2015 Finals Judges Announced

The Jensen Foundation is pleased to announce the slate of Finals Judges for its 2015 Vocal Competition.

Ken Benson is CEO of Ken Benson Artists and previously served for 25 years as Vice-President of Columbia Artists Management, Inc.,where his artists included Thomas Hampson, Aprile Millo, Jerry Hadley, Florence Quivar, Susanne Mentzer, Marcello Giordani, and Jamie Barton. He is a Vocal Consultant at Juilliard School of Music, and he regularly gives classes and consultations at Yale, UCLA, Mannes, Manhattan School of Music, Boston Conservatory, DePaul, Roosevelt, and Indiana Universities. Mr. Benson is a frequent lecturer on operatic subjects and contributes often to Opera News and Classical Singer magazine.  

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Peter Russell assumed the artistic and administrative leadership of Vocal Arts DC in Washington, DC in March 2012. He previously served as General Director of Opera Colorado in Denver; as Director of the Metropolitan Opera’s Lindemann Young Artist Development Program; and as General Director of Wolf Trap Opera Company in Virginia. Mr. Russell is a frequent guest lecturer on opera for the Smithsonian Institution’s Resident Associates Program and for Georgetown University’s Continuing Education Series. He graduated magna cum laude with a B.A. in music history from Yale University.


Diana Soviero is one of the most recognized American opera singers of the twentieth century, a compelling interpreter of the verismo repertoire. She is particularly renowned for her interpretations of Puccini’s heroines, as well as Violetta in La traviata, Nedda in Pagliacci, Margherita in Mefistofele, and Maddalena in Andrea Chenier. Her final stage appearance was as Mrs. Desrochers in Jake Heggie’s Dead Man Walking at Baltimore Opera. Recently, Ms. Soviero has dedicated herself to teaching singers with the same passion that characterized her singing and acting career. She has taught many of the Metropolitan Opera’s Lindemann Young Artists, giving both private lessons in her Manhattan Studio and Master Classes across the country. She has been awarded the V.E.R.A. (Voice Education Research Award) Award from The Voice Foundation, a Lifetime Achievement Award from The Giulio Gari Foundation and a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Gerda Lissner Foundation.