The Gerda Lissner Foundation in Association with the Liederkranz Foundation holds an Annual International Vocal Competition in New York City that is open to men and women 21 to 35 years old, regardless of nationality.  A special Wagnerian Division exists within the competition, with an age range of 30-45 years old.


The competition is for singers who are pursuing a professional career in opera, and are judged by a panel comprised of prestigious professionals in the music world.

The Competition Is Divided into Two Divisions:

  • General Division: Open to singers ages 21 - 35
  • Wagner Division: Open to singers ages 30 - 45
  • There is no language requirement for the General Competition.  The competition within the Wagnerian Division must be in German.

2018 Competition Dates:

  • General Division: Preliminaries, April 2-5; Finals, April 7
  • Wagner Division: Preliminaries, April 6; Finals, April 7

Location: Liederkranz Foundation, Inc. — 6 East 87th Street, New York, NY 10128

Judging Panel:

  • Michael Benchetrit 
  • Ken Benson
  • Stephen DeMaio
  • Gregory Downer
  • Catherine Charlton
  • Gloria Gari
  • Barbara Hocher
  • Arthur Levy
  • Robert Lombardo
  • Glenn Morton
  • Maestro Eve Queler
  • Beth Roberts
  • Lenore Rosenberg
  • Thurmond Smithgall
  • Barbara Ann Testa
  • Midge Woolsey

Pianists: Arlene Shrut and Mary Pinto


Winners in the competition are granted awards ranging from $1,000 to $15,000, based upon placement in the competition. Top prizes in both divisions are sponsored by the Liederkranz Foundation Inc.

  • Top Prize                     $ 15,000
  • First Prize                   $ 10,000
  • Second Prize              $ 5,000
  • Third Prize                   $ 3,000
  • Grants                           $ 2,000
  • Encouragements       $ 1,000


  • Former Gerda Lissner Foundation Winners (Top, 1st, 2nd prizes in both divisions) may not re-apply. Participants who have won third prizes, grants or encouragements in past competitions may re-apply.
  • Repertoire once submitted cannot be changed.
  • Arias should be no longer than 5 minutes each.
  • Late and incomplete applications will not be considered.
  • Applicants are encouraged to apply early.
  • Submissions of the application does not guarantee an audition or grant.
  • Eligible participants only will be advised of the date and time for the audition by email.
  • Must be available to The Gerda Lissner Foundation
    • Your respective audition dates, preliminaries from 10:15 am to 5:00 pm
    • Winners concert in order to receive your award, May 6th, 2018 3:00 pm at Zankel Hall (Carnegie Hall)
  • An accompanist will be provided to you at no cost. (You may provide your own accompanist if you wish).
  • The Gerda Lissner Foundation is not responsible for late applications due to blocked or undeliverable emails.
  • There is no fee to enter the competition


All applicants must submit the following materials via email by 5pm EST on March 1st, 2018 in order to be considered for the competition. All fields must be filled in with typed text (handwritten applications will not be accepted). 

  1. Completed application (PDF download below), signed
  2. Current Resume
  3. Recent Color Headshot (JPEG; 1-3 MB file size)
  4. A copy of passport, drivers license or birth certificate
  5. One current signed letter of recommendation; this may be attached to your application or e-mailed directly from your recommender  

If selected for the competition, applicants will be notified in early March 2018 by email  of their invitation to participate in the competition. 

The application form must be submitted by e-mail (gerdalissner@aol.com). Late applications will not be considered.