orchestraThe American Prize in Vocal Performance (Opera/Operetta), 2019-20
Friedrich and Virginia Schorr Memorial Award

and Chicago Oratorio Award: Beethoven Symphony No. 9

Preliminary DEADLINE (revised) for postmark or emailing of application(s): Wednesday, May 1, 2019.
Automatic extensions to Monday, June 3, 2019 for those who need more time and request it in advance of the June date by emailing


The opera/operetta and art song/oratorio contests are separate competitions, judged independently, requiring two application forms and two fees, but all materials may be sent (or emailed) together—or separately—as you wish, by the final deadline date. You may apply in one competition or both. Audition materials for the opera and/or art song contests may be audio or video, provided as links or on disc sent to the office, as you prefer.



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 2019-20, based on submitted recordings.


Professional women's division: Meredith Mecum, Bronx NY

Professional men's division: Ryan Franics Burns, Vernon CT

College/University women's division (tie): Sarah Cooper, Lincoln MA / Kellie Motter, Bloomington IN

College/University men's division: Ben M. Reisinger, Rochester NY

High School women's division: Sarah Aaldering, Los Gatos CA

Professional women's division: Kristina Bachrach, La Grange IL

Professional men's division: Justin John Moniz, Tallahassee FL

College/University women's division: Lauren Elizabeth Walker, Bloomington IN

College/University men's division: David John Davani, Sea Cliff NY

Community women's division: Deborah M. Connelly, Stratford CT

High School women's division: Amalia Crevani, Milford NJ

For more about Friedrich and Virginia Schorr and the long history of the Friedrich Schorr Memorial Performance Prize in Voice, click here.

Complete updated listings of winners and runners-up from all seasons will soon be found on the Winners' Pages.


The American Prize is more than monetary. Semi-finalists, finalists and winners are announced to national arts media and on our websites, where winners are profiled. Semi-finalists, finalists and winners earn the right to use The American Prize logo and official seal on printed programs and other documents, and on the web.

SEMI-FINALISTS: All semi-finalists receive official certificates.

FINALISTS and RUNNERS-UP: All finalists and runners-up receive personalized certificates and written, unbiased evaluations from our distinguished national panel of judges. When winners are announced on The American Prize blog, RUNNERS-UP are also profiled on the blog with their photos, biographies and website links.

WINNERS: A single winner in each category and/or division is selected, with separate prizes for men and women. Winners receive certificates, written evaluations, personalized press releases sent by us to local media and other contacts you provide as part of your application, and cash prizes up to $500, depending on the year, the category and the number of entrants. Only with your explicit permission, excerpts of winning performances may be posted to The American Prize channel on

The judges reserve the right to award citations and honorable mentions as warranted, and to combine categories when necessary. The decision of the judges is final.


PRELIMINARY DEADLINE to email and/or postmark applications (revised): Wednesday, May 1, 2019

The American Prize in Vocal Performance—Friedrich and Virginia Schorr Memorial Award is offered to men and women in two divisions: opera/operetta, and art song/oratorio, with categories based on education and experience. There are no age limits. Applications may be made by the vocalists themselves, by teachers, colleagues, or other knowledgeable individuals. Singers may apply in the opera/operetta division, the art song/oratorio division, or both.

In the Opera/Operetta division, the categories are:
    1. professional (the vocalist has paid employment as a singer or singing teacher)
    2. college/university (the vocalist is seriously pursuing a professional career as a singer)
    3. community (the vocalist pursues music as a avocation)
    4. gifted high-school-age vocalist

On the application form, select the one which best matches your current situation.

The competitions of The American Prize are open to all U.S. citizens, whether living in this country or abroad, and to others currently living, working and/or studying in the United States of America, its protectorates and territories. The American Prize does not discriminate on the basis of ethnicity, gender, age, spiritual or personal belief, disability, sexual preference or gender identification. All application fees must be remitted in U.S. funds.


Every applicant must send certain required information by email.

Applicants can then complete their application either of two ways:


A. ONLINE ONLY: pay fees online, submit the downloaded application as a PDF file, along with the required emailed information (see application form), and include links to your online audition selections. (Application forms for The American Prize can be filled out on computer, saved and emailed by using Adobe Reader 11. Download it free here.)

B. BY MAIL & EMAIL: mail the completed, downloaded application form and send audition selections on disc or tape to the office, and email the required information (see application form), pay fees online, or by check, by money order or credit card.


    1. Download the application form for The American Prize in Vocal Performance, Opera/Operetta division. Select the category which best identifies the applicant.
    2. MAIL the completed application form by the deadline date or EMAIL it as a PDF attachment with your required email.

    3. If providing audition selections ONLINE, include the links to them in your required email (see application form.)

    4. If providing audition selections BY MAIL, include two identical recordings of the applicant in performance, with the selections clearly indicated on both the recording itself and on the recording's cover or box. Be sure it lists applicant's name.
    5. Be sure to sign the form and pay the application fee. Pay ONLINE (click "FEES/GIFTS" in the menu bar, above) or use this link: "Pay competition fees", or send check, money order or credit card information by mail.
    6. Be sure to email the required information (see application form.)

The application fee is $45 per application. Pay ONLINE (click "FEES/GIFTS" in the menu bar, above) or use this iink: "Pay competition fees" pay by credit card, or make checks payable to HCMT/The American Prize (see application form.) Application fees are nonrefundable. No incomplete applications will be accepted. When paying online, BE SURE to identify the applicant with the payment.

The American Prize in Vocal Performance (opera/operetta division):


You need not prepare a special audition for The American Prize. A previous recording, whether of a concert made in front of an audience or one created in a recording session without an audience, is perfectly acceptable. Neither the location nor the repertoire of any qualified individual limits eligibility, provided the general guidelines listed below have been met. Excellence within categories is the primary criteria for the selection of finalists and winners.


1. MAIL recordings of, or email ONLINE links to, no fewer than 3 and no more than 5 arias from the standard repertoire, sung in the original language, appropriate for the age, range and vocal “fach” (voice type) of the applicant. At least one selection must be in the English language originally (not a translation.) Applicants are encouraged to offer auditions sung in at least two languages in addition to the English language requirement.


2. You must perform with a live accompanist. No unaccompanied performances, nor is the use of pre-recorded or computer generated accompaniments permissible. You may MAIL recordings of, or email ONLINE links to, staged opera/operetta performances, if properly edited or cued to primarily feature your selection(s).


3. If sending recordings BY MAIL, performers and works must be clearly identified on the discs and covers or video boxes. We prefer DVD or VHS video of the applicant, but will accept CD audio recordings. No cassette tapes.


4. If submitting ONLINE links, include them in your required email. Be sure to identify the links by title of the selection and provide any passwords necessary, so judges can easily access your audition. Links must remain active until the results in the category are officially announced. PLEASE NOTE: The responsibility for the viability of links rests with the contestant. Please double-check that they work correctly.


5. There are no other restrictions. No materials will be returned.


SEND required email to: theamericanprize@gmail.com




four $1500 performance prizes

BEETHOVEN: Symphony No. 9


In 2019, in addition to the national competitions listed here, four $1500 prizes will be awarded as performance fees to soloists selected to appear under Maestro David Katz's baton in concert with the Chicago Bar Association Symphony Orchestra, CBA Chorus and guest choirs in June 2019, in two performances of the Beethoven Symphony No. 9, including at Symphony Center / Orchestra Hall (home of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.).


For more information about this additional opportunity, which is limited to applicants in the professional and college/university divisions, please download the opera/operetta or art song/oratorio application, which includes rehearsal and performance dates, times, locations and additional application.


The selection process for the Chicago Oratorio Award is separate from The American Prize judging. Winning one competition does not preclude the possibility of winning the other.

To learn about the Chicago Bar Association Symphony Orchestra and CBA Chorus, click here. To view an excerpt of Maestro Katz with CBASO & CBA Chorus and guests performing Orff's Carmina Burana at Orchestra Hall, Chicago (photo above), please click



GENERAL TIMELINE for The American Prize in Vocal Performance opera competition:

Final deadline for postmark or emailing applications), with extensions available by emailed request: Monday, June 3, 2019, except for the Chicago Oratorio Award (deadline May 1, 2019.) Applications will be acknowledged by email.


In general, the entire competition process is completed in several months. Semi-finalists are announced in the fall, finalists in the winter, followed by winners—after which all certificates, evaluations and prizes are mailed. Specific dates for the announcement of each stage of the competition are posted in regular updates to the competition's blog and facebook pages. Find those links on the homepage of this website.


The American Prize National Nonprofit Competitions in the Performing Arts are administered by Hat City Music Theater, Inc. (HCMT), the 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization based in Danbury, CT.