Save The Date

The die is cast and the dates are set. The 2nd annual Ella Fitzgerald Competition will occur between April 27th-29th, 2018 and will celebrate the Antonio Carlos Jobim songbook based upon the seminal 1981 recording “Ella Sings Jobim”. Selections from the recording will include “Dindi”, “Off Key (Desafinado)”, “Quiet Nights of Quiet Stars” and the internationally-recognized “Girl from Ipanema” with lead sheets distributed to every registered contestant. The event will once again coincide with the 14th Annual BIG BAND JAM! and will be hosted by Washington; DC’s own Smithsonian Institution during “Jazz Appreciation Month”.

We Have A Winner!

(April 2017) We are pleased to announce the first winner of the Ella Fitzgerald Competition on the occasion of its namesake’s centennial celebration. The winner of our competition is Ms. Alyssa Allgood of Chicago, Illinois. Ms. Allgood completed her Bachelor of Arts in Jazz Studies from North Central College in Naperville, Illinois where she won the coveted Downbeat Magazine Student Music Award for Best Collegiate Vocal Jazz Soloist in 2014. Ms. Allgood is a jazz vocalist who has repeatedly received recognition as an artist who “impressively sings, scats and writes original lyrics” (DownBeat Magazine).  Meet The Winner

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.