For 30 years, the NEUE STIMMEN International Singing Competition has served as a springboard and renowned platform for exceptionally talented next-generation singers. Initiated in 1987 with the goal of discovering well-trained young artists, above all in Europe, the competition has grown rapidly in the last three decades: In its first year, 36 singers applied to participate, while 1,430 contestants from 76 countries registered to take part in this year's anniversary event. Moreover, during the 17 competitions held, over 15,000 young talents have applied to participate.
As the world of opera has grown increasingly international, NEUE STIMMEN has also continued to develop, with preliminary auditions, which are led by members of the NEUE STIMMEN jury, now taking place around the globe. In 2017, they were held in 24 cities, including New York, Los Angeles, Riga, Shanghai, London, Toronto, Moscow, Cape Town, Sydney and Berlin. Over the last three decades, 962 singers from preliminary round auditions have been invited to Gütersloh for the final round.
"For thousands of years, culture and music in particular have been building bridges of understanding across cultures and borders. They connect people regardless of nationality and culture. This function has become even more important in these unsettled and eventful times. That is why the NEUE STIMMEN International Singing Competition is so important to me personally. It is where young people come together, encourage each other, celebrate their successes together and form friendships," says Liz Mohn, president of NEUE STIMMEN and vice-chairwoman of the Bertelsmann Stiftung Executive Board.
"In the last 30 years, what was once a European singing competition has evolved into an international community."Liz Mohn, president of NEUE STIMMEN and vice-chairwoman of the Bertelsmann Stiftung Executive Board
Focus on ongoing support and further development of future activities
NEUE STIMMEN focuses on discovering and supporting the world's best singers, who receive ongoing, long-term assistance not only during the competition, but also through master classes, concerts, seminars and coaching sessions. For example, all participants in the preliminary auditions receive individual feedback, recommendations and, in the case of the most qualified contestants, offers for valuable career opportunities. When assisting and supporting young singers, NEUE STIMMEN is able to rely on its extensive international network of partners.
In keeping with its motto of "Creating Careers", NEUE STIMMEN will respond in two ways in coming years to the growing challenges resulting from the world of opera's ongoing globalization and digitization: by carrying out a study, which will collect data on the educational and employment situation that young singers face, thereby providing a basis for future NEUE STIMMEN activities; and by introducing an online course, which is already being developed in cooperation with music conservatories in German-speaking countries. Available free of charge to all interested singers while they are completing their vocal training, the further education course will focus on the topics of self-promotion, communication, networking, career planning and career management.
2017 final round begins October 8 in Gütersloh
In 2017, the competition's high point – the final round comprising the semifinals and finals – will again take place in Gütersloh. From October 8 to 14, the 42 best singers from the preliminary auditions will perform for the NEUE STIMMEN jury chaired by Dominique Meyer. On October 9 and 10, all contestants, accompanied by piano, will sing for the jurors and a select audience made up of representatives of international opera houses and music agents. Regardless of whether they advance to the next level or not, all final-round contestants will receive individual coaching sessions and thus the opportunity to expand their knowledge and develop the skills required of opera singers today. The semifinals will take place on October 12, followed by the finals on October 14. Accompanied by the Duisburg Philharmonic under the direction of Graeme Jenkins, the finalists will compete for a position on the winner's podium and for cash awards and other prizes worth over €60,000.
Seeing it live: Numerous possibilities for the public to experience the competition
Numerous possibilities exist for Gütersloh residents and opera fans worldwide to experience the 2017 final round live. Dress rehearsals for the semifinals and finals will be open to the public. And those who do not want to miss out when their favorite singers actually compete can watch the semifinals and finals as they are streamed live on www.neue-stimmen.de and on the streaming platform www.medici.tv. For those who would like to learn more ahead of time, the final-round participants have been introducing themselves one by one in videos posted on the NEUE STIMMEN Facebook page since August 22.