Countertenor Andrey Nemzer Wins 18th Annual Jensen Foundation Vocal Competition

NEW YORK CITY, NY -- On Saturday, May 20, 2017, the Fritz & Lavinia Jensen Foundation awarded Andrey Nemzer First Place in the 18th annual Jensen Foundation Vocal Competition in New York City. For the final day of the competition, Mr. Nemzer, a countertenor, performed “Empio Diro Tu Sei” from George Frideric Handel’s Giulio Cesare in Egitto and “Dawn, Still Darkness” from Flight by Jonathan Dove. As the winner of the competition, Mr. Nemzer received $15,000.

"I feel very excited to win the Jensen Foundation Vocal Competition, because of its outstanding reputation and because of the amazing financial and creative aid I've received as a result of this victory," said Mr. Nemzer. "The monetary prize will help me make one of my dreams to become true: to record a CD of Rachmaninoff art song cycles. Receiving great support from a foundation like the Jensen Foundation helps keep my faith in the brighter future of this beautiful art."

A native of Moscow, Russia, Mr. Nemzer began his studies at Moscow Choir College, after which he became a touring soloist with the Moscow Boys Choir under the direction of Victor Popov. He earned an Artist Diploma from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, PA. Mr. Nemzer frequently collaborates with renowned Russian instrumental and vocal ensembles including the Tchaikovsky Symphony Orchestra and Moscow Soloists Chamber Orchestra. In the United States, he is a principal soloist with The Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh and frequently appears with the Opera Theater of Pittsburgh Summerfest. 

Other 2017 Jensen award winners were bass-baritone Christian Pursell (Second Award Winner - $10,000), bass-baritone André Courville ($7,500), and mezzo-soprano Hannah Ludwig (Munday Encouragement Award Winner - $3,000). 

(L-R) Christian Pursell, Andre Courville, Hannah Ludwig

(L-R) Christian Pursell, Andre Courville, Hannah Ludwig

Additional finalists who performed in the 2017 Jensen Foundation Vocal Competition were:
Victoria Cannizzo | Soprano
Tasha Koontz | Soprano
Rainelle Krause | Soprano
Kathryn Leemhuis | Mezzo-Soprano
Anne Maguire | Mezzo-Soprano
Alyssa Martin | Mezzo-Soprano
Megan Nielson | Soprano
Shea Owens | Baritone

These singers distinguished themselves from a field of 102 auditioners and 274 applicants. Judges for the 2017 Finals were F. Paul Driscoll, Rosalind Elias, and Michael Heaston. (Read their bios.) Judges for the Preliminary Rounds, held Monday-Thursday, were Jensen Foundation Trustees Jane Pardue, Ben Leaptrott, and Oliver Worthington. The 2017 Jensen Foundation Vocal Competition was held May 15-20 in the Engelman Recital Hall at Baruch Performing Arts Center in New York City.

About the Fritz & Lavinia Jensen Foundation
The Fritz and Lavinia Jensen Foundation is a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit foundation, established by Lavinia Jensen in honor of her late husband, Fritz Jensen. Their lifelong love for the arts has benefited many musicians and musical organizations. The Foundation continues their philanthropic passion for the musical arts by supporting young artists pursuing a career in opera. The centerpiece of The Jensen Foundation’s work is the annual Jensen Foundation Vocal Competition.  Since the Competition’s inception in 2000, and including this year’s award winners, 129 singers have received more than $610,000 in support.