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Soprano Hannah Rose Kidwell and pianist Christina Giuca will perform in recital on tour in March 2018 in Houston, Santa Barbara, Chicago, and New York City

Santa Barbara, CA — The Music Academy of the West proudly hosts the nation’s premiere annual competition for song recitals, the Marilyn Horne Song Competition. Academy fellows have competed annually since 1997. This year, the competitors performed for a panel of esteemed judges – Marilyn Horne, Renée Fleming, and Jake Heggie. The 2017 winners of the Competition, soprano Hannah Rose Kidwell and pianist Christina Giuca, will perform a program including the world premiere of a song cycle written by Jake Heggie, who was a guest composer at the Music Academy this summer. The cycle was commissioned as part of a Commissions and Premieres Program, composed with the winners in mind.  Each winner receives the Regina Roney Prize of $5,000, and is presented in the national recital tour which includes Houston at St. Paul’s Methodist Church (Thursday, March 22, 7 pm), Santa Barbara at Hahn Hall on the campus of the Music Academy of the West  (Monday, March 26, 7 pm), Chicago at the Preston Bradley Hall of the Chicago Cultural Center as part of the Dame Myra Hess Memorial Series (Wednesday, March 28, 12:15 pm), and New York City’s Steinway Hall (Friday, March 30, 7 pm). The Chicago recital will be broadcast live by WFMT 98.7 FM and streamed live at wfmt.com.

In addition to the award and recitals, artist winners receive coaching from the Academy Voice Program faculty artists, as well as consultations with New York-based communications firm 21C Media Group and professional photos.

Admission for these events will be free in Houston, Chicago, and NYC, and affordably priced at $10 in Santa Barbara, with 7-17 year olds admitted free when accompanied by a ticketed adult. Tickets go on sale to the general public on January 9. The competition and winner’s recital tour has been generously supported by The Little One and The Lucky One Foundations and Steinway & Sons.

About the Marilyn Horne Song Competition Winners

 photo credit Mathew Imaging

photo credit Mathew Imaging

Soprano Hannah Rose Kidwell, 21, born in Montebello, California is a third year bachelor’s student at Chapman University. In Chapman’s opera program, Ms. Kidwell has performed in Donizetti’s L’Elisir d’Amore, Kurt Weill’s After Dark, and portrayed the title role in Puccini’s Suor Angelica. Ms. Kidwell most recently made her debut with The Pacific Symphony as the Witch in Hansel and Gretel. Ms. Kidwell was a semi-finalist and scholarship winner at the national Classical Singer Competition, the winner of the New Century Singer’s Competition, and the most recent winner of the Vocal and Concerto Competition at Chapman University.

 photo credit Todd Rosenberg

photo credit Todd Rosenberg

Pianist Christina Giuca, 30, born in Chicago, Illinois, holds degrees from the Shepherd School of Music and Oberlin Conservatory. Ms. Giuca was a répétiteur for Opera in the Heights in Houston. Ms. Giuca was awarded a Collaborative Piano Fellowship at Bard College and has served on music staff for the Houston Ballet, Eastern Music Festival, and SongFest. Ms. Giuca was recently a guest artist at the Oregon Bach Festival Composers’ Symposium. 2017 marked her second summer at the Music Academy of the West, having previously attended in 2013.

About the Marilyn Horne Song Competition

The Horne Competition, which uniquely awards equal prizes to pianists and singers, is presented in memory of longtime Music Academy faculty artist Gwendolyn Koldofsky, one of the great teachers of collaborative piano of the 20th century.

Each singer performs three songs of varying styles for the jury and a public audience. One song must be sung in English. The pianists perform with one or multiple singers and award winners may or not have performed together.

The competition helps to launch the career of young promising opera singers and pianists. Previous Marilyn Horne Song Competition vocal winners are performing leading and featured roles in major opera houses around the globe. In the United States, winners have performed at the Metropolitan Opera, San Francisco Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Santa Fe Opera and Los Angeles Opera, among others. Past winners include Metropolitan Opera stars Evan Hughes (‘05,’06), Isabel Leonard (‘05), and Nadine Sierra (’07), and pianist Spencer Myer (‘98,’00).

About the Music Academy of the West

The Music Academy of the West is among the nation’s preeminent summer schools and festivals for gifted, young, classically-trained musicians. At its ocean-side campus in Santa Barbara, the Academy provides these musicians with the opportunity for advanced study and performance under the guidance of internationally renowned faculty artists, guest conductors, and soloists. Admission to the Academy is strictly merit based, and fellows receive full scholarships (tuition, room, and board). The Academy’s distinguished teaching artists roster has included famed soprano Lotte Lehmann, composers Darius Milhaud and Arnold Schoenberg, cellist Gregor Piatigorsky, pianist Jeremy Denk, and current Voice Program Director Marilyn Horne. Academy alumni are members of major symphony orchestras, chamber orchestras, ensembles, opera companies, and university and conservatory faculties throughout the world. Many enjoy careers as prominent solo artists. In 2014 the Music Academy entered into a four-year partnership with the New York Philharmonic, resulting in unprecedented training and performance opportunities for Academy fellows, and Summer Festival residencies for Philharmonic musicians. The Music Academy of the West cultivates discerning, appreciative, and adventurous audiences, presenting more than 200 public events annually, many free of charge. These include performances by faculty, guest artists, and fellows; masterclasses; orchestra and chamber music concerts; and a fully staged opera. The 2018 Summer School and Festival will take place from June 18 to August 12 at the Academy’s scenic Miraflores campus and in venues throughout Santa Barbara. For more information, visit musicacademy.org.

Recital Tour Program

Tres Poemas, Op. 81: Olas gigantes; Tu pupila es azul; Besa el aura

Rückert Lieder: Ich atmet' einen linden Duft!; Liebst du um Schönheit; Blicke mir nicht in die Lieder; Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen; Um Mitternacht

Sept chansons de Clement Marot: Estrene à Anne; Languir me fais; Aux damoyselles paresseuses d'escrire à leurs amys; Estrene de la rose; Present de couleur blanche; Changeons propos, c'est trop chanté d'amours; Du confict en douleur

“These Strangers” (world premiere, Music Academy of the West commission)
                                    Includes poems and texts by Emily Dickinson, Frederick Douglass, Martin Niemöller, and Walt Whitman.

“Looking at You”

"Somewhere," from West Side Story

"Beautiful Dreamer"

Program subject to change

PLEASE NOTE: The Chicago program will include selections from the above, but will be a reduced concert length.


Recital Tour Schedule

Thu, Mar 22, 7 pm

St. Paul’s United Methodist Church, 5501 Main Street, Houston

Free Admission / Lenten Recital Series Concert

stpaulshouston.org/chambermusicsociety • 713-528-0527 


Mon, Mar 26, 7 pm

Hahn Hall, 1070 Fairway Road, Santa Barbara, California

$10 / 7-17s Free

musicacademy.org/recitals •  805-969-8787


Wed, Mar 28, 12:15 pm

Preston Bradley Hall, Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington Street, Chicago

Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concert

Free Admission / broadcast live by WFMT 98.7 FM and streamed live at wfmt.com

imfchicago.org/programs/dame-myra-hess-memorial-concerts • 312-670-6888


Fri, Mar 30, 7 pm

Steinway Hall, 1133 6th Avenue, New York, New York

Free tickets required for admission, order online

musicacademy.org/recitals • 805-969-8787


Photos: Phil Channing, Mathew Imaging, Todd Rosenberg


Released: December 21, 2017


Kate Oberjat
Director of Marketing and Communications
Music Academy of the West



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