Meet Our 2019 Finals Judges

The 2019 Jensen Foundation Vocal Competition Finals will be judged by this slate of internationally recognized opera professionals. Our Finals Judges have graciously agreed to offer feedback to all finalists who wish to stay after the competition on Saturday, May 18, 2019.

Soprano Harolyn Blackwell has performed with opera companies and at festivals around the world, including Lyric Opera of Chicago, Glyndebourne Festival, Teatro Colon de Buenos Aires, San Francisco Opera, Netherlands Opera, Seattle Opera, Opéra de Nice, Miami Opera, Canadian Opera Company, Aix-en-Provence Festival, Opera Orchestra of New York, New York’s Mostly Mozart Festival, and the Ravinia Festival. At the Metropolitan Opera, she has appeared in La Fille du Régiment, Un Ballo in Maschera, Le Nozze di Figaro, Manon, Die Fledermaus, and Werther. As an advocate for Arts Education, Miss Blackwell is a Board Member of The Metropolitan Opera Guild, The Voice Foundation, The Martina Arroyo Foundation, The George London Foundation, and The Morgan Library. She is a member of The Artists Committee for The Kennedy Center Honors and has also served on the Artists Selection Committee for The Marian Anderson Competition and The NEA Awards. To learn more, visit her website.

Maestro Vincent de Kort, born in the Netherlands, is in high demand with the world's leading opera houses and festivals, including Mariinsky Theatre St Petersburg (invited by Valery Gergiev), Royal Swedish Opera, Bolshoi Theatre Moscow, Oper Leipzig, Scottish Opera, Semperoper Dresden, New National Theatre Tokyo, Vienna’s Schönbrunn Festival, Edinburgh Festival and the Nelson Mandela Theatre in Johannesburg. In 1995, after a career as a cellist, he made his conducting debut with the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra. De Kort’s engagements include appearances with the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, Staatskapelle Dresden, Mariinsky Orchestra, Rotterdam Philharmonic, Netherlands Philharmonic, Concertgebouw Chamber Orchestra, Brussels Philharmonic, Sinfonia Varsovia, New Japan Philharmonic. Having studied with Mariss Jansons in Oslo, he continued his studies in St. Petersburg with Ilya Musin and was the assistant conductor to Bernard Haitink, William Christie, and Gennady Rozhdestvensky. Mr. de Kort is jury chairman of the highly popular Dutch TV show MAESTRO. In addition to his performing career, de Kort is a passionate marathon runner. To learn more, visit his website.

William Powers is Managing Director at PittsburghOpera, having served earlier as Administrative Director for the Juilliard School’s Department of Vocal Arts and the Juilliard Opera Center. He subsequently joined the Metropolitan Opera’s Artistic Department as the Associate Administrator in the Lindemann Young Artist Development Program and served in the Met’s Rehearsal Department. Mr. Powers was General Director of the Berkshire Opera Company and held posts at The Music Academy of the West and the Aspen Opera Theater Center. Mr. Powers has judged for the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and has served on the Board of Directors of OPERA America. Mr. Powers holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Music from Hamilton College and an MBA in Finance from Fordham University’s Graduate School of Business Administration. He is also an alumnus of the Juilliard School’s Professional Intern Program.

More information about our 2019 Vocal Competition: