Igor Gorin Memorial Award


Stephanie Sanchez 2018 award recipient

The Igor Gorin Memorial Award announces Stephanie Sanchez as the recipient of the 2018 Award. Ms. Sanchez, a mezzo-soprano from Las Cruces, New Mexico, has been praised for her “full, rich sound.” For the 2017-18 season, she joined Arizona Opera as a Marion Roose Pullin studio artist, where she performed the roles of Persephone in Hercules vs. Vampires by Patrick Morganelli, Paquette in Candide, Berta in Il barbiere di Siviglia, and Flosshilde in Das Rheingold.

When Ms. Sanchez encountered opera as an undergraduate, it awoke a passion within her and changed the course of her life. “The music, the sets, and of course the voices. There was something about it that was undeniably powerful,” she states. Now, as a professional singer, she desires to share that passion with others. “My goal as a performing artist is to emotionally enrich the lives of the audience by bringing to life the poetic characters of opera,” she explains. As a Hispanic singer in the opera world, she carries a particular passion to open that world to others who are not traditionally exposed to it. “I think it is my duty as a minority in the arts to bring these sorts of experiences to children and communities who might not ever get the chance to see or hear it otherwise. To let them know that there is a place for everyone in opera.”

More about Ms. Sanchez is available here.

Information for Applicants:

This $10,000 unrestricted award is for vocalists who have completed their training and are beginning to launch their careers. It provides financial assistance to emerging operatic vocal artists. Applicants must meet one of the following criteria:

  • Winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Western Region District Auditions held in Arizona, Los Angeles, San Diego, and San Francisco between 2013 and 2018.
  • Alumni of the Merola Opera Program or an Adler Fellow of the San Francisco Opera Center between 2013 and 2018.
  • Alumni of the LA Opera’s Domingo-Colburn-Stein Young Artist Program between 2013 and 2018.
  • Marion Roose Pullin Studio Artists Program at the Arizona Opera.

Applications for 2019 will be accepted beginning in January 2019.

To learn more, please contact Andrea Carmichael at acarmichael@cfsaz.org or (520) 770-0800 Ext. 7129.

Additional information on the Award

Igor Gorin

The Igor Gorin Memorial Award was established in 1987 by Mary Gorin as a fitting way to honor the memory of her husband, Igor Gorin, a world-renowned opera singer. Mr. Gorin was a Russian refugee who, in the late 1920’s, escaped to Vienna before immigrating to the United States. His star began to rise as a member of the Czechoslovakian Opera Company. Later, he was invited to the United States by a synagogue in Providence, Rhode Island where he assumed cantorial duties.  This was the beginning of a spectacular career in radio, film, stage and television.

Earning a reputation as the “Prince of Baritones,” Igor Gorin’s career spanned the 1930’s through the 1960’s. During WWII, he gave more of his time and talent entertaining the troops than anyone in Hollywood.  He had a personal motivation, as his father, brother and sister were in Auschwitz and Igor desperately wanted to see them freed.  Singing to the troops, he later said, was his way of saying “thank you.”

Igor and Mary Gorin retired to Tucson in 1965. Before long, the University of Arizona President Richard Harvill invited Igor to begin a second career teaching opera at the university. In working with the next generation of voices, Igor was reminded of his own early struggles to survive and launch his career.

Mary Gorin created the Igor Gorin Memorial Award to help young vocalists at the beginning of their careers. This unrestricted award is given out once a year to help aspiring opera singers with expenses associated with hiring accompanists and coaches, and auditioning as they transition from school into professional careers.

Held at the Community Foundation for Southern Arizona, this Fund has awarded more than $298,000 to 43 individual young artists since 1993.  Today,  the Igor Gorin Memorial Award is one of the most prestigious and generous awards of its kind in the country.

Previous Recipients

2017 Jaqueline Piccolino

2016 Julie Adams

2015  Calvin Griffin

2014  Chris Carr

2013 Ryan Kuster

2012 Ryan Belongie, Yunnie Park

2011 Eugene Chan, Tammi Huber, Robyn Rocklein

2009 Kaitlin Bertenshaw, Tammi Huber, Seth Kershisnik, Robyn Rocklein, Dennis Tamblyn

2007 Kara Harris, Tammi Huber, Priya Palekar

2006 Deana Mireau, Christina Pier, Vanessa Salaz, April Wilde

2004 Michael Cavalieri, Priya Palekar, Chrstina Pier, Vanessa Salaz

2003 Deana Mireau, Vanessa Salaz, Todd Strange

2002 Jesus Aguirre, Jessica Deardorff, Chad Miller, Deana Mireau, Amanda Polychronis, Vanessa Salaz, Todd Strange

2001 Ilse Apestegui, Yoo Ri Clark, Jennifer Anne Cooper, Chad Miller, Vanessa Salaz

2000 Yoo Ri Clark, Deana Mireau, Vanessa Salaz

1999 Tania Beasley, Jennifer Anne Cooper, Emil Dorian Cristescu, Regina Felsing, Bridgett Hooks, Elizabeth Miller Wesley, Ralph Daniel Rawe

1998 Jennifer Anne Cooper, Bridgett Hooks, Herbert Perry, Wendi Washington-Hunt

1997 Julianne Best, Emily Dorian Cristescu, Jennifer Anne Cooper, Wendi Washington-Hunt

1996 Jennifer Anne Cooper, Karol Kazarian, Eugene Perry

1995 Donna Ames, Emily Dorian Cristescu, Korby Myrick

1994 Emily Dorian Cristescu

1993 Donna Ames, Mark Anderson, Bridgett Hooks