The prize winners of the 67th Kathleen Ferrier Awards were announced at the end of the final round on Friday 22nd April 2022, after a competition which saw the semi-finalists and finalists perform live back at Wigmore Hall following two years of videoed competitions in 2020 and 2021 because of the pandemic.
The first prize of £12,500 was awarded to Esme Bronwen-Smith.
Mezzo-soprano Esme Bronwen-Smith is currently studying with Rosa Mannion and graduated with a Master’s from the RCM where she won both the 2020 Lieder and 2021 Lies Askonas competitions. She has sung for festivals such as Oxford Lieder and Leeds Lieder where she won the 2021 Leeds Lieder Young Artist/Schubert Song Prize. She has performed roles such as Cherubino, Le nozze di Figaro (HGO) Unulfo, Rodelinda (RCM Opera), Sāvitri (Barnes Music Festival), The Devil, The Soldier’s Tale (RCM and CSB). Future engagements include Glyndebourne Festival Chorus 2022 and the role of Nerone in ETO’s production of Agrippina this Autumn.
The second prize of £6,000 was awarded to Emma Roberts, who also won the Loveday Song Prize for her performance of Debussy’s Colloque sentimental.
Emma Roberts attends the RCM International Opera Studio. A Stephen Catto Memorial scholar, she is supported by the Countess of Munster Trust, the Josephine Baker Trust and in 2021 was awarded the Mendelssohn Boise Scholarship. Emma studies with Brindley Sherratt and Simon Lepper. Operatic work includes: Orfeo (Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice/Barefoot Opera), Zanetto (Zanetto/Barefoot Opera); Eduige (Rodelinda/RCM Opera Studio); Lola (Cavalleria rusticana/The Opera Makers), Third Lady (Die Zauberflöte/RCM Opera Studio). Upcoming – Hänsel (RCM) and Minsk Woman (Dove’s Flight/RCM). Concert highlights: young artist for Iain Burnside’s Ludlow English Song Festival, mezzo solo in Alexander Nevsky (RCM symphony); Turnage dramatic song cycle Twice Through the Heart (Turnage residency); Verdi Requiem (Leith Hill Musical Festival), Bach Christmas Oratorio (Brighton Orpheus Choral Society), Messiah (Buckingham Choral Society).
The Help Musicians Accompanist Prize was awarded to Avishka Edirisinghe.
British-Sri Lankan pianist Avishka Edirisinghe is a first-year student at the Royal College of Music doing a first study in Collaborative Piano under the tutelage of Nigel Clayton, Simon Lepper and Roger Vignoles and a second study in Conducting with Howard Williams. Avishka’s studies are being generously supported by the RCM where he is a Robert Turnbull Piano Foundation Scholar and by Help Musicians, where he is the Henry Richardson Award holder.
The jury this year was chaired by Sir Brian McMaster, former Managing Director of Welsh National Opera and then Director of the Edinburgh International Festival, each appointment lasting fifteen years. He was joined by the distinguished sopranos, Dame Josephine Barstow and Dame Anne Evans, the tenor Ben Johnson, who himself won the Ferrier competition in 2008, and the founder and artistic director of the Oxford Lieder Festival, the pianist Sholto Kynoch. We are immensely grateful to all the judges for the expertise and experience they have brought to the jury room in this competition.
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