Articles tagged with: Maureen Lehane Vocal Awards

Winners of the Maureen Lehane Vocal Awards 2017

Winners of the Maureen Lehane Vocal Awards 2017

Jackdaws Music Education TrustFollowing a close final at the Wigmore Hall this afternoon, Jackdaws are delighted to announce the winners of the 25th Maureen Lehane Vocal Awards:

First Prize
Ema Nikolovska, Mezzo-Soprano

Second Prize
Joel Williams, Tenor

Third Prize
Kieran Rayner, Baritone

Accompanist Prize
João Araújo

Audience Prize
Ema Nikolovska, Mezzo-Soprano

The judges – Mary Nelson, Rosa Mannion, Christopher Glynn and Saffron van Zwanenberg – declared they were thrilled with the standard and commended all who took part.

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 started.

The 2017 Maureen Lehane Vocal Awards are possible because of supported from The Rosemary Budgen Charitable Trust, Cooper Hall Emerging Artists, Geoffrey & Margaret Batten and a private legacy donation. The Audience Prize was supported by the Jackdaws Trustees.

Ema Nikolovska

Ema Nikolovska by Pablo B. StrongEma Nikolovska is currently on the Artist Masters Course at The Guildhall School of Music and Drama, studying with Professor Susan McCulloch. Ema was born in Skopje, Macedonia and spent most of her life in Toronto, Canada where she studied voice privately with Helga Tucker for seven years, and also completed undergraduate studies in violin performance on full scholarship at The Glenn Gould School with Paul Kantor and Barry Shiffman. Ema was a semifinalist at the Jack Donnelly Memorial Mozart Competition in London as well as the 3rd International Christmas Singing Competition in Minsk, Belarus. Her work in opera has included covering the role of The Mother in The Consul by Menotti (Guildhall School production, October 2017), and covering the role of Ericlea in Il ritorno d’Ulisse in patria by Monteverdi (Royal Opera House production, January 2018). In Canada, Ema was named a Jeune Ambassadeur Lyrique for 2016, and has performed with the Cathedral Bluffs Symphony Orchestra.

Ema was a Voice Fellow in the Art of Song Program at the Toronto Summer Music Academy and Festival 2015 (masterclasses with Soile Isokoski and Martin Katz), a Britten-Pears Young Artist in 2016 for the Slavic Song Course in Aldeburgh (masterclasses with Bernarda Fink), and a participant in the 2017 Masterclasses at the Music Academy of Villecroze with Teresa Berganza. Ema was also a recipient of a Jacqueline Desmarais Grant to attend the Franz-Schubert-Institut 2017 on full scholarship in Baden bei Wien, Austria. Recently, Ema was selected to be part of Thomas Hampson’s Lied Akademie at the Heidelberger Frühling Festival, to be held in April 2018. Ema’s studies at Guildhall are generously supported by the Leverhulme Trust and the Elizabeth Sweeting Award.

Maureen Lehane Vocal Award 2017 Finalists Announced

Maureen Lehane Vocal Award 2017 Finalists Announced

Press and Journalists seeking further information should visit the Maureen Lehane EPK

Following two days of auditions, Jackdaws are delighted to present the singers in the final round of the 25th Maureen Lehane Vocal Award.

Maureen Lehane Vocal Awards

Kieran Rayner, Baritone (28)
Accompanied by João Araújo (28)

Catriona Hewitson, Soprano (27)
Accompanied by John Cuthbert (30)

Sinéad O’Kelly, Mezzo-Soprano (26)
Accompanied by Florent Mourier (28)

Joel Williams, Tenor (25)
Accompanied by João Araújo (28)

Eleanor Sanderson-Nash, Soprano (24)
Accompanied by Michael Pandya (22)

Hamish McLaren, Countertenor (23)
Accompanied by Richard Shaw (Official Accompanist)

Timothy Edlin, Bass-Baritone (24)
Accompanied by João Araújo (28)

Ema Nikolovska, Mezzo-Soprano (24)
Accompanied by Nathan Tinker (28)

 

Finalists will compete at the Wigmore Hall from 1pm on Friday 10 November. The judges Mary Nelson, Jonathan Lemalu and Christopher Gylnn, chaired by Saffron van Zwanenberg, will decide who will be the recipient of the £2,000 first prize. The winner will be announced at 3:45pm.

Each performer will present a 15 minute programme made up of four works; one by each of the two set composers, Handel and Peter Wishart, and two own choice selections.

Tickets for the final are available directly from the Wigmore Hall.

The Wigmore Hall

The 25th Maureen Lehane Vocal Awards

The 25th Maureen Lehane Vocal Awards

The 25th Maureen Lehane Vocal Awards2017 is the landmark 25th anniversary of the Maureen Lehane Vocal Awards which, over the years, has become a springboard for many wonderful singers including Christopher Maltman, Madeleine Pierard, Ben Johnson, Dawid Kimberg, Amanda Echalaz, Andrew Kennedy and Sarah Fox. With a first prize of £2,000 and final held in the Wigmore Hall it is a very important event, unique in its celebration of potential as well as achievement.

On Friday 10 November, 8 Finalists will perform a 15 minute recital consisting of a song or aria by each of the two set composers Georg Handel and Peter Wishart, in addition to two of their own choice. Watching from the balcony will be the four judges; past Vocal Award Winner Mary Nelson, Jonathan Lemalu and Christopher Glynn, chaired by Jackdaws Artistic Director Saffron von Zwanenberg.

Every year, the Wigmore Hall Final of the Maureen Lehane Vocal Awards is a highlight of the Jackdaws Young Artists calendar. Tickets are available now from the Wigmore Hall Box Office.

Catch up on the history of the Awards with the full list of past winners in the Maureen Lehane Archive.

Applications are open and will be accepted until Friday 6 October, when entries close at 5pm.

Jackdaws 2017-18 Season Announced

Jackdaws 2017-18 Season Announced

Jackdaws Music Education TrustJackdaws have announced their 2017-18 Season of weekend music courses. Featuring a selection of new and returning tutors, we are sure that there is something for everybody.

During the upcoming season, we will celebrate the 25th year of the Maureen Lehane Vocal Awards, and commemorate the occasion with an updated logo. Taking place on Friday 10 November at the Wigmore Hall, we do hope you can join us for what will be a wonderful afternoon of music, performed at the highest standard.

Update: Booking is now open online, by phone, email or post. Full information about all Jackdaws courses is available on our website, or get in touch to request a printed brochure.

Jump to Voice, Piano, Wind, Strings & One Day Courses

Voice

Lucy Schaufer by Dan Welldon22 – 24 Sept 2017: Jane Austen Song Celebration with Sarah Walker

6 – 8 Oct: Singing in Russian with Alexandre Naoumenko

20 – 22 Oct: The Healthy Voice with Russell Smythe

17 – 19 Nov: Audition Preparation with Audrey Hyland & Saffron van Zwanenberg

1 – 3 Dec: Voice & Body Integration with Lucy Schaufer

2 – 4 Feb 2018: Sing Sing Sing with Evelyn Tubb & Michael Fields

23 – 25 Feb: Art Songs by Black British & African American Composers with Michael Harper

16 – 18 Mar: English Song with Sarah Leonard & Stephen Varcoe

13 – 15 April: Opera Workshop with Mary Plazas

4 – 6 Apr: Singing Handel with Rosa Mannion

25 – 27 May: The Vocal Technician with Joy Mammen

8 – 10 June: Discover Your Voice with Penny Jenkins

22 – 24 June: A Song By Any Other Name with Richard Jackson

5 – 8 July: Staged Opera Scenes with Saffron van Zwanenberg & Rosa Mannion

20 – 22 July: The Golden Age of Broadway with Paul Knight

9 – 12 Aug: Unlocking Your Vocal Potential with Jessica Walker

23 – 26 Aug: Preparing a Role with Phillip Thomas

31 Aug – 2 Sept: Singing in French with Robin Bowman

21 – 23 Sept: Singing in English with Adrian Thompson

Piano

Jackdaws Tutor Karl Lutchmayer (credit Helen Murray)29 Sept – 1 Oct 2017: Lifelong Learning for the Pianist with Ruth Harte

13 – 15 Oct: Finding Your Voice at the Piano with Stephen Savage

27 – 29 Oct: Improvisation: An Art for Everyone with Mark Polishook

24 – 26 Nov: Practising the Piano with Graham Fitch

9 – 11 Feb 2018: Polishing Your Piano Technique with Melanie Spanswick

9 – 11 Mar: Towards Effortless Piano Playing with Penelope Roskell

23 – 25 Mar: The Complete Pianist with Margaret Fingerhut

27 – 29 Apr: Knowing the Score with Karl Lutchmayer

18 – 20 May: Intermediate Piano Course with Timothy Barratt

15 – 17 June: Realising Your Inner Musical Image with Julian Jacobson

26 – 29 July: Piano Summer School with Mark Tanner

14 – 16 Sept: Piano Workshop – A New Departure! with Philip Fowke

One Day Courses

Sat 11 Nov 2017: Singing for the over 50’s with Penny Jenkins

Sun 12 Nov: Singing for All the Family with Caroline Radcliffe

Sat 9 Dec: Singing with Confidence with Jessica Walker

Sun 10 Dec: One Day Guitar Course with Chris Stell

Fri 15 Dec: Jackdaws Christmas Concert at Great Elm Church (concert)

Sun 8 April 2018: From Panic to Poise with Wendy Skeen

Strings

Jackdaws Tutor Flora Curzon25 – 28 Jan 2018: Guitar Ensemble with Eden Stell Guitar Duo

11 – 13 May: Folk Fiddle with Flora Curzon & Holly Harman

29 June – 1 July: Strings & Things Part One with Elizabeth Turnbull

16 – 19 Aug: Strings & Things Part Two with Elizabeth Turnbull

Wind

3 – 5 Nov 2017: Recorder Weekend with Anna Stegmann

16 – 18 Feb 2018: The City Musick: Renaissance Music for Court & City with William Lyons & Richard Thomas

2 – 4 Mar: Clarinets with David Campbell

20 – 22 Apr: Oboe Workshop with Sarah Francis & Jean Marsden

1 – 3 June: Bassoon Workshop – From Reed to Recital with Robert Codd

13 – 15 July: Chamber Music with Sarah Francis, Robert Codd, Ian Mitchell & Stephen Gutman

7 – 9 Sept: Stylish Baroque with Theresa Caudle & Alastair Ross

Jackdaws Tutors 2017-18

2016 – A Year in Review

2016 – A Year in Review

2016 – what a year it was. We say it every year, but this one really was the busiest we’ve ever known in Great Elm. We welcomed 400 participants on our weekend courses, a third of whom were new to Jackdaws; we delivered award-winning projects across Somerset and appointed our first ever Artists in Residence – the VIDA Guitar Quartet.

Our Projects

Credit Music Teacher Awards 2016

L to R: Margherita Taylor (Classic FM Presenter), René Bloice-Sanders (Company Member), Audrey Hyland (Music Director), Saffron van Zwanenberg (Director) and Sam Taylor (Classic FM Managing Editor). Credit: Music Teacher Awards 2016

The first success of the year was in February, when we attended the Gala Dinner of the Music Teacher Awards for Excellence, as our large-scale project OperaPLUS had been nominated for the Best Classical Music Education Initiative of 2015. We were absolutely delighted to hear OperaPLUS announced as the winners by Margherita Taylor, presenter on ClassicFM, who sponsored the prize. The 2016 OperaPLUS project was then a huge success in April; Artistic Director Saffron van Zwanenberg directed five fun-filled performances of Donizetti’s The Love Potion with 18 schools across Somerset packed with acting, singing and segways!

On Tuesday 22 March, the Gelachter Wind Trio performed alongside over 100 children from 12 schools across Somerset in the Grand Finale concert of the Year of the Reed project at the Cheese & Grain Frome. They performed arrangements of music by composers from Duke Ellington to Tchaikovsky interspersed with performances from the Gelachter Trio in the hour long concert.

Song Story 2016 was an exciting and fresh look at Vivaldi’s famous Four Seasons concertos. Composer William Carslake, together with Violinist Flora Curzon and Jackdaws Artistic Director Saffron van Zwanenberg investigated this work with four SEN Somerset schools – Elmwood, Avalon, Critchill and Selworthy. Each school focused on one season, working with the team and using the sonnets which inspired Vivaldi’s original composition, to create their own music and play and sing along with Vivaldi’s original score. There was a spectacular final performance of “Saving Earth” on Wednesday 29 June at Elmwood & Robert Blake Science College, Bridgwater. The students updated the story to tell of the fight against global warming and how we are saving earth from mankind’s thoughtlessness; a modern retelling which was really effective. It was a truly joyful experience for all involved.

Since September, Jack’s Music Club has been enjoying a new term of varied experiences and sound worlds. We have a whole new intake of keen young musicians attending each week, who gave two fantastic performances at the Jackdaws Christmas Concert, celebrating Ludwig van Beethoven (the concert happened to take place on 16 December, the maestro’s birthday). Jackdaws is now also an Arts Award centre and Jack’s members have the opportunity to earn a qualification during their usual weekly session.

We have continued to develop our work with the Music Hub for Somerset, taking a very active part in the Singing Strategy for Somerset schools, offering a mixed-programme of teacher training and in-school sessions, and the first Somerset Schools Singing Festival, which took place in the Summer term.

Caecilia AndriessenSaying ‘Vaarwel’

In May, we said a very sad farewell to Caecilia Andriessen, who retired. Caecilia was one of the very first tutors at Jackdaws and has been leading her unique “Pianos for All” ensemble course for the last 21 years, making the trip over from The Hague with several faithful students every year since 1995. The Pianos for All weekend involved groups of pianists playing music arranged for two, three and four pianos! We will miss this very special and joyful part of our annual calendar.

Saying ‘Hello’ to our Artists in Residence

In the Summer, the VIDA Guitar Quartet became the first Jackdaws Artists in Residence. It is the first time that such an appointment has been made by Jackdaws, and we are looking forward to unveiling future plans and discovering how the new relationship will bear fruit.

VIDA Concert at Jackdaws in December 2016VIDA celebrated this announcement with a fundraising concert on Saturday 3 December; their last before heading off on tour to the United States at the beginning of 2017. The concert raised important funds for Jackdaws and was a great treat for the local community.

The VIDA Quartet have a strong association with Jackdaws through the longstanding relationship between two members, Mark Eden and Christopher Stell (who also perform as the Eden Stell Guitar Duo). The Duo have been teaching at Jackdaws for more than 20 years and, as Artists in Residence, the Quartet will be ambassadors for Jackdaws in the UK and around the world.

Maureen Lehane Vocal Awards

Winners of the Maureen Lehane Vocal Awards 216

L to R: Saffron van Zwanenberg, Leo Nicholson (Accomp Prize), Holly Marie Bingham (2nd Prize), Nardus Williams (1st & Audience Prizes), Rosemary Joshua, Sam Carl (3rd Prize), Joan Rodgers, Julian Jacobson

The 2016 Vocal Awards continued with the same high standards set in previous years. This year it was Nardus Williams, a young soprano currently studying at the Guildhall with Yvonne Kenny, who took First Place as well as the Audience Prize. The Judges – Rosemary Joshua, Joan Rodgers, Julian Jacobson, chaired by Saffron van Zwanenberg – were very impressed with her performance.

We are all looking forward to the Vocal Awards 2017, which will be the 25th year of the competition. Keep your eyes peeled for details of how we are going to celebrate this significant milestone, which kickstarts the celebrations for Jackdaws 25th anniversary in 2018.

Two Great Losses

Sadly, we lost two great friends in 2016. The first was very early in the year when we heard of loss of tutor Kenneth van Barthold on 16 February. He was 88 years old and had been giving courses at Jackdaws for many years. An exceptional man, his obituary in the Telegraph shows just how respected he was.

sarah-wheeler-at-maureen-memorial-concertThen, in April, we received news that a long-time supporter of Jackdaws, Sarah Wheeler, had also passed away. She was a supporter of Jackdaws from the beginning, and a long time friend of Maureen. Sarah led the fundraising campaign that allowed us to buy our building, and when Maureen passed away in 2010, it was she who helped to organise the concert in her memory. She was a great lover of art and music and was a passionate believer in the healing power of both. As a result, she founded the Mental Fight Club and later the Dragon Cafe to share the benefit of both with others. She will be very sadly missed in Great Elm.

New Technology

We ended the year by releasing a video about our weekend courses. Produced by Tambrisk pictures, the four-minute video showcases our facilities and surroundings whilst answering questions a new-comer might have about their first visit to a Jackdaws music course. Watch the video here…

The Staff and Trustsees at Jackdaws want to thank all friends, supporters, colleagues and organisations who have helped us this year including;
Angus Allnatt Charitable Foundation, Rosemary Bugden Trust, the Mercers’ Trust, the Mackintosh Foundation, Frome Voices, Cooper Hall Foundation.

Grants were also received from a number of local councils and funding bodies;
Arts Council England, Sound Foundation Somerset, Frome Town Council, South Somerset District Council.

We are also extremely grateful to the number of individuals who have made donations both large and small, and to Friends of Jackdaws, whose regular contributions ensure that Jackdaws can continue to facilitate the joy of music participation for everyone.

If you would like to make a donation to Jackdaws, you can do so by becoming a Friend, or making a one-off donation. For more information read Supporting Jackdaws.

Winners of the Maureen Lehane Vocal Awards 2016

Winners of the Maureen Lehane Vocal Awards 2016

Winners of the Maureen Lehane Vocal Awards 216

L to R: Saffron van Zwanenberg, Leo Nicholson (Accomp Prize), Holly Marie Bingham (2nd Prize), Nardus Williams (1st & Audience Prizes), Rosemary Joshua, Sam Carl (3rd Prize), Joan Rodgers, Julian Jacobson

The winners of the Maureen Lehane Vocal Awards 2016:
First Prize
Nardus Williams, Soprano

Second Prize
Holly Marie Bingham, Mezzo-Soprano

Third Prize
Sam Carl, Bass

Accompanist Prize
Leo Nicholson

Audience Prize
Nardus Williams, Soprano

The judges, Rosemary Joshua, Joan Rodgers, Julian Jacobson and Saffron van Zwanenberg were delighted with the standard and commended all who took part.

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 started.

The 2016 Maureen Lehane Vocal Awards are possible because of the generous support from The Mercers’ Company, The Rosemary Budgen Charitable Trust, Cooper Hall Emerging Artists, Frome Voices and the Jackdaws Trustees.

 


 

Winner of the Maureen Lehane Vocal Award 2016 - Nardus Williams, SopranoNardus Williams is a young soprano currently studying on the Opera Course at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama with Yvonne Kenny, having previously studied with Lillian Watson and David Thomas. She is also mentored by Matthew Rose.

Recent performances include Messiah with the OSJ under John Lubbock at King’s Place and St John’s Smith Sqaure, Nitocris in Handel’s Belshazzar under Nicholas Kraemer, Mahler’s Rückert-Lieder with the Kingfisher Sinfonia, and a number of recitals at St John’s Smith Square during their 2015/16 season. She was also a member of the Glyndebourne Festival Opera 2016.

A Park Lane Group Artist since 2015, Nardus will be giving a recital at the Wigmore Hall next year. She is also a Samling Artist, and performed in their showcase at The Sage, Gateshead earlier in 2016.

In 2017 Nardus will be performing the role of Donna Elvira at Opera Holland Park as a Christine Collins Young Artist.

She is generously supported by The Worshipful Company of Gold and Silver Wyre Drawers, and the Winship Foundation. Previous Scholarships include Countess of Munster Musical Trust, Help Musicians Maidment Scholarship and Helen Roll Charitable Trust.

Maureen Lehane Vocal Awards 2016: Finalists Announced

Maureen Lehane Vocal Awards 2016: Finalists Announced

Maureen Lehane Vocal Awards

Following two days of auditions on the 8th and 9th October, we present, with great excitement, the singers competing in the iconic Wigmore Hall at the finals of the Maureen Lehane Vocal Awards 2016:

David Ireland, Bass-Baritone accompanied by Ed Whitehead

Claire Barnett Jones, Mezzo-Soprano accompanied by Dylan Perez

Sung Kyu Choi, Baritone accompanied by Seungwon Lee

Nardus Williams, Soprano accompanied by Dylan Perez

Sam Carl, Bass accompanied by Leo Nicholson

Catriona Hewitson, Soprano accompanied by Paul McKenzie

Malachy Frame, Baritone accompanied by Liam Crangle

Holly Marie Bingham, Mezzo-Soprano accompanied by Kaoru Wada

The winner will be decided by the panel of four judges:
Rosemary Joshua
Joan Rodgers
Julian Jacobson
chaired by Saffron van Zwanenberg

All finalists are required to present a programme consisting of four items. There are 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 started.

The 2016 Maureen Lehane Vocal Awards are possible because of the generous support from The Mercers’ Company, The Rosemary Budgen Charitable Trust, Cooper Hall Emerging Artists, Frome Voices and the Jackdaws Trustees.

The final takes place on Friday 28 October at 1pm, Wigmore Hall. We hope to see you there.

2015 – Year in Review

Well, what a year 2015 was. Our Education work expanded our reach across to the far side of Somerset with OperaPLUS and in Year of Percussion with percussionist Joby Burgess, and our Piano courses we were voted second place in the Best Piano Courses in the UK in a survey by piano blog the Cross Eyed Pianist.

OperaPLUS

Music Teacher Awards for ExcellenceThe first major project of 2015 was April’s OperaPLUS production of ‘The Stylist of Somerset’ (also known as Rossini’s Barber of Seville). OperaPLUS brings together groups of aspiring young opera singers and primary school children who then work together under the guidance of Artistic Director, Saffron van Zwanenberg and Audrey Hyland (Royal Academy) to produce five performances at venues across Somerset. This year, the OperaPLUS project expanded to include over 100 children participating in each performance.

We are delighted that OperaPLUS has been nominated as ‘Best Classical Music Education Initiative’ in the Music Teacher Awards for Excellence, sponsored by ClassicFM. Please vote for us! (And hurry – voting closes on Friday 22nd January!)

Year of Percussion

Jackdaws Year of Percussion with Joby BurgessJune saw the final performance of another of our large scale projects – Year of Percussion – which gave the opportunity to students from a dozen schools to take part in workshops under the leadership of internationally acclaimed percussionist, Joby Burgess. Their work culminated in a concert held at the Cheese & Grain in Frome, in which the children performed en mass together with Joby who introduced the sold out audience to an unusual array of percussion instruments during the show. This was the fourth year this project has run and which has now involved over 6000 children; we are looking forward to 2016, which continues our journey around the orchestra with ‘Year of the Reed’.

Summer Production

Summer ProductionOur attempts to involve as many young people as possible in a wide spectrum of music based activities continued in July with the ‘Summer Production’. Children between the ages of 10 and 17 spent a week working with Saffron, Will Carslake (music director) and designer Sarah Lawton in which the children chose to perform Macbeth in combination with music by and based on Mozart with design inspied by the work of contemporary American artist Kiki Smith. This is a largely participant driven event and the performance demonstrated the children’s creative skills in acting, music and the various elements of stage design. The final show took place at Frome’s unique Silk Mill on the Friday.

Maureen Lehane Vocal Awards

Maureen Lehane Vocal Awards: Winners & Judges outside the Wigmore Hall 2015Every November our focus moves from the schools of Somerset into London’s Wigmore Hall for the annual Maureen Lehane Vocal Awards, the highlight of our Young Artist’s calendar. Following preliminary auditions, the final seven singers each sang an aria by Handel, a song by Peter Wishart and a piece of their own choosing for the Wigmore audience. Sadley, Oliver Johnston was forced to withdraw through ill-health on the day before the finals, so his place was taken by the first reserve singer, baritone Julien Mellaerts. Astonishingly, with such a short warning, Julien was able to produce the winning performance and walked away with the £2,000 first prize.

Roll on 2016!

Winners of the Maureen Lehane Vocal Award 2015

Programme CoverThe 2015 presentation of the Maureen Lehane Vocal Awards was an exciting afternoon of music making. As always, the finalists presented recitals of the highest standard and were commended by the panel for the variety and diversity of their repertoire choices.

First prize went to Julien Van Mellaerts, who impressed the panel with his recital of Del minacciar del vento (Ottone) by Handel, Peter Wishart’s Henry and Mary, A Poison Tree by Britten and Mein sehnen, mein Wähnen by Korngold. It is especially impressive that Julien was a reserve place and only offered the opportunity to perform at 6pm on the evening before the final, when Oliver Johnston fell ill.

It was an exceptional year for the Vocal Awards, the finalists were all well prepared and offered really interesting programmes. The general standard was very high which made the adjudication challenging, but the panel were clear about which performances had stood out, most notable of which was Julien’s singing of Britten’s evocative A Poison Tree.Saffron van Zwanenberg, Chair of the Adjudication Panel

2015 is the 23rd anniversary of the Award, which is unique for the recognition of potential as much as achievement and has supported many extraordinary young singers at the start of their careers. This year’s prize winners join a succession of past winners including Amanda Echalaz, Christopher Maltman, Sarah Fox, Andrew Kennedy and Anna Devin.

The Maureen Lehane Vocal Awards are run annually by Jackdaws Music Education Trust for singers under the age of 30. The first Award was contested in the Somerset village of Great Elm, where Jackdaws is based, and participants were required to present a song by composer Peter Wishart, Maureen Lehane’s late husband, and an aria by Handel. Maureen was a celebrated Handelian singer and maintained that every singer should sing Handel at some point in their development. The same elements are required today in celebration of both Maureen and Peter’s legacy.

The Maureen Lehane Vocal Awards are generously supported by The Rosemary Bugden Charitable Trust, Cooper Hall (Emerging Artists), Geoffrey and Margaret Batten, Frome Voices and Jackdaws Trustees.

Winners of the Maureen Lehane Vocal Awards 2015
Maureen Lehane Winners and Judges 2015First Prize
Julien Van Mellaerts, Baritone (27)
Second Prize
Grace Durham, Mezzo-Soprano (27)
Third Prize
James Newby, Baritone (22)

Accompanist Prize
Edward Liddall (26) and Natalie Burch (23)
Audience Prize
James Newby, Baritone (22)

Maureen Lehane Vocal Award Finalists 2015

After two days of auditions on the 17th and 18th October, we present, with great excitement, the finalists of the Maureen Lehane Vocal Awards 2015:

Grace Durham, Mezzo-soprano (27)
accompanied by Edward Liddall (26)

Oliver Johnston, Tenor (26)
accompanied by Rebecca Taylor (29)

Heather Lowe, Mezzo-soprano (26)
accompanied by Jocelyn Freeman (29)

James Newby, Baritone (22)
accompanied by Panaretos Kyriatzidis (27)

Padraic Rowan, Bass-baritone (25)
using the Official Accompanist

Jenny Stafford, Soprano (27)
accompanied by Michael Waldron (28)

James Way, Tenor (23)
accompanied by Natalie Burch (23)

Wigmore Hall Bronze LogoThe winner will be decided by the panel of four judges:
Mary Plazas
Adrian Thompson
Phillip Thomas
Chaired by Saffron van Zwanenberg

All finalists are required to present a 15 minute programme consisting of four items. There are 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 started.

The final takes place on Thursday 12 November at 1:30pm, Wigmore Hall.

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