Since 1996, the Middle Tennessee Choral Society has sponsored the Orpheus Vocal Competition. It exists to provide financial support and encouragement to singers up to age 30 from around the United States who are pursuing careers as Vocal artists. Orpheus is the only competition of its kind in the south central United States.

This year the Society will be awarding grand prizes of $3,000 for the Student winner and $5,000 for the Young Artist winner. Additional prizes will be awarded by individuals and corporations ranging from $300 to $2,500.  In addition, 1st and 2nd place winners in the High School division will also recieve cash awards. For a listing of prizes awarded in past Orpheus Competitions, visit the Awards page.

Note:  The Orpheus Vocal Competition will be held March 1-3, 2019

Welcome to the Orpheus Competition

Contest Details

The Orpheus Vocal Competition will be held March 1-3, 2019, in the T. Earl Hinton Music Hall, Wright Music Building on the campus of Middle Tennessee State University, Murfreesboro, Tennessee. Contestants will be informed of their acceptance by January 16, 2019, and will receive information on area hotels, restaurants, and transportation to the contest site. Each contestant must provide his or her own lodging, transportation, and meals. Please contact Raphael Bundage at (615) 898-2849 or (615) 898-2694, MTSU School of Music, for further assistance.

There are 3 categories in Orpheus:

  • Young Artist: for ages 25-30
  • Student: for ages 19-24
  • High School – students grades 10-12 / New in 2014


Competition is open to any singer who has completed or is in the process of completing an accredited music education.

 Applicants must provide a program of the following selections:
– In the Young Artist category: 3 operatic arias in various styles and languages and one aria from standard oratorio.
– In the Student category: 2 art songs in various styles and languages, 1 operatic aria, and 1 aria from standard oratorio.

High School

High School Students please see your application for details.

Student and Young Artist

 Student category applicants must have reached their 19th birthday by the application deadline.

 Young Artists applicants should have not have reached their 31st birthday by the application deadline.

Student and Young Artist Applicants must completely fill out the online application by the deadline.

You will need the following materials ready in order to fill out the online application:

1.  Two recordings the from the applicant’s list of repertoire – ready for upload in 256 kbps or 320 kbps mp3 format.

2.  An updated Résumé in MS Word, pdf, or Open Office format.

3.  A current photo in digital format. (JPEG preferred)

4.  A payment method (Paypal or Debit / Credit card) for the non-refundable application fee of $65

Applicants must provide a program of the following selections:

 • In the Young Artist category: 3 operatic arias in various styles and languages and one aria from standard oratorio

 • In the Student category: 2 art songs in various styles and languages, 1 operatic aria, and 1 aria from standard oratorio.

• Only singers who are seriously pursuing careers as vocal artists need apply.

• Afternoon recital attire is standard.

Each completed application form must be accompanied by a non-refundable application fee of $65. This fee is automatically added to your online application form. You may pay with Paypal or a Debit / Credit card.

Information regarding housing, transportation, and performance dress will be included with semi-finalist notification.

Apply for the 2018 Orpheus Vocal Competition


Young Artist: for ages 25-30 & Student: for ages 19-24

This will take you to the online application for the Orpheus Competition.  Before applying, You will need to have all  your materials prepared (MP3’s, Résumé, and Photo) as well as your $65 application fee.  The application takes major credit cards as well as PayPal.


Apply for the 2018 Orpheus Vocal Competition


High School Students

More Information & Download the application.


Important Dates

December 1, 2017 Application Deadline

January 16, 2018
Announcement of selected applicants for the semi-finals

February 7, 2018
Confirmation due and accompanist fee due

Friday March 2, 2018

Saturday March 3 , 2018
Semi-final Auditions

Sunday March 4, 2018
Final Competition – (open to the public)

High School Contest Dates : March 3rd, 2018


If requested on the application form, an accompanist will be provided by the competition for a fee of $75. Do not send the accompanist fee until you have been notified that you are a semi-finalist. Semi-finalists requesting accompanists must send clear copies of their competition performance pieces with their confirmation. Otherwise, each contestant must arrange for his or her own accompanist.

Copies of music must be sent for accompanists to Kay Garrison at the address below:

Kay Garrison: 1941 Veranda Place, Murfreesboro, TN 37130.

GPS – Directions to competition site:

1439 Faulkinberry Drive,
Murfreesboro, TN 37130

Google map link here

Please enter from E. Main St. on the South side of the Campus
Call 615 898 2849 for further information or use our Contact Form.

Judges for the 2018 Orpheus Vocal Competition

John Kramar

East Carolina University

A native of Maryland, Mr. Kramar received his undergraduate degree in vocal performance, as well as performers’ certificates in both voice and opera from the Eastman School of Music where he was a student of Jan DeGaetani. He completed his graduate studies in opera at the Curtis Institute. His various awards and scholarships have included the first Helen Jepson Dellera Award from the Sarasota Opera, second prize in the prestigious Kneisel Lieder Competition, and two Apprentice Achievement Awards from the Santa Fe Opera. Mr. Kramar joined the voice faculty of East Carolina University School of Music in 1998, where he is an associate professor of voice, and also serves as chair of the Department of Vocal Studies, and director of the East Carolina University Opera Theater. From 2005 until 2008 he served as interim Associate Dean of the College of Fine Arts and Communication at ECU. He teaches voice and theater arts at the New York State Summer School of the Arts and is a member of the voice faculty of the Tennessee Governor’s School for the Arts. Mr. Kramar was on the directing staff of the Chautauqua Opera from 2003 to 2008.

Ted D. Wylie

Belmont University School of Music

Dr. Wylie is Professor of Music and Coordinator of International Studies in Music at the Belmont University School of Music. He teaches studio voice, vocal diction, opera literature and graduate song literature. He received his Doctor of Music and Master of Music degrees from Indiana University and his Bachelor of Music w/Honors from Oklahoma Baptist University. He was a student of Eileen Farrell at Indiana University and has had further study with Carol Smith-Zanforlin (Zurich), Paul Matthen, Walter Bricht, Frank St. Leger, Edwin McArthur and Margaret Harshaw.

Dr. Wylie’s coordination of the International Studies Program has resulted in study opportunities for students at the Russian Academy of Music in Moscow, the St. Petersburg Conservatory, the Hochschule fuer Musik in Dresden, Germany, Conservatory of Angers, Angers, France and the Center for Music Studies in Florence, Italy.

Dr. Wylie has performed with the Indianapolis Opera, the New Orleans Opera, Gulf Coast Opera, the Nashville Opera, Tennessee Opera Theater, the Nashville Symphony, the New Orleans Symphony, the Indianapolis Symphony, the Houston Symphony, the Oklahoma City Symphony, Symphony Ecoutez of New Orleans and several European venues. Among his roles are Max (Der Freischuetz), Manrico (Il Trovatore), Des Grieux (Manon Lescaut), Pinkerton (Madam Butterfly), Dick Johnson (La Fanciulla del West), Tamino (Die Zauberfloete) as well as numerous comprimario roles.

Anna Young

Director of Education and Outreach| NASHVILLEOPERA.ORG

Anna Steenerson Young accepted the position of Director of Education and Outreach for Nashville Opera in 2015 and runs the prestigious Mary Ragland Emerging Artist Program. This year, Nashville Opera On Tour will be performing Anna’s original youth opera, The Enchanted Forest (a choose-your-own-adventure opera) to more than 22,000 children and families in Middle Tennessee. Prior to this, she was the Assistant Director of Opera for the College of Charleston, a position she held following a successful career as a singer with opera companies across the United States. She was honored to create the role of ‘Emily’ in the world premiere of Ned Rorem’s opera Our Town for which she received glowing reviews in the National and International press, including The New York Times. She earned a Master of Music degree on full scholarship from the prestigious Jacob’s School of Music at Indiana University, and her Bachelor’s degree from Converse College in Spartanburg, South Carolina. She comes to Nashville with her husband David who is also an opera singer as well as a resident physician in otolaryngology at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.