The International Hilde Zadek Singing Competition was launched in 1999 and held every two years in Vienna.
The competition was organised Hildegard Zadek Foundation, founded in 1997 by Maria Venuti to promote highly talented singers. Since 2002, the event was held in collaboration with the University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna. The aim was to help young singers find their way into the profession, while the emphasis was on contemporary music.
Singers of all voice ranges, up to the age of 32, were eligible to participate. The competiton repertoire covered all periods from Baroque onward. Four works had to be modern (1970 or more recent), with works by Schönberg, Berg or Webern also included in the compulsory programme.
The competition took place in three rounds, and the final was held in the Glass Hall of the Vienna Musikverein.
The jury of the competition was always of a high calibre. Alongside Hilde Zadek sat Christa Ludwig, Brigitte Fassbaender, Charles Spencer, Christa Meyer, Adrianne Pieczonka, Thomas Quasthoff and Walter Kobera.
Prize money was generous. The first three prizes were endowed with 10,000 Euro, 7,000 Euro and 3,000 Euro. There were many special prizes in the form of cash, concert peformances, or participation in master classes, for example with Hilde Zadek or Christa Ludwig. Other special prizes led to performances at the Vienna Chamber Opera, the New Opera Vienna, the Arnold Schönberg Center or the Karlsruhe State Theater.
Today, many of the competition winners are among the leading singers in the international music business.
Without a doubt, the Hilde Zadek Singing Competition provided an early and important stimulus for my career as a singer. The broad repertoire required to participate in the competition also helped me discover and deepen my love and commitment to 20th and 21st century music, which led to numerous engagements and premieres in contemporary operas and works of music (Eddy in Greek by Mark Anthony Turnage, Hans Scholl in Weisse Rose by Udo Zimmermann, Victor in Die Antilope by Johannes Maria Staud, and many more).
In addition to performance prizes with follow-up engagements (including recitals at the Istanbul Music Festival and the Schönberg Center Vienna), what I appreciated most about the Hilde Zadek Singing Competition was the interest and support for the participants, which extended beyond the competition. For example: the finalists' concert at the Staatstheater Karlsruhe, which Ks. Christa Ludwig oversaw in the form of master classes. The opportunity for a more personal contact with great singers such as Hilde Zadek, Christa Ludwig and Brigitte Fassbaender undoubtedly influenced the direction and shape of my career in a way that I have so far only experienced at the Hilde Zadek Competition.
After participating in the Hilde Zadek Singing Competition, I took part in the Young Singers Project of the Salzburg Festival and became an ensemble member at the Konzert Theater Bern. From there, further engagements took me to the Staatstheater Darmstadt, the Theater Orchester Biel Solothurn, the Neue Oper Wien, the International Macao Music Festival, the Müpa in Budapest, the Philharmonie in Luxembourg, and more.