The votes are in, the five finalists have been selected and the Ella Fitzgerald Competition has been postponed until Saturday, October 10, 2020. The 4th annual “Ella Fitzgerald Weekend” shall now coincide with America’s Columbus Day Weekend between October 10-12, 2020 with the following five finalists:

 Lucy Wijnands (Mamaroneck, NY)
 Ariana Stefanidis (New York, NY)
 Naledi Masilo (Johannesburg, South Africa)
 Atrin Madani (Berlin, Germany)
 Taisha Estrada (Alexandria, VA)

The weekend will continue to include all the former performers including GRAMMY-award winning vocalist Ms. Lisa Fischer accompanied by the Eric Felten Orchestra and the George Mason University jazz chorus. The competition will occur at Blues Alley between 11:00 am -3:00 pm with the concert occurring at Lisner Auditorium on the campus of George Washington University. In addition to the above Ms. Jane Monheit will be performing October 10th -11th at Blues Alley with hospitality and lodgings arranged in cooperation with Georgetown Suites. There will be additional details announced as we continue to update our calendar and content. Please be safe, please be patient and please continue to remain posted.

Registration Closed

Beneath the iconic Blues Alley sign (L-R) Emilia Zamuner, Emma Hedrick, Arta Jekabsone, Ella Honhen-Ford and Melinda Rodriguez


SAVE THE DATE. The 4th annual Ella Fitzgerald Competition will take place on Saturday, April 25, 2020 at Lisner Auditorium on the grounds of the George Washington University in Washington, DC. Our principal hospitality partner will be the Georgetown Suites Hotel and we will offer a preferred weekend rate using the discount code “ELLA”. The theme of next year’s competition will be the 1964 recording “Ella Sings Mercer” with complementary lead sheets provided by our accompanist Wayne Wilentz. The competition will coincide with our 16th Annual BIG BAND JAM!

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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
    • US Army
  • Academic Alliances

    • Peabody Institute
    • George Mason University
    • Howard 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” 103rd 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.