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Bach Vocal Competition for American Singers

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The Bach Choir of Bethlehem and the American Bach Society announce the 12th biennial competition for American singers with a special interest in the music of J.S. Bach.

On May 19, 2024, finalists will appear before a panel of distinguished judges and a live audience in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

The First Prize winner chosen by the judges on that day will receive a career development grant of $3,000 and a solo performing opportunity with The Bach Choir of Bethlehem and Christopher Jackson, Artistic Director & Conductor, in a future season.

In addition to the first prize, up to three additional cash awards of $500 may be awarded to other finalists, at the judges' discretion.

Judges at the Finals on May 19, 2024, will include


The Competition is open to citizens of the United States who were born after May 19, 1992.
(As of the finals on May 19, 2024, participants must not yet have reached their 32nd birthday.) The goal of this competition is to provide opportunities for emerging artists in the performance of Bach.



  • Preliminary application is by live and unedited video recordings of 2 Bach arias uploaded via the online portal
  • From these preliminary applications, up to ten finalists will be chosen.
  • Application Deadline Friday, March 1, 2024
  • All applications must be received by the Competition Administrator on or before this date.
  • All applicants will be notified no later than March 15, 2024.


  • The finalists will sing in Bethlehem, PA, on Sunday, May 19, 2024, 1:00–3:00pm.
  • Location: Peter Hall, Moravian College, Bethlehem, PA 18018.
  • At the finals, each singer will present two Bach arias of his/her choice, (not necessarily those in the preliminary application). Piano accompanist will be provided. Finalists are welcome to bring their own accompanist if they wish. We will be tuned to A=440.
  • Finalists must make their own travel arrangements. By car, Bethlehem is 90 minutes north of Philadelphia and ca. 2 hours west of New York City. (Google Map)
  • Bethlehem is about five miles from the Lehigh Valley Airport in Allentown, Pennsylvania. (Airport website opens in new window)

The finals take place during the 116th Bethlehem Bach Festival. Finalists may request complimentary tickets to concerts on the weekend of the competition. Please visit the Bach Choir of Bethlehem's website to view the Festival schedule.


Application is via which charges a $50 application fee.

Applications will close at midnight Friday, March 1, 2024.


We will make every effort to choose the finalists and notify every applicant no later than March 15, 2024


About the Bach Choir of Bethlehem

THE OLDEST AMERICAN BACH CHOIR, The Bach Choir of Bethlehem gave the first complete American performances of Bach’s Mass in B Minor in 1900 and Christmas Oratorio in 1901. Since its founding in 1898, the now-famous Choir has been attracting thousands of visitors from across the United States and beyond to the annual Bethlehem Bach Festival in Pennsylvania. In 2022, Dr. Christopher Jackson became the seventh Artistic Director and Conductor of The Bach Choir of Bethlehem. The 90 dedicated volunteer singers of The Bach Choir, performing with the Bach Festival Orchestra and distinguished soloists, have received international acclaim. Programming includes 40 concerts and educational programs per year for an audience of more than 22,000. Venues have included the Herkulessaal at Munich’s Royal Residence and the Thomaskirche, Bach’s church in Leipzig, as part of the 1995 Germany tour; The Kennedy Center and Carnegie Hall as part of The Choir’s Centennial Celebration in 1998–2000; the BBC Proms in London’s Royal Albert Hall as part of an eight-concert tour of the United Kingdom in 2003; and Severance Hall, Cleveland, for the 75th anniversary of the Baldwin Wallace Bach Festival in 2007. In September 2011, The Bach Choir represented the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in a 10th anniversary musical observance of 9/11 in New York City, giving concerts in Saint Paul’s Chapel and Trinity Church, Wall Street. In 2013, The Choir performed Mendelssohn’s Elijah at Strathmore in the Washington, D.C., area, and in 2014, the new opera Young Meister Bach for the 250th anniversary of the German Society of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. The Choir has released 11 recordings on the Dorian and Analekta labels, including most recently Bach’s Cantata 21 and Handel’s Ode for Saint Cecilia’s Day (2018), A Child’s Christmas in Bethlehem (2013), and Saint John Passion (2012). The Choir has been featured on National Public Radio’s Performance Today and Prairie Home Companion, Deutsche Radio, the BBC World Service, CBS Sunday Morning, and the Emmy award-winning PBS documentary on The Choir, Make a Joyful Noise. It has been recognized for its outstanding educational outreach programs (Bach at Noon, Bach to School, and interdisciplinary Family Concerts) by annual awards from the National Endowment for the Arts (2011–2020). The J.S. Bach Foundation in Switzerland named The Bach Choir of Bethlehem as the first American recipient of its annual award to a single Bach organization, recognizing The Bach Choir’s outstanding work in Bach performance and education for young people (2012). Mr. Bach Comes to Call, a film based on the acclaimed Classical Kids CD, was co-produced by The Bach Choir of Bethlehem and is distributed internationally by the Children’s Group. The Bel Canto Youth Chorus is The Bach Choir’s youth choir educational program under the direction of Director Kelly Rocchi. Through Bel Canto and other educational programs, The Bach Choir is training the next generation of choral singers and cultivating a life-long passion for the choral arts. For more information visit The Bach Choir’s website –