On Saturday, May 23, 2015, the Jensen Foundation awarded baritone John Brancy its First Place Award in the 16th annual Jensen Foundation Vocal Competition. As first place winner, Mr. Brancy received a $15,000 award, as well as an opportunity to perform in Opera America's 2016 Emerging Artist Recital Series.
Mr. Brancy, originally from Mullica Hill NJ, has made New York City his home for the last eight years. He earned undergraduate and graduate degrees from The Juilliard School and has been studying with Edith Wiens for the past 5 years. “The performance I gave at the Jensen finals was definitely one of my strongest, most honest performances in a competition setting," said Mr. Brancy. "I was able to sing two of my favorite, comfortable arias and really felt connected to the characters and the moment. I am honored to be among the great singers who have won this prize in the past and look forward to the Emerging Artist Recital Series concert next season at Opera America.”
Other 2015 award winners were tenor Rexford Tester (Second Place - $10,000); Soprano Ariana Wehr (Third Place - $7,500); and Mezzo-Soprano Allegra de Vita (Munday Encouragement Award - $3,000). Additional finalists who performed in the 2015 Jensen Foundation Vocal Competiton were:
Rachel Arky | Mezzo-Soprano
J'nai Bridges | Mezzo-Soprano
Carolina Castells | Soprano
Lisa Chavez | Mezzo-Soprano
Katrina Galka | Soprano
Phoenix Gayles | Soprano
Geoffrey Hoos | Baritone
Samantha Malk | Mezzo-Soprano
Nathan Milholin | Bass-Baritone
Amanda Opuszynski | Soprano
Christopher Yoon | Tenor
These singers distinguished themselves from a field of 125 auditioners and 278 applicants. Judges for the 2015 Finals were Ken Benson, Peter Russell, and Diana Soviero. Judges for the Preliminary Rounds, held Monday-Thursday, were Jensen Foundation Trustees Jane Pardue, Ben Leaptrott, and Oliver Worthington.
About the Jensen Foundation
Fritz and Lavinia Jensen were lifelong supporters of the arts who benefited many musicians and musical organizations during their lives. The Jensen Foundation is dedicated to continuing their philanthropic vision of support for the musical arts. The centerpiece of the Foundation’s efforts, the annual Jensen Foundation Vocal Competition, supports young artists pursuing a career in opera. Since the Competition’s inception in 2000, and including this year’s award winners, 99 singers have received more than $500,000 in support. To learn more, visit jensenfoundation.org.