Friday, January 5, 2018

WINNERS: The American Prize in Voice (men in opera), 2017-18—The Friedrich & Virginia Schorr Memorial Award

The American Prize is honored to announce the winners, runners-up and citation recipient of The American Prize in Vocal Performance (men in opera and operetta), 2017-18—The Friedrich and Virginia Schorr Memorial Award, in professional, and college/university divisions. Congratulations!

Complete listings of finalists and semi-finalists in The American Prize competitions may be found elsewhere on this blog. Please use the chronological tool in the right-hand column to find specific results.

Please make us aware of any misprints:

The American Prize in Vocal Performance—Friedrich and Virginia Schorr Memorial Award honors the memory of the greatest Wagnerian baritone of his age, Friedrich Schorr, who commanded the operatic stage between the world wars, and his wife, Virginia Schorr, who taught studio voice at the Manhattan School of Music and the Hartt School of Music for nearly fifty years. The Prize recognizes and rewards the best performances by classically trained vocalists in America in 2017-18, based on submitted recordings.

The American Prize in Vocal Performance (men in opera and operetta), 2017-18
The Friedrich and Virginia Schorr Memorial Award
(professional division)

The American Prize winner:
Ryan Francis Burns   Vernon CT
Ryan Francis Burns
Baritone, Ryan F. Burns, performs extensively with opera companies and orchestras in the Northeast. Ryan was a 2016 national finalist in the American Prize competition in the performing arts (Art Song Division) and toured with the Jessica Lang Dance company in their staged production of The Wanderer (Schubert’s Die schöne Müllerin). Most recently, Ryan sang the role of “Il Conte” in Le nozze di Figaro with UCONN Opera Theater and performed as part of the Ukrainian Institute of America’s MATI Series in New York City.

Ryan has performed with the former Opera Boston, Salt Marsh Opera, Connecticut Lyric Opera, Opera Theater of Connecticut, Opera Providence, Hartford Opera Theater, Greater Worcester Opera, and Opera del West. Ryan graduated with a doctorate of musical arts in vocal performance from the University Connecticut in May 2017. Ryan received his MMus in vocal performance in 2012 from the University of Connecticut and a BA in criminal justice from Saint Anselm College in 2007. He is a student of soprano, Dr. Constance Rock.

2nd PLACE:
Scott J. Brunscheen   Chicago IL
Scott J. Brunscheen
During the 2016-17 Season, Scott J. Brunscheen was seen in productions of Haydn's L’isola disabitata with Haymarket Opera, Purcell's The Fairy Queen with Chicago Opera Theater and Long Beach Opera, the world premiere of Stewart Copeland's The Invention of Morel at Chicago Opera Theater, and Mozart's Die Zauberflote with Madison Opera. Previous operatic engagements include Poulenc's Dialogues des Carmélites at the Caramoor Bel Canto Festival, Britten’s The Turn of the Screw with Chicago Fringe Opera, Donizetti's La Fille du Regiment, Puccini’s Tosca, and Heggie's Dead Man Walking (Madison Opera); Glass’ The Fall of the House of Usher, Mose in Egitto, Giasone, and Die Zauberflote (Chicago Opera Theater); Chin’s Alice in Wonderland and Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd (Opera Theater of St. Louis); Rossini’s La Cenerentola, Dean Burry's The Brothers Grimm (Lyric Opera of Chicago Lyric Unlimited); Britten's The Rape of Lucretia (Chicago Fringe Opera) and Mozart's Don Giovanni with Opera New Jersey.

3rd PLACE & JUDGES' CITATION "Excellence in the music of Benjamin Britten"
Kyle van Schoonhoven   Chicago IL
Kyle van Schoonhoven
Tenor Kyle van Schoonhoven is currently a first year Adler at the San Francisco Opera.   He will make his debut on the San Francisco Opera stage this coming fall as Young Servant in Strauss’ Elektra,  and will cover other leading roles, including Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni, Aegisth in Elektra, Froh in Das Rheingold, and Siegmund in Die Walküre. Mr.  Van Schoonhoven was recently awarded the Nicolai Gedda Memorial Award, from the prestigious George London Foundation, and was a finalist in the 2016 Jensen Foundation Vocal Competition. In March 2017, he will be a semifinalist at the Metropolitan Opera National Council semifinal auditions in NYC. In addition to participating in numerous young artist programs, van Schoonhoven holds a Masters of Music from Westminster Choir College as well as a Bachelors of Music from Fredonia School of Music.

The American Prize in Vocal Performance (men in opera and operetta), 2017-18
The Friedrich and Virginia Schorr Memorial Award
(college/university division)

The American Prize winner:
Ben M. Reisinger   Rochester NY
Ben M. Reisinger
Ben Reisinger, baritone, is honored to be selected as a Finalist for the prestigious American Prize Award in Vocal Performance in the Art Song/Oratorio and Opera/Operetta division, 2016-2017. Ben has recently been selected for the Martina Arroyo Foundation Prelude to Performance Young Artists Program for the summer of 2017.  He is a finalist in the Classical Singer Competition to be held in Chicago this May.  He has performed ‘Faure Requiem’ in Poland with the Philharmonic of Rzeszow. He is a frequent soloist at the Rochester Lyric Opera.  Ben is in his 4th year at Nazareth College majoring in Vocal Performance.  He has been awarded 1st place for 3 years, Classical Vocal Competition in the NATS student auditions held at the Eastman School of Music, Nazareth and Hofstra. Ben was selected as one of the vocalists to tour with Josh Groban & Orchestra this past October & July, as well as one of the Northeast Vocal Finalists for the Michael Feinstein ‘Great American Songbook’ Competition in NYC.

2nd PLACE:
Jake Hemminger   Greensboro NC

Jake Hemminger
Jake Hemminger is pursuing a Master of Music in Vocal Performance and Pedagogy at The University of North Carolina at Greensboro. In 2016, he made his international debut as the tenor soloist for Schubert’s Mass in G and Mozart’s Missa Brevis in F during the MidAmerica Productions Choral Series in Florence, Italy. Jake’s favorite roles performed include Anthony in Sweeney Todd, Henrik in A Little Night Music, Fracasso in Mozart’s La finta semplice, and Count Danilo in The Merry Widow. He has also been seen in scenes from L’elisir d’amore, Falstaff, and The Tender Land. Jake graduated from The University of Alabama at Birmingham with a Bachelor of Arts in Music Technology with Honors in Voice. Visit to learn more!

3rd PLACE:
David John Davani   Sea Cliff NY
David John Davani
Baritone, David John Davani, performances include those with Stony Brook Opera, Art Song Preservation Society of NY "Spring into Song" Series at the National Opera Center, solo appearances with the Stony Brook University Orchestra, as well as recitals at the Staller Center. In December 2016, he performed in the world premier of celebrated composer Jonathan Dawe's new opera, "Nero and the Fall of Lehman Brothers" at the Italian Academy in NYC. In 2017 he performed with pianist, Joseph Holt in Artist Series Concerts of Sarasota’s Festival of French Music, where he also soloed in the Duruflé Requiem. David has also appeared in master classes with tenors George Shirley and Frank Lopardo, baritone William Stone, as well as Mikael Eliasen and Mark Markham. In 2017, he was invited as a Colburn Fellow to attend SongFest in Los Angeles. David is a National YoungArts award winner in voice and clarinet. Visit


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