2016 International Vocal Competition
Winners Biography
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Top Prize
Vanessa Vasquez, Soprano, is a third year Resident Artist at The Academy of Vocal Arts.  Alumna of the Catholic University of America and University of California, Los Angeles.  At AVA she debuted as Mimi in La Boheme, Donna Anna and Giorgetta.  She has sung Countess with Oberlin in Italy and Donna Elvira with Opera UCLA.  Competition wins include 1st place in the Vocal Arts DC Art Song Competition, 1st place and Audience Prize in both the Giargiari Bel Canto Competition and the Phoenix Opera Vocal Competition.

First Prize
Karen Barraza, Soprano, recently performed the title role in Gounod's Roméo et Juliette in Sinaloa, México. Performed multiple roles at the Academy of Vocal Arts including: Musetta, La Bohème; Elvira, L'italiana in Algeri; Lauretta, Gianni Schicchi; Poussette, Manon. Grant winner in the Gerda Lissner Foundation Competition, received awards with the Violetta DuPont and the Giulio Gari Foundation Competitions. Received 3rd prize at the Carlo Morelli Competition, Audience Favorite at the Concurso de Canto Sinaloa, Amigos de La ópera Award, and Young Artist Award.

Second Prize
Andre Courville, Bass baritone, AVA third-year Resident Artist is the recipient of numerous honors, including semifinalist in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, first place Violetta DuPont, first place in the Loren L. Zachary National Vocal Competition, first place in the Giargiari Bel Canto Competition, second place in the Giulio Gari International Vocal Competition. Recently debuted as Leporello in Don Giovanni/i>, Méphistophélès in Faust, Mustafaà' in L'Italiana in Algeri at AVA, among others at AVA in Philadelphia.

Second Prize
Alasdair Kent, Tenor, AVA third-year Resident Artist and an Emerging Artist with Opera Philadelphia. Debuts in 15/16 include The Dallas Opera, Opera Philadelphia and Wolf Trap Opera. Repertoire includes leading tenor roles in Il barbiere di Siviglia, La Cenerentola, L'italiana in Algeri, Don Pasquale, Gianni Schicchi, Così fan tutte and Don Giovanni. Upcoming debuts in Die Zauberflöte with AVA. Alumnus of the Merola Opera Program and the Martina Arroyo Foundation's Prelude to Performance.

Third Prize
Galeano Salas, Mexican-American tenor, top prize in the Gerda Lissner Foundation. Salas is quickly establishing himself as one of the leading young tenors of his generation. In the fall, he will be joining the Bayerische Staatsoper's Studio to sing Arturo in Lucia di Lammermoor. Recently Galeano sang the Duke in Verdi's Rigoletto, the title role in Massenet's Werther, and Avito in Montemezzi's L'amore de tre Re. Returns to Santa Fe Opera this summer.

Fourth Prize
Tracy Cantin, Soprano, a recent graduate of the Ryan Opera Center at Lyric Opera of Chicago where she won magnificent critical acclaim last season as Berta/Il barbiere di Siviglia, appeared with the company in Elektra, Rigoletto, and Parsifal. Seen in the title role of Donizetti's demanding Anna Bolena in which she replaced ailing super-star soprano Sondra Radvanovsky. Holds degrees from McGill University, University of Western Ontario and University of Alberta.

Fifth Prize
Jared Bybee, Baritone AVA third-year Resident Artist. Won first prize in the Gerda Lissner Foundation IVC; Finalist, Belvedere Competition, Fifth Prize, Giulio Gari Foundation; Fourth Prize, Loren L. Zachary Vocal Competition; Grand Finalist, Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. Roles at AVA: Manfredo, L'amore dei tre re; Don Giovanni, Don Giovanni; Valentin, Faust; Marcello, La Bohème; Germont,La traviata; Prince Yeletsky, Pique Dame; Guglielmo, Così fan tutte. B.S in Economics with Music Minor, University of Utah.

Grant Winners
Jeongcheol Cha, Bass baritone, winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, 2nd prize in the Gerda Lissner and Giulio Gari Foundations. At the Metropolitan Opera he appeared as Yamadori in Madama Butterfly, Watchman in Die Frau ohne Schatten, returns to the Metropolitan Opera for the 2016/17 season as Masetto in Don Giovanni and as Gregorio in Romeo et Juliette. Received his Artist Diploma in Opera Studies at Juilliard where he studied with Marlena Malas
Kidon Choi, Baritone, second prize winner of The Gerda Lissner Foundation is currently in his second year as a PDPL student at Mannes School of Music, under the tutelage of Arthur Levy. Received his master's degree at Manhattan School of Music and his bachelor's degree at Hanyang University in Korea. Recently, he performed Dulcamara , L'elisir d'amor with Mannes School of Music, Marcello , La Bohème with Chautauqua Music Festival. Returns to Chatauqua Music Festival as Rigoletto in Rigoletto.
Amber Daniel, Soprano, second place in the Wagnerian Division of the Gerda Lissner and Liederkranz Foundation; awards in Violetta DuPont competition. Debuted as Cio-Cio-San in Madama Butterfly at Lorin Maazel's Castleton Festival. Recent Gala appearances for the Enrico Caruso and Colombus Citizens Foundations and Opera at Florham. Resident Artist with Tri-Cities Opera, Opera Slavica, L'Accademia Musicale Chigiana, and The Martina Arroyo Foundation. Studies with renowned soprano Diana Soviero.
Norman Garrett, Baritone, alumnus of the Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program at Washington National Opera. 2nd prize winner of the Gerda Lissner Foundation. 2015-2016 season features his European debut with the Wexford Festival Opera in Ireland as the title role in a new production of Delius' Koanga by Michael Gieleta, conducted by Stephen Barlow. He is a graduate of the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music and Texas Tech University.
Samantha Hankey, Mezzo Soprano, currently pursuing her Masters of Music degree at The Juilliard School where she studies with Professor Edith Wiens. Most recently appeared as Diana & Diana in Giove La Calisto and Marcellina Le nozze di Figaro. Appeared as guest performer with the Metropolitan Opera's Lindemann Young Artists Program. Awards include a third prize from the Gerda Lissner Foudnation, a Sara Tucker Study Grant from the Richard Tucker Foundation and Opera Index. She is a proud recipient the Kovner Fellowship at The Juilliard School.
Pawel Konik, Polish bass-baritone, third prize winner of The Gerda Lissner Foundation IVC is in his second year at the Yale Opera Program. Winner of Jan Kiepura's Award for The Best Singers Debut for Shvokhniev in Shostakovich's The Gamblers at Baltic Opera. Returns for the 2015/16 season to Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra to perform Masetto in Don Giovanni. Next season, appears as Genera? Lascy in Krzysztof Penderecki's Ubu Rex at Baltic Opera.
Önay Köse, Bass, native of Turkey finished his Master's and attending Artist Diploma in Opera Studies at Juilliard School. Made his Alice Tully Hall debut singing with Juilliard in a Vocal Arts Recital. Made his Carnegie Hall debut as soloist in Beethoven's 9th Symphony. This Season appears as Nächtwaechter in Die Meistersinger, Sarastro in Die Zauberflöte, Gremin in Eugene Onegin and Plutone in Orpheus at the Komische Oper Berlin, Sparafucile in Rigoletto at the Frankfurt Opera.
Alexander McKissick, tenor, currently pursuing his Master's degree at the Juilliard School of Music under the tutelage of Marlena Malas. Performed the roles of Monostatos in Die Zauberflöte, Le Journaliste in Les mamelles de Tirésias, and Ein Soldat in Der Kaiser von Atlantis at the Juilliard School. This summer attends the Georg Solti Accademia Program for Opera Studies in Castiglione Della Pescaia, Italy. Recipient of a Virgina B. Toulmin award.
Chloé Olivia Moore French/Canadian Soprano, is a graduate of the Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia. Won top prizes with the George London, Gerda Lissner, Giulio Gari Foundations, and the Loren Zachary Vocal Competition and award winner in the Violetta DuPont Opera At Florham. Future engagements include a recital in the Festival del Pitic in Hermosillo, Mexico, Donna Anna in Don Giovanni with Bar Harbor Music Festival and Nedda in I Pagliacci with Dayton Opera.
Maria Natale, soprano, made her professional debut with Sarasota Opera as Liù in Turandot. Received a professional studies certificate from the Manhattan School of Music, where she sang the role of Lady Macbeth in Ernest Bloch's only opera Macbeth. A second place winner in the Violetta DuPont Vocal Competition, winner of the Alan M. and Joan Taub Ades Vocal competition and a grant recipient from the Gerda Lissner Foundation.
Mia Pafumi, Soprano, a second time grant winner of the Puccini Albanese Foundation has been heard singing the role of Imelda in the Opera Orchestra of New York's 2016 presentation of Parisina d'Este conducted by Maestro Eve Queler. She made her professional opera debut with the Knoxville Opera's 2016 production of Hansel and Gretel as the Dew Fairy. She is currently pursuing a Masters of Music at the University of Tennessee as a member of the Opera Theater program.
Kevin Ray, Tenor, 2nd prize winner in both General and Wagnerian Division in the Gerda Lissner with the Liederkranz Foundation. In summer makes his Los Angeles Philharmonic debut singing Beethoven's Choral Fantasy under the baton of Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla, and then joins the Ravinia Festival Steans Music Institute. Future engagements include his role and company debuts as the Prince in Rusalka with Arizona Opera and Erik in Der fliegende Holländer with Estonian National Opera. Bachelor of Music degree from the Oberlin College Conservatory of Music.
Liv Redpath, Soprano, completed her M.M. at Juilliard, where she was a proud recipient of a Kovner Fellowship. Made her Alice Tully Hall debut with Juilliard 415 and William Christie in Handel's La resurrezione and her Carnegie debut with Poulenc's Gloria, returning in Handel's Messiah. Summer 2016, she will sing Echo in Ariadne auf Naxos at OTSL, Héro in Béatrice et Bénédict at Aspen. Joins the LA Opera as a Domingo-Colburn-Stein Young Artist in the fall.
Reginald Smith, Jr, Baritone, grand finals winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, first prize winner of the Gerda Lissner Foundation, The George London. A recent graduate of the Houston Grand Opera Studio. Operatic highlights include Le nozze di Figaro (Count Almaviva), La Boheme  (Marcello), Madama Butterfly (Sharpless), Die Fledermaus (Falke), La Traviata (Germont), Gounod's Roméo et Juliette (Capulet/Le Duc), Porgy and Bess (Jake/Lawyer Frazier), The Pirates of Penzance (The Pirate King), and Rigoletto (Marullo).
Mackenzie Whitney, Tenor, a recent graduate of the Academy of Vocal Arts. Winner of the Philadelphia district Metropolitan Opera Competition; grant winner in The Gerda Lissner Foundation International Vocal Competition. Roles at AVA, Werther, Werther; Faust, Faust; Rodolfo, La Bohème; Chevalier des Grieux, Manon; Ferrando, Cosi fan tutte; Other roles performed include Giovanni, Rappaccini's Daughter, Don Ottavio Don Giovanni, Tamino The Magic Flute, and Alfred Die Fledermaus. Received his B.M. at University of Northern Iowa.