CS Vocal Competition Winner: Julia Tooker

CS Vocal Competition Winner: Julia Tooker

1st PLACE – High School II Musical Theatre

3rd PLACE – High School II Classical

What is your artist level and school if applicable?

I am a recent High School graduate from Penfield NY and plan to attend the Eastman School of Music this fall studying Vocal Performance in the studio of Kathryn Cowdrick.

What is your dream role?

My dream Opera role is Despina in Mozart’s Cosi fan tutte. I really enjoy performing Despina’s Una donna a quindici anni aria and would love to play her full character someday.

In Musical Theatre my dream role is Maria in West Side Story. Being half Puerto Rican, I like her representation of a Puerto Rican soprano.  I also deeply aspire to play Christine in Broadway’s The Phantom of the Opera.  Last fall I had the wonderful experience of playing Christine in a local theatre company in Rochester and I would be thrilled to portray her again on Broadway.

What advice would you give to future participants in the CS Music competition?

I would advise future participants of the CS Music competition to enjoy the process and the wonderful people you meet.  Remember to take care and be kind to yourself, and also to warm up before singing.

How do you feel that singing, and music in general, can have an impact on the world?

I think music is needed in our world.  Music and singing gives us ways to express our deepest feelings and connect to others.  I believe that singing can heal or help one to cope with emotional pain that people face in their life. It also has a wonderful way of bringing people together and spreading joy.

Name one of your favorite professional singers and why they are so impactful.

My favorite professional singer is Renee Fleming.  She is from Rochester NY like I am, and she is a huge reason why I chose to go for singing.  Seeing someone from Rochester become a huge classical singing opera star and remain so humble is very inspiring.  I hope that one day I can see her sing live because her voice is incredible.

In terms of singing and performing, what has been your biggest struggle and how have you overcome it?

I have had struggles when it comes to setting unrealistic expectations for myself vocally.  I have to remind myself that mistakes are normal and that no one is perfect.  Through perseverance and practice improvements are achieved.

How did you come to participate in the competition? (How did you hear about it and what steps did you take in order to make it happen?)

My vocal teacher, Diane Abrahamian, at the Eastman Community Music School recommended that I participate in the CS Music Vocal Competition for the Classical and Musical Theatre categories.  I was able to use two of my college audition songs to make it through the first video round in Spring 2022.  I then flew to Chicago in May with my parents to attend the CS Music Convention and compete in the Second, Semifinal and Final rounds.

Were you offered any scholarships? If so, tell us about what you were offered and how you feel about it?

I received a full scholarship to the AAMS International Summer Music Institute in Todi Italy.  I am overjoyed for the opportunity to study Opera and Musical Arias in Italy where I will be able to enhance my knowledge of the Italian language and culture.  I especially like that the program includes staying with an Italian family so I can get an authentic experience of Italian life.

CS Music Staff

CS Music is THE community for singers, teachers, and pianists. CS began in 1986 with the first issue of The New York Opera Newsletter and later to the award-winning magazine Classical Singer. Since 2003 CS has expanded to included articles, audition listings, and events for both classical and musical theatre singers worldwide! Free online articles and listings are available at www.csmusic.net.