Announcing the Winners of the “New Voices” Essay Contest

In August, I CARE IF YOU LISTEN partnered with 21CM to create the “New Voices” Essay Contest. We invited college students of any age to submit essays on the theme of the 21st Century Musician–and we were thrilled with the response. Musicians and writers from all over the world submitted their essays, remembering moving performances, reflecting on new strategies for audience engagement, and sharing ideas for the continued advancement of our art form.

To everyone who took the time to submit: thank you. Writing about our artistic practice is no easy task. But it is an important one, affording us the space to reflect on our work and the impact we hope it will make in the world. To those who discovered a newfound love for writing about music from this contest as well as to those who have already integrated writing into their work, we urge you to continue. We need you!

And now, we are delighted to announce the winners of the “New Voices” Essay Contest.


Hillary LaBonte of Bowling Green State University, Ohio

for her essay on the representation of women in contemporary opera.


Anjali Misra of University College Cork, Ireland

for examining Irish traditional music through the lens of a classical violinist.


Leah Dunbar of Kenyon College, Ohio

for her reflections on public music-making in response to gun violence.


Additionally, we would like to commend and acknowledge the runners-up in our contest:


Laken Emerson of Wright State University

Elias Gross of the University of Delaware

Sebastian Wintsch of the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University

Selena Wellington of University of Colorado Boulder


Congratulations to all! And to our readers, the winning essays will be published in early January on I CARE IF YOU LISTEN and in the January issue of 21CM.