Articles tagged with: James Atkinson

Our new music studio is a firm commitment to arts education

Our new music studio is a firm commitment to arts education

The opening of a new music studio for Jackdaws is a firm commitment to arts education in the South West

Jackdaws New StudioOn 25 May, Jackdaws officially opens a new, purpose-built music studio, with an afternoon of musical activities and it is all thanks to a legacy from its founder, the celebrated mezzo-soprano Maureen Lehane.

Maureen founded Jackdaws Music Education Trust 26 years ago with an ambition to enable access to and the promotion of, classical music and musicians, through courses for all and an outreach programme for young people. In addition to this remarkable legacy, her financial legacy, together with donations from over 100 supporters, has enabled Jackdaws to invest in a new custom-build studio, The Lehane-Wishart Teaching Studio.

It is a major new addition to both Jackdaws’ facilities and the arts education sector in the South West and alongside extra practice rooms, it brings much needed space to Jackdaws home base in Great Elm, just outside Frome. It will house the Steinway model D grand piano, allowing this piano’s voice to finally have an appropriate space in which to be heard.

Over five years from inception to completion, Jackdaws’ new studio is sympathetic to its beautiful surroundings, built of wood and stone, with a design which incorporates special features specifically aimed at minimising its impact on wildlife and surrounding nature in the Vallis Vale. It includes bifold doors at the rear of the studio allowing the space to be opened up into the enclosed rose garden and the riverside setting provides a rural retreat in an idyllic location, not 10 miles from Bath.

Jackdaws Artistic Director, Saffron van Zwanenberg is overjoyed with the addition:

“This beautiful studio is the result of an incredible legacy from Maureen and the help of over 100 supporters who have donated to the project. I am thankful to each of them and delighted that we can finally provide this, much-wanted, extra space.

“It will provide a home our regular courses and our community projects, creating a welcoming environment in which music and musicians of all abilities can flourish.”

Jackdaws celebrates the launch of the Lehane-Wishart Teaching Studio with a Garden Party on Saturday 25 May, an afternoon of masterclasses and performances by world-class musicians.

All events will be free to attend but due to limited number of seats, tickets for each event must be booked by visiting the booking page. Only two tickets can be allocated per person.


2:00pm Guided Tour with Development Manager Katharine Meadows

A short tour of the new facilities with Katharine Meadows, who oversaw the development.

2:30 – 3:15pm Vocal Masterclass with Rosa Mannion

Observe a masterclass for singers of all abilities with Royal College of Music professor Rosa Mannion.

3:30 – 4:15pm Piano Surgery with Philip Fowke

This will be an interactive session, with attendees invited to bring up a section of a piece of music which might be troubling them – either in performance or just working from a score.

4:30pm Guided Tour with Development Manager Katharine Meadows

5 – 6pm Celebration Concert

Performances from Philip Fowke, clarinettist David Campbell, the Eden Stell Guitar Duo, and Baritone James Atkinson (Winner of the Maureen Lehane Vocal Award 2018) bring our day of celebration to a close.

Go to the Booking Page

The Winners of the 2018 Maureen Lehane Vocal Awards

The Winners of the 2018 Maureen Lehane Vocal Awards

Following a close final at the Wigmore Hall this afternoon, Jackdaws are delighted to announce the winners of the 26th Maureen Lehane Vocal Awards:

MLVA2018First Prize
James Atkinson, Baritone

Second Prize
Charlotte Bowden, Soprano

Third Prize
Verity Wingate, Soprano

Accompanist Prize
Michael Pandya, playing for Charlotte Bowden

Audience Prize
Charlotte Bowden, Soprano

The judges – Amanda Roocroft, Patricia Bardon, Alisdair Hogarth and Saffron van Zwanenberg – said this has been the finest year for interpretations of Peter Wishart’s music.

All finalists were required to present a programme consisting of four items, two own choice items in addition to one song by each of the two set composers; Handel, of whose music Maureen Lehane was a renowned interpreter, and Peter Wishart, her late husband in whose memory the awards were founded.

The Maureen Lehane Vocal Awards are possible because of supported from The Rosemary Budgen Charitable Trust, AIMS, Cooper Hall Emerging Artists, and Geoffrey & Margaret Batten. The Audience Prize was supported by the Jackdaws Trustees.

Search for a Course