Vocal Awards 2013
for young singers between the ages of 22 and 30
uniquely recognising potential, as well as achievement
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- Biographies – Judging Panel
a. Saffron van Zwanenberg
b. Dame Felicity Lott
c. Malcolm Martineau
d. Ian Partridge
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Saffron van Zwanenberg
Saffron has been Artistic Director at Jackdaws since 2009. She trained at the RCM and is a 1st class associate, graduating from the Opera Course with Distinction. She then won a prestigious RCM Junior Fellowship sponsored by the Rosemary Bugden Foundation and has worked as a singer for many companies including Garsington, the London Handel society and the Aldeburgh Festival. At the same time she maintains a successful directing career and has directed shows for Garden Opera at the RCM and the RAM, a show at the Cochrane Theatre in Holborn as well as very diverse projects for Mid Wales Opera and ENO Baylis, and of course for Jackdaws.
Dame Felicity Lott
Dame Felicity Lott is one of Britain’s best-loved sopranos. In opera, her portrayals of the Strauss and Mozart roles in particular have led to critical acclaim worldwide. Her concert engagements take her to the major orchestras, working with Rattle, Haitink, Mehta, Previn, Masur, Welser-Möst, Sawallisch and Sir Andrew Davis. A founder member of The Songmakers’ Almanac, Felicity has appeared on the major recital platforms of the world. A noted exponent of French song, she has been awarded the title Officier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres and the Legion d’Honneur by the French Government. She was made a CBE in the 1990 New Year Honours and, in 1996, was created a Dame Commander of the British Empire. In February 2003 she was awarded the title of Bayerische Kammersängerin.
Malcolm Martineau regularly appears with Sir Thomas Allen, Susan Graham, Simon Keenlyside, Magdalena Kozena, Michael Schade and Bryn Terfel. He has presented his own series at the Wigmore Hall (a Britten series, a French song series and a Decades series) and at the Edinburgh Festival (complete lieder of Hugo Wolf). His many recordings include Schubert, Schumann and English song recitals with Bryn Terfel, Schubert and Strauss recitals with Simon Keenlyside, recitals with Angela Gheorghiu, Barbara Bonney and Susan Graham, complete Beethoven Folk Songs, Poulenc songs, Britten Song Cycles as well as Schubert’s Winterreise with Florian Boesch.
Ian Partridge CBE
Ian Partridge is one of Britain’s leading lyric tenors. His wide repertoire has encompassed the music of Monteverdi, Bach and Handel, the Elizabethan lute songs, German, French and English songs and first performances of new works. He appeared regularly as soloist with major choirs and orchestras in Britain and throughout the rest of the world, and in recitals he was frequently accompanied by his sister, Jennifer Partridge.
He is a professor at the Royal Academy of Music, and was awarded the CBE in 1992 for services to music. Ian retired from singing end of 2008, but continues to teach, give masterclasses and adjudicate.
The Maureen Lehane Vocal Awards are an annual award founded in 1992 for young singers between the ages of 22 and 30. Organised by the Somerset based charity, Jackdaws Music Education trust, the competition celebrated its 20th year in 2012.
Unique in its recognition of potential as much as achievement, many previous winners have progressed to highly successful singing careers.
Originally launched as the Great Elm Vocal Award, the competition has undergone several changes in recent years; it was renamed the Jackdaws Vocal Award for 2010 before becoming the Maureen Lehane Vocal Awards in 2011, in memory of mezzo-soprano and founder of both Jackdaws and this award, Maureen Lehane Wishart.
The finals have been held at the Wigmore Hall since 2006 and continue to grow. 2012 saw a very high standard of singing commanded by the award and a record number of applications.
The Maureen Lehane Vocal Awards at London’s Wigmore Hall will see Talented young singers from around the world will be competing for the £2,500 first prize on Friday 8 November at 1pm. Organised annually by Jackdaws Music Education Trust, a Somerset based charity, the awards celebrated their 20th competition in 2012, whilst Jackdaws celebrate their own 20th anniversary this year, 2013. Unique in its recognition of potential as much as achievement, many previous winners have progressed to highly successful singing careers.
Following preliminary auditions held over the weekend of 18-20 October, eight shortlisted finalists will each sing a programme including works by Handel and Peter Wishart, in addition to a piece of their own choice, for a panel of distinguished judges – Malcolm Martineau, Dame, Felicity Lott and Ian Partridge. The panel is chaired by Jackdaws’ Artistic Director, Saffron van Zwanenberg, who said-
“Having celebrated the 20th anniversary of the awards last year we are delighted to be enjoying them this year as part of Jackdaws 20th birthday celebrations. To do so in the company of our extraordinary panel who reflect our values of Inspiration, Access and Inclusion and have offered their services to share the astonishing breadth of their experience in an effort to nurture the talent of the future, something we are so passionate about, is a wonderful birthday gift.”
In addition to the First Prize of £2,500 there is a Second Prize of £1,000 and 3rd Prize of £500 (which is supported by local Somerset group Frome Voices). Jackdaws is very grateful to Penelope Davies for her support of the Awards for a third and final year. The best accompanist on the day will also be recognised with a prize of £1000, supported by Geoffrey and Margaret Batten, in memory of Peter Wishart. Finally, also decided on the day will be the Audience prize, voted for by the audience via ballot whilst the judges deliberate the overall winner. We are also very grateful to additional support this year from The Mercers Company.
The Maureen Lehane Vocal Awards are an annual award founded in 1992 for young singers between the ages of 22 and 30. In the spirit of Jackdaws, the competition recognises potential as well as achievement.
Originally launched as the Great Elm Vocal Award, the competition has undergone several changes in recent years; it was renamed the Jackdaws Vocal Award for 2010 before becoming the Maureen Lehane Vocal Awards in 2011 in memory of mezzo-soprano and Jackdaws founder Maureen Lehane Wishart after her death in December 2010. The finals have been held at the Wigmore Hall since 2006 and continue to grow. The newly renamed 2011 awards were combined with a Gala concert at St Georges, Hanover Square, to celebrate Maureen’s life and work following.
Previous winners have been Mary Nelson (1995), Sarah Fox (1996), Christopher Maltman (1994), Andrew Kennedy (1999), Anna Leese (2006), Ruth Jenkins (2010) Marta Fontanals-Simons (2011) and Andrew Dickinson (2012).
Previous awards have been granted coverage by, among others, BBC Radio 3’s In Tune (24 Oct 2011) and the Singer Magazine as well as BBC Radio Somerset and The Somerset Standard .
Jackdaws Music Education Trust celebrates its 20th anniversary in 2013. It is based in Great Elm just outside Frome in Somerset, in an idyllic setting on the banks of the Mells Water.
Jackdaws is dedicated to improving and extending participation in and enjoyment of music. Throughout the year Jackdaws runs a programme of weekend music courses for instrumentalists and singers of all abilities, taught by tutors of the highest calibre.
We promote concerts and run a Young Artists programme featuring an annual opera and the prestigious Maureen Lehane Vocal Awards.
We also have a large youth and community programme which in 2013 saw three new major projects- “The Year of the String Quartet”, “Nature and Nurture” and “Song Story”, being launched as well as the continuing programmes OperaPLUS, Songbird and Gifted & Talented, Jack’s Music Club and our summer production.
Recent years have seen Jackdaws create and deliver some very large scale and hugely successful events with local schools, including productions of Wagner’s Ring Cycle, Stravinsky’s Soldiers Tale, Magic Flute. 2013 looks set to be our largest programme yet.
“My passion for singing has not been short-lived and it has long been my dream to become an international opera singer. However, the training to help me to realise this dream is a long, not to mention expensive training. In 2009, I was awarded the 3rd Prize at the Great Elm Vocal Awards and the whole competition has been invaluable to my development as an artist. It is every singer’s dream to sing at such a world-renowned venue as the Wigmore Hall and this competition gave me the rare opportunity at the age of 22; walking out onto the stage of the Wigmore Hall was an experience that I will never forget and will always be one of the highlights of my career. I am currently studying at the Royal Academy of Music on the Master of Arts Preparatory Opera Course and the prize money that I was generously awarded in the competition has helped significantly towards my tuition costs for my masters degree. This profession is a highly challenging and competitive one but I feel that the help of the Jackdaws Vocal Awards and the experience that the competition gave me will allow me to continue to work hard in order to achieve my dream of becoming an international opera singer. “
Hannah Bradbury –third prize 2010. Now on Young Artist Programme Zurich
“I have fallen in love with Jackdaws – it is a magical place – and with the beautiful surroundings of the countryside there. I hope I will be able to return.” – Lucy Braga 2012