March 25, 2022

Meet the 2022 winners of the prestigious Alan M. and Joan Taub Ades Vocal Competition

The winners of the prestigious competition held on March 23 at MSM are: soprano Jouelle Roberson (PS ’22), first place; soprano Jasmine Ismail (MM ’21, PS ’22), second place; and mezzo-soprano Rosario Armas (BM ’20, MM ’22), third place.

First place winner soprano Jouelle Roberson says she is honored and grateful to be named the top laureate of this year’s Alan M. and Joan Taub Ades Vocal Competition.

“I’m excited!” said Jouelle after the awards ceremony. “These are amazing singers taking part, so it’s an honor to have won.”

Each year, the competition showcases five to eight finalists — MSM voice students who exhibit outstanding talent and strong potential for careers in opera.

The first prize winner receives $15,000 in prize money; second receives $10,000; and third is awarded $5,000.

In the photo above, the awards’s co-founder, MSM trustee emerita Joan Taub Ades (HonDMA ’14) is surrounded by the three happy winners, from left: Rosario Armas, Jouelle Roberson, and Jasmine Ismail.

Jouelle Roberson, first-place winner

The finalists are selected through a preliminary audition; all participants in the audition are nominated by their teachers at MSM.

MSM Dean of Vocal Arts Carleen Graham says this competition is important because of the support it gives to the talented MSM students taking part.

“The bridge from school into the professional world is very challenging, and the monetary support alone is life-changing.” she explains. “We’re super excited for all the singers that sang today. There’s an abundance of talent at Manhattan School of Music!”

Jasmine Ismail, second place winner

“I feel incredible!” said Jasmine Ismail, who won second place. “I’m so grateful for this opportunity to perform in this competition, for our wonderful school and the amazing Mrs. Joan Taub Ades!”

Third-place winner Rosario Armas was also thrilled to be in the top three of this talented group of finalists. “I’m extremely excited!,” she said. “It’s been my dream since I started at the school six years ago, and now I’m here and so happy with the results.”

Rosario Armas, third place

The distinguished judges for this year’s competition were General Director of Fort Worth Opera Afton Battle; Former Vice President of Opera America Richard Gaddes who is also the co-founder of Opera Theatre St. Louis and former General Director of Santa Fe Opera; and Melissa Wegner (MM ’05), Executive Director of the Metropolitan Opera’s Lindemann Young Artist Development Program and the Laffont Competition.

The Alan M. and Joan Taub Ades Vocal Competition is made possible by generous support from Joan Taub Ades and the late Alan M. Ades, longtime friends and benefactors of the school. Mrs. Taub Ades is an MSM trustee emerita.

“How do I feel about the singers this year? All this talent is a bumper crop! Meaning exceptional singing is being grown and nourished here.”

Left to right: Joan Taub Ades, winner Jouelle Roberson, MSM President Jim Gandre, MSM Executive Vice President and Provost Joyce Griggs

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