Meet our 2016 Finals Judges

The Jensen Foundation is pleased to announce the slate of Finals Judges for its 2016 Vocal Competition, to be held at 1 PM on Saturday, May 21 2016 in Engelman Recital Hall at New York City's Baruch Performing Arts Center.

Recently appointed General Director for Tri-Cities Opera, Susan Shiplett Ashbaker has 30+ years’ experience in the performing arts. Previously, Ms. Ashbaker served as Director of Artistic and Music Administration with the Opera Company of Philadelphia, and as assistant conductor and vocal coach with the New York City Opera, European Center for Opera and Vocal Arts (Belgium), International Vocal Arts Institute in Tel Aviv and Montreal, Theater am Goetheplatz (Bremen, Germany), and the Academy of Vocal Arts. She was on the faculty of The Curtis Institute of Music from 1993-2010, and since 2005 has been Artistic Advisor and a Master Vocal Coach for The CoOPERAtive Program at Westminster Choir College, a program designed to help young singers prepare for advanced young artist or summer apprentice programs. Ms. Ashbaker trained at Southern Illinois University, l’Ecole Normale de Musique in Paris, and received a second Master’s degree in vocal accompanying/coaching from University of Illinois.

Peter Carwell is the Executive Director of the Richard Tucker Music Foundation where he oversees the Foundation’s Auditions and Awards Program, as well as the artistic programming of the Foundation’s annual Richard Tucker Gala, numerous community concerts, and master classes. Mr. Carwell has held roles at the New York City Opera, the Metropolitan Opera, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Jewish Museum, as well as acting as a consultant for Lincoln Center’s Mostly Mozart Festival. A graduate of Wesleyan University, he is a native of Washington, D.C.


Legendary bass-baritone James Morris is world famous for his performances in opera, concert, recital, and recording. With a repertoire including works by Wagner, Verdi, Puccini, Offenbach, Stravinsky, Mussorgsky, Mozart, Gounod, and Britten, Mr. Morris has performed in virtually every international opera house. Considered one of the great interpreters of the role of Wotan in Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen, Mr. Morris has appeared in this role at the Metropolitan Opera, Vienna State Opera, Bavarian State Opera Munich, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Lyric Opera of Chicago, San Francisco Opera, and many others. Mr. Morris returned to the Metropolitan Opera in the 2015-2016 season as Scarpia in Tosca, as Timur in Turandot, and as Lodovico in the new production of Otello. Recent concert performances have included Hans Sachs’s monologues from Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg with the Boston Symphony Orchestra and in Rossini’s rarely-heard Moïse et Pharaon in the title role of Moïse with the Collegiate Chorale at Carnegie Hall. Born and educated in Baltimore, Maryland, Mr. Morris studied at the Peabody Conservatory and the Philadelphia Academy of Vocal Arts.