News Release

News and Public Information Office
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Miami University
Oxford, Ohio 45056
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Miami selected as national headquarters for Schmidt Youth Vocal Competition; builds on Miami's award-winning opera program


Miami University has been selected as the national headquarters for the William E. Schmidt Youth Vocal Competition. Benjamin Smolder, associate professor of music, has been named the competition director. The competition, founded in 1992, conducts auditions in multiple locations throughout the country and provides awards and scholarships to talented high school vocalists. The goal of the competition is to encourage and nurture young people in the arts.

Linda McAlister, a 2001 Miami alumna, has been named competition coordinator. McAlister has also served as executive director of Songfest (Los Angeles/Cincinnati) and as artistic coordinator of the Steans Music Institute at Chicago’s Ravinia Festival.

“We are thrilled to become the new home of the Schmidt Youth Vocal Competition, as the values of Bill and Casiana Schmidt and their intent to offer opportunities for talented young singers are a perfect match for our mission and vision in the arts at Miami University,” said James Lentini, dean of the School of Creative Arts. “We look forward to helping the competition thrive now and into the future, allowing more young talent to be discovered and nurtured.”

Builds on Miami’s Award-winning Opera Program

“The competition provides us unprecedented access to the finest high school singers in the country,” Smolder said. “It provides us with a wonderful opportunity to recruit these talented students. Currently there are seven students enrolled who were part of the Schmidt Competition including two first place winners and a number of finalists.

It is our goal to continue to build upon the momentum of
our award-winning opera program within a nationally-ranked music program.”

Miami’s music department is listed as one of the top 25 programs in major universities in the U.S. in the 2013 edition of the Fiske Guide to Colleges.

Miami Schmidt Office

The Miami Schmidt office is responsible for determining locations for the competition, contracting judges, organizing travel arrangements, coordinating the students, marketing and publicity and cultivating relationships for future competitions, said Smolder. “We are currently in the process of planning a national competition that will occur in 2014. This competition will bring together the best singers of the ten competitions to compete for cash prizes.“

The competition awards $57,000 dollars annually to aspiring singers.

Two recent winners of the Schmidt Competition have been featured on National Public Radio’s “From the Top.” Past winners have been finalists in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, the Classical Singer Competition and the National Opera Association Competition.

The William E. Schmidt Foundation has been a major supporter of the arts. Notable gifts include a gift to Sarasota Opera for the newly named William E. Schmidt Opera Theater and a gift to the University of Kentucky for the creation of the William E. Schmidt Vocal Arts Center.

The Ohio Schmidt Youth Vocal Competition will be held May 18 in Hall Auditorium.

Miami "Opera Triple Bill" Nov. 8-10

Enjoy an "Evening of One Act Operas" presented by Miami's department of music at 7:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday, Nov. 8-10, in Hall Auditorium.

For more information, read "Opera Triple Bill."


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