Congratulations to the 2023 WIC Winners! More information about each winner is below:
First Prize: Matthew Hill, tenor, has been praised for “clarion high notes placed with unfailing precision,” (Washington Classical Review). Matthew is a versatile performer who excels in opera, oratorio, art song, and musical theatre. Highly regarded for his interpretations of Bach, Matthew’s Evangelist was praised by the Washington Post for “deliver[ing] the Gospel texts with agile conviction.” Matthew has appeared as a concert soloist with ensembles including the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Boston Pops, Washington National Cathedral, American Bach Soloists, the Washington Bach Consort, and the Thirteen, in repertoire including Bach’s Mass in B Minor, Bach’s St. Matthew and St. John Passions, Handel’s Messiah and Israel in Egypt, Mozart’s Requiem, Britten’s Serenade for Tenor, Horn, and Strings, and Stravinsky’s Les Noces. Additionally, Matthew is a founding member of The Polyphonists and a member of the U.S. Air Force Singing Sergeants.
Matthew’s stage credits include: Candide (cover – Candide) with Washington National Opera, Older brother in Dead Man Walking (Washington National Opera), Jack in Into the Woods (Annapolis Opera), Marcellus in Ambroise Thomas’s Hamlet (Washington Concert Opera), Parpignol in La Bohème (Wolf Trap Opera), Tamino in Die Zauberflöte (Maryland Opera Studio and Siena Music Festival), Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni (Maryland Opera Studio), and Damon in Acis and Galatea (New Dominion Chorale).
Matthew was awarded 1st place in the Bethlehem Bach Young American Singers Competition and 1st place at the National Association of Teachers of Singing Artist Awards, and was a prizewinner at the following competitions: the Metropolitan Opera National Council Middle Atlantic Regional Competition, Oratorio Society of New York Competition, the Lotte Lenya Competition, the Jensen Foundation Vocal Competition, the National Society of Arts and Letters Dorothy Lincoln-Smith Voice Competition, Choralis Young Artist Competition, and the Vocal Arts DC Art Song Competition. Matthew holds degrees from the University of Maryland, College Park.
Second Prize: Magdalena Kuźma, soprano, sang Sister Catherine in the premiere of Dead Man Walking, Papagaena in The Magic Flute, and Yvette in La Rondine all in the 22-23 season at the Metropolitan Opera, and is singing Juliette in Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette at The Glimmerglass Festival in the summer of 2023.
In previous years, Magdalena sang Giannetta in Donizetti’s L’elisir d’amore at the Metropolitan Opera, Pamina in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte at Opera Orlando, and solo recitals with various presenters across the country, including LyricFest. In summer 2022, Magdalena sang Frasquita in Bizet’s Carmen at Santa Fe Opera. Previous credits include the soprano soloist in Mahler’s Symphony No. 4 with Richmond Symphony, Adina in L’elisir d’amore at Yale, Lila in Cold Mountain with Music Academy of the West, both Blanche in Poulenc’s Dialogues de Carmélites and Anna in Die Sieben Todsünden with Oberlin Opera, in addition to several mainstage roles at the Chautauqua Institute and Teatro Petrarca. Magdalena recently won first place in the Butler International, SAS Performing Arts, ACPC Sembrich, Pasadena Opera, Mississippi Opera, Partners for the Arts, and Concert Artists Guild competitions; placed second at the Metropolitan Opera Regionals and Shreveport Opera Competition, placed third with Audience Favorite in the National Opera Association Competition and the McCammon Competition. Magdalena is an alumna of the Merola Opera Program, Santa Fe Opera, Ravinia Festival, Renée Fleming’s SongStudio at Carnegie Hall, Houston Grand Opera’s Young Artists Vocal Academy, Music Academy of the West, and The Bach Institute at Emmanuel Music. Magdalena holds degrees in music and psychology from Oberlin College & Conservatory, The Juilliard School, and Yale University where she received the Dean’s Award and was honored as valedictorian.
Third Prize (tied): Nathaniel Sullivan is a musician, theatre artist, and writer devoted to holding space for reflection, understanding, and creative projects that champion change. An “alert and highly musical baritone” (Opera News), Sullivan infuses his work with “impressive strength and precision” (Schmopera), as well as “great eloquence” (ConcertoNet) and “allegiance to both music and words” (ConcertoNet). Upcoming season highlights: vocal fellowship at the Ravinia Steans Music Institute (July-August 2023); bass soloist in the St. Matthew Passion with the Blanche Moyse Chorale (October 2023); bass soloist in Fauré’s Requiem with the Quad City Symphony Orchestra (March 2024). Recent highlights: the role of The King in the North American premiere of George Benjamin’s Lessons in Love and Violence at Tanglewood; premiering two works for baritone and chamber ensemble with Contemporaneous at Carnegie Hall; the role of Manfred in Jake Heggie’s Two Remain (Out of Darkness) with the Quad City Symphony Orchestra; covering the role of Harvey Milk in the world premiere of Stewart Wallace’s Harvey Milk Reimagined at Opera Theatre of Saint Louis. Sullivan was one of seven winners of the Astral Artists National Competition (2023) and has been awarded the Grace B. Jackson Prize for exceptional service at Tanglewood (2019), Third Place in the Washington International Competition (2023), Third Place in the Lyndon Woodside Oratorio Solo Competition (2019), Third Place in the Orpheus Vocal Competition (2019), and First Place in the NATS National Musical Theatre Competition (2018). He received his BM from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln (2014) and his MM from the Bard College Conservatory of Music (2017). Connect with Nathaniel and read his written reflections at nathanielsullivan.com.
Third Prize (tied): Adia Evans, soprano, has been praised for her “big, beautifully projected voice with an attractive edge and sparkle” (Arts Knoxville). She is quickly establishing herself as an up-and-coming talent in the opera and concert world. A recent participant of the Merola Opera Program in San Francisco, Evans was featured as First Lady in their production of Die Zauberflöte, as a solo Niña in scenes from Golijov’s Ainadamar, and as a soloist in the American Song Concert. Her performance in the Merola Grand Finale was praised as “vivid, beautiful, and sweeping” (Opera Tattler). Evans is currently a Hattie Mae Lesley Resident Artist with Fort Worth Opera; Evans will spend the summer as an Apprentice Artist with Santa Fe Opera, where she will cover the Foreign Princess in Rusalka.
Finalist: Erik Grendahl has been praised for his “smooth, copper-hued baritone” (Opera News). He recently made his company debut as Barone Douphol in La Traviata with Virginia Opera. Other 2022-2023 season highlights include the Valentin cover in Faust with Opera Baltimore and Barone Douphol in La Traviata with Lyric Opera of Kansas City, and his Carnegie Hall debut as part of the Gerda Lissner winner’s presentation. Later this summer, Erik will take part in the Ravinia Steans Music Institute program for singers. In the 2021-2022 season, Erik was an Apprentice Artist with The Santa Fe Opera and made his principal and company debut as the Steersman in Tristan und Isolde and as René Gallimard in M. Butterfly. He also made his Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center debut singing Britten’s Songs and Proverbs of William Blake with renowned pianist, Brian Zeger.
Erik received his Master of Music from The Juilliard School where he studied with Darrell Babidge and performed as Herr Fluth in Nicolai’s Die Lustigen Weiber von Windsor, Endimione/Caronte in the New York City premiere of Rossi’s L’Orfeo, and the title role of Donizetti’s lesser-known opera Torquato Tasso. He also presented a recital in Alice Tully Hall as a winner of the Juilliard Vocal Honors award.
Finalist: Helena Colindres is a Salvadorian-American nonbinary (they/them) soprano and a multi-faceted artist that has always been extremely passionate about three things: singing, educating themselves and their community, and fighting for marginalized people and the Earth.
As a rising opera vocalist, Helena has performed roles such as Thérèse in Poulenc’s Les Mamelles de Tirésias, the governess in Britten’s Turn of the Screw with Peabody Opera Theatre, Despina in Mozart’s Cosi fan tutte with Oberlin Opera Theatre, the title role in Pollock’s Earth to Kenzie with Peabody Opera Theatre, die Königin der Nacht in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte with Resonanz Opera, and most recently, the role of Winnie in Beecher’s Sky on Swings with Opera Saratoga. They have also had the pleasure of performing as a concert soloist in large works such as Handel’s Messiah, Schubert’s Mass in G, and Larson’s A God in Disguise. They have been fortunate enough to have participated in master classes with world-renowned artists such as Kevin Murphy, Chanticleer, Evelyn Mandac, and twice for the bel canto legend, Marilyn Horne.