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Bass Adam Lau Wins 17th Annual Jensen Foundation Vocal Competition

May 25, 2016 | By Lisa V. Gray
Competition Director
On Saturday, May 21, 2016, the Fritz & Lavinia Jensen Foundation awarded bass Adam Lau First Place in the 17th annual Jensen Foundation Vocal Competition in New York City. For the final day of the competition, Mr. Lau performed “O beauty, O handsomeness, goodness” (Claggart’s Aria) from Benjamin Britten’s Billy Budd and “Quand la flamme de l'amour” from La jolie fille de Perth by Georges Bizet. Finals judges Susan Ashbaker, Peter Carwell, and James Morris awarded Mr. Lau $15,000 as first place winner.

"Getting to sing Claggart's aria for James Morris, the Met's first Claggart, is an experience I will never forget," said Mr. Lau of his finals performance. "He's a living legend in the opera world, and it was such an honor meeting him. Thank you Jensen Foundation for making this possible!"

Mr. Lau received his Master of Music degree from the Shepherd School at Rice University and his undergraduate degree in Music Vocal Performance from Whitman College. He has participated in young artist programs at the Music Academy of the West, the Aspen Opera Theater Center, the Merola Opera Program, Florida Grand Opera, and Santa Fe Opera. He has been recognized in several other competitions, including winning the 2015 George London Foundation Vocal Competition.

Other 2016 Jensen award winners were mezzo-soprano Allegra de Vita (Second Award Winner - $10,000), soprano Rachel Schutz ($7,500), and soprano Megan Barrera (Munday Encouragement Award Winner - $3,000). Additional finalists who performed in the 2016 Jensen Foundation Vocal Competition were: Michael Brandenburg | Tenor Liana Guberman | Soprano Joseph Lattanzi | Baritone Andrew G. Manea | Baritone Katherine Polit | Soprano Heather Phillips | Soprano Abigail Rethwisch | Soprano Jonathan Rohr | Baritone Claudia Rosenthal | Soprano Alex Soare | Bass-Baritone Kyle Van Schoonhoven | Tenor

These singers distinguished themselves from a field of 97 auditioners and 240 applicants. Judges for the 2016 Finals were Susan Ashbaker, Peter Carwell, and James Morris. (Read their bios.) Judges for the Preliminary Rounds, held Monday-Thursday, were Jensen Foundation Trustees Jane Pardue, Ben Leaptrott, and Oliver Worthington. The 2016 Jensen Foundation Vocal Competition was held May 16-21 in the Engelman Recital Hall at Baruch Performing Arts Center in New York City.

About the Jensen Foundation Fritz and Lavinia Jensen were lifelong supporters of the arts who benefited many musicians and musical organizations during their lives. The Jensen Foundation is dedicated to continuing their philanthropic vision of support for the musical arts. The centerpiece of the Foundation’s efforts, the annual Jensen Foundation Vocal Competition, supports young artists pursuing a career in opera. Since the Competition’s inception in 2000, 114 singers have received more than $543,000 in support. To learn more, visit



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