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News | 9 April 2018

2018 Sara Tucker Study Grant and Richard Tucker Career Grants

Richard Tucker Career Grants and Sara Tucker Study Grants

In addition to Christian Van Horn’s win, the foundation has conferred study and career grants on ten more young American artists. Three 2018 Richard Tucker Career Grants of $10,000 each, awarded to young singers who have already performed with professional companies, go to Andrea Carroll, Samantha Hankey, and Jack Swanson. 2018 Sara Tucker Study Grants of $5,000 apiece go to seven young singers displaying great promise at the start of their professional careers, namely Eric Ferring, Theo Hoffman, David Leigh, Brian Michael Moore, Gabriella Reyes de Ramírez, Zoie Reams, and Kyle van Schoonhoven. The winners of the study and career grants were chosen by the panel after auditions held last week at New York’s 92nd Street Y, thanks to the generous support of the Agnes Varis Trust. Biographies of the recipients are provided below, and high-resolution photos of the 2018 Study and Career Grant recipients are available for download here.

About the 2018 Richard Tucker Career Grant Winners

Richard Tucker Career Grants are awards of $10,000, bestowed on young singers who have already gained performance experience in professional companies.

Soprano Andrea Carroll (28) is an ensemble member of the Vienna State Opera, where she has performed more than 25 roles, including Susanna in Le nozze di Figaro, Zerlina in Don Giovanni, Adina in L’elisir d’amore, and Norina in Don Pasquale. This spring she returns to Houston Grand Opera as Maria in West Side Story and gives recitals under the auspices of the Vienna State Opera and the Vienna Philharmonic. In addition to upcoming roles in Vienna, she also looks forward to singing Leïla in Les pêcheurs de perles in Houston. Recent career highlights include numerous appearances as a member of the Opera Studio at Houston Grand Opera, including Musetta in La bohème, Adele in Die Fledermaus, Woglinde in Das Rheingold, and Anne in A Little Night Music. She has sung Gilda in Rigoletto with Palm Beach Opera, Mélisande in Pelléas et Mélisande with Garsington Opera, and Rosalba in Florencia en el Amazonas with Washington National Opera. Carroll is a graduate of Manhattan School of Music and has received awards from the Eleanor McCollum Competition, the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, and the Liederkranz, Lissner, Shoshana, and Sullivan Foundations.

The recipient of a 2016 Sara Tucker Study Grant, mezzo-soprano Samantha Hankey (26) took first prize at this spring’s inaugural Glyndebourne Opera Cup. A native of Marshfield, Massachusetts, this season she made debuts as Rosina in Il barbiere di Siviglia in Oslo, as Siébel in Faust in Geneva, and at Carnegie Hall in The Messiah with Musica Sacra. Next season, she looks forward to singing numerous roles at the Metropolitan Opera, including the Countess Ceprano in Rigoletto, Wellgunde in Das Rheingold, Mercédès in Carmen, Pantalis in Mefistofele, and Mlle. Dangeville in Adriana Lecouvreur. She is a recent graduate of the Juilliard School, where she won a Vocal Arts Honors Recital award and appeared in Agrippina and Katya Kabanova. As a member of San Francisco Opera’s Merola Program, she headlined La Cenerentola in summer 2017. Her previous honors include awards from the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, the Dallas Opera Guild Competition, and the Lissner Foundation.

As the recipient of a 2017 Sara Tucker Study Grant, tenor Jack Swanson (26) is one of the few young singers to receive the foundation’s Study and Career Grants in consecutive years. On the heels of two milestone debuts – at Los Angeles Opera as Candide and at Glyndebourne as Almaviva in Il barbiere di Siviglia – he now looks forward to engagements as Almaviva at Kansas City Opera, in Rossini’s Stabat Mater with the Choral Arts Society of Washington, and as Lindoro in L’Italiana in Algeri for his Santa Fe Opera debut. Next season he makes his first Oslo appearances as Nemorino in L’elisir d’amore, and sings Alfred in Die Fledermaus at Palm Beach Opera and Sam Kaplan in Street Scene in Cologne. Recent career highlights include portrayals of Camille in The Merry Widow with Winter Opera St. Louis, Ramiro in La Cenerentola with Opera Delaware, and Albazar in Il turco in Italia with Garsington Opera. In concert he has appeared with orchestras including the Houston Symphony, Indianapolis Symphony, and Oregon Symphony. In addition to his Sara Tucker Study Grant, he has received awards and recognition from the Eleanor McCollum Competition and Glyndebourne Opera Cup, among others. Swanson is a native of Stillwater, Minnesota, and graduated from the University of Oklahoma before earning his Master’s at Rice University.

About the 2018 Sara Tucker Study Grant Winners

Sara Tucker Study Grants are awards of $5,000, bestowed on young singers in the process of transitioning from student to professional singer.

Tenor Eric Ferring (25) was a top prize-winner at the 2017 Gerda Lissner Foundation International Voice Competition. As a second-year Resident Artist with Pittsburgh Opera, he has appeared as Spoletta in Tosca, Don Basilio and Don Curzio in Le nozze di Figaro, Ricky in The Long Walk, and Flask in Moby-Dick, and looks forward to headlining L’elisir d’amore and taking part in the world premiere production of Savage Winter. This fall he joins the Ryan Opera Center at Lyric Opera of Chicago, where he will cover roles in IdomeneoIl trovatoreCendrillonLa traviata, and Ariodante. Originally from Dubuque, Iowa, he is a graduate of Drake University and the Boston Conservatory, and a former member of young artist programs at Opera Theater of St. Louis, Santa Fe Opera, and the Seagle Music Colony.

As a member of the Los Angeles Opera’s Domingo-Coburn-Stein Young Artist Program since 2016, baritone Theo Hoffman (24) has taken part in company productions of CandideCarmenLes contes d’HoffmannSalomeMacbeth, and Akhnaten. Having recently made his debut with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, given a solo recital at the Kennedy Center with Vocal Arts D.C., and sung the lead role of Joseph K. in Philip Glass’s The Trial at Opera Theater of St. Louis, his upcoming engagements include Flight at Des Moines Metro Opera, Bright Sheng’s The Silver River with Chamber Music Northwest, his third summer at Marlboro Music, and West Side Story at the Grand Teton Music Festival. Next season he returns to LA Opera and Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, and makes his debut at the Mozartwoche in Salzburg. A native New Yorker, Hoffman was a Grand Finalist in the Metropolitan Opera’s 2016 National Council Auditions and is a graduate of the Juilliard School.

Bass David Leigh (30) is in his second year at the Lindemann Young Artist Program at the Metropolitan Opera, where he makes his debut this spring as the Surintendant in Cendrillon. He made his Aix-en-Provence festival debut last summer as the Commendatore in Don Giovanni, which was also the vehicle for appearances at Florentine Opera and the Festival de Beaune. Upcoming engagements include Rossini’s Stabat Mater at the Kennedy Center, singing Colline in La bohème for his Bolshoi Opera debut, and the role of Turbo in the world premiere production of Rufus Wainwright’s Hadrian at the Canadian Opera Company. Leigh has been a member of the young artist programs at Santa Fe Opera and Opera Theater of St. Louis. He studied composition at Yale, where he received both undergraduate and graduate degrees, before earning a Master’s from Mannes College of Music. He has received awards from the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and Fort Worth Opera’s McCammon Voice Competition, among others.

Tenor Brian Michael Moore (25) is a second-year member of the Domingo-Coburn-Stein Young Artist Program at Los Angeles Opera, where he has performed or covered roles in CandideNabuccoCarmenSalomeDie Entführung aus dem SerailMacbeth, and Akhnaten. Other notable engagements have included performances as Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni at Italy’s Spoleto Festival and the Duke in Rigoletto for Asheville Lyric Opera. A participant in San Francisco Opera’s Merola Program and the Aspen Music Festival, he also performed numerous roles while earning his degree at Manhattan School of Music. Moore was born in Cincinnati, and has won recognition from the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, the Spoleto Festival, and the Kennedy Center VSA Young Soloists.

A first-year member of the Metropolitan Opera’s Lindemann Young Artist Development Program, soprano Gabriella Reyes de Ramírez(25) is a recent graduate of the Boston Conservatory and Boston University’s Opera Institute, where her notable roles include the Countess in Le nozze di Figaro and the title role in Emmeline. In concert, she recently sang the First Lady in excerpts from Die Zauberflöte with the Los Angeles Philharmonic under Gustavo Dudamel, and Mimì in excerpts from La bohème with the Boston Civic Symphony. Upcoming engagements include roles at the Metropolitan Opera, Mahler’s “Resurrection” Symphony with the Santa Cruz Symphony, a collaboration with the Nuremberg Symphony, concerts in the Metropolitan Opera’s “Concerts in the Parks” series, and participation in Germany’s Internationale Meistersinger Akademie. A finalist in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, Reyes de Ramírez is Nicaraguan-American, and was born in Meriden, Connecticut.

As second-year studio artist with the Houston Grand Opera, mezzo-soprano Zoie Reams (25) has sung or covered roles in company productions of La traviataElektraWest Side StoryGiulio Cesare, and Norma. Last season she took part in Houston’s world premieres of It’s a Wonderful Life and Some Light Emerges, as well as appearing in Nixon in China. She has also appeared as Suzuki in Madame Butterfly at Opera Columbus, as Tituba in The Crucible at Glimmerglass Opera, and as Clarice in Rossini’s La pietra del paragone at Wolf Trap Opera. A Chicago native, and a graduate of Lawrence University and Louisiana State University, Reams won recognition from the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, the Eleanor McCollum Competition, and the Classical Singer Competition.

Tenor Kyle van Schoonhoven (29) is currently an Adler Fellow at the San Francisco Opera, where he made his stage debut as the Young Servant in Elektra, covered Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni, and looks forward to covering Froh in Das Rheingold, Siegmund in Die Walküre, and Cavaradossi in Tosca. Other 2018-19 engagements include Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with the San Antonio Symphony. A 2017 winner of the Metropolitan Opera’s National Council Auditions, he also received the Nicolai Gedda Memorial Award from the George London Foundation and awards from the Brava! Opera Theater and the Jensen Foundation. Van Schoonhoven hails from Lockport, New York, and holds degrees from the Fredonia School of Music and Westminster Choir College

About the Richard Tucker Music Foundation

Founded in 1975, the Richard Tucker Music Foundation is a non-profit cultural organization dedicated to perpetuating the artistic legacy of the great Brooklyn-born tenor by nurturing the careers of talented American opera singers and by bringing opera into the community. Through awards, grants for study, performance opportunities and other activities, the foundation provides professional development for singers at various stages of their careers. It also offers free performances in the New York metropolitan area and supports music education enrichment programs. The foundation presents its annual gala featuring a starry lineup of today’s leading opera singers every fall in New York City. Audiences in 125 countries around the world were able to enjoy last year’s gala, which introduced soprano Nadine Sierra as the 2017 Richard Tucker Award-winner, thanks to WQXR 105.9 FM, New York’s classical radio station. Further information about the foundation’s work is available at, and high-resolution photos of Richard Tucker can be downloaded here.