Articles tagged with: Opera

Entries open for the Maureen Lehane Vocal Awards

Entries open for the Maureen Lehane Vocal Awards

Maureen Lehane Vocal Awards 2019Entries are now open for the Maureen Lehane Vocal Awards 2019.

The Maureen Lehane Vocal Awards are unique in recognising potential as well as achievement. For over 20 years, the Award has been a springboard on to international careers in opera house and on the concert stage. For a full history of past winners, who include Anna Devin (2008), Dawid Kimberg (2004), Christopher Maltman (1994), Sarah Fox (1996), Amanda Echalaz (2002), Madeleine Pierard (2009) and Julien van Mellaerts (2015), visit the archive.

Key Information
1st Prize: £2000
Final Round: The Wigmore Hall, 14 November
Singers aged: 22 – 30
Closing date: Friday 18 October

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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.

Finalists announced for the Maureen Lehane Vocal Awards

Finalists announced for the Maureen Lehane Vocal Awards

Following two days of auditions, Jackdaws are delighted to present the singers in the final round of the Maureen Lehane Vocal Award 2018.

The Wigmore HallJames Atkinson, Baritone
Accompanied by Hamish Brown

Charlotte Bowden, Soprano
Accompanied by Michael Pandya

Glen Cunningham, Tenor
Accompanied by Lucy Colquhoun

Kamilla Dunstan, Mezzo-Soprano
Accompanied by Joe Howson

Kieron Connor Valentine, Countertenor
Accompanied by Alex Jenkins

Stephanie Wake-Edwards, Mezzo-Soprano
Accompanied by Richard Gowers

Verity Wingate, Soprano
Accompanied by Marina Staneva

Grace-Marie Wyatt, Soprano
Accompanied by Marina de Lucas Garcia

 

Finalists will compete at the Wigmore Hall from 1pm on Friday 16 November. The judges Amanda Roocroft, Patricia Bardon and Alisdair Hogarth, 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 20 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.

Booking open for Jackdaws 2018-19 Courses!

Booking open for Jackdaws 2018-19 Courses!

Every year, we announce the more Jackdaws residential Weekend and One Day Courses. We welcome a range of new and returning tutors to our programme to keep our teaching varied, current, and so we can encourage you to try something new and find a new challenge.

We have full weekend courses, running Friday evening until Sunday afternoon; longer Three Day Courses from Thursday to Sunday; and One Day Courses bite-sized introductions to essential topics for all musicians. Some of the wonderful new tutors we welcome this year are Joan Rodgers, Alisdair Hogarth, Isobel Buchanan, Robert Chevara, Madeleine Mitchell and Alison Wells. Follow their links to read their full biographies and course descriptions, booking is now open!

Jackdaws Tutor Jessica Walker

Jessica Walker helps you with “Understanding Your Voice”

One Day Courses
Understanding Your Voice
with Jessica Walker
Saturday 3 November 2018

Family Singing Afternoon
with Caroline Radcliffe
Sunday 4 November 2018

Singing for Health
with Penny Jenkins
Saturday 1 December 2018

Jackdaws Piano Tutor Stephen Marquiss

Stephen Marquiss runs “Play the Piano by Ear”

Play the Piano by Ear
with Stephen Marquiss
Sunday 2 December 2018

Heart Song
with Anne Bourne
Saturday 8 December 2018

From Panic to Pose One Day Course
with Wendy Skeen
Sunday 9 December 2018

Voice Courses
Singing in English
with Adrian Thompson
Fri 21 – Sun 23 September 2018

Jackdaws Tutor Isobel Buchanan

Learn the Art of Bel Canto with Isobel Buchanan

The Art of Bel Canto
with Isobel Buchanan
Fri 19 – Sun 21 October 2018

Audition Preparation Weekend
with Audrey Hyland and Saffron van Zwanenberg
Fri 9 – Sun 11 November 2018

Schubert, Schumann and Wolf
with Joan Rodgers
Fri 23 – Sun 25 November 2018

Jackdaws Tutor Joan Rodgers

Study German Lieder with Joan Rodgers

Art Songs by African-American and Black British Composers
with Michael Harper
Fri 25 – Sun 27 January 2019

Sing Sing Sing
with Evelyn Tubb and Michael Fields
Fri 8 – Sun 10 February 2019

The Singer as Artist
with Alison Wells
Fri 1 – Sun 3 March 2019

English Song Weekend
with Sarah Leonard and Stephen Varcoe
Fri 15 – Sun 17 March 2019

Jackdaws Tutor Richard Jackson

Richard Jackson returns with A Song by Any Other Name

A Song by Any Other Name
with Richard Jackson
Fri 29 – Fri 31 March 2019

The Vocal Technician
with Joy Mammen
Fri 12 – Sun 14 April 2019

Singing Handel
with Rosa Mannion
Fri 10 – Sun 12 May 2019

Jackdaws Artistic Director Saffron van Zwanenberg

Live & Sing your Favourite Opera scenes with Saffron van Zwanenberg and Rosa Mannion

Discover Your Voice
with Penny Jenkins
Fri 21 – Sun 23 June 2019

Staged Opera Scenes
with Saffron van Zwanenberg and Rosa Mannion
Thurs 4 – Sun 7 July 2019
Three Day Course

Summer Singing Workshop
with Jessica Walker
Thurs 8 – Sun 11 August 2019
Three Day Course

Robert Chevara - credit Rikki Beadle-Blair

Robert Chevara and Mary Plazas run Opera Workshop

Opera Workshop
with Mary Plazas and Robert Chevara
Fri 23 – Sun 25 August 2019

Singing in French
with Robin Bowman
Fri 30 August – Sun 1 September 2019

Piano Courses
Finding Your Voice at the Piano
with Stephen Savage
Fri 28 – Sun 30 September 2018

Jackdaws Tutor Elena Riu

Elena Riu returns with New Course “The Embodied Pianist”

The Embodied Pianist: Focus – Release – Tune In
with Elena Riu
Fri 12 – Sun 14 October 2018

Improvisation: An Art for Everyone
with Mark Polishook
Fri 26 – Sun 28 October 2018

Practising the Piano
with Graham Fitch
Fri 16 – Sun 18 November 2018

Polishing Your Piano Technique
with Melanie Spanswick
Fri 18 – Sun 20 January 2019

Jackdaws Tutor Alisdair Hogarth

New Tutor Alisdair Hogarth opens his Piano Toolbox

The Pianist’s Technical Toolbox
with Alisdair Hogarth
Fri 22 – Sun 24 March 2019

Knowing the Score
with Karl Lutchmayer
Fri 26 – Sun 28 April 2019

Becoming a Confident Pianist
with Timothy Barratt
Fri 17 – Sun 19 May 2019

Jackdaws Tutor Mark Tanner

Mark Tanner’s 2 part Piano Summer School

Improvisation: An Art for Everyone
with Mark Polishook
Fri 14 – Sun 16 June 2019

The Art of Pedalling
with Julian Jacobson
Fri 28 – Sun 30 June 2019

Intermediate Piano Summer School
with Mark Tanner
Tues 23 – Thurs 25 July 2019

Anna Stegmann Photo: Marco Borggreve

Anna Stegmann’s Recorder Weekend returns in October

Advanced Piano Summer School
with Mark Tanner
Thurs 25 – Sun 28 July 2019
Three Day Course

Piano Workshop: A New Departure
with Philip Fowke
Fri 13 – Sun 15 September 2019

Wind Courses
Recorder Weekend
with Anna Stegmann
Fri 5 – Sun 7 October 2018

Jackdaws Tutor William Lyons

Discover Renaissance Wind Music with William Lyons

The City Musick – Renaissance Wind Band Music for Court & City
with William Lyons and Richard Thomas
Fri 15 – Sun 17 February 2019

Clarinets
with David Campbell
Fri 8 – Sun 10 March 2019

Oboe Weekend
with Sarah Francis and Jean Marsden
Fri 31 May – Sun 2 June 2019

Jackdaws Tutor Madeleine Mitchell by Rama Knight

Workshop Viola and Violin music with Madeleine Mitchell

Bassoon Workshop – From Reed to Recital
with Robert Codd
Fri 7 – Sun 9 June 2019

Strings Courses
Winter Guitar Ensemble
with Eden Stell Guitar Duo
Thurs 31 January – Sun 3rd February 2019
Three Day Course

Violin and Viola Workshop
with Madeleine Mitchell
Fri 5 – Sun 7 April 2019

Eden Stell Guitar Duo

A long awaited Summer Guitar Course with the Eden Stell Duo

Summer Guitar Ensemble
with Eden Stell Guitar Duo
Thurs 11 – Sun 14 July 2019
Three Day Course

Strings & Things: Intermediate – Advanced
with Elizabeth Turnbull
Thurs 15 – Sun 18 August 2019
Three Day Course

Stylish Baroque
with Theresa Caudle and Alistair Ross
Fri 6 – Sun 8 September 2019

Jackdaws Tutor Wendy Skeen

Wendy Skeen’s successful One Day Course gets a full weekend!

Ensemble Courses
From Panic to Poise: Strategies for Managing Performance Anxiety Weekend
with Wendy Skeen
Fri 3 – Sun 5 May 2019

Chamber Music Weekend
with Sarah Francis, Robert Codd, Ian Mitchell and Stephen Gutman
Fri 19 – Sun 21 July 2019

Request a printed copy of the new brochure, or subscribe to our mailing list below.


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The Team Mascot Scores!

The Team Mascot Scores!

OperaPLUS 2018: The Team MascotAfter three weeks of OperaPLUS, with workshops and performances across Somerset and Wiltshire, the team sang their final note of the 2018 project last Friday.

The five performances involved hundreds of children from 13 schools, not to mention siblings, classmates and school-friends in the audience, singing alongside the professional singers in the full-length production of “The Daughter of the Regiment” performed in their own school halls.

“I can honestly say, that in all the years I have been working in schools, The Team Mascot was one of the best arts projects I have had the privilege of being involved with.” – Music lead of a participating school

‘The Team Mascot’ is Jackdaws Artistic Director Saffron van Zwanenberg’s interpretation of Donizetti’s operatic comedy. All performances were semi-staged, sung in English and performed “in the round” to make them as accessible as possible, from first time opera goers (and there were a lot of them!) to seasoned listeners.

Some of our favourite feedback from the OperaPLUS shows…

  • OperaPLUS feedback“I am writing to say you have inspired me to want to listen to more opera”
  • “You have built up a truly inspirational opera project and you should be incredibly proud of what you are doing.”
  • “Thank you for giving my friends and I one of the most memorable moments of our lives.”
  • “The opportunity helped us to see what opera is really like. The performance was brilliant and the atmosphere was great.”
  • “I never knew I would ever have a chance to sing opera”
  • “Everyone was a little afraid of opera but all of us loved it at the end.”
  • “You produced a very professional opera which was musically impressive and did not patronise your young chorus or your audience!”
  • “It was the most captivating, imaginative and engaging performance in which the school children were so obviously included and valued.”
  • “The students and parents were absolutely buzzing and it was something they will all remember for a very long time.

The Team Mascot

OperaPLUS has continued to expand since 2010. This year is the first time this Award-winning music education project has been taken into Wiltshire.

All performances were supported by Arts Council England, the Department for Education, D’Oyly Carte Charitable Trust and Jackdaws Music Education Trust. Shows in Somerset are further supported by Sound Foundation Somerset, Frome Town Council and South Somerset District Council. Shows in Wiltshire are further supported by Wiltshire Music Connect and Calne Town Council.

Long Weekends at Jackdaws

Long Weekends at Jackdaws

Our longer weekend courses offer more time for you to spend at Jackdaws this summer, working with some wonderful tutors, to explore something new or to hone your vocal skills. Arrive in the valley on a Thursday evening for a relaxed supper and a chance to meet your tutors and fellow participants, followed by the first class. With full days on the Friday and Saturday, the course comes to an end on the Sunday afternoon.

Jackdaws Three Day Weekend Courses are an excellent opportunity to commit the time you never quite seem to find to working on your singing. With the long Summer evenings, the beautiful countryside and the high-level of tuition, you’ll find you have the space to achieve much more than you set out to.


Saffron van ZwanenbergStaged Opera Scenes with
Saffron van Zwanenberg & Rosa Mannion
Thurs 5 – Sun 8 July 2018

If you’ve always dreamed of singing opera with others, Staged Opera Scenes may be the course for you. Open to All singers, this ensemble course blends performance and technique, under the guidance of Saffron van Zwanenberg and Rosa Mannion. Each participant offers three suggestions of roles and one solo piece that they would like to explore, they will then work on their solo and an ensemble piece. Read more…

I had two major breakthroughs and came home from the course inspired

Jackdaws Tutor Jessica WalkerUnlocking Your Vocal Potential
with Jessica Walker
Thurs 9 – Sun 12 August 2018

In August, Jessica Walker helps singers of all abilities unlock their vocal potential, focussing her weekend on vocal technique and practical exercises. Jessica will work with you both individually and in groups, aiming to improve your singing confidence by the end of the weekend. Read more…

Jackdaws Voice Tutor Phillip ThomasPreparing a Role
with Phillip Thomas
Thurs 23 – Sun 26 August 2018

Phillip Thomas returns to Jackdaws to work with Advanced level singers who wish to explore how to prepare a role. His extensive work with singers and opera companies, knowledge of the repertoire and the demands involved in preparing a full role are unmatched. Singers are invited to choose a role in which to immerse themselves for this longer weekend. You do not need to have prepared the full role just have a good grasp of some of the music and a working knowledge of the rest. Read more…


Course fees include all meals and refreshments at Jackdaws, prepared by our dedicated cooks. Local accommodation is available, which we are happy to book for you.

View all Voice Courses

Jackdaws - Celebrating 25 Years

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.

Humans of Frome Interview with Saffron van Zwanenberg

Humans of Frome Interview with Saffron van Zwanenberg

Saffron van ZwanenbergWalking Vallis Woods to Great Elm from Frome is just about one of the nicest walks that you could find around these parts, at this time of year (October) the trees are in glorious technicolour and we are blessed with these unexpected but very welcome sunshine filled days. The duck pond at Great Elm is a great resting spot, and the view complete with the ancient boathouse on the side of the pond is picture postcard pretty. If you’re luck enough you might even be fortunate enough to hear music emanating from the building hidden behind the boathouse, this is Jackdaws.

Jackdaws is dedicated to improving participation in and enjoyment of music through weekend courses, Education projects, a Young Artists Programme and performances by world class musicians. Their ethos is inspiration, access and inclusion. The charitable trust was established by Opera Singer Maureen Lehane 25 years ago, when she and composer husband Peter Wishart moved to the area. By all accounts Maureen was a powerhouse of a woman with a vision and the determination to match, to this day her legacy lives on in the work of this hidden jewel of a music centre on the fringes of Frome.

Before Maureen died she made very sure that her boots would be filled by just the right feet…..step forward this week’s Human of Frome, Saffron Von Zwanenberg a woman who entered the world of Opera and indeed the Jackdaw’s world by the most unlikely route imaginable.

Born to immigrant parents in 1970s London, Saffron’s Doctor Father is of Dutch extraction and her Artist Mother came to the UK from Palestine at the age of 6. Saffron and her family moved to Newcastle where she lived until she was about 8 years old. I asked if that had been a big move for her, she replied not really and continued with her family tale. The story continues on the remote Island of East New Britain just off the coast of Papua New Guinea, where her Father took up a post in the hospital. That was a big move and city child, Saffron found herself living in Rabaul, famed for having the 5th deepest harbour in the world. The harbour was formed when a prehistoric volcano erupted leaving a circular crater surrounded by newly formed active volcanoes. The Island was small, and continues to remain small as it it lives with the threat of volcanic eruptions every 50 years or so. Saffron recalls happy carefree days, roaming Mango Avenue, the Island’s one shopping street and amusing herself with her Father’s limited tape cassette library. At the age of 13, she returned to Newcastle, the life that she had lived in Papua New Guinea under threat by the imminent eruption of Mount Tarvurvur (which went on to largely destroy Rabaul in 1994).

She describes her return to secondary school in Newcastle as a ‘Baptism of Fire’, explaining that she was quite ‘different’ following her years of carefree childhood in one of the remotest spots on the planet. Saffron talks about bullying but says that that was just a part of life, it didn’t have a label but it was rife in the schools back then…she says however that she was adaptable just like other children and laughingly comments that she had perfected her Geordie accent within her first week back in the city. Music was a saving grace for her, although she was very different to her fellow students in that there was a large gap in her musical knowledge, she didn’t even know who ‘Duran Duran’ were back then. There had been no TV in Rabaul, so if you wanted to enjoy music you had to make it. Her Father had a guitar and a tape recorder that he had bought in Hong Kong on their way out there. Before their departure he had meticulously recorded his entire music collection onto cassette. This left the young Saffron with a limited selection of The Eagles, Bob Dylan, Bob Seger and Opera to choose from. She chose Opera and the young English girl could be heard regularly singing along to Joan Sutherland and Pavarotti.

Back in 1980’s Newcastle, despite her difference Saffron found her tribe and before too long had established a theatrical company with her friends. This troupe of liberal creatives performed some risque shows in the school hall, including a Full Monty (esque) striptease show (pre The Full Monty), the school however did put their foot down when they suggested putting on their version of The Rocky Horror Show. In this time, one of Saffron’s teachers ‘Mr.Young’ noticed her voice when one day she sang ‘Hey Jude’ with a bunch of other students…Saffron continued singing at the end where the song goes up and up and up, other singers falling by the wayside and open mouthed waiting for her to come back down. Mr.Young was the first person to suggest that she should take singing lessons. Her epiphany came at A level time, she knew then that she had to be an Opera Singer and was supported by her Biology and PE teachers and her parents in her choice.

Saffron secured a place at Trinity College in London where she studied an associate postgraduate course and then went onto achieve a postgraduate in Opera at The Royal College . She eventually left The Royal College as a Junior Fellow. With her academic achievements in her pocket she took a year out and traveled to the USA. Alone, she found herself in New Jersey looking after kids at a religious girl guide camp for a period of months, very out of her comfort zone she persevered as only a Geordie Opera singer via New Guinea can.

Upon her return to the UK she worked for many Opera companies. Disillusioned however with the life of an Opera singer, Saffron gravitated towards the works of a director called Robert Chevara. He hailed from a physical theater background, something in his work resonated with her. She became his assistant for a number of years whilst at the same time developing an interest in Opera and children and its effects on the lives of those who have access to it. Over the years Saffron has worked in many capacities within the world of Opera and education, at one point she commuted weekly from London to Wales where she was Education Officer for Mid Wales. On the recommendation of a conductor friend she participated in her first workshop at Jackdaws nearly a decade ago.

When Maureen Lehane handed the proverbial baton over to Saffron she clearly knew what she was doing. Sounds like she had put her through some rigorous testing over the years, throwing challenges in her path like musical grenades…one of the first being the task of re-creating Wagner’s Epic Ring Cycle (the Opera equivalent of The Lord Of the Rings) over a summer period. Of course Saffron rose to the challenge with the same ‘of course, no problem’ attitude as she has approached everything in her life thus far. Now very much a part of the beating heart of Jackdaws, Saffron continues the great legacy of its founder and continuously looks at new and exciting ways to develop it, planning permission and funding have been secured for an extension which will see a new performance hall built on site and an ambitious programme of workshops (over 40) is planned for the coming year.

Jackdaws was a hub of activity on the day that we sat outside chatting, a chorus of birdsong behind us, a flurry of applications arriving for the 25th Maureen Lehane Vocal Awards, the Trust’s accountant arriving for a meeting, and I am aware that this sleepy little wooded valley is very deceptive….at its heart lies a bustling music education trust and at its helm an unassuming Geordie girl who has had the most extraordinary journey to this place, her spiritual home.

This article was first published by the Frome Times, 24 October 2017.

Humans of Frome was started by Ciara Nolan as a column in the independent newspaper, The Frome Times. It celebrates those individuals who dare to walk their own unique path no matter what difficulties they might have had to overcome along the road. Read more remarkable stories on the Humans of Frome Facebook Page or at The Frome Times.

 

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.

Ameral Gunson: Obituary

Ameral Gunson: Obituary

Ameral Gunson at JackdawsMezzo-Soprano Ameral Gunson studied singing at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama with Walter Gruner before joining the BBC Singers; she continued her studies with Otakar Kraus. After leaving the BBC Singers she quickly established a successful and varied solo career which has included performances throughout the UK, Europe and the Middle East. She included many operatic roles in her repertoire and appeared at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, Alter Oper Frankfurt and the Turin and Helsinki opera houses. Her recordings for EMI and Chandos include Verdi’s Requiem, Janacek’s Glagolitic Mass with Simon Rattle and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia under Richard Hickox, and the Grammy award winning discs of Peter Grimes, also with Hickox.

As a vocal coach, Ameral was second to none. She taught at Jackdaws Music Education Trust for many years, and was one of their longest serving tutors. She attracted a devoted following of students who admired her sensitive, creative and thoughtful approach. Ameral’s annual “Singing and Imagination” weekend course was centered on her belief that “Singing is an activity first and foremost of the imagination,” encouraging pupils to bring props to stimulate their imagination whilst singing. She last visted Jackdaws in October 2016, when she announced plans to retire from teaching.

Ameral passed away in August 2017. She was 68.

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