Soprano Tracy Cox and pianist Maureen Zoltek, winners of the 2012 Music Academy of the West Marilyn Horne Song Competition, will perform a program of works by Verdi, Strauss, Mark Carlson, Poulenc and Gabriel Kahane at Opera America’s new National Opera Center in New York City on Wednesday, Sept. 25.
The recital, which begins at 8 p.m., will inaugurate Opera America’s Emerging Artist Recital Series, a showcase for finalists and prizewinners from the nation’s most prestigious young artist programs and competitions. Tickets cost $20. The National Opera Center is located at 330 Seventh Ave. in New York City.
“The song recital remains a uniquely vibrant art form. It’s vital that we continue to nurture and promote it among performers and audiences alike,” said world-renowned concert and opera singer Marilyn Horne, who has directed the Music Academy’s acclaimed Voice Program since 1997. “These two wonderfully talented young women are certain to do the recital tradition proud.”
Cox, who studied with Horne as a 2012 Music Academy Voice Fellow, recently completed her third year in the Domingo-Colburn-Stein Young Artist Program at Los Angeles Opera. While with L.A. Opera, she made her professional debut as Marcellina in Le Nozze di Figaro, conducted by Plácido Domingo, and sang the role of Pisana in I Due Foscari, the company’s 2012-13 season opener.
A finalist in the 2013 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, Cox was named a 2013 recipient of the prestigious Sara Tucker Study Grant from the Richard Tucker Foundation. She was awarded the Birgit Nilsson prize at the 2013 Operalia Competition in Verona, and most recently performed in Hungary's Széchenyi square with the Györ Philharmonic Orchestra.
“I am beyond thrilled to be presenting a program that features in part the work of two living, American composers,” Cox said. “Most of all I am honored and privileged to have the support of Marilyn Horne, Warren Jones, and the Music Academy of the West. The work that they do on behalf of art song preservation is inspiring.”
In high demand as a collaborative artist and coach, Zoltek previously served as a full-time keyboardist with the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, and has performed as an orchestral pianist with both the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the Elgin Symphony Orchestra. She has premiered works by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s former composers in residence, Augusta Read Thomas and Marc Anthony Turnage.
Zoltek, who studied with Warren Jones as a Music Academy Vocal Piano Fellow in 2010 and 2012, was recently named apprentice coach at Lyric Opera of Chicago’s Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center. Immediately prior, she served as coach-accompanist for San Francisco Opera’s July world premiere of Mark Adamo’s newest opera, The Gospel of Mary Magdalene.
“I’m excited to be collaborating again with Tracy. We had a wonderful time preparing for and performing in the song competition last year, and have a fun program planned for our recital,” she said. “I am grateful to Ms. Horne, Warren Jones and the Music Academy of the West for providing us with this opportunity to work together and to share our love for art song with the New York community.”
One of the most popular events of the summer season at the Music Academy, the Marilyn Horne Song Competition (formerly known as the Marilyn Horne Foundation Vocal Competition) is a showcase for Academy singers and vocal pianists. Top awards, presented in memory of longtime Music Academy vocal accompaniment faculty member Gwendolyn Koldofsky, are given to the Academy singer and vocal pianist who demonstrate excellence in the performance of song repertoire as well as a unique gift for audience communication. The competition regularly attracts industry insiders eager for a glimpse of up-and-coming talent.
Baritone John Brancy and pianist Mario Antonio Marra were named winners of the 2013 Music Academy of the West Marilyn Horne Song Competition on July 20. They will be presented in recital later this season at the Music Academy’s Hahn Hall, Santa Monica’s Broad Stage and the National Opera Center.
— Tim Dougherty is the communications manager for the Music Academy of the West.