WQXR to Hold Grand Finals Concert For Its First-Ever Classical Moonlighters Competition

WQXR to Hold Grand Finals Concert For Its First-Ever
Classical Moonlighters Competition For Amateur Classical Musicians
Celebrity Classical Artists
Alessio Bax, Nina Lee, and Eric Owens to Serve As Judges

Event Scheduled For May 6 at
The Jerome L. Greene Performance Space at WQXR

(New York, NY – April 19, 2016) – For the last nine months, amateur classical artists from across the tri-state area have submitted their finest performances to participate in WQXR’s CLASSICAL MOONLIGHTERS COMPETITION

Hundreds of audition videos were entered by chamber ensembles, instrumental soloists, and vocalists, who dazzled audiences—as well as WQXR staff and hosts—with their performances, and over 10,000 online votes were cast in the semi-final round alone.

On Friday, May 6, nine finalists will have the opportunity to take the stage at The Jerome L. Greene Performance Space at WQXR and vie for the title of top amateur classical artist in three age categories: 13-18, 19-34, and 35+.

The event will be emceed by WQXR host Elliott Forrest and features an esteemed panel of classical celebrity judges including pianist Alessio Bax, cellist Nina Lee, and bass-baritone Eric Owens.

The top artists from each age category will win an exclusive concert at the David Rubenstein Atrium at Lincoln Center, as well as private coaching with a professional artist, and perhaps the most important grand prize – WQXR’s imprimatur of top amateur classical musician. 

“We started this new program to shine a well-deserved light on all the music making that happens in people’s apartments, schools, churches, etc.,” said Graham Parker, General Manager, WQXR. “We had a hunch that if we created a venue to bring these musicians to public attention, we would be amazed with the variety and quality of the musicianship.  The fact that over 10,000 votes were cast for the semi-finalists makes us think this was a solid bet.”


WHAT:           WQXR Classical Moonlighters Competition Grand Finals Concert

WHEN:            Friday, May 6, 2016, at 7:00pm

WHERE:         The Greene Space, 44 Charlton Street, New York, NY (corner of Varick Street)

HOW:              Tickets are $15, available at www.thegreenespace.org

Audible is the 2016 Presenting Sponsor of The Jerome L. Greene Performance Space.



13-18 age group:

Sofia Checa (cello)

Kiana Lilly (vocalist)

The Memianni Piano Trio (violin, cello, piano)


19-34 age group:

Sarah Lucero (vocalist)

Matthew Rosenthal (classical guitar)

Eric Simpson (violin)


35+ age group:

James Rosenblum (piano),

Simon Yates (vocalist) and Alok Dutt (accompanist)

Viola of Camerata Notturna



Alessio Bax (Pianist)

First Prize winner at the Leeds and Hamamatsu international piano competitions, and a 2009 Avery Fisher Career Grant recipient, Bax has appeared as soloist with over 100 orchestras worldwide, including the London Philharmonic, Houston Symphony, NHK Symphony in Japan, St. Petersburg Philharmonic under Yuri Temirkanov, and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra with Sir Simon Rattle.  This season he added a Russian album and a solo collection dedicated to his daughter to a burgeoning discography that includes works by Bach, Beethoven, Brahms, Mozart, Rachmaninov and Stravinsky. 

Nina Lee (Cellist, Brentano String Quartet)

An active chamber musician, Nina Lee has collaborated with many artists such as Felix Galimir, Jaime Laredo, David Soyer, Nobuko Imai, Isidore Cohen and Mitsuko Uchida, and has performed at the Marlboro and Tanglewood Music Festivals. She has toured with Musicians from Marlboro and has participated in the El Paso International Chamber Music Festival.  Ms. Lee teaches at Princeton University and Columbia University. 

Eric Owens (Bass-Baritone)

Equally at home in orchestral, recital, and operatic repertoire, Mr. Owens brings his powerful poise, expansive voice, and instinctive acting faculties to stages around the world.  His 2015-2016 season features several collaborations with the New York Philharmonic as the Mary and James G. Wallach Artist-in-Residence, including a tribute to legendary African-American singers and their legacy titled “In Their Footsteps”; a concert of Strauss selections and excerpts from Act 3 of Wagner’s Die Walküre conducted by Alan Gilbert; and a performance of selections from Mahler’s Des Knaben Wunderhorn conducted by John Storgårds.  Operatic highlights include Mr. Owens’ return to the Metropolitan Opera as Orest in a new production of Elektra by legendary director Patrice Chéreau, conducted by Esa-Pekka Salonen. Mr. Owens appears courtesy of The Metropolitan Opera.


WQXR 105.9 FM, which streams live at www.wqxr.org, is New York City’s only all-classical music station, immersing listeners in the city’s rich musical life. WQXR presents new and landmark classical recordings as well as live concerts from Carnegie Hall, the Metropolitan Opera, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, and the New York Philharmonic, among other venues. WQXR also broadcasts essential destination programs including New York Philharmonic This Week, and The McGraw-Hill Financial Young Artists Showcase. For listeners in search of the new, WQXR operates Q2 Music, an online music stream dedicated to contemporary classical composers, cross-genre adventures, and performances from New York City's edgier venues. Operavore is WQXR’s opera site featuring news, interviews, and commentaries from the world of opera, as well as a 24/7 all-opera stream. WQXR.org provides essential playlist information and online listening, as well as original content, host blogs, NYC cultural news, and videos.  The station’s free mobile app allows listeners to take WQXR with them wherever they go.