Guidelines

Objective
Encourage and support gifted young singers in pursuit of professional careers in music.  During each Festival cycle, one award will be granted, with intention to advance the career and professional development of the recipient.

Competition Overview
The competition timetable is based on the biennial cycle of the Grand Rapids Bach Festival. Initially, candidates will be evaluated by a preliminary jury based on application files consisting of their resume, recommendation from their nominator, video recording, and a brief statement as to how they would use the prize money.

Eligible candidates must be poised to embark on a professional career at the time of submitting their application.  Festival leadership reserves the right to add additional evaluation procedures based on number and quality of applications received.

The semi-final and final rounds will be adjudicated by a jury appointed by the Grand Rapids Symphony Music Director, in consultation with others including the Grand Rapids Bach Festival Artistic Director, and Grand Rapids Symphony musicians and staff. The inaugural competition winner will receive a $10,000 award. In addition to the semi-final and final round performances during the 2019 Bach Festival, and subject to approval of the Grand Rapids Symphony Music Director, the award winner may be invited to perform during a future Grand Rapids Symphony season.

Eligibility
North American residents who have completed sufficient advanced vocal study and professional training as to be considered fully prepared for professional music careers are eligible to be nominated for The Keller Award.

Nomination requirement: All applicants must be nominated by a respected and established musical leader, such as university or private teacher, conductor, director, or professional performer. Nomination by a relative of an applicant and self-nominations will not be accepted. Once an applicant completes the online application and uploads their supporting documents, an invitation will be sent to the nominator and he/she will be able to upload their recommendation.

Age requirements:  Applicant’s age is determined on February 1 the year of the competition. The maximum age for applicants is 34 (as of February 1, 2019).

Competition is open to all North American applicants (citizens or legal residents) meeting the age requirement: 1) who are at the very beginning of their professional musical career; 2) are duly nominated by someone who fulfills the nominator requirements outlined above; and 3) who are not under professional artist management. Singers selected to participate must be available to compete during the Grand Rapids Bach Festival, March 18-23, 2019*. Based on application of these criteria, the Grand Rapids Bach Festival reserves the right to accept or reject applications.

*The competition will provide a travel allowance (round-trip economy class within North America) and housing arrangements for competitors selected to compete in the semi-final round. Exact dates are TBC based on rehearsal requirements and other considerations, and will be confirmed by January 31, 2019.

Application submission fee: A $75 USD application fee is payable at the time of application.

Application deadline: The online application form, and nomination letter must be submitted by November 30, 2018.

Repertoire Requirements for Applicants
The preliminary round will consist of a video recording of a live, unedited performance of two contrasting vocal works by J.S. Bach. The recorded submissions must not exceed 15 minutes of music. Videos can be uploaded directly in this application.

For the semi-final round, candidates must prepare one (1) aria from a Bach Passion, and a contrasting aria by J.S. Bach of the applicant’s choice. The total performance time for the second round should not exceed 20 minutes.

The semi-final round will take place on March 19, 2019 at 2:00 p.m. with piano accompaniment. Official competition pianists will be provided to each competitor. Further details regarding accompanists and practice times will be published once available on the award website.

For the final round, candidates must prepare two contrasting arias by J.S. Bach, and one vocal work by another composer of the applicant’s choice. The total performance time for the final round should not exceed 30 minutes.

The final round will take place on March 21, 2019 at 3:00 p.m. with piano accompaniment. Official competition pianists will be provided to each competitor. Further details regarding accompanists and practice times will be published once available on the award website.

Applicants may choose to perform repertoire from the preliminary round during the semi-final and/or final rounds, but repertoire from the semi-final round cannot be repeated in the final round.

TO APPLY FOR THE SCHOLARSHIP, CLICK HERE.

Award Modifications

The Symphony reserves the right to modify, suspend or cancel The Keller Award.