The Ottawa Choral Society Presents New Discoveries:

A World Class Platform for Emerging Vocal Artists

The Ottawa Choral Society’s New Discoveries Auditions are held in alternating years to provide emerging vocal artists with a professional platform, broad audience exposure, and career development opportunities. The Choral Society is proud to have encouraged many of Canada’s most accomplished concert artists to find success with audiences across the country through this initiative. Many of our past laureates are now appearing on opera and concert stages across North America and Europe. During the 2017-18 season, the Society welcomed back seven previous New Discoveries laureates and is thrilled that five of the six soloists for the choir‘s St. John Passion in March, 2019 will be returning Laureates.

Results of the 2018 New Discoveries Auditions

The Ottawa Choral Society's New Discoveries Auditions for Young Artists were held the week of May 21st, 2018 in Toronto, Ottawa, and Montreal and attracted a roster of over 90 gifted young concert artists who performed before a distinguished panel of judges for cash prizes, professional engagements, and a Showcase Recital. 


Simone McIntosh, mezzo-soprano
First Prize winner, $1900

Simone McIntosh is described as "a naturally big, beautiful, gleaming high mezzo" (Ludwig van Toronto), who has been recognized as one of CBC's "Top 30 under 30 Classical Musicians 2017." McIntosh, 26 years old, was named first prize winner at the Canadian Opera Company's Ensemble Studio Competition 2016, and Winner of the Wirth Vocal Prize at McGill in 2016. Some of McIntosh's operatic credits include Judith in Bartók's Bluebeard's Castle, Meg in Mark Adamo’s Little Women, Ruggiero in Handel's Alcina, and Prince Orlofsky in Johanne Strauss's Die Fledermaus (Opera McGill). On the concert stage she has performed Regina Coeli K. 127 (WSO), Howard Goodall’s Eternal Light: Requiem (McGill University Chorus), and Mendelssohn’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream (McGill Symphony Orchestra) among others. McIntosh is currently a member of the Canadian Opera Company's Ensemble Studio, while future performances include Tamiri in Mozart's Il re pastore with the Merola Opera Program, and the title role in Rossini's Cenerentola at Vancouver Opera.

Jonah Spungin, baritone
Second Prize Winner, $1300

Jonah Spungin is a Canadian baritone with “tremendous placement of voice and timbre” (Le Devoir). At just 23 years old, he was a 2018 Canadian Opera Competition finalist, Wirth Vocal Prize nominee, and Schulich Scholarship recipient. In October 2018 Jonah will be competing as a finalist in the Jeunes Ambassadeurs Lyriques National Audition and will join the Calgary Opera Emerging Artist Program for the 2018/2019 season. Recent credits include Eisenstein in Die Fledermaus (Opera McGill) and the title role in Mendelssohn's Elijah (McGill Symphony Orchestra).

Anna-Sophie Neher, soprano
Third Prize Winner, $800

German-Canadian soprano Anna-Sophie Neher holds a Masters degree from McGill University where she was a student of Dominique Labelle. In 2017, she was First Prize winner in the Montreal Symphony Competition and the 2017 Winner of McGill University‘s important Wirth Vocal Prize, and the three-time recipient of the Jacqueline Desmarais Scholarship (2015-2016-2018). In August, Anna-Sophie will join the Ensemble Studio of the Canadian Opera Company.

Tessa Fackelmann, mezzo-soprano
Ottawa Region Recognition Award

Tessa Fackelmann is a student of Christiane Riel in the University of Ottawa’s Voice Performance undergraduate program. In March 2018, 20-year-old Tessa made her symphonic debut in Berlioz’s Roméo et Juliette with the University of Ottawa Symphony Orchestra under the direction of David Currie and was Cherubino in the University‘s production of Le Nozze di Figaro. Tessa has performed as a soloist with the Ottawa Regional Youth and the Capital Chamber Choirs, and from the age of 13 has sung as a member of Ottawa‘s Opera Lyra chorus in Carmen , La Boheme and Turandot and, at the National Arts Centre, in A Midsummer‘s Night Dream and their revival production of Louis Riel.

Distinguished Mentions

Nicholas Burns, countertenor

From Vancouver, BC, 23-year-old countertenor Nicholas Burns performs throughout North America and is known for his “thrilling voice” (Opera Canada). The recipient of many awards, his recent engagements include Monteverdi’s Vespers with the American Bach Soloists, Bach’s B Minor Mass, St. John and St. Matthew Passion with Ensemble Caprice, and Messiah with the Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra. In the upcoming 2018-19 season, Nicholas will debut with Early Music Vancouver in les Idées heureuses. Aside from singing, Nicholas is also a former world champion bagpipe player.

Danielle MacMillan, mezzo-soprano

A native of Toronto, 29-year-old Danielle is a graduate of York University and an alumna of the Glenn Gould School, the Canadian Opera Company Ensemble Studio, and Palm Beach Opera’s Benenson Young Artist Program where she recently returned to sing Cherubino in their 2018 season of Le nozze di Figaro. She has been a recipient of the IRCPA Maureen Forrester Scholarship, a winner of the St. Andrew‘s Arts Council Aria Competition and Regional Finalist Winner in the 2018 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions.

Megan Miceli, soprano

Praised for her “bright, pure, well focused high lyric soprano” (Musical Toronto). 27-year-old Megan, holder of a Masters degree from McGill University, was recently First prize winner in the Toronto Mozart Vocal Competition. Credits include the title character in Dawn Sonntag’s new opera Evangeline, Despina (Così fan tutte), and appearances with Tapestry Opera and the Toronto Mozart Players among others. Upcoming performances include Berta (Il Barbiere diSiviglia, Opera5), and Papagena (The Magic Flute, BrottOpera). She joins Calgary Opera’s Emerging Artist Development Program for the 2018/2019 season.

Maeve Palmer, soprano

“Brilliant young soprano” 24-year-old Maeve Palmer is a Rebanks Family Fellow, Sidgwick Scholar with Orpheus Choir of Toronto, prize-winner of the Eckhardt-Gramatté National Music Competition, and University of Toronto alumna, where she studied under Mary Morrison, O.C. Maeve has performed in concert with Opera Atelier, Tapestry Opera, and the COC Free Concert Series, among others. Recent performances include Queen of the Night in The Magic Flute , Bach's St. Matthew Passion, and her acclaimed recital Mysteries, with pianist Joy Lee.


Artistic Director:
Chorus Niagara
Orpheus Choir of Toronto
Opera in Concert Chorus
Ontario Male Chorus

Opera and Stage Director
Artistic Director, Against the Grain Theatre

Celebrated Soprano
Professor, Vocal Department, University of Toronto

Artistic Director, Ottawa Choral Society
Director of Choral Studies, McGill University Schulich School of Music
Conductor, Church of St. Andrew and St. Paul, Montreal     

Supporting the New Discoveries Program:
The Marian Pickering Memorial Fund

With the passing of Marian Pickering in October 2005, Ottawa’s music community lost a respected and delightful friend. As a lasting gesture of our gratitude for the more than two decades that she was the Choral Society’s Choir Manager, and later the first General Manager of the Ottawa Symphony, Marian’s friends created a memorial fund that would reflect the pleasure Marian took in helping gifted young people to succeed in their careers. As it happened, an already existing program of the Choral Society, the OCS New Discoveries Auditions for Young Artists, was an ideal match. The Society is deeply grateful to the donors to the Marian Pickering Memorial Fund which sustains this important initiative for emerging Canadian concert artists.

We welcome donations to support the fund.
You will receive a tax receipt for your donation. The Society's Charitable Foundation Number is 89866 0264 RR001

Please contact Maggie McCoy, New Discoveries Registrar, for additional details.

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