Judy Drucker Launches Competition

Quest to Find South Florida's Next Vocal Star

Charlotte Libov

The late Charlie Cinnamon, Miami publicist, with Judy Drucker.


The late Charlie Cinnamon, Miami publicist, with Judy Drucker.

Sure, others may need “The Voice” to point them towards the next vocal star, but we don’t need a  networkTV show– we’ve got Judy Drucker.

After more than a half-century, South Florida’s legendary impresaria is at it again, returning to her first love of discovering new talent.

She’s sponsoring the inaugural “Judy Drucker Young Artist of the Year Award – Vocal Competition,” which she created to select South Florida’s best new classical vocalist.

The event, which is free and open to the public on Tuesday, Oct. 17, is the first in a series designed to relaunch Drucker’s Great Artists Series. Founded in 1967, it became the Concert Association of South Florida, and was helmed by Drucker for decades.

Now, instead of sitting back, Drucker wants to use her new series to help provide opportunities for new, emerging artists.

The series will provide Drucker with the opportunity to support new artists, which is why she launched her first series a half-century ago, she says.

“I was a young artist myself and I know what the life is and how difficult it is to get ahead and I decided to hire as many young artists as I could.”

“It makes me feel good,” she added.

Over the years, Drucker has presented such luminaries, such as Leonard Bernstein, Van Cliburn, Vladimir Horowitz, Beverly Sills, Luciano Pavarotti, Richard Tucker, and many more, that it’s easy to forget that her forte really was in discovering the famous before they became worldwide stars, says Angela Shlyakhov, executive director of Drucker’s new concert series.

Drucker at the Miami Beach Arts Gala with Miami City Ballet's longtime artistic director Edward Villela.


Drucker at the Miami Beach Arts Gala with Miami City Ballet's longtime artistic director Edward Villela.

"The scope of Judy Drucker's astuteness can be gauged by the quality of the artists, musical and dance organizations that she presented, but her talent also lies in discovering emerging artists,” Shylakhov says. “Judy had the pleasure of discovering, presenting and propelling the careers of such artists as Mikhail Baryshnikov, Dmitri Hvorostovsky, Evgeny Kissin, Itzhak Perlman, and many more,” she says.

Such a vocal competition seemed a natural, given Drucker’s commitment to nurturing young talent, as well as the need for such a contest in the South Florida area, according to Shlyakhov.

Although the inaugural competition focuses on voice, other arts pursuits, such as dance, or the violin, are being considered in keeping with the broad breath of the programs Drucker’s original concert series presented, Shlyakhov notes.

To be eligible for the competition, applicants had to be between the ages of 18 and 24, and reside in Miami-Dade, Broward, or Palm Beach County.

Contestants needed to prepare three selections of music, including at least one in English and one in a foreign language. At least two needed be classical style pieces (art songs or arias) and the third may be a musical theater piece. The application process is now closed, and those selected will be competing on Tuesday, Oct. 17.

Ramón Tebar, conductor, pianist and principal conductor at Florida Grand Opera, will head the panel of judges, who will evaluate the singers on several points, including choice of music, diction, tone quality, stage presence and technique, among other criteria.

The winner will receive $1,000; two study grants of $250 each, and a plaque.

In addition, the winner will perform during a tribute concert and brunch in honor of Drucker on Nov. 19, to commemorate her 50th anniversary of bringing culture to South Florida, Shlyakhov says.

The competition will commence at 6 p.m., and the winner will be announced after its conclusion. Soprano Giselle Rios will serve as emcee.

And on hand to congratulate the winner will be Judy Drucker, of course.

The Judy Drucker Young Artist of the Year Competition will be held Tuesday, Oct. 17 at from 6 to 9 p.m. at Temple Israel of Greater Miami, 137 NE 19th St., Miami, Fla., 33132. Admission is free. Click on for more information.

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