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Loyola Freshman Wows in First International Voice Competition 

By Loyola University on Mon, 05/10/2021 - 13:38

Julia Ernst of Mandeville, La. studies with internationally renowned soprano and Loyola voice instructor Irini Kyriakidou 

(New Orleans – May 7, 2021) – Loyola University New Orleans freshman Julia Ernst came home smiling this week following her performance in the Music International Grand Prix Competition. She placed second in her division – this was her first international voice competition.

“I traveled to Washington, DC, truly just grateful to have made it to the top six in my first international competition. To win second place at the Music International Grand Prix among such world-class talent while also being the youngest in my category was shocking to say the least,” said Julia, 19. 

“I am so grateful for the stellar training I have received from Irini Kyriakidou and Loyola during my freshman year. I have grown so much as an artist this year, and this win culminates a year of tremendous growth for me as an artist. It is also impetus for the future to remind me that hard work and focus truly does pay off. I am so excited for what’s to come as a student at Loyola. The Loyola College of Music and Media is beyond incredible, and I am so lucky to be a part of the amazingly talented pool of artists.”

The Music International Grand Prix Competition is a new international competition for musicians of all ages from all over the world: Asia, Europe, Australia, Canada and the US.  The Inaugural 2021 Season includes Voice (Classical and Popular), Piano, Strings, Woodwinds and Brass. Following virtual auditions and regional competitions, the finals competition were held early this week at the Hylton Performing Arts Center in Washington, D.C.

Julia, a native of Mandeville, Louisiana, who studies opera in Loyola’s 100-year old music program, placed second in the Young Adult Classical Division, with a winning final performance of “Que Fais-tu, Blanche Tourterelle,” from Romeo and Juliet, composed by Charles Gounoud. She was one of six finalists to compete, after having placed first in the Midwest region competition in late January.

Julia is a  Mezzo-Soprano who has worked closely with the New Orleans Opera Association. As a vocal performance major in Loyola’s acclaimed College of Music and Media, she studies classical music under internationally heralded Greek opera star Irini Kyriakidou Hymel, a member of the faculty at Loyola.

To win the Midwest Semifinals, she sang “Smanie implacabilli,” an Italian aria composed by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart from the opera, Cosi Fan Tutte, and “Va! laisse couler mes larmes,” a French aria composed by Jules Massenet from the opera, Werther.

Kyriakidou Hymel underscored the significance of Julia’s recent win.
"I can’t stress enough how proud of Julia I am for everything she has accomplished this past year. Getting so big an award in this competition speaks volumes to her talent and incredible voice that can be appreciated internationally," Kyriakidou Hymel said.

"I wanted her to join this competition just for the experience of competing at this high level. She proved to me -- and, most importantly, to herself -- that she can perform to her best of her abilities under this kind of pressure, and that’s a big proof that she was born for this career. Being on stage makes her happy. You need to be feeling like this when you are ready to start such a demanding and challenging way of life and competitions like this, in this young age, is the first step where you can test yourself.”

Kyriakidou Hymel pointed to Julia’s poise during her performance.

“I have to keep reminding myself that she’s only 19! You can see a star up there and her future is a bright one, for sure!” 

She added:

“Julia is an excellent student and she is very disciplined with herself. She knew exactly how to pace herself before the finals. How not to over sing so that the voice is as fresh and rested as possible. And she was working on refining details in her performance up until the very last minute. Classical singing is a very complicated and fine art and it takes this kind of discipline and attention to detail for someone to make it out there. Theaters are going to be happy to be working with Julia in the not so distant future. Bravissima, Julia!"

“I am so proud of Julia and congratulate her and her voice teacher on such a wonderful accomplishment! It’s great when our students shine on such a prestigious stage,” said Meg Frazier, director of the School of Music and Theatre Arts at Loyola. “I have every confidence that more opportunities and success will be coming Julia’s way.”

See Julia’s winning final performance of “Que Fais-tu, Blanche Tourterelle,” from Romeo and Juliet, composed by Charles Gounoud.

See Julia’s award-winning regional performance of “Smanie implacabilli,” an Italian aria composed by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart from the opera, Cosi Fan Tutte.