Articles tagged with: Young Artists

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.

OperaPLUS is the Best Classical Music Education Initiative

OperaPLUS is the Best Classical Music Education Initiative

Credit Music Teacher Awards 2016

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

On the 25th of February, Jackdaws Music Education Trust was presented with a prestigious Music Teacher Award for Excellence for the OperaPLUS project, which won the category of Best Classical Music Education Initiative, sponsored by Classic FM.

We want to say a huge THANK YOU to everyone who voted for us; all our friends and supporters who took the time to give their backing to the campaign. It is an honour to receive this Award and it is down to your support that we are able to continue to run projects like this.

The award was presented by Classic FM Managing Editor Sam Jackson during a special awards ceremony hosted by Rhingeold Music Education Expo at London’s Jumeirah Carlton Tower Hotel in Kensington. The category of Best Classical Music Education Initiative was decided by public ballot via the Classic FM website.

The award is recognition of OperaPLUS’ outstanding contribution and achievements since its inaugural project in 2010. Every year since then, it has brought high-quality opera into schools across Somerset, introducing countless children and adults alike to the art form in an accessible and inclusive setting. In 2015 alone the project worked with 14 schools with up to 120 children in each of the five performances across the county.

The project brings together primary school children to perform alongside professional opera singers from Jackdaws Young Artist programme, in full length versions of well-known operas, sung in English. For many, it provides a first encounter with a live opera performance.

Jackdaws Artistic Director, Saffron van Zwanenberg, created the project when she took up post in 2009. It has become a key project in Jackdaws Education output, supporting the organisational aim to enable creative expression by bringing music to life in an accessible, inclusive and inspirational way. Ms van Zwanenberg, who was at the ceremony to collect the award on behalf of the Trust and the OperaPLUS team, said:

“OperaPLUS is so important to me personally. I loved opera as a child, for the tunes, the stories, the epic struggles and the rib aching comedy. I wanted more children from all backgrounds to have access to this unique art form, I knew that if it was presented in an accessible way they would love it too, and they have never let me down. It also provides vital training for aspiring singers in music education, an area too often overlooked, and lets the communities see the opera through the children’s eyes as they perform alongside the professionals, vitally important as well. This Award is wonderful recognition of the work we have been doing and will continue to do through active and innovative opportunities.

“We want to thank everybody who voted for us. As a small organisation, we work extremely hard, with limited resources, to ensure that we are able to continue to deliver projects like this. This Award means a huge amount to us – Thank you.”

In 2016, OperaPLUS will continue to build on its past successes by presenting a production of Donizetti’s The Love Potion (L’elisir d’amore) with 5 performances this April, involving 18 schools. Each school will work with the cast and production team in a range of workshops to prepare their music for the performance, supported with resources including recordings and sheet music of their parts, all downloadable from the Jackdaws website.

OperaPLUS is supported by Sound Foundation Somerset and Arts Council England and has been featured on BBC Radio Somerset, ClassicFM and in various local press.

OperaPLUS Awards Badge

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!

OperaPLUS Nominated for Best Classical Music Education Initiative

UPDATE [17 December 2015]: Voting is now open! Please visit ClassicFM to vote for OperaPLUS as “Best Music Education Initiative”

Jackdaws OperaPLUS has been nominated in the Music Teacher Magazine Awards for Excellence in the category “Best Classical Music Education Initiative”. The award, sponsored by ClassicFM, is recognition of the incredible work this project has done to share high quality opera with children and young people in hard to reach communities across Somerset.

OperaPLUS was the first of many projects created and set up by Jackdaws Artistic Director, Saffron van Zwanenberg:

“It was borne of many different personal experiences which led to a great desire to bring about a combination of outcomes, namely that children and young people have a positive experience of opera and benefit from the well documented effects of participating in music. Young artists receive training and experience in community and education work, in a supported and career enhancing way and hard to reach communities have access to high quality opera in an accessible and affordable setting. It was also important to me that the operas came from the mainstream repertoire to give context to the varied, everyday use of this repertoire that the children and audiences hear in their daily lives.”

OperaPLUS is a key part of Jackdaws Music Education Trust’s work to enable creative expression by bringing music to life in an accessible, inclusive and inspirational way.

The project brings together primary school children and professional opera singers from Jackdaws Young Artist programme, to perform full length versions of well-known operas, sung in English. It is directed by Jackdaws Artistic Director, Saffron van Zwanenberg, with the musical direction of Audrey Hyland, Royal Academy of Music professor and vocal coach. The young, professional cast take the lead roles and the chorus’s and other roles are adapted for performance by the participating children, numbering up to 120 per performance. There are a series of workshops prior to the performances with the cast and director and then the cast and children perform alongside each other in accessible venues in the heart of their communities to large audiences, many of whom are new to opera.

OperaPLUS Stylist of Somerset

The Stylist of Somerset, OperaPLUS 2015

The first OperaPLUS production was The Magic Flute by Mozart in June 2010, with one performance in Frome, Somerset, involving three local schools. Since then, the project has developed year on year so that in 2015, OperaPLUS was able to present the most ambitious production yet. Working with 14 schools from across Somerset, Jackdaws delivered 5 performances of the Stylist of Somerset (Rossini’s Barber of Seville) in different areas throughout this rural country.

The production was featured on BBC Somerset Radio by Ben McGrail, who used OperaPLUS as an opportunity to ask the public what they thought of opera. The result was overwhelmingly positive which is reflected in the way it is received by the children and families who participate.

In 2016, OperaPLUS will continue to build on its past successes by presenting a production of Donizetti’s The Love Potion (L’elisir d’amore) with 5 performances including 18 schools. Each school will work with the cast and production team to prepare their music for the performance and are supported with a free set of resources including sheet music and recordings of their parts, all downloadable from the Jackdaws website.

OperaPLUS is supported by Sound Foundation Somerset, the Music Hub for Somerset and Arts Council England.

Jackdaws logoExternal Links

Music Teacher Awards for Excellence Nominations

ClassicFM

BBC Radio Somerset

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)

OperaPLUS Grand Tour

OperaPLUS Grand Tour

OperaPLUS Stylist of Somerset

Selfie!

News may have reached your ears that something exciting is brewing in the Stylist of Somerset’s salon…

It is true. OperaPLUS 2015 will be bigger and better – we are literally going further than ever before by packing our bags and hitting the road for a Grand Tour of Somerset.

The dates are set; the cast of OperaPLUS will return this April to recreate the highly acclaimed 2014 production of Stylist of Somerset on five dates in four locations across the length and breadth of the county.

The Stylist of Somerset is setting up his salon on the following dates:
20th April – Kingsmead, Wiveliscombe
21st April – Kingsmead, Wiveliscombe
23rd April – King Afred’s, Burnham-on-Sea
30th April – Vallis First School, Frome
1st May – King Arthur’s Community School, Wincanton

All performances take place at 5:30pm and tickets will cost £2/£1 concessions.
For tickets contact Jackdaws on 01373 812383 or music@jackdaws.org

2014 – Year in Review

2014 – Year in Review

The year 2014 at Jackdaws was a continuation and building upon the successes of 2013.

We have grown the OperaPLUS, Year of Guitar, Jack’s Music Club and continued to build on the success of previous years of the Maureen Lehane Vocal Awards, Gifted & Talented sessions, Summer Production and more. Read on…

OperaPLUS

OperaPLUS 2014The first major education project of our year took place between 28 April and 9 May. A team of Young Artists from various music colleges around the country worked with Artistic Director Saffron van Zwanenberg and Music Director Audrey Hyland to put on two semi-staged performances of Rossini’s Barber of Seville. But, we are Jackdaws, and we like to do things a little differently…

Rossini’s reworked Stylist of Somerset was sung in English and involved no less than six schools over the two performances. The first performance, in Bridgwater, saw the Robert Blake Science College, Elmwood SEN and Penrose schools performing the chorus roles to a packed hall. This performance included an exciting depiction of a thunderstorm by the Elmwood pupils – an OperaPLUS first!

The second performance, at the Cheese & Grain in Frome, was to the largest audience ever for our OperaPLUS (we sold out, and then some!) Featuring Critchill SEN, St John’s and Hayesdown First schools, the Stylist of Somerset created a storm of its own, playing to audience who were happy to stand just to see it after the venue had sold out of chairs!

In 2015, The Stylist of Somerset will be hopping on a tour bus and performing a number of shows across region! This is a new adventure for the OperaPLUS project and Jackdaws as a whole. We are already hard at work to make sure it is a success; look out for the dates soon, we’d love you to join us.

Year of Guitar

Year of Guitar with Eden StellThe Year of Guitar followed from the hugely successful Year of the String Quartet with the Carducci in 2013 and precedes 2015’s Year of Percussion with Joby Burgess. Once again, every school in Frome took part with a record number of children participating.

On Friday 6 June, the massed ensemble of children from local schools with whom the Eden Stell Guitar Duo had worked met with the Duo again for a fantastic hour long performance at the Cheese & Grain. This year, Year of… was extended when we took a group of Frome College pupils to perform with Mark & Chris at the Sound Foundation Somerset Music Festival in Taunton on Sunday 13 July, and then again the next week at Later… with Frome College!

The Eden Stell Duo have been coming to Jackdaws to lead their annual Guitar weekend course since Jackdaws’ humble beginnings over 20 years ago. What a pleasure it was to celebrate their 25th anniversary with them in 2014 with this wonderful project. Heading into 2015, their course is an extra day longer than it has been before and has already sold out!

In 2015, the phenomenal Joby Burgess joins us for Year of Percussion and we are delighted to have already filled all the school places. For Year of Percussion, we are extending beyond Frome further into Somerset. More details will be released soon.

Jack’s and Theory Club

Jacks Music Club at JackdawsOur weekly music club has been running for a few years now but for the start of the 2014-15 academic year we added a new twist. Following from the 4:30-6pm music club is a new Theory club, led by Jackdaws team member Joshua Bishop. Each week he has covered a different aspect of music theory with the group using games, drawing and performing. We write music, we play music, we understand music.

If you’re amazed that teenagers would come of their own accord to a music theory club (on a Friday evening no less!), we are happy to reveal this top secret industry tip… provide cake from famous Jackdaws cooks!

Maureen Lehane Vocal Awards

Maureen Lehane Vocal Award Winners 2014The 2014 Maureen Lehane Vocal Award was the most closely contested competition of recent years. Ultimately, 25 year old Counter Tenor Patrick Terry triumphed.

Patrick, originally from Minneapolis, is pursuing his Master’s at the Royal Academy of Music with Michael Chance and is the only Counter Tenor to have won the Maureen Lahane.

We were privileged to have a distinguished judging panel consisting of Dame Felicity Palmer, Andrew Shore and Simon Lepper, chaired by Jackdaws Artistic Director Saffron van Zwanenberg.

Further to these successes, our Summer Production sold out both participants and the final performance, and produced a wonderful show of Animal Farm, with music in the style of Lutoslawski and design inspired by artist Gary Bunt. Our Christmas Concert sold out and was recorded with highlights broadcast on Christmas day by our friends at FromeFM. Gifted and Talented workshops also continued throughout the year, as did Singing Skills and Twilight Sessions.

After a restful holiday, we’re ready to go again. Roll on 2015 – we’ve got so much more to do!

Maureen Lehane Vocal Awards Winners 2014

Maureen Lehane Vocal Awards Winners 2014

On Friday 14 November, eight young finalists sang on the famous Wigmore Hall stage to compete for the Maureen Lehane Vocal Award first prize of £2,500.

Maureen Lehane Vocal Award Winners 2014Winners at the 2014 Maureen Lehane Vocal Awards
1st Prize
Patrick Terry, Counter Tenor (25)
2nd Prize
Henry Neill, Baritone (25)
3rd Prize
Timothy Nelson, Baritone (27)
Audience Prize
Henry Neill, Baritone
Accompanist’s Prize
Rebecca Taylor (28), playing for Patrick Terry

Patrick is the first Counter Tenor to have won at the awards. Each finalist was required to present a 15 minute programme consisting of works by each of the two set composers – Peter Wishart and Handel – as well as two own choice selections. Patrick’s accompanist, Rebecca Taylor, was awarded the Accompanist’s Prize.

Jackdaws Artistic Director, and chair of the Adjudication Panel, Saffron van Zwanenberg said:

It was a wonderful afternoon of singing and playing from all of the finalists. Having chaired the last five finals I believe this year candidates performed to the highest overall standard on the day that we have seen. The panel were in agreement that the standard of singing, presentation and programming was very high and it was a very challenging adjudication as a result. The criteria of judging potential as well as achievement had to be extended to include all facets of performing as well as vocal potential in order for a decision to be made. The panel were unanimous in their decision, naming counter-tenor Patrick Terry as the winner, “He made me want to listen to what he had to say” (Simon Lepper).

The winners were selected by a distinguished panel of judges including Dame Felicity Palmer, Andrew Shore, Simon Lepper.

The awards form part of Jackdaws’ Young Artists Programme, one of the three main areas of Jackdaws’ work. The other two are our Weekend Courses for adult amateur musicians and Jackdaws Education, the outreach programme working with Somerset schools.

These awards would not have been possible without the help of certain individuals and organisations. Jackdaws wishes to thank The Rosemary Budgen Charitable Trust, Cooper Hall, Frome Voice, Geoffrey & Margaret Batten, the Jackdaws Trustees, Jessica Walker, Audrey Hyland, Ink Cap Designs and the Wigmore Hall for their own contributions to this year’s awards.

Maureen Lehane Finalists 2014

Maureen Lehane Finalists 2014

Following two days of preliminary auditions in London on the 25th and 26th October, the finalists of the Maureen Lehane Vocal Awards 2014 are…

wigmore-hallEuros Campbell, Baritone (26)
Accompanied by Susan Holmes (24)

Kate Howden, Mezzo-soprano (25)
Accompanied by Frederick Brown (25)

Claire Lees, Soprano (27)
Accompanied by Juliane Gallant (28)

Heather Lowe, Mezzo-soprano (25)
Official Accompanist – Richard Shaw

Angharad Lyddon, Contralto (26)
Accompanied by Finnegan Downie-Dear (24)

Henry Neill, Baritone (25)
Accompanied by Frederick Brown (25)

Timothy Nelson, Baritone (27)
Accompanied by Ian Tindale (24)

Patrick Terry, Counter Tenor (23)
Accompanied by Rebecca Taylor (28)

Music will of course include songs by Peter Wishart and arias by Handel, in addition to Schubert, Ireland, Wolf, Elgar, Fauré, Mahler, Schumann, Ravel, Tchaikovsky and Schoenberg.

The standard, once again, is exceedingly high. We are in for an exceptional afternoon of music making, with a balanced programme of four male and four female competitors presenting a range of voices.

Tickets are still available from the Wigmore Hall box office.

Jackdaws Season 2014-15

Jackdaws Season 2014-15

JACKDAWS PRESENTS EXCITING NEW PROGRAMME OF EVENTS FOR 14-15 SEASON

Anna Stegmann Photo: Marco Borggreve

New Tutor for 2014-15, Anna Stegmann

Jackdaws Music Education Trust is delighted to present its latest programme of weekend music courses.

The season commences in October 2014 and sees residential courses offered with tutors such as Graham Fitch and Philip Fowke on piano, Evelyn Tubb and Rosa Mannnion on voice as well as ensemble courses and much more. Jackdaws’ series of taster Day Courses also return offering a wonderful introduction to new areas of music making as well as a famous Jackdaws lunch.

Jackdaws is also delighted to welcome some new tutors: Anna Stegmann, contemporary recorder Professor at the Royal Academy is taking a joint course with resident recorder tutor Pamela Thorby; celebrated soprano, Mary Plazas leads the Opera Workshop for singers of all ability; renowned singers Sarah Leonard and Stephen Varcoe are leading an English Song weekend and the extraordinary piano teacher Penelope Roskell is coming to Jackdaws for the first time.

“I am so delighted that such eminent professional musicians continue to support the work we do to include musicians from all backgrounds in accessing the best teaching and being inspired by discovering new repertoire and techniques. Often being a musician can be a solitary experience, so we are thrilled to be able to enable our tutors and our participants in coming together to bring music to life whilst spending time in our picturesque and inspiring location.” – Saffron van Zwanenberg, Jackdaws Artistic Director

Alongside all of these wonderful opportunities Jackdaws will also be continuing to be at the forefront of music education for children and young people in Somerset, championing classical music and musicians and promoting a classical method of teaching and learning to support and enable young people to fulfil their musical aspirations.

To view all Jackdaws courses visit the Calendar

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