The Walter W. Naumburg Foundation‚Äôs 2021 International Vocal Competition concluded on Thursday, May 27, naming Erin Wagner, a mezzo-soprano from El Paso, Texas, the winner. Ms. Wagner‚Äôs prize includes a cash award of $25,000, two New York concerts, and a commissioned work. Her collaborating pianist was Shawn Chang.
Two second prizes of $12,500 each, were given to Megan Moore, mezzo-soprano, and William Socolof, bass-baritone. Ms. Moore collaborated with pianist Francesco Barfoed, and Mr. Socolof collaborated with pianist Gracie Francis.
All three pianists were awarded an honorarium of $500.
Erin Wagner is a graduate of Manhattan School of Music where she received her bachelor of music degree, and will graduate on June 19 with her master's degree from Juilliard. Megan Moore also will graduate from Juilliard in June with an artist diploma, and William Socolof currently attends Juilliard where he is an artist diploma candidate.
The five-day event, beginning on May 22, took place in New York at the 92nd Street Y (final round), Merkin Concert Hall (semi-final round) and preliminary round (Symphony Space). All three rounds were held as live auditions. The jury, chaired by Dawn Upshaw, a member of Naumburg‚Äôs Board of Directors, included Jan Opalach, William Sharp, Dona D. Vaughn, Mark Markham, Tony Arnold, John Harbison and Benita Valente.
The Walter W. Naumburg Foundation was founded in 1926 by Walter Naumburg, a banker and amateur cellist, and continues today in the pursuit of the ideals set out by Mr. Naumburg. His desire to assist gifted young American musicians has made possible a long-standing program of competitions and awards in solo and chamber music performance, and composer recordings. It was Mr. Naumburg‚Äôs firm belief that such competitions were not only for the benefit of new stars, but would also be for those talented young musicians who would become prime movers in the development of the highest standard of musical excellence throughout America and worldwide.
Among past winners of the Naumburg Vocal Award include Julia Bullock, Sari Gruber, Stephen Salters, Dawn Upshaw, Faith Esham, Irene Gubrud, Jan Opalach, Lucy Shelton and Shirley Verrett.