We are pleased to announce the winners of the 2020 Competition:
(Past Competition Guidelines)
Watch for 2021 Announcement
January 2020, Cleveland $8,500 in prizes to be awarded
The Carolyn Bailey and Dominick Argento Vocal Competition is conducted annually in two divisions: The Artist Division and the Scholarship Division. Preliminary screening and Semi-final rounds are heard by recording. Eight to ten finalists are selected in each division to compete in a live final audition. The final auditions will be heard at the NOA Annual Conference in Cleveland, OH, on Saturday, January 11, 2020.
2019 Eligibility and Fees
- The Scholarship Division is open to singers aged 18-24, as of January 11, 2020 who are currently enrolled in or have completed undergraduate or graduate programs, or their equivalent. Entry fee for the Scholarship Division is $30 (thirty dollars).
- The Artist Division is open to singers aged 25-40, as of January 11, 2020. Entry fee for the Artist Division is $60 (sixty dollars).
- There are no residency or citizenship requirements. The competition is open to all singers who meet the criteria for the appropriate division.
Competition Guidelines and Requirements
- Singers in the Scholarship Division must present four opera arias in contrasting styles and periods, in three languages, including one originally in English, at a level appropriate to their vocal development. The competition committee reserves the right to reject unsuitable repertoire. One of the four may be an operetta, zarzuela, or musical theatre selection. Oratorio arias are not permitted.
- Singers in the Artist Division must present five opera arias in contrasting styles and periods, in four languages, including one originally in English. The competition committee reserves the right to reject unsuitable repertoire. One of the five may be an operetta or zarzuela aria, but musical theatre selections are not permitted in the Artist Division. Oratorio arias are also not permitted.
- Applicants must submit two recent audio recordings, with piano or orchestral accompaniment, of two of the arias to be offered in the competition, including appropriate recitatives. Do not submit video files. Contestants are strongly urged to use the best possible equipment and location for the recordings, and to verify that the audio files (MP3 or M4A format) play properly before submitting.
- Preliminary screening and semi-final rounds of adjudication in each division are heard by panels of two and three judges, respectively, based on recordings submitted. Finalists compete for prizes in a live audition before a panel of three distinguished judges.
- All applicants will be notified by December 1, 2019 regarding their status.
- Hotel and travel expenses to the final competition are the responsibility of the singer.
- Finalists may request to make changes to their repertoire lists before December 10, 2019. All requests must be approved and no changes may be made after that date. Both selections submitted for adjudication in the preliminary round must be included in the repertoire list for the Finals. Finalists will use accompanists provided by the competition.
- Prize winners will be announced immediately following the competition. The winners will receive their awards at the Awards Banquet the evening of Saturday, January 11, 2020, and the first-place winners of each division will perform. Finalists are invited to attend conference sessions and final banquet as guests of NOA.
- By submitting their application to the competition, applicants grant NOA permission to use their submitted headshots and video/audio recordings or photographs of the competition or winners' recital for promotional purposes on the NOA website or other forms of publicity.
Application Procedure and Submission Information
- The deadline for submission of the online application, including payment of the entry fee, is October 15, 2019.
- Applications to the competition are submitted using the online application form. Before beginning application, please be prepared to provide or upload the following:
- Name, mailing address, and other contact information
- Repertoire list (aria, opera, and composer) of four (Scholarship Division) or five (Artist Division) selections to be offered for the competition
- Two audio recordings in MP3 or M4A format, with a maximum file size of 15,000kb (15MB). (TIP: If your sound files exceed the file size limit, you can use a tool such as: http://audioformat.com/mp3-converter to reduce the file size without noticeable loss of sound quality).
- Scanned legal proof of age showing date of birth (e.g. driver's license, passport, etc.). Social security numbers or other sensitive information should be obscured. Allowed formats: PDF, JPG, GIF, PNG
- Headshot for publicity purposes. Allowed formats: JPG, GIF, PNG
- Applicants must pay the entry fee online during the application process using PayPal. The application fee is non-refundable.
- Incomplete applications and applications with unplayable sound recordings or illegible proofs of age will not be processed nor judged.
- Notification of finalists will be made on or before December 1, 2019. Applicants not chosen as finalists will also be notified by December 1. All notifications will be sent by email, so a valid email address is essential, as well as a mailing address that will be accurate for the month of December.
Singers in the Scholarship Division compete for three awards: the Nicholas Vrenios Memorial Award of $2000 to the first-place winner, the Constance Eberhardt Memorial Award for second place, and the Clifford Bair Memorial Award for third place, both ranging from $500 to $1250.
Singers in the Artist Division compete for three awards: the Todd Duncan Legacy Award to the first-place winner, the Vrenios Family Award to the second place winner and the Marjorie Gordon Award to the third place winner. These and other possible prizes range from $500 to $2500.
The American Institute of Musical Studies (AIMS) grants scholarships for summer study at the AIMS Graz Experience in Austria to the first place winner in each category.
In addition to the above, the Legacy Award of $500 is presented to an outstanding contestant representing a racial or ethnic minority, at the discretion of the judges.
The American Institute for Musical Studies (AIMS) in Graz, Austria offers scholarships to all competition winners.
Questions regarding the competition may be addressed to:
Amy Johnson, Scholarship Division chair, at ,
David Ronis, Artist Division chair, at , or to
Kirk Severtson, Executive Director, at or by calling 734.615.3784.