Get Tickets for Rene Marie in concert with the Count Basie Orchestra
Saturday, April 27, 2019 at Lisner Auditorium


THERE WE GO…the moment that we have all been waiting for: The Five Finalists of the 3rd annual Ella Fitzgerald Competition. These five finalists were selected from a field of 50 registrants, 31 submissions, 16 domestic states and 7 countries from around the world. This year’s contestants hail from Indiana and Florida in the USA: Italy, Latvia and London, UK. They will now gather in our Nation’s Capital on Saturday, April 27th to pay tribute to America’s “First Lady of Song” Ms. Ella Fitzgerald on the occasion of her 103rd birthday. The competition will take place at Lisner Auditorium on the campus of George Washington University between 12-2:00 pm. We have expanded our venue this year due to increased audience demand and will open our doors between 11-12:00 pm. There will be a brief afternoon intermission and our gala concert will begin at 7:30 pm featuring renowned vocalist Ms. Rene Marie with the Legendary Count Basie Orchestra. Additional details, concert and weekend packages can be found on-line:

View the 2019 Finalist Press Release

Come Join Us

As we celebrate the 102nd birthday of Ella Fitzgerald, the week of April 22nd in 2019, with our 3rd annual Ella Fitzgerald Competition on Saturday, April 27th. This year’s theme will be the 1963 seminal recording of “Ella and Basie” with each contestant provided lead sheets with which to compete. Thusfar we have distinguished our competition with contestants from around the world with our prior year’s winners from Chicago, Illinois and Berlin, Germany. Our panel of distinguished judges include Darden Purcell (George Mason University), Alexis Cole (SUNY-Purchase) and Sara Jones (Townson University). So come join us and celebrate “America’s First Lady of Song”.

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  • Sponsors

    • The Speyer Foundation
    • Marinus and Minnie B. Koster Foundation
    • The Wagner Family Charitable Foundation
    • National Park Service
    • George Washington University
    • Music Performance Trust Funds
    • DC Federation of Musicians
    • Blues Alley Jazz
  • Partners

    • Ella Fitzgerald Charitable Foundation
    • National Press Club
    • Events DC
    • Jazz Education Network
    • United States Navy
  • Academic Alliances

    • SUNY-Purchase
    • George Mason University
    • Towson University
  • Media Partner

    • JazzEd Magazine
    • WERA-FM Radio

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” 102nd 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 102nd birthday and to maintain her legacy for generations to come. We hope that you will too.