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.
The initial purpose of the Fund, known as the Kathleen Ferrier Awards, 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 outstanding talented young singers each year since then with the opportunity of making a start in what is a most difficult and demanding career.
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 and Liza Loveday. There is also an Accompanist’s Prize of £5,000 provided by Help Musicians in memory of Arthur and Gwyneth Harrison.
The competition is now usually open to singers of any nationality who have completed at least one year of study in the UK or the Republic of Ireland: they must be aged 28 or under at the time of the final of the competition. Pianists competing for the Accompanist’s Prize must also be 28 or under. For 2021 these rules have been adjusted slightly to make allowances for change of circumstances due to Covid-19.
Sir Thomas Allen CBE
Valerie Beale (Chairman)
Dr Linda Hirst
Graham Johnson OBE
Yvonne Kenny AM
Joan Rodgers CBE
Martin B M Williams