Virtual Bach Competition for Young Artists


Congratulations to Harrison Hintzsche and Morgan Balfour for being selected as our Winner and Runner-up for this year’s competition! Thank you to our wonderful master teachers and everyone who participated!

Winner: Harrison Hintsche, baritone

Runner-up: Morgan Balfour, soprano

Peter Kooij, bass

The Dutch bass, Peter Kooij, started his musical career at 6-years-old as a choir boy and sang many solo soprano-parts in concerts and recordings. He started his musical studies however as a violin student. This was followed by singing tuition from Max van Egmond at the Sweelinck Conservatory in Amsterdam, which led to the award of the diploma for solo performance.

Kooij has been an active soloist in many concerts all over the world in the most important concert-halls like Concertgebouw Amsterdam, Musikverein Wien, Carnegie Hall New York, Royal Albert Hall London, Teatro Colon Buenos Aires, Berliner and Kölner Philharmonie, Palais Garnier Paris, Suntory and Casals Hall Tokyo, where he performed with famous conductors like Philippe Herreweghe, Ton Koopman, Frans Brüggen, Gustav Leonhardt, René Jacobs, Sigiswald Kuijken, Roger Norrington and Iwan Fisher.

His wide repertoire contains all kind of music from Schütz to Weill and he has made over 150 CDs for Philips, Sony and Virgin Classics, Harmonia Mundi, Erato, EMI and BIS. He was invited by BIS to record the complete Bach cantatas, passions and masses with the Bach Collegium Japan under the direction of Masaaki Suzuki.

Peter Kooij is the artistic director of the “Ensemble Vocal Européen.” From 1991 to 2000 professor at the Sweelinck Conservatorium in Amsterdam. From 1995 to 1998 Lehrauftrag at the Musikhochschule in Hannover. Since 2000 Professor at the Tokyo University of fine Arts and Music. Since 2005 professor at the Royal Conservorium in Den Haag. Since 2013 professor at the HfK Bremen. He was invited to give master classes in Germany, France, Portugal, Spain, Belgium, Finnland and Japan. In 2016, Peter Kooij was awarded the Bach Medal of the City of Leipzig.

Margot Oitzinger, mezzo-soprano

Margot Oitzinger, mezzo-soprano, was born in Graz (Austria) and was educated at the University of her hometown. Very early in her studies she decided to concentrate her education in early music and deepened her knowledge in masterclasses with Emma Kirkby, Peter Kooij and Jill Feldman.

Margot is now working as well in concert as in opera repertoire from renaissance to the early classical period. Polyphony and early baroque ensemble singing is just a regular part of her work (“Les solistes de Collegium Vocale Gent” directed by Philippe Herreweghe, “Abendmusiken in der Predigerkirche” directed by Jörg-Andreas Bötticher, “sette voci” directed by Peter Kooij etc.) as singing the solo parts of the big oratorios and operas of the baroque era. Until now she was performing at concert venues such as Concertgebouw Amsterdam, Wiener Musiverein, Palau de la musica Barcelona, Suntory hall Tokyo, Arsenal Metz, Prinzregententheater München, Thomaskirche Leipzig, Eglise Saint-Roc Paris, Muziekcentrum Utrecht, Frauenkirche Dresden, Alte Oper Frankfurt under direction of maestri like Philippe Herreweghe, Jordi Savall, Masaaki Suzuki, John Butt, Andrea Marcon, Michi Gaigg, Lorenzo Ghielmi, Christoph Pregardien, Konrad Junghänel or Rudolph Lutz. With Rudolph Lutz and the Bach-Stiftung St. Gallen in Switzerland, Margot is a part of the recording of the complete Bach oevre on DVD.

Further recordings of Oratorios, cantatas, operas and ensemblemusic are published with labels like Harmonia mundi, phi, cpo, challenge records and many more. Very recently a new CD with Mendelssohn concert-arias under the direction of Michi Gaigg has been published. After a very successful tour with the dutch violinist Janine Jansen the ensemble plans a recording of Haydn’s oratorio “Sieben letzte Worte unseres Erlösers am Kreuz.”

In February 2019, Margot was performing the part of Penelope in Monteverdi’s “Ritorno d‘Ulisse in patria” in teatro Massimo di Palermo. In 2020 a tour with St. Matthew Passion is planned with the “Orkest van de Achttiende eeuw.”

Young Artist Eligibility

The competition is open to young artists who:

  • Have completed undergraduate studies
  • Are pursuing a professional vocal career
  • Are 22 – 28 years old

Other Requirements

  • Participants must provide a recommendation from a teacher or professional familiar with the their work and a copy of identification (i.e. driver’s license or passport) with their application to confirm eligibility.
  • Additionally, applicants who are not US citizens will need to present proof of employment authorization in the United States.
  • Only complete applications submitted by Sunday, April 18, 2021 will be considered by the judges.


Application Process

  • Complete and sign application form (Download Here or found below)
  • Upload completed application form and all supplemental materials to a Google Drive Folder and share it with Materials to include:
    • Application Form
    • Recommendation from a teacher or professional familiar with your work
      • Feel free to have your recommender send the letter directly to Make sure they include your name somewhere in the letter. 
    • Copy of Identification to confirm eligibility
    • Resumé and/or brief biography of no more than 250 words
    • A video file of your audition
    • Optional: Headshot (jpeg file)
  • A non-refundable application fee of $60.00 is required with the application. The fee may be paid with Credit Card or transfer via PayPal (See Tab Below)
  • Please email after you have shared your Google Drive Folder with application materials and paid the application fee, so we can confirm receipt.
  • Applications will be accepted until the end of the day on Sunday, April 18, 2021.

Preliminary Round Guidelines & Details

Recorded Video:

  • We will begin reviewing application materials and videos after the submission deadline of Sunday, April 18, 2021.
  • Videos must have been recorded after January 1, 2021.
  • For the video, applicants should sing one recitative and one aria from any work by J.S. Bach.
  • The recit and aria can be from the same work OR from different works
  • Your selections do not need to be memorized.
  • Please announce your selections and the work(s) before performing them
  • Your video must be recorded from one angle that does not change. No video edits are allowed.
    • If the recit and aria are from the same work and  back to back, you should announce them both at the beginning and then perform them back to back.
    • If the selections are from different works, announce the title of the recit and work prior to performing it, and then do the same with the aria.
  • No sound editing is allowed whatsoever.
  • It is preferred that you perform with a live collaborative pianist/instrumentalist. CBE suggests following all social distancing guidelines if you are performing with live accompaniment.
  • However, if you are unable to collaborate with another person for live accompaniment, multitracking is acceptable. Split screen videos will be accepted and may be recorded at two different locations. You may also use a prerecorded professional accompaniment track. 

Final Round Guidelines & Details

A Series of Masterclass Sessions (via Zoom, open to the public) 

  • Applicants will be notified by Sunday, May 9, 2021 if they have been selected to participate in the final masterclass class sessions with our distinguished teachers/performers, Peter Kooij and Margot Oitzinger.
  • The masterclass sessions will take place virtually via Zoom on June 2–5 from 10 AM–2PM (MTZ) each day. A specific schedule for each day will be announced at a later date.
  • The eight finalists should prepare a second recitative and aria from any work by Bach, in addition to their preliminary round selections.
  • For this round, you will need to provide a live collaborative pianist/instrumentalist
  • Each singer will have the opportunity to work with both teachers for 50 minutes during separate masterclass sessions
  • One Winner and one Runner-Up will be selected at the conclusion of the masterclass on June 5.
  • A check of $1,000 for the winner and $500 for the runner-up will be mailed to the applicants at the conclusion of the event.


Other Important Information

  • The judges will review videos and additional materials following April 18th. Applicants will be notified by May 9, 2021 if they have been selected to participate in the final masterclass sessions.
  • Colorado Bach Ensemble reserves the right to dismiss any application if it is found to be ineligible or misleading in any way.
  • Entry in this competition constitutes the contestant’s authorization to use his or her name, photograph, preliminary video submission and/or biographical information for publicity purposes on our website, through email, on our YouTube channel, and other social media outlets.
    • CBE encourages participants to freely share and promote their video and your participation in the competition through email and other social media outlets, as well.
    • Applicants should keep copies of all materials sent with their applications. CBE will not be returning documents or videos.
    • Decisions of who moves on to the final round and ultimately wins the competition are final and not subject to questions, revisions, or appeal.
  • In addition to the cash prizes, the winner and runner-up will have a chance to perform with CBE in future seasons at the discretion of the Artistic Director.


How To Apply

Download Application

The completed application and all additional materials must be uploaded to a Google Drive Folder and shared with no later than Sunday, April 18, 2021.

Pay Registration via PayPal Here

A non-refundable application fee of $60.00 is required with the application. 

Click the ‘Donate’ button below. If you have a PayPal account, you can use that or you can simply pay with a credit or debit card. Email after you have shared your application materials via Google Drive Folder and paid your application fee to confirm receipt. 


Past Winners

2020 Winner:
Rhianna Cockrell, mezzo-soprano

2020 Runner up:
Addy Sterrett, soprano

2019 Winners:
Willem & Julia Luyten, violin

2019 Runner Up:
Erika Liu, violin