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. The 2019-2020 winner will perform at the Chapelle Historique du Bon-Pasteur on April 5, 2020. Up to three runner-ups will be awarded a $1,000 cash prize.

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

2019-2020 Competition Dates

  • Nomination deadline: Tuesday, December 10, 2019
  • Preliminary round: Saturday, January 11, 2020 at a TBD time (Wirth Opera Studio)
  • Final competition: Sunday, February 9, 2020 at 2:30 p.m. (Pollack Hall, open to the public)


President in the Final Round: Prof. Douglas McNabney

  • Judith Forst, mezzo-soprano
  • Jean-Marie Zeitouni, conductor
  • Jean-Sébastien Vallée, choral conductor is the internal adjudicator.


Information for Applicants


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

Nomination Process

Voice faculty of the Schulich School of Music submit nominations for the award to the Voice Area Chair. Professors are encouraged to nominate only those students who, in their opinion, demonstrate the very highest level of accomplishment throughout the Voice Area.  While faculty are at liberty to nominate their own students, they should aim to recommend only the most outstanding students currently enrolled in the voice program, across all studios.

Shortly after receipt of nominations, candidates will be asked to submit their program, as well as a current CV.

Competition Rounds

Preliminary round: The panel, consisting of members of the voice and coaching faculty, will select approximately 20 minutes excerpted from the full 25-minute competition program. A maximum of 4 candidates will move to the final round.

Final round: Finalists will present their full 25-minute program in public 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.

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