Outstanding Talents Win Top Prizes
​in the 2016 Lotte Lenya Competition


Jim Schubin of Plainsboro, NJ, and Brian Vu of Los Angeles both earned top prizes in the 2016 Lotte Lenya Competition, sponsored by the Kurt Weill Foundation for Music and held on April 16, 2016 in Kilbourn Hall of the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY. Schubin and Vu each took home $15,000 for their exceptional displays of vocal and theatrical talent. Nine awards and a total prize purse of $79,000 were given in the Competition’s most competitive year yet.

Dennis Wees of Dallas, TX, the youngest of this year’s finalists at age 21, won the $10,000 Second Prize. Talya Lieberman of New York and Eric Michael Parker of Los Angeles each won a Third Prize of $7,500. Four additional prizes of $3,500 each were granted: Lindsay O’Neil of New York received a Lys Symonette Award; Tom Schimon of Vienna, Austria and Reilly Nelson of Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario each received Carolyn Weber Awards; and Bradley Smoak of Cary, NC received the inaugural Marc Blitzstein Award. The remaining five finalists each received $2,000: Curtis Bannister of Green Bay, WI, Erika Cockerham of St. Louis, MO, Tony Potts of Fargo, ND, Briana Silvie of CA, and Kayla Wilkens of Salem, OR.

The panel of judges included international opera star Teresa Stratas, Rodgers & Hammerstein President Theodore S. Chapin, and Broadway music director and conductor Andy Einhorn. Finalists were selected from an initial pool of 224 contestants later narrowed to 31 semi-finalists, who were adjudicated and coached in the semi-final round by Tony Award winners Jeanine Tesori and Victoria Clark. Foundation President and founder of the competition Kim Kowalke said of this year’s competition, “The total amount and number of prizes awarded reflects the high level displayed at this year’s contest. It is a testament to the Competition’s growth over nearly two decades.”

Read the complete press release for more information, and visit our YouTube page to watch the prize-winning performances.
A New Threepenny in London


Image courtesy of The National Theatre
Mack the Knife returns to London this month: The National Theatre mounts a new production of The Threepenny Opera in a new adaptation by Simon Stephens (​The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time), directed by Rufus Norris. Rory Kinnear (Penny Dreadful, Spectre, The Imitation Game) stars as the quintessential antihero Macheath. Performances begin May 18 and run through September 1.

The book has been redone, but the production retains Weill’s original instrumentation with a seven-piece orchestra as used in the 1928 premiere. This is no simple feat, given the complicated and unusual doublings called for by Weill’s orchestration. The forthcoming Spring 2016 Kurt Weill Newsletter will include a feature on the production that draws on interviews Stephens, Norris, and music director David Shrubsole. (Not a Kurt Weill Newsletter subscriber? Click here for information.)

The updated script remains as edgy and relevant now as was the original at its premiere in Berlin. The National Theatre promises plenty of “filthy language and immoral behavior.”
West Coast Premiere of Blitzstein's Airborne Symphony


Curious Flights, of San Francisco, presents Blitzstein’s Airborne Symphony May 28 at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, in what marks the work’s West Coast Premiere. The fruit of Blitzstein’s service in the Army Air Force during World War II, this impassioned work, part symphony, part oratorio, had a powerful effect when it premiered April 1, 1946 in New York under Leonard Bernstein. In its time, it was one of the most popular and effective American compositions that resulted directly from U.S. involvement in the war. Blitzstein composed it in 1943 and 1944 in England, where he was stationed. Then, in the course of shipping his effects home the following year the original manuscript was lost. Blitzstein rewrote the entire score on the ship as he returned home for demobilization. Alasdair Neale conducts the Curious Flights Symphony Orchestra, with soloists Brian Thorsett (tenor) and Efrain Solis (baritone) and the Curious Flights Chorus.
June 1 Grant Deadline
KWF is currently accepting applications for its June 1 Colleges & University Grants deadline. This grant cycle is restricted to colleges and universities performing works of Weill or Blitzstein during the fall semester of the upcoming academic year. For more information, please visit our website


Aufstieg at Theater Münster
Upcoming Performances

​Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny
Theater Münster, Münster
Ulrich Peters, director; Thorsten Schmid-Kapfenburg, conductor
7 May - 1 July
Violin Concerto
DePaul University, Chicago
Michael Lewanski, conductor; Ilya Kaler, violin
12 May

Die Dreigroschenoper
Berliner Ensemble, Zorlu Center, Istanbul
Robert Wilson, director
13 - 14 May

The Threepenny Opera
The National Theatre, London
Rufus Norris, director; David Shrubsole, music director 
18 May - 1 September

The Airborne Symphony (Blitzstein)
Curious Flights Symphony Orchestra and Festival Chorus, San Francisco
Alasdair Neale, conductor; Brian Thorsett, tenor; Efrain Solis, baritone
28 May

KWF Performance Calendar