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“No vocal contest better targets today’s total-package talents.” — Opera News

In 1998, to honor the centenary of the birth of Lotte Lenya (1898-1981), an extraordinary singer/actress and one of the foremost interpreters of the music of her husband, Kurt Weill (1900-1950), the Kurt Weill Foundation for Music established an annual Lotte Lenya Competition. The Lotte Lenya Competition recognizes talented singer/actors of all nationalities, ages 19-32, who are dramatically and musically convincing in repertoire ranging from contemporary Broadway scores to opera/operetta, including the works of Kurt Weill. Total prizes each year exceed $75,000; individual prizes range from $500 (semi-finals) to $20,000 (finals). First round prizes include $500 “Emerging Talent” awards and $500 to non-advancing semifinalists. To date the Kurt Weill Foundation has awarded more than $1.1 million in prize money to nearly 500 singing actors, including awards bestowed at the preliminary and semifinal rounds.

The Kurt Weill Foundation is committed to principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion in all of its programs, and welcomes contestants of all backgrounds, character and vocal types to the Lenya Competition. Since 1998, the competition has grown into a truly international contest with singers representing dozens of countries participating each year, and approximately 25% of all applicants coming from outside the United States annually on average. The Foundation celebrates the diversity of the applicant pool of the Lenya Competition, and is committed to maintaining an atmosphere of belonging therein.

Watch the Documentaries

  • Singing the Story: A documentary on the Lenya Competition and behind the scenes look into the 2013 competition cycle

  • Down to 12: Performances and insights from the twelve finalists of the 2020 Lenya Competition

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