Hughes, a Santa Barbara native and a graduate of the Unlversity of California-Los Angeles, is the son of Academy alumna and vocal coach Agatha Carubia; he won an encouragement award at last year's competition. As part of the grand prize, Hughes will present a recital as part of the Horne Foundation's "On Wings of Song" series in New York at a future date. He begins a master's degree program at the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia this fall.
Winners of the 2006 encouragement awards were 31-year-old Korean vocal pianist Keun-A Lee; baritones Eugene Chan and Edward Parks III, both 22; sopranos Rena Harms and Michelle Johnson, age 21 and 23, respectively; 26-year-old mezzo Daveda Karanas and 24-year-old tenor Alek Shrader. The awards are presented in memory of Gwendolyn Koldofsky, founder and director of the Music Academy's Vocal Accompanying program from 1956-1991.
The competition concluded with a performance by two 2005 Marilyn Horne Foundation Awards winners, baritone Sidney Outlaw and pianist Tamara Sanikidze, performing works by Brahms, Johnson and Moussorgsky.
Judges for this year's competition were Barbara Hocher, executive director of the Marilyn Horne Foundation; Mary Lou Falcone, classical music public relations expert; Speight Jenkins, general director of Seattle Opera; Robert White, tenor and faculty member of the Julliard School; and Marilyn Horne.
The Music Academy of the West's Voice Program offers an intensive training program for talented young singers. Under the direction of Marilyn Horne, students are coached in singing technique, diction, interpretation, style and presentation and the literature of opera, musical theatre and song. Approximately 22 participants are accepted each year.
An integral component of the Voice Program is the Vocal Piano Program, led by pianist Warren Jones, which offers training in collaboration, coaching and conducting for advanced pianists. Six pianists are accepted each year.