The 2022 recipients of the Igor Gorin Memorial Award are vocalists Emily Blair and Simone McIntosh.
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. Since 1993, the Igor Gorin Memorial Award has awarded $358,000 to support young vocalists at the start of their operatic careers.
This unrestricted award is given out once a year to help gifted vocalists poised to begin successful careers with expenses associated with accompanists, coaches, and auditioning as they transition from school into professional careers.
Emily Blair is a versatile and engaging young artist originally from Chicago, Illinois. She joined the prestigious Merola Opera Program for the 2021 season and was previously a Benenson Young Artist at Palm Beach Opera for two seasons. She is a veteran of numerous young artist programs, including The CoOperative Program, Music Academy International, Canadian Vocal Arts Institute, and Up North Vocal Institute. Emily is a graduate of Mannes College of Music in The New School, and the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. When not on stage, she can be found cuddling with her cats, teaching yoga, or browsing bookshops.
When asked how she envisions giving back to the performing arts community, Emily shared that she leads yoga classes designed for performers and is developing a course to support performers’ mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical needs. She stated, “Through healing ourselves and building a deep connection to our inner artist, we can share that with the world and deepen the profound impact of music.”
Simone McIntosh is an accomplished young artist originally from Vancouver, British Columbia, and currently residing in Paris, France. She was an Adler Fellow for the prestigious San Francisco Opera, an ensemble artist for the Canadian Opera Company, and an artist in the renowned Merola Opera Program. Over the years, Simone has received several distinguished awards, including the Wirth Vocal Prize, COC Ensemble Studio Competition, Ottawa Choral Society New Discoveries Competition, and was included in the CBC’s “20 Hottest Classical Musicians Under 30” in 2016. Simone is a graduate of the University of British Columbia with a BMus in Opera, and of the McGill Schulich School of Music with an MMus Voice.
In reflecting on her goals as a performing artist, Simone shared, “My goals are to strive for excellence and beauty in my music-making, not perfection. I want to let the music lead me to fulfilling places physically, mentally, and emotionally. I wish to provide space for audiences to experience and reflect on what beauty means to them.”