February 22, 2010


Mezzo Soprano Ashley Rizzo '09, '11 M.M. Wins Miss Boston 2010 Pageant and Talent Competition

Ashley Rizzo being crowned Mezzo soprano Ashley Rizzo, a Master's Degree candidate at New England Conservatory, won the Miss Boston 2010 Pageant, February 21 at the Omni Parker House Hotel.  Rizzo, who completed her undergraduate studies at NEC in 2009 and has studied voice with Mark St. Laurent and currently with Michael Meraw, won the Talent Competition as well as the overall competition.  She won a $1000 academic scholarship, numerous prizes, and the privilege of representing Boston in the Miss Massachusetts Pageant, June 25-26 in Worcester.
A native of California, Rizzo sang the Habanera from Carmen in the talent portion of the pageant.  Since talent represents 35% of a contestant's score, the mezzo soprano's winning performance contributed significantly to her overall win. 

As a member of NEC's opera program, Rizzo has understudied the role of Hansel and sung the Sandman in the December 2009 production of Hansel and Gretel and is also appearing in an opera scenes program April 26 and in the chorus of the upcoming production of Don Giovanni, March 12—14.

To prepare for the pageant, Rizzo was coached by an expert—NEC Alumni Council President Ruth Harcovitz, who graduated from NEC in vocal performance in 1972, and won the Miss Boston pageant that same year. 

(Ashley Rizzo crowned. Peter Rufo photo)

For further information, check the NEC Website.


Recognized nationally and internationally as a leader among music schools, New England Conservatory offers rigorous training in an intimate, nurturing community to 720 undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral music students from around the world.  Its faculty of 225 boasts internationally esteemed artist-teachers and scholars.  Its alumni go on to fill orchestra chairs, concert hall stages, jazz clubs, recording studios, and arts management positions worldwide.  Nearly half of the Boston Symphony Orchestra is composed of NEC trained musicians and faculty.

The oldest independent school of music in the United States, NEC was founded in 1867 by Eben Tourjee. Its curriculum is remarkable for its wide range of styles and traditions.  On the college level, it features training in classical, jazz, Contemporary Improvisation, world and early music. Through its Preparatory School, School of Continuing Education, and Community Collaboration Programs, it provides training and performance opportunities for children, pre-college students, adults, and seniors.  Through its outreach projects, it allows young musicians to engage with non-traditional audiences in schools, hospitals, and nursing homes—thereby bringing pleasure to new listeners and enlarging the universe for classical music and jazz.

NEC presents more than 600 free concerts each year, many of them in Jordan Hall, its world- renowned, 106-year old, beautifully restored concert hall.  These programs range from solo recitals to chamber music to orchestral programs to jazz and opera scenes.  Every year, NEC’s opera studies department also presents two fully staged opera productions at the Cutler Majestic Theatre in Boston.

NEC is co-founder and educational partner of From the Top, a weekly radio program that celebrates outstanding young classical musicians from the entire country. With its broadcast home in Jordan Hall, the show is now carried by National Public Radio and is heard on 250 stations throughout the United States.

Contact: Ellen Pfeifer
Public Relations Manager
New England Conservatory