Three Singers Tie for First Prize in Kurt Weill Foundation’s 25th Lenya Competition

By Logan Martell

The Kurt Weill Foundation for Music has announced that for the first time three artists have won First Prize in the 25th Annual Lenya Competition.

The three winners are Taylor-Alexis DuPont, Ryan Johnson, and Nyla Watson; each will receive a prize of $25,000. The finals were held on April 29, 2023, with the four members of the jury independently scoring the finalists in a three-way tie. The finals also saw the appearance of prior winners such as Brian Mulligan, John Brancy, Amy Justman, Richard Todd Adams, Justin Hopkins, Nicole Cabell, Lucas Meachem, and Andrew Polec.

The Kurt Weill Award also went to Jeremiah Sanders for his performance of “O Tixo, Tixo, Help Me!” from Weill’s “Lost in the Stars,” and Celeste Rose was awarded the third Rebecca Luker Award for her performance of “I Caint Say No” from Rodgers & Hammerstein’s “Oklahoma!”

“This year the final round was anything but business as usual,” said foundation president and competition founder Kim Kowalke. “In 25 years, I’ve never seen a jury in absolute agreement that all three were fully deserving of first place and a $25,000 prize. Such an outcome is truly without precedent.”