Media Contact: Marla Carpenter, 336-770-3337, carpem@uncsa.edu 




WINSTON-SALEM – University of North Carolina School of the Arts (UNCSA) student Joshua Conyers was a winner at the North Carolina District Auditions of the Metropolitan Opera National Council (MONC) this past weekend.  

Conyers, a college senior studying voice in the School of Music at UNCSA, was one of four equal winners of the N.C. District Auditions, which were held Jan. 9 at Queens University in Charlotte.

A student of UNCSA School of Music faculty-artist Marilyn Taylor and a recipient of the William R. Kenan, Jr. Excellence Scholarship (in the 1st class), Conyers was awarded the Sarah Belk Gambrell Award at the District Auditions. He sang Hai gia vinta la causa from Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro and Au vin dissipe la tristesse from Hamlet by Thomas.

A native of New York City, Conyers attended high school at the Governor’s School of the Arts in Norfolk, Va. He now resides in Winston-Salem.

Joshua Conyers

Conyers and the three other equal winners will represent North Carolina and will compete against other winners from South Carolina, Georgia and Florida at the Southeast Region Finals in Atlanta on Jan. 31. There, one winner will be chosen to represent the Southeast Region in the National Semi-Finals in New York on March 7. The Grand Finals Concert will be held at the Metropolitan Opera on March 14.

Conyers is the fourth N.C. District Auditions winner from Marilyn Taylor’s studio in the past three years. Last year, soprano Jodi Burns and tenor Marvin Kehler were two of the four equal winners. Burns, an A.J. Fletcher Opera Institute Fellow at UNCSA, went on to win the Metropolitan Opera National Council’s (MONC) Southeast Region Finals in Atlanta and represented the entire Southeast Region in the National Semi-Finals in New York. In 2008, UNCSA’s René Barbera won at the N.C. District level and went on to win the Met’s national competition, singing in the Grand Finals Concert. Burns, Kehler and Barbera all studied with Dr. Taylor, who won a UNC Board of Governors’ Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2009.

Established in 1954, the National Council Auditions is a program designed to discover promising young opera singers and assist in the development of their careers. Many of the world’s foremost singers – among them, Renée Fleming, Thomas Hampson, Jessye Norman, Ben Heppner, Deborah Voigt, Teresa Stratas, Samuel Ramey, and Frederica von Stade – have received awards from the National Council. Annually, approximately 100 former auditioners appear in Metropolitan Opera productions.

Singers from UNCSA have won numerous district, regional and national Met auditions in years past.

The University of North Carolina School of the Arts is the first state-supported, residential school of its kind in the nation. Established as the North Carolina School of the Arts by the N.C. General Assembly in 1963, UNCSA opened in Winston-Salem (“The City of the Arts”) in 1965 and became part of the University of North Carolina system in 1972. More than 1,100 students from middle school through graduate school train for careers in the arts in five professional schools: Dance, Design and Production (including a Visual Arts Program), Drama, Filmmaking, and Music. UNCSA is the state’s only public arts conservatory, dedicated entirely to the professional training of talented students in the performing, visual and moving image arts.  Internationally renowned conductor John Mauceri has been chancellor of UNCSA since 2006. He also serves as executive director of the A.J. Fletcher Opera Institute at UNCSA. UNCSA is located at 1533 S. Main St., Winston-Salem. For more information, visit www.uncsa.edu.