BYU vocal grads Jonah Hoskins and Dylan Glenn spotlighted as finalists in prestigious national vocal competition
Most competitions are designed to recognize a single winner from a group of talented competitors. But when the final round of the 2020 Lotte Lenya Competition was cancelled due to COVID-19, the judges chose instead to honor all 12 finalists in a first-of-its-kind documentary. Two of those finalists were BYU graduates Jonah Hoskins and Dylan Glenn.
“We want[ed] to give this extraordinarily talented pool of finalists a chance to be seen by the public,” said Veronica Chaffin, manager of programs and business affairs.
The documentary film, titled “Down to Twelve: The 2020 Lotte Lenya Competition Finalists,” was streamed live on May 2, 2020. The film consists of performances by and interviews with the twelve finalists, filmed during the two-day semifinals in New York City.
Established by the Kurt Weill Foundation for Music, the competition recognizes extraordinary vocalists ages 19 to 32 in memory of groundbreaking actress and singer Lotte Lenya, who was married to composer Kurt Weill. Each finalist is required to sing a song from a musical written before 1968, one written in or after 1968, a selection from an opera or operetta and a piece written by Kurt Weill.
Contestants were adjudicated and then coached by Broadway and opera star Lisa Vroman and three-time Tony nominee Rebecca Luker. Glenn, who graduated from BYU in 2018 with a double major in voice performance and Spanish studies, expressed his appreciation for receiving such detailed and meaningful feedback.
“I am a long-time admirer of Rebecca Luker’s work, so to say that I was excited to work with her would be a gross understatement,” said Glenn. “She was a joy to interact with from the very first moments — the sort of person who exudes such down-to-earth, positive energy that even without knowing them personally, you are certain that they live their lives with integrity and authenticity.”
In place of a single winner, each finalist received a special KWF Trustees Award of $5,000 and will be eligible to compete again in 2021.
“I would be lying if I said that the cancellation of the finals wasn’t disappointing,” said Glenn. “But I would also be horribly remiss to fail to acknowledge how thoughtful, sensitive, communicative and generous the Kurt Weill Foundation was throughout the entire process.”
Competing at such an advanced level was nothing new to either Hoskins or Glenn. Both performers have accumulated an impressive collection of performances and awards.
“I fell in love with this incredibly dramatic art form,” Hoskins said in his on-camera interview.
Hoskins, from Saratoga Springs, Utah, graduated this spring from BYU with a degree in vocal performance. He was recently chosen as a winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council auditions. He also received the Lys Symonette Award for Extraordinary Artistic Promise in the 2019 Lotte Lenya Competition. Hoskins has performed with the Utah Opera and the Des Moines Metro Opera.
“It was so fun to know that Jonah, who is a long-time friend, was also competing,” said Glenn. “I have immense respect for him and the whole Hoskins clan.”
Glenn, from Pleasant Grove, Utah, recently earned a Master of Music (MM) in Voice Performance from the Cleveland Institute of Music. He will be attending Florida State University in the fall for a Doctor of Music (DM). He has performed with the Utah Lyric Opera, the Utah Opera and the Cleveland Philharmonic. He was also named Male Singer of the Year in the Nancy Peery Marriott Young Artist Competition and selected as the baritone fellow at the Atlantic Music Festival in 2017.
“The most rewarding part of the experience was putting together a program that I was proud of, then giving myself over to Heavenly Father and the enhancing qualities of the Spirit,” he continued. “Those experiences don’t come with every performance, so when they do, they should be acknowledged and treasured. I very much look forward to competing next year!”