STEPHENVILLE (August 15, 2016) — Dr. Heather Hawk, assistant professor of vocal performance at Tarleton State University, captivated a panel of judges and an Austrian audience to win first place at the prestigious American Institute of Musical Studies (AIIMS) Meistersinger Vocal Competition in Graz, Austria.
Hawk, an award-winning operatic soprano, was among 42 competitors from the preliminary round who advanced to the Aug. 11 finals with seven other vocalists as part of the 36th annual competition. Her performance of Gustave Charpentier’s Depuis le jour, the third act from the opera “Louise,” was accompanied by the AIMS Festival Orchestra in the finals held at the renowned Helmut List Halle, and culminated in Hawk winning first place and a monetary prize.
The eight finalists were judged by an outside panel of judges, not affiliated with AIMS, including: Ferenc Anger, artistic director of the Hungarian State Opera in Budapest; Barbara Bonney, soprano and professor at the Mozarteum – Salzburg; Eva Liebau, soprano at Salzburg Festspielen and La Scala; Therese Renick – Renick Opera Agent in Düsseldorf; and Stephanie Wippel, casting director at the Vienna State Opera.
Hawk traveled to Austria in early July to study with AIMS in Graz, a leading summer music program designed to prepare vocalists for their careers as professional musicians. The six-week, world-class training allowed the Tarleton professor to study opera and lieder repertoire, attend master classes with accomplished teachers and voice coaches, and to perform with renowned European conductors.
“Attending AIMS in Graz was such an amazing experience. I love this program, the instructors, the participants and Austria. Studying here has opened my eyes to new ways of thinking about music and has inspired me in a way that I’ve never felt before,” said Hawk. “Winning this competition means so much because of the high-caliber of singers involved in the program. It was a fantastic concert with a stellar orchestra.”
Hawk’s latest prize comes on the heels of her selection as a top finalist in last month’s National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) Artist Awards competition in Chicago. She received fourth place and a $2,000 prize.
A resident of Weatherford and a 2005 graduate of Tarleton and a 2007 graduate of Baylor University, where she earned her master’s degree in vocal performance, Hawk obtained a doctorate in musical arts from the University of North Texas. She joined the Department of Fine Arts’ faculty at Tarleton in 2007.
To view Austrian television news coverage and an interview with Hawk following her Meistersinger competition performance, visithttp://tvthek.orf.at/program/Steiermark-heute/70020/Steiermark-heute/13461048/AIMS-Meistersingerkonzert/13463689.