Competition Finalists


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Classical High School Division

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Classical High School Division

Alasdair Payten
Anna Zavelson
Ava Kuntz
Caitlin Towell
Caroline Carter
Ethan Hardyk
Henry Hsiao
Julia Ernst
Lily Bobrick
Louisa Porter
Max Moore
Samuel Higgins


Nicole Cabell (Eastman), Katherine Jolly (Oberlin), Julie Gunn (Illinois), Darrell Babidge (Juilliard) - Click for Bios

Nicole Cabell (Eastman School of Music), 2005 BBC Cardiff Singer of the World, is known for her interpretation of Violetta (La Traviata), Adina (L’elisir d’amore), Contessa Almaviva (Le Nozze di Figaro), Micaela (Carmen) and Mimi (La Bohème). She has performed at the Metropolitan Opera, Paris Opera, Royal Opera House Covent Garden, Lyric Opera of Chicago, San Francisco Opera, Gran Teatre de Liceu among others. Recordings include Soprano, an opera recital disc debut for Decca; Silver Rain, songs of Ricky Ian Gordon; and Chanson D’Avril, an album of French mélodie on Delos.

Nicole was featured on the cover of Classical Singer magazine in May 2017. Read her story here.

Soprano Katherine Jolly (Oberlin Conservatory) focuses on physical and mental wellness in her teaching, using yoga, dance, and mindfulness exercises to support solid vocal technique. She is a winner of the 2006 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions Grand Finals, and has performed leading roles with New York City Opera, Florida Grand Opera, and Opera Theatre Saint Louis, among others. Jolly was previously on faculty at Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music and joined the faculty at Oberlin Conservatory in 2019.

Julie Jordan Gunn (University of Illinois) has performed on many of the world’s most prestigious recital series, with major opera, musical theater and classical artists, and her husband and artistic partner Nathan Gunn.  As co-Director of LyricTheatre@Illinois, she produces several operas or musical theatre works a year at the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts.  She enjoys teaching performance, composition, and production, and conducting sung theatre.  She is particularly committed to new works as a co-producer, a pianist, or as a conductor.  The Gunns’ production company, Shot in the Dark Productions Inc, engages with communities all over the United States to celebrate American music.

Baritone, Darrell Babidge (Juilliard) was born in Bournemouth, England. He graduated from the Royal Northern College of Music in the U.K in vocal performance and received his Master’s degree from Brigham Young University and his Professional degree in vocal performance from the Manhattan School of Music, funded by Birgitt Nilsson. While still a student, he performed the title role of Britten’s Owen Wingrave with the Glyndebourne Festival Opera and London Philharmonic Orchestra. Darrell has performed in Europe, America and Asia, in venues that include the Metropolitan Opera, Carnegie Hall, Glyndebourne Festival Opera, and the Royal Albert Hall.

His students have become winners of the following competitions: Metropolitan Opera National Council, George London, Operalia, Eleanor McCollum (Houston Grand Opera), and the Licia-Albanese Puccini competition. Students have also recorded for Decca, Deutsche Grammaphon and Sony, with a recent recording nominated for a Grammy award. Soprano, Rachel Willis-Sørensen will be a guest artist on Jonas Kaufmann’s latest album in 2019.

Classical University and Classical Young Artist Divisions

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Classical University Division

Alexandra Oates
David Young
Justin McBurney
Kayla Kovacs
Madelin Morales
Michael Butler
Nicoletta Berry
Sarah Butler
Sarah Fleiss
Taylor See
Thereza Lituma

Young Artist/Emerging Pro Division

Allysa Packard
Elizabeth Kinder
Emilie Faiella
Erin Wagner
Isabella Luchi
Jessica Crowell
Jillian Bonner
Joel Balzun
Mark Hockenberry
Mary Hoskins
Roselin Osser
Samantha Lax
Sara Law
Susan Wheeler


Denyce Graves, Frederica von Stade, Nathan Gunn, Robert Ainsley
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Recognized worldwide as one of today’s most exciting vocal stars, mezzo-soprano Denyce Graves continues to gather unparalleled popular and critical acclaim in performances on four continents. USA Today identifies her as “an operatic superstar of the 21st Century,” and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution exclaims, “if the human voice has the power to move you, you will be touched by Denyce Graves.”

Her career has taken her to the world’s great opera houses and concert halls. The combination of her expressive, rich vocalism, elegant stage presence and exciting theatrical abilities allows her to pursue a wide breadth of operatic portrayals and to delight audiences in concert and recital appearances. Denyce Graves has become particularly well-known to operatic audiences for her portrayals of the title roles in Carmen and Samson et Dalila. These signature roles have brought Ms. Graves to the Metropolitan Opera, Vienna Staatsoper, Royal Opera – Covent Garden, San Francisco Opera, Opéra National de Paris, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Washington Opera, Bayerische Staatsoper, Arena di Verona, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Opernhaus Zürich, Teatro Real in Madrid, Houston Grand Opera, Dallas Opera, Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires, Los Angeles Opera and the Festival Maggio Musicale in Florence.

Ms. Graves was featured on the cover of Classical Singer magazine. Read her story here.

Described by the New York Times as “one of America’s finest artists and singers,” Frederica von Stade continues to be extolled as one of the music world’s most beloved figures. Known to family, friends, and fans by her nickname “Flicka,” the mezzo-soprano has enriched the world of classical music for four and a half decades.

Ms. von Stade has appeared with every leading American opera company, including San Francisco Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, and Los Angeles Opera. Her career in Europe has been no less spectacular, with new productions mounted for her at Teatro alla Scala, Royal Opera Covent Garden, the Vienna State Opera, and the Paris Opera. She is invited regularly by the finest conductors, among them Kurt Masur, Riccardo Muti, Seiji Ozawa, André Previn, Leonard Slatkin, and Michael Tilson Thomas, to appear in concert with the world’s leading orchestras, including the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Chicago Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, London Symphony Orchestra, Washington’s National Symphony, and the Orchestra of La Scala.

Nathan Gunn is widely acclaimed for his career as a performer, creator, advocate and teacher.

As a performer, Nathan has performed many of opera and musical theater’s greatest roles on the world’s most prestigious stages, and in television, radio, video, and live simulcast performances, Nathan believes that music is a living art form and has championed dozens of new works in a multitude of venues, often with the Gunns’ production company Shot in the Dark.

Nathan is Professor and Swanlund Chair at the University of Illinois where he is co-director of Lyric Theatre @ Illinois, a comprehensive program embracing a broad continuum of opera and musical theatre.

Active as an opera fanatic and factotum since 2001, Rob Ainsley has explored every facet of the art form across the country, and lives to pass on his enthusiasm to others. He is an alumnus of the University of Cambridge, Mannes College of Music, and the Lindemann Young Artist Development Program at the Metropolitan Opera.

He is now the Director of the Washington National Opera’s Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program and the American Opera Initiative, seeking out and grooming the finest young American singers, composers, and librettists for international careers. Robert has inspired hundreds of young artists and thousands of audience members to share his passion, and prides himself on the friendships he has formed along the way.

Musical Theatre High School

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Musical Theatre High School Division

Annabel Poinsette
Dominic Plummer
Ellie Brenner
Fabiola Rios Diaz
Hannah Isabel Bautista
Jameson Elton
Jordan McAndrew
Julia Ernst
Kateri Condon
Kennady Call
Kianna Healy
Martin Kamm
Oluchi Nwaokorie
Rachel Visser
Skylar Lehr-Bryant
Susana Wickstrom
Victoria Evans


Darin Adams, Jennifer Johns, Ben Cameron - Click for Bios

As a leading Broadway voice teacher, Darin Adams draws on over 30 years education and experience in performing arts. Darin did his undergraduate, graduate and performance certificate work at Pepperdine University, Azusa Pacific University, Indiana University and Music Academy of the West in music, vocal performance and stage direction. He performed countless leading roles in opera and musical theater in the US and overseas, and worked with his wife, Sheri Adams, as a concert and recording artist, artistic director, church music director, and the couple even spent 3 years traveling the world as headline artists for Seabourn Cruise Lines. They are the founders and co-artistic directors of a New York City based non-profit arts organization called Joemoe Arts, and founding creators of Appcompanist, a revolutionary new app that gives singers and voice teachers total control over the world’s best accompaniment recordings from any mobile device. As a composer and playwright, several of Darin’s works have been commercially produced on the west coast, and one of his full-length musicals is currently in the commercial development process in New York after two successful runs in California. In recent years, Darin has had the opportunity to mentor and train over 300 Broadway performers in shows including Wicked, The Book of Mormon, Phantom of the Opera, The Prom, Chicago, Something Rotten, and many others; teach master-classes with some of the industry’s top casting directors and coaches; and guest teach thousands of aspiring classical and musical theater performers at high schools, universities, and national conventions. Darin and Sheri live on Manhattan’s Upper West Side with their 3 children, Samuel, Sydney, and Jessie.

Ben Cameron is your Broadway Buddy. Broadway: Wicked (obc), Aida, Footloose (abc). Tours: Sweet Charity opposite Molly Ringwald, State Fair, The Who’s Tommy. Fame and Footloose. Ben is the creator and host of of long running BYC institution, Broadway Sessions now in it’s 12th year (2019 MAC Award recipient). He also the creator and host of Broadway Buskers concert series w/ Times Square Alliance, hit podcast talk show The Broadway Cast, w/Playbill as well as  web series Dance Captain Dance Attack and new streaming series Ben’s 10 (both on BroadwayWorld). Be is the MainStage host of Broadway Con and Emcee for Onstage NY talent competitions. And served as host of long running open mic, Mostly Sondheim at The Duplex in NYC. Ben is a sought after theatre/dance teacher  and choreographer and teaches masterclasses all over the world. Ben served as host of the HQ style trivia app ‘Reward The Fan Broadway trivia series. To keep up with all things Ben and follow on social media at @BenDoesBroadway. Ben likes you.

Jennifer Johns first began her career as a working child performer and created Broadway Artists Alliance of NYC with her childhood interests and passions at heart. As an adult professional, Jennifer has toured with six Broadway National and International Tours as well as performed extensively in NYC and Regional Theatre. Favorite roles include Reno in Anything Goes, Betty in White Christmas, Peggy in 42nd Street, Polly in Crazy for You, Babe in The Pajama Game, The Narrator in Joseph…Dreamcoat, The Mother in A Christmas Story, Margaret in The Light in the Piazza, and as a Singer/Dancer with the Radio City Christmas Spectacular. She’s also performed stateside and overseas for our troops alongside many celebrity performers as a part of the USO American Belles vocal trio for over 10 years. TV/film credits include: All My Children, One Life to Live, Saturday Night Live, 3,2,1 Contact, Law and Order, Garden State, Moulin Rouge, Kate and Leopold, Hairspray, and more. Throughout the year, Jennifer is on the Voice Faculty at Pace University in NYC and enjoys teaching Master Classes at Universities, Performing Arts High Schools, Thespian Festivals and Conventions across the country, in addition to maintaining a busy NYC Voice studio with a career coaching/college audition coaching focus. She is proud to see so many of her students currently at top Universities, with Broadway and National Tours credits, and signed to Top NYC Agents and Managers! Jennifer has been a proud member of NATS, AEA, AGVA, and SAG-AFTRA (since 1981). She holds a M.M. in Musical Theatre (Vocal Performance) as well as an Advanced Graduate Certificate in Vocal Pedagogy from NYU. In addition to her role of Artistic Director of Broadway Artists Alliance, she’s previously been on the adjunct voice faculty at NYU, is now the NYC Senior Showcase Producer for The University of the Arts, and is currently on the vocal Faculty at Pace University in NYC.

Musical Theatre University and Pre-Professional

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MT University Division

Addison Ballew
Caroline Morath
Cosette Bolt
David Young
Delaney Bigley
Elisabeth Mies
Laura Paruzynski
Lissette Garrido
Nichelle Lewis

MT Pre-Professional Division

Cierra Byrd
Josh Hudson
Kate Matheson
Kyle Becker
Lily Lord
Maddison Gilcrease
Madeline Bernstein
Shavon Lloyd
Shelby Cox
Shelley Cooper
Tyler Dobies


Steven Gross, Alex Finke, Bob Cline
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Steven Gross has worked on Broadway and the West End as a music director, conductor, pianist, sub and vacation conductor on such shows as The LifeUrinetownThe 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling BeeChicago, Miss Saigon, The Wedding Singer, Saturday Night Fever and Dreamgirls and on the New York City Opera productions of A Little Night Music, Sweeney Todd, The Most Happy Fella and Candide. He has worked Off-Broadway at Playwrights Horizons and the Algonquin Theater and is a Lortel Award nominee for Best Musical for his adaption of The Pirates of Penzance at the South Street Seaport. His regional theater work includes music direction in St. Louis, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Miami, Philadelphia and Chicago. He has conducted the European premieres of The LifeUrinetownFalsettosBeehiveForever Plaid, Closer Than EverFlora the Red Menace and other works. He also works extensively as a classical conductor and has appeared with many national and international opera companies, symphony orchestras and festivals.

Alex Finke made her Broadway debut starring as Cosette in the Broadway revival of Les Miserables alongside Alfie Boe and Montego Glover. Shortly after closing Les Mis, Alex originated the role of Johanna in the critically acclaimed revival of Sweeney Todd at the Barrow Street Theatre which opened in March of 2017. Most recently on Broadway, Alex could be seen performing as Janice & Others in the Tony Award ​Winning Musical Come From Away.

(Casting Director/Director/Pace University Faculty/BAA’s Associate Director) is the founder of Bob Cline Casting in New York City. There, he was recently named as one of New York’s 10 Best Casting Directors, by Broadway World. He has cast film, TV, commercials, over 70 Broadway National Tours, as well as hundreds of regional theatre productions across the country. Bob’s casting credits include the National Tours of Fame, Beauty and the Beast, Elf, Bye, Bye Birdie, Hairspray, The Music Man, The Wedding Singer, Oklahoma, Rent, Annie, and many more. He is also the Casting Director for Maine State Music Theatre, Maltz Jupiter Theatre, The Pioneer Theatre Company, and the Fulton Theatre. As a director, Bob has had the pleasure of directing Betty Buckley, Tom Cavanaugh, Tuc Watkins, Christy Carlson Romano, Martha Plimpton, and Elaine Stritch in Ben Andron’s White’s Lies, both at the Jerry Orbach Theatre and at New World Stages in NYC. He is also the Artistic Director of the Montclair Operetta Company. Other directing credits include Pippin, Into The Woods, Company, The Full Monty, To Kill A Mockingbird, A New Brain (Perry Awards for Best Director and Production), Falsettos, Violet (Perry Award nomination for Best Director and Production), Songs for a New World (Perry Award nomination best director), Little Shop of Horrors, Is There Life After High School?, and Godspell. Bob is on faculty at Pace University leading the Senior Musical Theater Majors and auditioning the incoming Freshman Class as well as teaching master classes across the country. He is also Associate Director and on teaching faculty at Broadway Artists Alliance of NYC, a Summer Intensive Program and College Audition Prep training ground in NYC connecting advanced professional level young performers with Broadway Guest Artists, College Program Directors, and top NYC Industry Professionals. Bob loves supporting up and coming talent and looks forward to hearing you!

Sponsored by:


AAMS Opera

Patricia Sheridan Voice Studio


For questions, email Katie Anderson at