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. This unrestricted award is given out once a year to help gifted vocalists poised to begin successful careers in opera 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 $306,000 to 44 individual young artists since 1993. Today, the Igor Gorin Memorial Award is one of the most prestigious and the largest of its kind in the country.
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, then 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.
Sadly, Gorin’s health began to deteriorate in the early 1980s. He retired from teaching in 1981 and succumbed to cancer the following year. He was survived by Mary Gorin, his beloved wife who also played a pivotal role in his career as a manager. Five years after his death, Mary chose to further her husband’s legacy through the Igor Gorin Memorial Award established at the Community Foundation for Southern Arizona.
2020 Christopher Oglesby
2019 Christian Pursell
2018 Stephanie Sanchez
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