Friday, January 5, 2018

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

The American Prize is honored to announce the winners and runners-up of The American Prize in Vocal Performance (men in art song and oratorio), 2017-18—The Friedrich and Virginia Schorr Memorial Award, in professional, college/university and high school 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 2016, based on submitted recordings.

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

The American Prize winner:
Justin John Moniz   Tallahassee FL
Justin John Moniz
Winner of the 2015 American Prize in Voice – Chicago Musical Theatre Award, Justin John Moniz’s “superb high tenor” (South Florida Classical Review) and “commanding stage presence” ( has been thrilling audiences in opera houses, theaters and concert halls across the nation, among them Opera Grand Rapids, Utah Festival Opera & Musical Theatre, Sarasota Opera, Florida Grand Opera, the Opera Company of Middlebury, Opera New Jersey, DreamCatcher Theatre/Adrienne Arsht Center, Orchestra Miami, Gulfshore Opera, Palm Beach Dramaworks, the Orchestra of Northern New York, and Chicago Symphony Center. His unique style and versatility have afforded him an active career in opera, concert and musical theatre, having sung over 50 roles to date. Most recently, Mr. Moniz’s star turn as Prince Karl Franz in The Student Prince with Opera Grand Rapids received high praise and great acclaim, the press hailing his performance as “simply outstanding…glorious” (Encore Michigan). His performance also earned him the prestigious BroadwayWorld Award for Best Actor in a Musical. For more information:

2nd PLACE:
Andrew Chukwuka Egbuchiem   Brooklyn NY
Andrew Chukwuka Egbuchiem
Andrew Egbuchiem made his debut as a Countertenor soloist in the performance of G.F. Handel’s Judas Maccabeus in Nigeria in 1999. He studied at the Department of Music, Adeniran Ogunsanya College of Education between 2001 and 2004. He was an artist in residence for the Singers of United Land Project an International residency program – SINGERS OF UNITED LANDS he was involved in between December 2013 and June 2014 touring through the east half of the united states, Kenya, Switzerland, Czech Republic, Poland and Latvia. He performed with the Schola Cantorum in Hudson for their 2015/2016 choral season singing performing as an Alto soloist in Handel’s Messiah and a modern composition. He sang the role Sorceress in Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas in the Summer Vocal Arts Program at the Brooklyn Music School in August 2016. He was a Finalist at the Oratorio category of the Lyra International Vocal Competition in New York in 2016. In January 2017, he sang some roles from Opera scenes by Handel, Mozart and Offenbach in the Brooklyn Music School’s Winter Program Scherzo. He would be involved in the summer production of Gluck’s Echo et Narcisse.

3rd PLACE:
Vahagn Hovents   Glendale CA
Vahagn Hovents
Vahagn Hovents - bass, received international recognition as a performer of Sacred Music, displayed his talent in various cities of Russia, USA, Canada, Austria, Germany, Italy, Monaco, France, Poland, Iran, Syria. Mr.Hovents received top honors as First Prize winner of American Protege International Concerto Competition with a performance at Carnegie Hall, and Second Place from New York Oratorio Society Solo Competition in Carnegie Hall. Having a vast oratorial repertoire, the singer participated in internationally prominent festivals and his recitals were presented at the most prominent concert halls and cathedrals in the world. V.H. was a featured soloist of The Camerata of Los Angeles, ASMS ( Armenian Sacred Music Singers) and world-renowned  'Oshagan' - sacred music ensemble (Marseille, France),  presently soloist of The New Hope Singers of Los Angeles, Elite Chorus & Orchestra,  has performed as a bass soloist in monumental sacred works by Bach, Haydn, Mozart, Handel, Beethoven, Verdi , Dvorak, Schubert, Gounod; under conductors Ogan D'Narc, Loris Tjeknavorian, Cliff Yang, Vincent Metzelfelt, Johanna Medawar-Nacheff, Thomas Sekaian, Gamma Skupinsky, Grigor Arakelyan, Tigran Hekekyan, Harutyun Topikyan, Robert Mlkeyan.

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

The American Prize winner:
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

2nd PLACE:
James Ley   Elkton MD
James Ley
Tenor James Ley, originally from Maryland, studied voice at the Wheaton College Conservatory of Music, with Dr. Carolyn Hart. While at Wheaton, James was involved in several opera productions. His most recent roles include a staged production of Britten’s Canticle II: Abraham and Isaac and Tamino in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte. James also enjoyed participating as the tenor soloist in Wheaton’s production of Handel’s Messiah. During his sophomore year, James performed as Uriel in Haydn’s The Creation, under the baton of John Nelson. James looks forward to graduate studies in the fall of 2017.

3rd PLACE:
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.


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