Korff School graduate student wins two international competitions

Rylee Worstell
Rylee Worstell

Rylee Worstell, a Master of Music graduate student in vocal performance in the Glenn Korff School of Music, has won first prize in two categories of the Great Composers international competition, in the Art of Opera and the Art of Art Song.

The Great Composers competition is a series of international music competitions for young performers. The competitions are for instrumentalists, singers and chamber groups.

“I am truly honored to win these two competitions,” Worstell said. “I am forever grateful that I am able to share my love of music every single day, especially on an international scale. It makes all the hard work so much more meaningful.”

Associate Professor and Voice Area Head Jamie Reimer Seaman said Worstell is a joy to teach.

“Her intellectual curiosity and musical sensitivity make her performances both informed and authentic,” Reimer Seaman said. “I anticipate an exciting future for her—including the upcoming role of Amahl in UNL Opera’s ‘Amahl and the Night Visitors.’”

For the Art of Art Song competition, Worstell sang “Canción de cuna para mi corazón solitario” by Irma Urteaga. For the Art of Opera competition, she sang “Ah! Mio Cor” from Handel’s opera, “Alcina.”

“I was actually able to workshop my aria in a masterclass here with Hidenori Inoue, which really helped me in my recording sessions with pianist Michael Cotton,” Worstell said. “All of the performance opportunities I have gained here, as well as the work I have done with my teacher, Dr. Jamie Reimer Seaman, have really made me more comfortable and confident as a performer and given me the skills I needed to succeed.”

Inoue was the Ariel Bybee Endowed Visiting Professor of Opera and guest artist in UNL Opera's "The Magic Flute" earlier this month.

Worstell is a first-year master’s student in voice performance. She is a 2020 graduate of the vocal performance program at the University of Tennessee.

Most recently, she sang Second Lady in UNL’s recent opera production of “The Magic Flute.” In 2020, she premiered the role of Pinocchio in composer Aaron Hunt’s new opera, “Pinocchio.” She has also played Hansel in Humperdinck’s “Hansel und Gretel” as part of the Knoxville Symphony’s Young People’s Concert Series and has performed many shows with the University of Tennessee Opera Theatre and Knoxville Opera Chorus.

She will next be seen in UNL’s “Amahl and the Night Visitors,” which will be Saturday, Dec. 11 at 1:30 and 3 p.m. in the Temple Building’s Studio Theatre. Those performances are free and open to the public.

Worstell likes the supportive community of the UNL voice program.

“I chose to study voice here because I loved the supportive and welcoming nature of all the professors and students that I have the pleasure of working with,” she said. “It truly is a very unique voice program that supports students in any path they choose to take.”