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Carolyn Bailey Argento Fellowship for Vocal Performance
Application deadline: October 15, 2023 - deadline has passed


The National Opera Association (NOA) is pleased to announce the CAROLYN BAILEY ARGENTO FELLOWSHIP FOR VOCAL PERFORMANCE, which is made possible through a generous endowment established by the prominent American composer Dominick Argento (1927-2019), in honor of his wife, the soprano Carolyn Bailey Argento. This fellowship will be awarded to an outstanding opera vocal performance student from among the participants in NOA's 2024 Carolyn Bailey Argento Vocal Competition.

The fellowship will provide full graduate-level tuition and living expenses to a singer who attends or will attend a U.S. accredited post-secondary educational institution in a degree program for graduate study in voice, up to a maximum of $50,000 per year.  The funding will be provided until completion of the degree, up to two years for a master’s-level degree (e.g. MM or AD) or three years for a doctoral-level degree (e.g. DMA)

The award will cover full tuition and applicable degree-related fees assessed by the institution, which will be paid directly to the institution on the student’s behalf each semester.  In addition, the award will provide a stipend based on the institution’s projected per-student living expenses, which will be paid directly to the recipient, once per semester or quarter depending on the institution. Notwithstanding the foregoing, the fellowship will only cover tuition, fees and living expenses that are unmet from other scholarship, grant, or assistantship sources.

Future competitions for successive vocal fellowships will be announced as the funding becomes available, upon degree completion of the previous recipient(s).


In order to be considered for the fellowship, applicants must:

  • have completed an appropriate undergraduate program, or the equivalent, qualifying the applicant for admission to one of the eligible programs, or be in the last quarter/semester/year of such program at the time of the competition;
  • apply to compete in the 2024 Carolyn Bailey Argento Vocal Competition in either division;
  • have a minimum cumulative 3.0 GPA in either their current program or their last completed degree (finalists will be asked to provide academic transcript(s) as proof at a later date);
  • intend to enroll in a graduate degree in voice, or already be enrolled in an eligible graduate program with at least one quarter/semester remaining before degree completion; and
  • have, or expect to have, financial need (tuition, fees, and living expenses unmet by other scholarships, grants, or assistantships) of at least $5,000 per year for their intended/current degree program.

Although applicants may compete prior to being accepted to or matriculating into an eligible degree program, if selected to receive the fellowship, the recipient must enroll in an eligible degree at a U.S. accredited post-secondary institution, beginning work on a full-time basis no later than the fall semester immediately following the competition. The winner of the fellowship may request a deferral for up to one year by written notification to NOA and the Foundation. Eligible degree programs include the following:

  • Master of Music in Vocal Performance;
  • Master of Arts in Vocal Performance;
  • Doctor of Musical Arts in Vocal Performance; and
  • Graduate or Postgraduate-Level Diploma in Vocal Performance.

Programs which are substantially similar may be eligible as determined by NOA in its sole discretion, but a candidate must make application for an exception to the NOA at least thirty days prior to the competition so NOA may make decisions on whether to grant the waiver prior to the competition.

There are no residency or nationality requirements for this fellowship.  Selection will be made without regard for race, color, religion, national origin, disability status, marital status, age, sex, sexual orientation, or gender identification of the candidate.

In the event that the selected recipient does not enroll in a graduate-level degree program in voice at a U.S. accredited post-secondary institution; their financial need (tuition, fees, and living expenses unmet by other scholarships, grants, or assistantships) is determined to be less than $5,000 per year; or is otherwise deemed to be ineligible, the fellowship award may be rescinded and instead offered to an alternate recipient.

Read the complete guidelines for the Carolyn Bailey Argento Vocal Competition to learn more or apply now:


Carolyn Bailey and Dominick Argento, ca 1960
Carolyn Bailey and Dominick Argento, ca 1960s

Process and Timeline

  • Applicants for the fellowship must follow the requirements for the appropriate division of the Carolyn Bailey Argento Vocal Competition: Scholarship Division, ages 18-24; Artist Division, ages 25-40.  Application deadline: October 15, 2023.
    • Note that fellowship applicants will be asked for additional information, including a 150-word biography and a 300-word candidate statement describing the applicant's career goals and how their chosen path of graduate study will enable them to pursue these goals.  Please have these materials ready when beginning the application form.
  • Fellowship finalists will be notified by early December whereupon they must provide a copy of the academic transcript for their current or last completed degree, as well as documentation of unmet financial need, to the competition committee by December 18, 2023.
  • Fellowship finalists will be interviewed by the competition committee, virtually, prior to January 3, 2024.
  • Fellowship finalists will be among those competing in the final round of the Carolyn Bailey Argento Vocal Competition at the NOA Conference in Tempe, AZ, January 6, 2024. A travel stipend of $400 will be provided to offset the costs of attending the competition.
  • The fellowship winner(s) will be announced at the conference closing banquet on January 6, 2024.

Fellowship Post-Award Follow-Up

The fellowship recipient must provide proof of matriculation by April 15, 2024, and if not already enrolled in an eligible degree program, begin with the fall semester or quarter, unless deferred.

Funding will be available to the recipient beginning either Spring 2024 or Fall 2024 semester, depending on the recipient’s course of study. Continued fellowship funding for up to two or three years is contingent on the recipient making reasonable progress toward degree completion, maintenance of a 3.0 minimum grade point average (or equivalent), and continuous full-time enrollment (excluding summers and an approved medical leave of absence not to exceed one year), and is subject to review each semester/quarter.

The recipient agrees to provide publicity materials such as a headshot, biography, and audio/video recordings to NOA for promotional use, and to make themselves available for interview or publicity requests related to the fellowship for the duration of the award.