Thursday, September 7, 2017

Baritones Sweep Wigmore/Kohn Song Competition

The "Battle of the Baritones" at the Wigmore Hall/Kohn Foundation International Song Competition ended up with baritones taking all three of the top prizes. It repeats the baritone trifecta of the last competition in 2015, when Swiss bass Milan Siljanov took 1st Prize, German baritone Samuel Hasselhorn took 2nd Prize, and British baritone James Newby took 3rd Prize.

What started with 150 singers from 42 countries ended up coming down to the baritone trio, plus mezzo-soprano Clara Osowski, who walked away for the Richard Tauber prize for the best Schubert singing. You can watch the entire final round HERE.

First Prize went to New Zealand baritone Julien Van Mellaerts who received £10,000 and a Wigmore Hall recital offered at the discretion of the Director, Second Prize went to American baritone John Brancy who received £5,000 and Third Prize went to American baritone Josh Quinn who received £2,500.

The Wigmore Hall/Kohn Foundation International Song Competition has been around for fourteen years and attracts some of the top young vocal and piano talent in the world. Singers compete in tandem with an accompanist. This Competition recognizes the song tradition as a whole and requires contestants to perform in at least three languages. At the same time it honors the Lied’s place at the heart of the song repertoire and celebrates the Shakespearean stature of Schubert in the genre.

Baritones have historically fared well at the competition, with the amazing German baritone Dominik Köninger winning the top prize in 2011, Gavan Ring taking 2nd Prize in 2013, the famous 2015 trifecta and this year's repeat of baritones taking all three top prizes.  The Competition is held only in odd numbered years.

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