George London Foundation For Singers Presents 2019-20 Season
The legendary Canadian-American bass-baritone George London, one of the greatest opera singers of 20th century, was born on May 30, 1920. After his singing career ended in 1968, he became the artistic administrator of the John F. Kennedy Center, and later, the director of the Washington Opera, but he also devoted much of his time and effort to the support and nurturing of young opera singers. While London passed away in 1985, The George London Foundation for Singers has been honoring, supporting, and presenting the finest young opera singers in the U.S. and Canada with activities including an annual competition and recital series.
The 2019-20 season of events presented by the George London Foundation for Singers continues this legacy with two duo recitals featuring four George London Award winners, and the esteemed George London Foundation Competition.
The recitals and competition finals take place at Gilder Lehrman Hall at The Morgan Library & Museum in Manhattan. Tickets include admission to the Morgan.
The George London Foundation Recital Series, which presents pairs of outstanding opera singers, many of whom were winners of a George London Award, continues in its 24th year.
The 49th annual George London Foundation Competition begins with three days of preliminary auditions and culminates with the final round and award ceremony open to the public. The 2020 competition takes place February 17-19, and the public is invited to attend the competition finals and awards announcement on Friday, February 21, 2020, at 4:00 pm. The 2019 competition winners were soprano Rebecca Pedersen, mezzo-sopranos Samantha Gossard and Carolyn Sproule, and tenors Charles Sy and Kyle van Schoonhoven.
"Celebrating George London's 100th Birthday," a gala benefit reception at New York's famed Metropolitan Club, will gather former colleagues of London's and past winners of the competition to celebrate the singer's centennial and honor the work that the foundation continues in his name. Thursday, March 19, 2020, at the Metropolitan Club
The George London Foundation Competition, initiated in 1971, is one of the oldest vocal competitions in the United States and Canada, and it offers among the most substantial awards.
Through the annual juried competition for outstanding young American and Canadian opera singers (under the age of 35 who must have performed at least one professional engagement), awards are given to the most promising performers: at the 2019 competition, a total of $61,000 was given in the form of five George London Awards of $10,000 each and 11 Encouragement Awards of $1,000 each. As is not always the case in musical competitions, no fee is charged to the applicants or competitors, a pianist is provided for the competition rounds, and the prizes are awarded immediately.
The recital series began at the Morgan in 1995 as a way to give grantees exposure and experience, and, in many cases, a New York recital debut. Each season consists of three events featuring recent award winners sometimes paired with a well-known international artist - often a past George London Award winner - that have in recent years included Joyce DiDonato, Eric Owens, Stephen Costello, Ailyn Perez, Matthew Polenzani, Christine Brewer, Renée Fleming, Thomas Hampson, Ben Heppner, René Pape, Samuel Ramey, Frederica von Stade, Bryn Terfel, Anthony Dean Griffey, and Dawn Upshaw.
The goal of the London Foundation, the support and nurturing of young singers, was an abiding interest of the great American bass-baritone George London, who devoted a great part of the time and energy of his later years to this purpose. "Remembering his difficult road to success, George wanted to devise a way to make the road a little easier for future generations of singers," said George London Foundation President Nora London. Initially created under the auspices of the National Opera Institute, the George London Awards program has been administered since 1990 directly by the Foundation as a living legacy to George London's own exceptional talent and generosity. Visit www.georgelondon.org.