On Saturday, April 14, 2012, the Oratorio Society of New York announced the winners of the 2012 Lyndon Woodside Oratorio-Solo Competition, the only major vocal competition devoted to solo oratorio singing. Immediately following the competition's final round, at which eight singers each sang two selections from the oratorio repertoire, the following prizes were announced:
The Ruth Lopin Nash Award for First Place ($7,000): Dashon Burton, Bass-baritone
The Stanley C. Meyerson Award for Second Place ($5,000): Tobias Greenhalgh, Baritone
The Docia Goodwin Franklin Award for Third Place ($2,500): Jon-Michael Ball, Tenor
The Frances MacEachron Award for Fourth Place ($1,500): Jennifer Feinstein, Mezzo-soprano
First prize winner Dashon Burton with OSNY Chairwoman Ellen Lopin Blair. Photo by Tim Dwight
The following prizes were also awarded:
The Lyndon Woodside Encouragement Award ($1,000): Tobias Greenhalgh, Baritone
The Johannes Somary Award ($500): Nacole Palmer, Soprano
The Richard Westenburg Award ($500): Nacole Palmer, Soprano
The remaining finalists – mezzo-soprano Sarah Mesko, soprano Kathryn Mueller, and soprano Emily Newton – also received $500.
The eight finalists were culled from 24 semifinalists (of 110 applicants). The 2012 jury included conductor and Collegiate Choral Music Director James Bagwell, former Metropolitan Opera administrator Alfred Hubay, conductor and Berkshire Choral Festival Director Frank Nemhauser, conductor and Stonewall Chorale Artistic Director Cynthia Powell, and conductor and Oratorio Society of New York Music Director Kent Tritle. The pianist for the competition was Linda Hall.
Since 1977, the Oratorio Society of New York, the city's standard for grand, joyous choral performance, has held the only major vocal competition devoted to solo oratorio singing, which each year draws more than 100 applicants from around the world. The competition was created to encourage the art of oratorio singing and to give talented young singers an opportunity to advance their careers. The Solo Competition has long been international in scope, and is well known in the music world – since its inception, more than 3,400 singers have competed and more than 100 winners chosen. In addition, over 65 performance contracts have been awarded to Competition winners to appear in concert with the OSNY; many have also been awarded contracts with other major musical organizations. Previous winners include Jennifer Check, Michelle DeYoung, Tyler Duncan, Lauren Flanigan, Carl Halvorson, and Eric Owens. In 2006, the Solo Competition was renamed in honor of Lyndon Woodside, the Society's late director.
OSNY 139th Season Concludes with World Premiere of Filas's Song of Solomon
After what The New York Times described as "a vibrant performance" of the Mozart arrangement of Handel's Messiah in December, the Oratorio Society of New York returns to Carnegie Hall on Thursday, April 26, 2012, for the concluding concert of its 139th season: a program of Czech music featuring the world premiere of an OSNY commission, Song of Solomon by Juraj Filas, and Kent Tritle's first performance of Dvo?ák's Stabat mater. The program's soloists include Rachel Rosales, soprano; Charlotte Daw Paulsen, mezzo-soprano; John Bellemer, tenor; and Ben Wager, bass. The program is presented in partnership with Carnegie Hall as part of its 120th Anniversary Celebration.
Oratorio Society of New York
"The Oratorio Society has held the line for choral grandeur," said The New York Times of the Society's performance of Handel's Messiah at Carnegie Hall in 2008. Since its founding in 1873, during which time many thousands of singers have passed through its membership, the OSNY, New York's own 200-voice avocational chorus, has become the city's standard for grand, joyous choral performance. Since 2005 the chorus has been led by Music Director Kent Tritle, called "New York City's foremost choral conductor" by Time Out New York, who was recently appointed Director of Cathedral Music and Organist for the Cathedral of St. John the Divine. "The sheer energy of the society's sound had an enveloping fervor," wrote Allan Kozinn in The New York Times of a 2008 presentation of Brahms's Ein Deutsches Requiem; and of a 2005 performance of Messiah, Jeremy Eichler said in the Times, "this was...a vibrant and deeply human performance, made exciting by the sheer heft and depth of the chorus's sound."