2013 Winner – District IX: Artur Kapron is a gifted accompanist who graduated from McMaster University, received his Masters from University of Western Ontario with a practicum in choral techniques, where he is currently a PhD candidate. He has served as accompanist for Symfonia Choir and is fluent in Polish.
2014 Winner – District IX: Emily Helenbrook, a graduate of the University of Rochester’s Eastman School of Music, has made her mark in the music world having performed with the Rochester and Buffalo Philharmonics, the Ars Nova Chamber Musicians, the Cheektowaga Symphony, the Genesee Symphony Orchestra, the Livermore-Amadore Symphony in California, and performances at the Chautauqua Institute and at Carnegie Hall as one of the winners of the Barry Alexander International Voice Competition. A winner of numerous awards, including the American Prize in Vocal Performance, Emily has been showcased on the CBS Morning Show with Renee Fleming. Emily Helenbrook was one of four vocalists chosen as finalists in the 2017 Getting to Carnegie Voice Competition, which The Huffington Post has called “Carnegie Hall meets America’s Got Talent.” The final round took place on January 11, 2017 at Carnegie Recital Hall, where the audience pronounced Emily the winner.
2015 Winner – District IX: Michael Hawk, a voice major at SUNY Fredonia, has performed with the Nickel City Opera in its world premier performance of the opera, Shot, about the assassination of William McKinley and in Amahl and the Night Visitors. He has also performed with the Buffalo Philharmonic Chorus and Orchestra, the Rocky Ridge YAS Orchestra, SUNY Fredonia College Symphony Orchestra, the Western New York Chamber Orchestra, and Linquae Canto, a vocal and language study program in Italy. Michael Hawk is also working on his Masters at Rice University. As a note, Michael’s grandfather changed their name to Hawk from Kozlowski.
2016 Winner – Districkt IX: Jakub Jozef Orlinski who participated in the October 2015 Festival of Youth hosted by District IX. He also was a featured soloist at the 1050th Anniversary of Christianity held at St. Patrick Cathedral and coordinated by the Polish Consulate in New York City at which District VII performs. Most notably, he was one of the five awardees of the Metropolitan Opera Competition. Prior to winning the Metropolitan Opera award, the most prestigious vocal competition in the United States, Mr. Orlinski received the 2015 Marcella Kochanska Sembrich International Voice Competition, the Oratorio Society of New York’s 2016 Lyndon Woodside Oratorio-Solo Competition, as well as prizes in Germany, Slovakia, Romania and Poland. A student at Juilliard, he studies with Edith Wiens. His other interests include dance, where he has also placed well in competitions, modeling and acrobatics.
2016 Winner - District VII: the Director of Aria Chorus, Joanna Mieleszko, a mezzosoprano soloist, Ms. Mieleszko has performed at the Kosciuszko Foundation, Pilsudski Institute, Kurier Plus, Polish-Slavic Center, Merkin Hall, Kaye Playhouse, Symphony Space, St. Patrick's Cathedral, The Brick Church and at yearly Polish festivals in New York and New Jersey. As a professional ensemble singer, she performs under the batons of NYC's finest directors as both soloist and choral scholar. She premiered contemporary works alongside Kronos Quartet at Symphony Space as part of the UN initiative, "Music for a Sustainable Planet" and was an oratorio soloist in Bach's Magnificat and Mozart's Missa Solemnis in New York and New Jersey respectively, and performed the role of Lucy Perez in Hunter Opera Theatre's production of "The Hotel Casablanca." She is currently pursuing Russian, Eastern and Central European studies at Hunter College with a concentration in translation.