The Kathleen Ferrier Memorial Scholarship Fund was founded in 1953 in memory of the much-loved contralto from Lancashire who died at the tragically young age of 41 and whose career as a singer lasted just 12 years. An appeal was launched by Sir John Barbirolli, Roy Henderson, Gerald Moore, Sir Malcolm Sargent and Hamish Hamilton and the ball was started rolling with the proceeds from a book “Kathleen Ferrier – a Memoir” put together by some of her friends and colleagues. The purpose of the fund was to make an annual award to a young British singer sufficient to cover the cost of a year’s study and general support. The first competition was held in 1956 and it has continued to provide a few outstandingly talented young singers each year since then with the opportunity of making a start in what is a most difficult and demanding career.
Since that first competition there have been some changes made and the competition now offers three prizes, a 1st prize of £12,500, a 2nd prize of £6,000 and a Song Prize of £5,000, sponsored in perpetuity by Mark & Liza Loveday. There is also an Accompanist’s Award provided by the Help Musicians UK in memory of Arthur & Gwyneth Harrison. The competition is open to singers of any nationality who have completed at least one year of study in the UK or Eire; they must be aged 28 or under at the time of the final audition. Pianists competition for the accompanist’s award must also be 28 or under.
From the beginning the Fund was supported by Kathleen’s many friends and admirers from around the world. There have been donations, covenants and legacies which have helped raise and maintain the prizes at their current level and in particular in the past there were regular donations from the RVW Trust, from Decca and from Mrs. Lise Rueff Seligman, an enthusiastic supporter until her death in 2003. More recently the Fund has been boosted by contributions from the Musicians Benevolent Fund; from Mark & Liza Loveday who have provided funding for the Song Prize in perpetuity; from individual Trustees and supporters and from the Ian Smith of Stornoway Legacy who have sponsored both the Masterclasses, started in 2009, and Ferrier events north of the border.
If you would like to contribute to the Fund in any way – sponsoring a recital by a Ferrier winner, sponsoring literature for the competition, advertising in the programme or by making a donation or legacy directly to the Fund, please contact Vicky Yannoula, Administrator of the Ferrier Awards.
Sir Thomas Allen CBE Valerie Beale (Chairman)
Sir Vernon Ellis
Sir Nicholas Goodison
Dr. Linda Hirst
Graham Johnson OBE
Yvonne Kenny AM
Joan Rodgers CBE
Martin B. M. Williams
Administrator: Vicky Yannoula