Cooper-Bing Vocal Competition

2015 Cooper-Bing Vocal Competition

The purpose of the Opera Columbus Cooper-Bing Vocal Competition is to discover, recognize, and encourage young operatic talent through cash prizes and a New York City recital debut at Opera America's Emerging Artists Recital Series.

Opera Columbus’ 2015 Cooper-Bing Vocal Competition Awards
First Prize to Soprano Antonina Chekhovskaya

Soprano Antonina Chekhovskaya was awarded first prize in the finals of Opera Columbus’ 2015 Cooper-Bing Vocal Competition held at the Southern Theatre on Sunday, April 26. As winner, Chekhovskaya receives a cash prize and a recital debut at Opera America’s Emerging Artist Recital Series this fall in New York City. She is currently a masters’ student at the University of Michigan, studying voice and conducting.

About Antonina Chekhovskaya Soprano Antonina Chekhovskaya was recently named the winner of the Bel Canto Vocal Scholarship and a second-time winner of the Michigan District MONCA, which advanced her to the 2014-15 Great Lakes Regional finals. In 2013, she made her professional debut on the concert stage singing Mozart’s Requiem with the Grand Rapids Symphony Orchestra, Dvořak’s Stabat Mater with the Slovak State Philharmonic Orchestra, and presented a recital at the U.S. Embassy in Bratislava by special invitation. In the 2014-15 season, Chekhovskaya has appeared as soloist with the Great Lakes Chamber Orchestra, singing Handel’s Messiah and Vivaldi’s Gloria, with the University Symphony Orchestra at the historic Hill Auditorium performing Verdi’s Requiem, and with the Kent Philharmonic Orchestra singing Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. Chekhovskaya was the 2013 Grand Prize winner of Montreal’s Czech & Slovak International Voice Competition, the 2013 University of Michigan Friends of Opera Competition, and the 2014 U-M Concerto Competition which granted her a performance of Vier letzte Lieder (Strauss) with the USO. Chekhovskaya is currently finishing dual master’s degrees in performance (voice) and conducting (choral). She is an alumna of summer programs such as The Colburn School’s SongFest (Los Angeles), where she was the 2013 Marc & Eva Stern Fellow; the Oberlin Conservatory of Music’s 2012 Oberlin in Italy program (Arezzo, Italy) where she performed the title role of Puccini’s Suor Angelica; the Moravian Master Class (Moravia, Czech Republic); and the “Si parla, Si canta” program (Urbania, Italy).

Competition History Under the leadership of Irma M. Cooper, Opera Columbus launched its vocal competition in 1983, two years after the company was founded. Ms. Cooper believed a vocal competition would help fill young singers’ need for exposure to, and constructive feedback from, well-respected professionals from the opera industry. The competition has helped to launch the careers of many singers, including worldrenowned mezzo-soprano Denyce Graves and Metropolitan Opera artists Dina Kuznetsova, Richard Paul Fink, Lucas Meachem, Nicole Heaston, Richard Zeller, Susan Foster, and Alyson Cambridge. Several of Columbus’ performance venues have hosted the event, including the Palace Theatre (1983–1991), the Ohio Theatre (1992), Mees Hall at Capital University ’s Conservatory of Music (1992–2003), Weigel Hall Auditorium at The Ohio State University (2004–2012) and our current venue and new home of Opera Columbus, the Southern Theatre (2013–present). In addition to being a co-founder of Opera Columbus, Ms. Cooper was Director of the Opera Columbus Vocal Competition and served on the Opera Columbus Board of Trustees, where she was honored as a Life Trustee. In 2014, thanks to a generous donation from Arthur and Hetty Bing that will help to ensure the future sustainability of the competition, the name of the event has been changed to the Cooper-Bing Vocal Competition.


  1. Antonina Chekhovskaya
  2. Andrew Bogard
  3. Rhys Talbot
  4. Sam Jew Kim
  5. Johnathan Riesen
  6. Aurélie Veruni

Audience Choice: Andrew Bogard

Encouragement Award: Bethany Post  


  1. Talya Lieberman
  2. Melody Wilson
  3. Brent Turner
  4. So Young Park
  5. Ray Chenez

Audience Choice: So Young Park

Encouragement Award: Joshua Cook


  1. Lisa Chavez (mezzo-soprano)

Audience Favorite: Lisa Chavez (mezzo-soprano)

Encouragement Award (new in 2013): Michaella Cipriani


  1. Li Yi (tenor)
  2. Margaret Mezzacappa (mezzo-soprano)
  3. Eric Jurenas (countertenor)
  4. Nian Wang (soprano)

Audience Favorite: Li Yi (tenor)


  • Emma Char (mezzo-soprano)
  • Karen Chia-ling Ho (soprano)
  • Sarah Larsen (mezzo-soprano)
  • Reginald Smith, Jr. (baritone)


  1. Xi Wang
  2. Thomas Florio
  3. Audrey Walstrom
  4. Chabrelle Williams

Audience Favorite: Calvin Griffin


  • Cameo Humes
  • Calvin Griffin
  • Karen Jesse
  • Lara Lynn Cottrill-Nelson


  1. Danielle Talamantes
  2. Nathan Stark
  3. Craig Verm

Honorable Mention: Chelsea Friedlander

Audience Favorite: Danielle Talamantes

Diction: Nathan Stark


  • Allen Boxer
  • Edward Mout
  • Tania Mandzy


  1. Joseph Barron
  2. Jennifer Forni
  3. Katherine Lerner

Honorable Mention: Catherine Martin

Audience Favorite: Jennifer Forni


  • Katherine Tombaugh
  • Elizabeth Baldwin
  • Kevin Ray
  • Carolina Castells

Diction: Nathan Stark


Senior Division

  1. Jonathan Beyer
  2. Hein Jung
  3. Jose Álvarez

Honorable Mention: Joshua Kohl

Audience Favorite: Eleni Calenos

Diction: Jonathan Beyer

Junior Division

  1. Paul Scholten
  2. Samuel Levine
  3. Katherine Tombaugh

Honorable Mention: Andrea Shokery

Diction: Andrea Shokery


Senior Division

  1. Kathyrn Leemhuis
  2. Nicholas Pallesen
  3. Audrey Luna

Honorable Mention: Meredith Hansen

Audience Favorite: Audrey Luna

Diction: Kathyrn Leemhuis

Junior Division

  1. Jennifer Forni
  2. Andrea Shokery
  3. Caitlin Andrews

Honorable Mention: Brent Turner

Diction: Brent Turner


Senior Division

  1. Lucas Meachem
  2. Caitlin Lynch
  3. Deborah Selig

Honorable Mention: Mary Elizabeth Williams

Junior Division

  1. Edward Parks III
  2. Andrea Shokery
  3. Nicholas Nesbitt

Honorable Mention: Jennifer Braun


Senior Division

  1. Sean Anderson
  2. Emilio Jimenez Pons
  3. David Babinet

Honorable Mention: Brian Banion

Diction: Brain Banion

Junior Division

  1. Shaina Taelman
  2. Paul Scholten
  3. Paulette Maria Penzvalto

Honorable Mention: Megan Brus

Diction: Shaina Taelman


Senior Division

  1. Laura Smith
  2. Tamara Regensberger
  3. Benjamin Bunsold

Honorable Mention: Adam Schultz

Audience Favorite: Laura Smith

Diction: Laura Smith

Junior Division

  1. Kathryn Leemhuis
  2. Matthew Pena
  3. Heidi Wells

Honorable Mention: Elizabeth Baldwin

Diction: Marie Masters


Senior Division

  1. Liora Grodnikaite
  2. Malia Bendi Merad
  3. Chia-wei Lee & Charlene Canty (tie)

Honorable Mention: Tamara Regensberger

Audience Favorite: Malia Bendi Merad

Diction: Anissa Hartline

Junior Division

  1. Margaret Heffner
  2. David McFerrin Lemly
  3. Susan Musselman

Honorable Mention: Deborah Selig

Diction: Deborah Selig


Senior Division

  1. Andrew Wilkowske
  2. Christopher Hutton
  3. Jodi Karem

Honorable Mention: Brian Banion

Audience Favorite: Marcía Porter

Diction: Marcía Porter

Junior Division

  1. Liora Grodnikaite
  2. Jesse Blumberg
  3. Alyson Cambridge

Honorable Mention: Elizabeth De Shong

Diction: Liora Grodnikaite


Senior Division

  1. Jason Budd
  2. Helen Allen
  3. John Wade Thomas

Honorable Mention: Esther Hyun Nam

Audience Favorite: Helen Allen

Diction: Jason Budd

Junior Division

  1. Andrew Garland
  2. Sarah Lewis Jones
  3. Linda Fluck

Honorable Mention: Timothy Oliver

Diction: Linda Fluck


Senior Division

  1. Carolyn Redman
  2. Alexander Puhrer
  3. Daniel Weeks

Honorable Mention: Scott LeGraff

Audience Favorite: Coral Owdom

Diction: John Wesley Wright

Junior Division

  1. Laurie Rubin
  2. Adam Schultz
  3. Marcia Davis

Honorable Mention: Laura Portune

Diction: Adam Kirkpartick


Senior Division

  1. Teresa Dody
  2. Sarah Yorke-Lyke
  3. Samuel Smith

Honorable Mention: Hsai-Chun Tai & Sandra Dugan

Junior Division

  1. Megan Frank
  2. Michael Slattery
  3. Carolyn Betty

Honorable Mention: Eliza Warner


Senior Division

  1. Elena Kolganova
  2. Janice Creswell
  3. Jennifer Davis Jones

Honorable Mention: Gustav Andreassan

Diction: Karen Driscoll

Junior Division

  1. Martha Guth
  2. Mark Mulligan
  3. Abra Bush

Honorable Mention: Jennifer Bromagen


Senior Division

  1. Laura Pederson
  2. Heawon Moon
  3. Ruthann Manley

Honorable Mention: David Templeton

Audience Favorite: Dina Kuznetsova

Junior Division

  1. Lynn James
  2. David Moore
  3. Benjamin Bunsold

Honorable Mention: Eliza Warner


Senior Division

  1. Helen Todd
  2. Diana Heldman
  3. Robert Barefield

Honorable Mention: Jennifer Goodstein & David Michael

Junior Division

  1. Kerri Marcinko
  2. Rebecca Pitcher
  3. Kristi Matson

Honorable Mention: Andrew Nolen


Senior Division

  1. Frank Hernandez
  2. Amy Cochrane
  3. Elizabeth Graham

Honorable Mention: Adele Karam

Junior Division

  1. Nicole Heaston
  2. Kerri Marcinko
  3. Kristi Matson

Honorable Mention: Lynette Borman


Senior Division

  1. Susan Wallin
  2. Amy Cochrane
  3. Elizabeth Miller

Honorable Mention: George Cordes & Samuel Smith

Junior Division

  1. Kelly Harrier
  2. Kristi Matson
  3. Melinda Green

Honorable Mention: Clinton Campbell


Senior Division

  1. Todd Thomas
  2. Theresa Cincione
  3. Diana Heldman

Honorable Mention: J.R. Fralick

Junior Division

  1. Jennifer Carnahan
  2. Elizabeth Graham
  3. Kelley Mack

Honorable Mention: Lori Wilson


Senior Division

  1. Lori McCann
  2. Maria Caruso
  3. Jody Kidwell

Honorable Mention: Stephanie Johnson

Junior Division

  1. Stephani Bissinger
  2. Lyn Jacobson
  3. Tamara Watson

Honorable Mention: Kenya Amburgey


Senior Division

  1. John Koch
  2. Bonnie Hoke
  3. Diana Heldman

Honorable Mention: Lori McCann

Junior Division

  1. Cheryl Smith
  2. Andrea Saposnik
  3. Robert McDonald

Honorable Mention: Jeanne Stein


Senior Division

  1. Denyce Graves
  2. Richard Zeller
  3. Stephan Gould

Junior Division

  1. Heidi Rose Skok
  2. John Hines
  3. Theresa Williams

Honorable Mention: Connie Coffelt


Senior Division

  1. Steffanie Pearce
  2. Walter Pool
  3. Robert Chafin

Honorable Mention: Lee Starr & Lori Wyant

Junior Division

  1. Dennis Jesse
  2. Laura Pedersen
  3. Elaine Couch

Honorable Mention: Rachel Inselman, Marlie Millit & Stephanie Summers


Senior Division

  1. Richard Paul Fink
  2. Richard Rebilas
  3. Steffanie Pearce

Honorable Mention: Mark A. Baker & Daniel May

Junior Division

  1. A. Craig Montgomery
  2. Randall Turner
  3. Randa Rouweya

Honorable Mention: Charles Eversole


Senior Division

  1. Stephanie Carter
  2. Judy Berry
  3. Lynda Keith

Honorable Mention: Richard Rebilas & Kathy Radcliff

Junior Division

  1. Stephanie Johnson
  2. Anne Richie
  3. Mark Baker

Honorable Mention: Dennis Jesse


Senior Division

  1. Stanford Olsen
  2. William Florescu
  3. Hillary Nicholson & DaleTravis

Junior Division

  1. Katherine Keen
  2. Sarah Wilson
  3. Mark Baker


Senior Division

  1. Jocelyn McDonald
  2. Lynda Keith
  3. Jeffrey Martin

Honorable Mention: Kim Kodes

Junior Division

  1. Susan Foster
  2. Janet Wilson
  3. Cecilia Wasson

Honorable Mention: Sarah Wilson


Senior Division

  1. Stephen Lusman
  2. Steffanie Pearce
  3. Marjorie Bennett

Junior Division

  1. Clara O’Brien


Senior Division

  1. Peter Loehle
  2. Sandra Moon
  3. Young-Ae Cho