Wednesday 8 May 2019

Guildhall School Gold Medal 2019

Pianist Joon Yoon receiving the Guildhall School Gold Medal in 2018
Pianist Joon Yoon receiving the Guildhall School Gold Medal in 2018
Friday (10 May 2019) is the final of the Guildhall School of Music and Drama's Gold Medal at the Barbican Hall. The competition was founded in 1915 and since 1950 has been open to singers and instrumentalists in alternate years. This year four singers are competing, Ema Nikolovska (mezzo-soprano), William Thomas (bass), Samantha Clarke (soprano) and James Newby (baritone). (James Newby sang Butterworth and my song cycle Winter Journey at Conway Hall Sunday Concerts last Sunday, see my article). On Friday, each singer will perform a short programme with piano (accompanists Dylan Perez, Michael Pandya and Panaretos Kyriatzidis), followed in the second half with a programme of arias accompanied by Guildhall Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Richard Farnes. This year's judges include Sir Bryn Terfel, a Guildhall School alumnus and winner of the Gold Medal in 1986.

The singers' programmes include a varied range of music, songs and arias by Purcell, Schubert, Wolf, Medtner, Rodrigo, Gounod, Britten, Mahler and Mozart performed by Ema Nikolovska; Wolf, Poulenc, Loewe, Rossini, Mussorgsky and Rachmaninov performed by William Thomas; Strauss, Poulenc, Copland, Rachmaninov, Mozart, Puccini and Stravinsky performed by Samantha Clarke; and Warlock, Liszt, Duparc, Butterworth, Handel, Mahler and Mascagni performed by James Newby.

Recent winners of the Gold Medal have included joint 2015 winners soprano Jennifer Witton and mezzo-soprano Marta Fontanals-Simmons (who took the title role in Gavin Higgins' The Monstrous Child, see my review), 2016 winner harpist Oliver Wass (who is performing in the premier of my opera The Gardeners on 18 June 2019 at Conway Hall), 2017 winner baritone Josep-Ramon Olivé and 2018 winner pianist Joon Yoon.

Full details from the Guildhall School website.

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