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Benton-Schmidt

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Benton-Schmidt Voice Competition

The annual Benton-Schmidt Graduate Voice Competition provides scholarship awards up to $30,000 to promising incoming graduate students. Awards will be given based on excellence in vocal performance and versatility as revealed through the performance audition. Scholarship prizes are for the academic year beginning the following Fall semester.

Funds for these scholarships were made possible through the bequest of Joseph H. Benton, internationally-acclaimed tenor, long-time teacher and devoted supporter of vocal art, in honor of his much-revered voice teacher at the University of Oklahoma, William George Frederick Schmidt.

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Singers must first apply to the University of Oklahoma School of Music as a graduate student pursuing an MM or DMA in Voice.  All applicants must have a minimum 3.0 GPA in their undergraduate program (and Master's program, if DMA applicant) to compete and receive scholarship.  The competition application must be completed by the deadline listed below.  The winners of the competition will receive their scholarships when they enter the graduate program the following Fall semester.

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Participants in the Benton-Schmidt Competition are required to present 6 selections covering all major languages (French, German, Italian, and English). The selections must include 2 opera or oratorio arias, 2 art songs, and 2 arias or songs of your choice.

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Due to coronavirus, the 2021 competition will be taking place entirely online. The competition will now be taking place via Zoom, and there is a new requirement for video submissions on February 5. See the sections below for more details on the changes.

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December 1, 2020 - DMA Voice Application Deadline (pre-screening video due)
- DMA Voice Application Deadline extended to December 15, 2020
December 15, 2020 - MM Voice Application Deadline
January 30, 2021 - Deadline for Benton-Schmidt Competition Applications
February 5, 2021 - Deadline for Benton-Schmidt video submission (see below)
February 20, 2021 - Competition takes place via Zoom

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Prior to the competition, applicants must submit prerecorded videos of each of their selections for the competition. These should be submitted via YouTube link, with each selection clearly labeled. Email your links to Mark McCrory at mmccrory@ou.edu by February 5, 2021.

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For incoming students pursuing a graduate degree in voice, participation in the Benton-Schmidt competition will be considered the applicant's audition for the degree program. For competitors interested in enrolling in the Opera Emphasis Masters degree program, the required interview with the opera faculty will be scheduled during the competition.

Before applying for the competition, you must submit your graduate application to the OU School of Music. Click the button below for graduate admissions information. Within a day or two of submitting your graduate application, the School of Music will acknowledge receipt of the application by email. You may then apply for the competition using the button below.

The competition will be entirely online this year, taking place via Zoom. DMA applicants who have passed the pre-screening will also need to complete an interview with voice faculty, which will also be conducted via Zoom. You will receive more information regarding the audition and interview process by Feb 1, 2021. If you have any questions, contact Professor Mark McCrory at mmccrory@ou.edu.

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For more information, contact Professor Mark McCrory.