laura will return to Oswego Opera in October 2018 as Adele in Die Fledermaus.

The 2019 ICSC Finalists:

Achilles Leonidas Bezanis, Tenor

School: Eastman School of Music

Teacher: Robert Swensen

From: Illinois, USA

Anna Montgomery
, Soprano

School: Michigan State University

Teacher: Melanie Helton

From: Colorado, USA

Emily Helenbrook
, Soprano

School: Rice University

Teacher: Stephen King

From: New York, USA

Grace Canfield, Soprano

School: The Juilliard School

Teacher: Julia Faulkner

From: Illinois, USA

Eleni Antonia Taluzek, Mezzo-soprano

School: Indiana University

Teacher: Timothy Noble

From: Illinois, USA

Ira Stecher
, Tenor

School: Kansas City Conservatory

Teacher: Raymond Feener

From: Florida, USA

Karis Tucker
, Mezzo-soprano

School: University of Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music

Teacher: Amy Johnson

From: Ohio, USA

Laura Romero, Soprano

School: Florida Atlantic University

Teacher: Patricia Fleitas

From: Florida, USA

Matthew Soibelman, Bass

School: California State University – Northridge

Teacher: David Sannerud

From: California, USA

May Claire La Plante
, Soprano

School: University of Oxford

Teacher: Katharin Rundus

From: California, USA

Meagan Rao, Coloratura Soprano

School: San Francisco Conservatory

Teacher: César Ulloa

From: India/USA

Tiana Sorenson, Soprano

School: Northwestern University

Teacher: W. Stephen Smith

From: Wisconsin, USA

Tzytle Steinman, Mezzo-soprano

School: Northwestern University

Teacher: W. Stephen Smith

From: California, USA

2019 Finalist Judges

Dr. Mitchell Hutchings

Dr. Christi McLain

Dr. Nicholas Larson

Dr. Saundra DeAthos

American Vocal Arts |

Dr. Sarah Hutchings, Composer in Residence 

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