Wirth Vocal Prize

Elizabeth Wirth Competition prize pin in red velvet box
Image by Brent-Calis.

Overview and Prizes

The Wirth Vocal Prize in vocal performance was established in 2015 through the extraordinary generosity of Elizabeth Wirth to the Schulich School of Music of McGill University, along with new Student Excellence Awards, and an innovative Student Initiatives Fund. Awarded yearly since its inception, the Wirth Vocal Prize recognizes a voice student who demonstrates exceptional talent and significant promise for an international career.

The winner of this year’s Wirth Vocal Prize will receive a generous scholarship, valued this year at $25,000, as well as a smaller likeness of the Wirth Vocal Prize logo in the form of a 14-karat gold lapel pin. Up to three runners-up will be awarded a $1,000 cash prize.

Previous winners include Chelsea Rus, Simone McIntosh, Anna-Sophie Neher, and Marcel d’Entremont and Jenny Ivanovna.

2020-2021 Competition Dates

  • Preliminary application deadline: Wednesday, March 31, 2021 (Video) 
  • Semi-Final Round: Friday, May 14, 2021, 7:00 PM (Webcast from Pollack Hall) 
  • Final Round: Sunday, May 16, 2021, 2:00 PM, (Webcast from Pollack Hall) 


President: Prof. Douglas McNabney

  • Houman Behzadi, Head Librarian, Schulich School of Music
  • Marc David, Conductor, Newfoundland Symphony Orchestra
  • Karina Gauvin, Soprano


Information for Applicants


Voice students registered in all Schulich School of Music study programs may be considered for nomination.

Nomination Process (Preliminary Round)

Students wishing to be considered for nomination must submit the following: 

  • PDF icon 2021 Application Request Form, which must be signed by your Voice Instructor 
  • A video audition consisting of 10-12 minutes of unedited and varied repertoire*
  • List of repertoire for the 25-minute program offered in the semi-final and final round (Title, Composer, Composer dates, Length of work). Once submitted, the program cannot be modified. 
  • Curriculum Vitae 
  • Headshot (optional) 

* Please note that the 10-12 minute video audition can consist of separate, varied recordings made in the last 6 months and can contain different repertoire from the 25 minute proposed program.

All submissions should be shared in a downloadable One Drive folder with Prof. Matthew Treviño (matthew.trevino [at] mcgill.ca), Preliminary Round Coordinator. 

Competition Rounds 

Preliminary Round: Applicants submit a 10-12 minute video recording of varied repertoire recorded within the last 6 months (Recording may contain different repertoire from the final, 25 minute proposed program). The panel, consisting of members of the voice and coaching faculty, will select a maximum of 8-12 candidates will move to the semi-final round.   

Semi-Final Round: The panel, consisting of members of the voice and coaching faculty, will select excerpts from the 25-minute competition program for a webcast performance. A maximum of 4 candidates will move to the final round. 

Final round: Finalists will present their full 25-minute program in a webcast performance. The jury will consist of three members: two external members and one member from the Schulich School of Music faculty.  

Repertoire Requirements 

Nominated students should prepare a varied 25-minute program that includes at least one opera aria, demonstrating ability in at least three languages. No change of repertoire will be allowed once the program has been submitted. 

In light of the exceptional circumstances created by the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, these rules are subject to change. With the safety of our community and our students’ education remaining as top priority, performances will not be open to the public. We thank our audiences for their continued support to our community and our School. 


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