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We Have A Winner!

The votes have been counted, the die has been cast and we are pleased to announce that the winner of the 2nd annual Ella Fitzgerald Competition is Erik Leuthaeuser of Berlin, Germany. The five finalists hailed from Berlin, Montreal, Boston and the greater Washington, DC metropolitan area. The finalists performed to a packed, “standing room only” audience at the Smithsonian Institution and our three judges were Darden Purcell (George  Mason University), Sara Jones (Towson State University) and Sarah Andrew Wilson (Levine Music). We wish all of the finalists well and extend our gratitude to our distinguished panel of judges.

Come Join Us

The 2nd annual Ella Fitzgerald Competition will be presented in cooperation with the National Museum of American History on the National Mall in Washington, DC. The final day of competition will occur on Saturday, April 28th between 11:00 am-3:00 pm. Our celebrity judge will be none other than singer-guitarist-stylist John Pizzarelli as he releases his own tribute to this master Brazilian composer. Mr. Pizzarelli will be performing, judging and educating throughout the weekend at Blues Alley and elsewhere. Join the fun, join the festivities and join the party as we continue to honor America’s “First Lady of Song” on the occasion of her 101st birthday!

  • Sponsors

    • Ella Fitzgerald Charitable Foundation
    • The Wagner Family Charitable Fund
    • The Koster Foundation
    • Blues Alley Jazz
    • Smithsonian Institution
    • DC Federation of Musicians
    • Music Performance Trust Fund
  • Partners

    • National Press Club
    • Destination DC
    • Embassy of Brazil
    • Berensweig  Leonard
    • Jazz Education Network
    • United States Airforce
  • Academic Alliances

    • Levine Music
    • George Mason University
    • Towson State University
  • Media Partner

    • JazzEd Magazine

About Us

The Ella Fitzgerald jazz vocal competition is the culmination of our non-profit Blues Alley Jazz Society youth and education programming. Our event combines our youth orchestra, summer camp and annual childrens’ jazz festival to focus on America’s “First Lady of Song”.  In honor of the “First Lady of Song’s” 101st birthday, the Blues Alley Jazz Society has partnered with some of America’s most prestigious institutions to create a unique vocal competition to honor this important contributor of American music.

The Blues Alley Jazz Society counts some of America’s most distinguished foundations, cultural and educational institutions as our principal sponsors or partners. Over the course of more than half a century, our namesake nightclub has presented some of the most formidable names within American musicana, including our vocal competition namesake Ms. Ella Fitzgerald. Ms. Fitzgerald’s contribution to the Great American Songbook extended over a total of six decades and 79 years. The Ella Fitzgerald Charitable Foundation has worked tirelessly and strenuously to also honor Ms. Fitzgerald’s lifelong commitment to American music and for that we are eternally grateful.

The Ella Fitzgerald jazz vocal competition reflects a decades-long effort in the making to return one-of-the world’s most critically acclaimed voices back to center stage. Ms. Fitzgerald was largely known as a pioneer interpreter of popular song but she was also the first female big band leader in American history. She is less well known for her humanitarian contributions worldwide and for donating to the future of American music education. This competition is intended to embrace this great American tradition on the occasion of her 101st birthday and to maintain her legacy for generations to come. We hope that you will too.