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Bruce P. Carlson Student Scholarship Competition

Application Deadline
February 13, 2022

Online Preliminaries:
Video Submissions Due March 20, 2022

In-Person Finals:
April 23: Guitar, Piano, and Voice
April 24: Brass & Woodwind and Strings

The Schubert Club Student Scholarship Competition, held each spring, awards a total of over $50,000 annually to young musicians to be used for further musical education.

ELEVATING YOUNG MUSICIANS WITH INSPIRATION, CONNECTIONS, AND ACCOMPLISHMENT

Congratulations to the 2022 Competition Finalists!

Click HERE to view the list of this year’s finalists.

Spectators are welcome to attend finalist auditions

Thank You to our Competition Finals Judges

Reiko Aizawa, Piano

Alexander Fiterstein, Brass & Woodwinds

Jesse Mills, Strings

Zoie Reams, Voice

James Flegel, Guitar

Praised by the NY Times for an “impressive musicality, a crisp touch and expressive phrasing”, Japanese pianist Rieko Aizawa has performed throughout the U.S., Canada and Europe, including New York City’s Lincoln Center, Boston’s Symphony Hall, Chicago’s Orchestra Hall, Vienna’s Konzerthaus, and Wigmore Hall in London.

At the age of thirteen, Ms. Aizawa was brought to the attention of conductor Alexander Schneider on the recommendation of the pianist Mitsuko Uchida. Schneider engaged Ms. Aizawa as soloist with his Brandenburg Ensemble at the opening concerts of Tokyo’s Casals Hall. Later that year, Schneider presented her in her United States début concerts at the Kennedy Center and Carnegie Hall with his New York String Orchestra. She has since established her own unique musical voice. 

Ms. Aizawa is also an active chamber musician. The youngest-ever participant at the Marlboro Music Festival, she has performed as a guest with string quartets such as the Guarneri Quartet and the Orion Quartet. She is a founding member of the Horszowski Trio and of the prize-winning Duo Prism. Ms. Aizawa became artistic director of theAlpenglow Chamber Music Festival in Colorado in 2010.

Recently, Ms. Aizawa’s solo debut recording of Scriabin’s and Shostakovich’s “24 Preludes” was released by Altus in Japan, and her second album of Messiaen’s and Faure’s preludes is coming out in the upcoming season.  Ms. Aizawa also has a great interest in exploring unusual repertoire. – the St. Paul Pioneer Press said of her performance with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra conducted by Hans Graf: “the Salieri Piano Concerto in C was played so splendidly by Rieko Aizawa. Hers was a graceful reading. …. Aizawa’s performance lent the work a respect it rarely receives.” In the same year, she received the Washington Award.  

Ms. Aizawa was the last pupil of Mieczyslaw Horszowski at the Curtis Institute and she also studied with Seymour Lipkin and Peter Serkin at the Juilliard School. Ms. Aizawa lives in New York City, and she is on the faculty at Longy School of Music of Bard and at Brooklyn College. Ms. Aizawa is a Steinway Artist. 

Clarinetist Alexander Fiterstein is considered one of today’s most exceptional artists. Fiterstein has performed in recital, with distinguished orchestras, and with chamber music ensembles throughout the world. He won first prize at the Carl Nielsen International Clarinet Competition and received the prestigious Avery Fisher Career Grant Award. The Washington Post has described his playing as “dazzling in its spectrum of colors, agility, and range. Every sound he makes is finely measured without inhibiting expressiveness” and The New York Times described him as “a clarinetist with a warm tone and powerful technique.”

As soloist he has appeared with the Czech, Israel, Vienna, and St. Paul Chamber Orchestras, Belgrade Philharmonic, Danish National Radio Symphony, Tokyo Philharmonic, China National Symphony Orchestra, KBS Orchestra of South Korea, Jerusalem Symphony, Orchestra of St. Luke’s at Lincoln Center, Kansas City Symphony, and the Simon Bolivar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela. He has performed in recital on the Music at the Supreme Court Series, the Celebrity Series in Boston, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, the Kennedy Center, the Louvre in Paris, Suntory Hall in Tokyo, Tel Aviv Museum, and NYC’s 92d Street Y.  For a full bio see: www.fiterstein.com/bio

A dedicated performer of chamber music, Fiterstein frequently collaborates with distinguished artists and ensembles and regularly performs with the prestigious Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. Among the highly regarded artists he has performed with are Daniel Barenboim, Yefim Bronfman, Mitsuko Uchida, Richard Goode, Emanuel Ax, Marc-Andre Hamelin, Pinchas Zukerman, and Steven Isserlis. Fiterstein performed with the Dover, Pacifica, Jerusalem, and Shanghai String Quartets as well as with Ensemble Wien-Berlin. He spent five summers at the Marlboro Music Festival and appeared at the Caramoor, Moab, Music@Menlo, Montreal, Toronto, Jerusalem, and Storioni Chamber Music Festivals.

Fiterstein is a founder of the Zimro Project, a unique ensemble dedicated to incorporating Jewish art music into chamber music programs. He performed as principal clarinet of the West-East Divan Orchestra at the invitation of Daniel Barenboim and has appeared as guest principal clarinet with the Israel Philharmonic with Zubin Mehta, KBS Orchestra with Yoel Levi, and with the St. Paul and Orpheus Chamber Orchestras.

Fiterstein has a prolific recording career and has worked with composers John Corigliano and Osvaldo Golijov and had pieces written for him by Samuel Adler, Mason Bates, Paul Schoenfield, and Chris Brubeck, among others. Fiterstein was born in Belarus and immigrated to Israel at the age of 2 with his family. A Juilliard graduate, he won first prize at the Young Concert Artists International Auditions and received awards from the America-Israel Cultural Foundation. He is currently Professor of Clarinet and Chair of Winds at the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University. Fiterstein is a Buffet Crampon and Vandoren Performing Artist.

Two-time Grammy nominated violinist Jesse Mills enjoys performing music of many genres, from classical to contemporary, as well as composed and improvised music of his own invention.

​Since his concerto debut at the Ravinia Festival in Chicago, Mr. Mills has performed throughout the U.S. and Canada. He has been a soloist with the Phoenix Symphony, the Colorado Symphony, the New Jersey Symphony, the Green Bay Symphony,  Juilliard Chamber Orchestra,  the Denver Philharmonic, the Teatro Argentino Orchestra (in Buenos Aires, Argentina), and the Aspen Music Festival’s Sinfonia Orchestra.

​As a chamber musician Jesse Mills has performed throughout the U.S. and Canada, including concerts at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall, Carnegie Hall, the 92nd Street Y, the Metropolitan Museum, the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, Boston’s Gardener Museum, Chicago’s Ravinia Festival, and the Marlboro Music Festival. He has also appeared at prestigious venues in Europe, such as the Barbican Centre of London, La Cité de la Musique in Paris, Amsterdam’s Royal Carré Theatre, Teatro Arcimboldi in Milan, and the Palais des Beaux Arts in Brussels. Mills is co-founder of Horszowski Trio and Duo Prism, a violin-piano duo with Rieko Aizawa, which earned 1st Prize at the Zinetti International Competition in Italy in 2006. With Ms. Aizawa, Mills became co-artistic director of the Alpenglow Chamber Music Festival in Colorado in 2010.

​Mills is also known as a pioneer of contemporary works, a renowned improvisational artist, as well as a composer. He earned Grammy nominations for his performances of Arnold Schoenberg’s music, released by NAXOS in 2005 and 2010. He can also be heard on the Koch, Centaur, Tzadik, Max Jazz and Verve labels for various compositions of Webern, Schoenberg, Zorn, Wuorinen, and others. As a member of the FLUX Quartet from 2001-2003, Mills performed music composed during the last 50 years, in addition to frequent world premieres. As a composer and arranger, Mills has been commissioned by venues including Columbia University’s Miller Theater, the Chamber Music Northwest festival in Portland, OR and the Bargemusic in NYC.

​Jesse Mills began violin studies at the age of three. He graduated with a Bachelor of Music degree from The Juilliard School in 2001.  He studied with Dorothy DeLay, Robert Mann and Itzhak Perlman. Mr. Mills lives in New York City, and he is on the faculty at Longy School of Music of Bard College and at Brooklyn College. In 2010 the Third Street Music School Settlement in NYC honored him with the ‘Rising Star Award’ for musical achievement.

Mezzo-soprano Zoie Reams has been lauded by Opera News for her “velvety mezzo” and for how she “phrase[s] with elegance and articulate[s] coloratura nimbly.”

In the 2021-2022 season, Ms. Reams makes her house debut at the Metropolitan Opera as Lily in James Robinson’s acclaimed production of Porgy and Bess. She is also a Company Member with Minnesota Opera, where she performs the title role of Carmen in a new production directed by Denyce Graves, and Dorothée in Joseph Bologne’s The Anonymous Lover. Finally, during the summer of 2022, she makes her house debut at Cincinnati Opera as Jane in the world premiere of Gregory Spears and Tracy K. Smith’s Castor and Patience. On the concert stage, she joins Minnesota Opera for Ópera Afuera, an outdoor concert at Allianz Field celebrating Latinx vocal music, as well as Voices United, a choral concert featuring operatic favorites. 

In the 2020-2021 season, Ms. Reams made her role debut as Nancy in Albert Herring at Minnesota Opera conducted by Dame Jane Glover, returned to Houston Grand Opera both as Sister Sophia in The Sound of Music and to reprise the title role in Damien Sneed’s Marian’s Song, and returned to Des Moines Metro Opera as Juno in Rameau’s Platée and the Beggar Woman in Sweeney Todd. In concert, she rejoined Houston Grand Opera for the second annual Giving Voice recital, co-hosted by tenor Lawrence Brownlee, and also performed in a special holiday program at Minnesota Opera. Previously scheduled engagements included performances at Houston Grand Opera as Dodo in Missy Mazzoli’s Breaking the Waves and at Lyric Opera of Chicago as Witness 2/Singer 2/Woman 2 in George Benjamin’s Lessons in Love and Violence.

In the 2019-2020 season, Ms. Reams returned to Houston Grand Opera as Maddalena in Rigoletto, sang the title role in the world premiere of Marian’s Song at HGOco, and joined Chicago Opera Theater as Jan Arnold in Joby Talbot’s Everest and Georgia Davenport in the world premiere of Dan Shore’s Freedom Ride. In concert, she performed Handel’s Messiahwith the Washington National Cathedral Choir and Baroque Orchestra. She had also been scheduled to reprise Maddalena in performances at Opera San Antonio.

Operatic highlights of previous seasons include her house debut at Lyric Opera of Chicago as Flora in La traviata and performances at Houston Grand Opera as the Third Secretary in John Adams’ Nixon in China, the Alto Winged Angel in the world premiere of Jake Heggie’s It’s A Wonderful Life, and Cece in the world premiere of Laura Kaminsky’s Some Light Emerges. In addition, she performed at Opera Columbus as Suzuki in Madama Butterfly, sang the title role in Carmen at Opera Louisiane, and made her house and role debut at Des Moines Metro Opera as Margret in Wozzeck. Ms. Reams also completed her studies in the Houston Grand Opera studio, where she sang Flora, Dritte Magd in Elektra, and Rosalia in West Side Story, among other roles.

On the concert stage, she has performed Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with the National Symphony Orchestra, Bruckner’s Te Deum with the Houston Symphony Orchestra, Tippett’s A Child of Our Time with the New York Choral Society at Carnegie Hall, Bernstein’s First Symphony, Jeremiah, with the Staatstheater Cottbus Philharmonic Orchestra, and Handel’s Messiah with both the Las Vegas Philharmonic and the combined choirs of Auburn University and the New Choral Society of Scarsdale, New York.

Ms. Reams’ awards include second place at Houston Grand Opera’s Eleanor McCollum Competition (2016), first place winner of the Emerging Artist division of the Classical Singer Competition (2015), and second place winner of the Gulf Coast Region of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions (2016). She holds a Master of Music degree from Louisiana State University, where she sang Isabella in L’italiana in Algeri, Dido in Dido and Aeneas, Katisha in The Mikado, and Béatrice in Béatrice et Bénédict. She earned her Bachelor of Music at Lawrence University.

Classical guitarist James Flegel is known for his exquisite artistry and depth of expression. He has performed in recitals and as a concerto soloist throughout the United States, often accompanies choirs, and performs chamber music in duos with flute and with voice. His principle guitar teachers have been Robert Guthrie and Jeffrey Van, and he has studied in counterpoint, composition, and orchestration with Paul Fetler and Dominick Argento. James received his Doctorate in Guitar Performance and Master’s degrees in Guitar and Composition from the University of Minnesota, and his Bachelor’s degrees in both Music and Psychology from St. Olaf College. He has taught, performed, and adjudicated at festivals and colleges across North America, and has served on the faculties of Carleton College, Macalester College, the University of Minnesota School of Music, and currently, the University of Minnesota-Morris.

2022 Competition Dates

Applications Open: October 1, 2021

Application Deadline: February 13, 2022

Repertoire Change Deadline: March 13, 2022

Preliminaries Video Submission Deadline: March 20, 2022

Finalists Emailed: April 12, 2022

In-Person Finals: April 23 & 24, 2022, Landmark Center

April 23- Guitar, Piano, and Voice

April 24- Brass & Woodwind and Strings

Musicians on the Rise Winners Recital:

Sunday, May 15, 2022, 1:00pm at Ordway Concert Hall

The Bruce P. Carlson Student Scholarship Competition, held each spring, awards a total of over $50,000 annually to young musicians to be used for further musical education.

The competition began in 1922, celebrating the 40th anniversary of Schubert Club. It started modestly with three winners representing the categories of voice, violin, and piano. The competition has since grown to fourteen different categories with two cash prizes awarded for each category – $2000 and $1500 – to be used for further musical education. The winners of each category are also invited to perform in the annual Winners Recital.

The Competition is named in memory of Bruce P. Carlson, Executive Director of Schubert Club from 1968 to 2006.

Applicants must be a resident or enrolled in a learning institution within the 5-state region (MN, WI, SD, ND or IA).

“The Competition has been an indispensable source for musical growth, and a proving ground where I could test my skill and artistry. I feel like I’ve grown up as a musician through the Schubert Club Competition, and it is an opportunity for which I am immensely grateful.”

– Liam Ainslie Mayo, 2017 Piano Winner

We remain committed to preventing the spread of COVID-19 and the protection of our participants, judges, staff, and volunteers.  In light of recent Covid-19 variants and the increase of Covid-19 cases in Minnesota, we have decided to move our preliminaries to an online video format. Our finals will still be held in person on April 23 & 24. (Subject to change if Covid-19 rates stay the same or increase.)