2022 Awardee: Kira Charleton

Kira Charleton

“Receiving an award from the Dewar Trust has honestly been life changing. It has allowed me to complete my final year of Master’s at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama whilst preparing for the next step in my journey. They have allowed a small town girl to keep working towards her big dreams of changing lives through music.”

Biography

Kira Charleton is a soprano singer from Ayrshire, who possesses a fresh sounding voice and the ability to sing both classical music and music theatre. Her talent and hard work earned her a place at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, from where she graduated with a 1st Class Honours Degree in 2021. During her undergraduate studies, Kira was the only female candidate selected to compete and represent the college in the highly regarded, Junior Kathleen Ferrier competition. Following this, she partook in many performances, with the main highlights being selected as a finalist for the E A Redman competition and playing the Mezzo-Soprano role in the Edward Barnes opera “The Hiding Tree”.

Kira regards herself as an enthusiast who thrives in a challenge and when collaborating as part of an ensemble or company. In 2019, she worked alongside choral master, Steven Harris and conductor, Carlo Rizzi as part of RWCMD’s 70th Anniversary Opera Gala celebration. Upon moving to Cardiff, Kira also became a member of the BBC National Chorus of Wales as a choral Scholar. This provided her with a wealth of performance opportunities, such as regularly appearing live on BBC Radio Three and in televised performances as part of the London Proms in the Royal Albert Hall.

Kira is fiercely dedicated to music and believes that her life will continue to be moulded around music. She is a determined individual who has faced the odds and is aware of the hard work required to be successful. Kira believes that to be a singer is to understand the art of storytelling and she has the commitment and abilities to achieve her goals.

Kira has generously received support to study from a Peter and Janet Swinburn Scholarship, a Girdlers’ Charitable Trust Award, and the Dewar Arts Award. In 2021, Kira won the Eileen Prize Price for lieder singing and the Mabel Linwood Prize.

In May 2022, Kira will play the role: Dutchess of Montalbano, in Lennox Berkeley’s comic opera, A Dinner Engagement. As well as this, she will be taking part in the chorus of RWCMD’s spring production of The Marriage of Figaro in the Sharman Theatre, Cardiff. Kira has also been awarded a bursary to perform in the Welsh National Youth Opera’s production of Cheryomushki, taking place in October 2022.

How the Award Helped

Kira’s Dewar Arts Award has enabled her to further her studies at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, where she is pursuing a MMus degree in Performance.

Kira Charleton

“Receiving an award from the Dewar Trust has honestly been life changing. It has allowed me to complete my final year of Master’s at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama whilst preparing for the next step in my journey. They have allowed a small town girl to keep working towards her big dreams of changing lives through music.”

2021 Awardee: Layla Ballard

Layla Ballard

"To receive the Dewar Arts Award has provided me with the opportunity to continue my passion of music and study the BMus Performance course at the Royal College of Music. This will allow me to continue developing my playing whilst being surrounded by other aspiring musicians - I can’t wait to get started!"

Biography

Layla is a cellist from Edinburgh, Scotland. As part of the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain, Layla has played in high profile venues such as the Royal Albert Hall, Konzerthaus in Berlin and Queens Hall in Edinburgh, both as an orchestral player and soloist.

In 2021, she won the annual St Mary’s Music School Director’s Recital Prize Competition and was a finalist of the school’s Lord Clyde Concerto Competition. She won the Leonid Freidman Chamber Music prize as a member of the St Mary’s String Quartet in both 2020 and 2021. Layla has also played in masterclasses with Steven Isserlis, Nicolas Aldstadt, Gautier Capuçon, Leonid Gorokhov, Natasha Brofsky and Hannah Roberts.

In September 2021, she started her studies at the Royal College of Music in London under the tuition of Melissa Phelps.

How the Award Helped

Layla’s Award supports her Bachelor of Music studies at the Royal College of Music (RCM) in London.

Layla Ballard

"To receive the Dewar Arts Award has provided me with the opportunity to continue my passion of music and study the BMus Performance course at the Royal College of Music. This will allow me to continue developing my playing whilst being surrounded by other aspiring musicians - I can’t wait to get started!"

2021 Awardee: Sam Marston

Sam Marston

"This award from the Dewar Arts Fund has been so important in allowing me to study on the MMus Opera course at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. It will allow me to develop artistically and professionally. I’m very excited to undertake my study wholeheartedly.”

Biography

Sam Marston is a tenor studying on the MMus Opera course at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. He had previously completed his MMus Perf at the RCS under the tutelage of Scott Johnson. He has performed in several opera choruses, operatic scenes, and masterclasses.

Sam was part of the on-stage chorus in the ENO revival of Jonathan Dove’s The Day After and was a prisoner in the UK staged premiere of Dead Man Walking by Jake Heggie. He has also featured in the prominent choruses of Street Scene (Weill) and Les Mamelles de Tirésias (Poulenc). In addition to this, he has performed in orchestral choruses of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony and Choral Fantasia with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra.

Sam’s roles within opera scenes have included Tom Rakewell (The Rake’s Progress), Nemorino (L’elisir D’amore) and Ferrando (Così fan tutte). Sam regularly performs in concert settings across the UK as the tenor soloist in works including Handel’s Messiah, Haydn’s Creation and Mozart’s Requiem/Mass in C minor.

How the Award Helped

Sam’s Dewar Award supported him through the MMus Opera Studies course at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.

Sam Marston

"This award from the Dewar Arts Fund has been so important in allowing me to study on the MMus Opera course at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. It will allow me to develop artistically and professionally. I’m very excited to undertake my study wholeheartedly.”

2021 Awardee: Rylan Gleave

Rylan Gleave headshot

"Receiving the Dewar Arts Award meant that I could pause my hospitality job in order to focus on my Masters studies. This additional time was absolutely invaluable, and enabled me to graduate with The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland Composition Prize, and The Craig Armstrong Prize. Reaching my full potential was an incredible feeling, and I am overwhelmingly grateful to Dewar Arts Awards for their support."

Biography

Rylan Gleave is a Leith-based composer and vocalist whose musical practice involves mending the unfeigned gaps in his classical study with the healings of imaginative neuro-/gender-divergent kinship. As a composer/performer, his work has explored the instrumental qualities of his late-breaking trans-masc voice through queer auto-ethnography and autistic-specific notation. His compositions have been praised as ‘haunting’ by The Herald, and ‘rapturous’ by The Scotsman. The Scotsman also named Rylan ‘One to Watch’ in 2021, describing him as ‘one of the brightest lights in Scotland’s new music scene’.

Rylan’s commissions include pieces for the Royal Philharmonic Society’s Composer Programme / Presteigne Festival, Crossing Borders Music / Momenta Dance Company, Shadwell Opera, newEar Chamber Ensemble / KC No Divide, Red Note Ensemble, soundfestival, CRIPtic Festival, and Nevis Ensemble. Other projects have included new notes; better days, for which he worked with Cox’s Bazar Rohingya Refugee Musicians in Bangladesh after receiving a British Council Unlimited Micro Award: and KITH, nominated for Forecast Edition 6, Berlin, where he was mentored by composer/performer Sofia Jernberg.

Rylan studied with Linda Buckley, Oliver Searle, and David Fennessy at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, supported by a Dewar Arts Award, The Kenneth Barrett Scholarship from the RCS Trust, The Glasgow Educational and Marshall Trust, and The John Mathers Trust.

How the Award Helped

Rylan’s Award supported him through an MMus Degree with Dr. Linda Buckley at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, where he won the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland Composition prize.

Rylan Gleave headshot

"Receiving the Dewar Arts Award meant that I could pause my hospitality job in order to focus on my Masters studies. This additional time was absolutely invaluable, and enabled me to graduate with The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland Composition Prize, and The Craig Armstrong Prize. Reaching my full potential was an incredible feeling, and I am overwhelmingly grateful to Dewar Arts Awards for their support."

2018 Awardee: Rachel Neil

Rachel Neil

"I [will] use the award to help fund my tuition fees and the living costs of studying in Manchester at what I feel is a critical time in my music education and overall career"

Biography

Rachel began playing the horn at the age of 12, being taught initially by her parents and also through lessons at school. At the age of 16 Rachel began being taught by David James, former principal trumpet of the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra.

Whilst at school Rachel was awarded the Thomas H Stewart Memorial Award, for the highest placed Brass competitor in the Perform in Perth Festival, for three consecutive years.  After leaving school, she went on to study at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, where she graduated with a first class honours degree in music education. She has since worked as a music teacher in one of Scotland’s highest performing secondary schools.

Rachel was principal horn of the National Youth Brass Band of Scotland for four years under the direction of Richard Evans and also performed with the European Youth Brass Band in 2011 in Montreaux. She also played 2nd horn with the Whitburn Band for three years, becoming a Scottish Champion, before accepting the position of Solo Horn with the Kirkintilloch Band, which she held for four years.

Rachel has worked as a tutor and soloist with bands across Europe, including Germany and Denmark.  She has held the title of Scottish Open Solo Champion as well as the Bram Thomson award for best tenor horn for multiple years.

Alongside performing, Rachel was also the conductor of the Kirkintilloch Youth Band, winning a silver award at the Scottish Youth Band Championships in 2016.
She later gained a place to study a Masters in Performing at the RNCM, and is proud to hold the position of Solo Horn with the world famous Fairey Band.

As well as being a dedicated performer, Rachel is also a qualified secondary school music teacher, registered with the GTCS and with 5 years teaching experience in one of the top schools in Scotland. She has joined Sterling Musical Instruments as a performer and clinician and performs exclusively on a Sterling tenor horn.

How the Award Helped

Rachel’s award supported her in completing her Masters in Music Performing at the Royal Northern College of Music.

Rachel Neil

"I [will] use the award to help fund my tuition fees and the living costs of studying in Manchester at what I feel is a critical time in my music education and overall career"

2018 Awardee: Ceri-Ann Townsend

Ceri-Ann Townsend

“The generosity of the Dewar Arts has been amazing! It means a lot to me and I am so excited to grow as a musician.”

Biography

Ceri-Ann was born in Scotland and has always loved music. She is descended from two musical parents who have performed in rock bands and choirs, and says it’s no wonder she ‘caught the musical bug’.

Ceri-Ann began her musical journey by taking part in dance classes.  When she was three years old, she joined Dance til Dawn and excelled at tap as well as other disciplines. She developed her love of dance as well as singing when she became part of Our Lady of Loretto Youth Players at the age of 10 – an amateur musical theatre company where she played roles such as Oliver, Sandy in Grease and Anita in West Side Story.

Having taught herself piano before taking lessons, Ceri-Ann also took up the trumpet in primary school. She achieved exams in both instruments which continue to be part of her musical repertoire.  Her love of percussion began in her first year at high school and has grown ever since. She has been part of Midlothian percussion ensembles, which played at the Usher Hall in Edinburgh as part of the Midlothian Festival of Music and in Perth for the SBBA percussion competition.  She has also participated in Rotary Young Musician competitions as well as the Edinburgh Youth Orchestra.

Ceri-Ann’s school percussion career included appearances in their productions of Seussical the Musical and Sister Act on the drums, working from professional musical scores. She was also in many concerts, including the school’s first ever Strictly Come Dancing, where she played kit in many different styles and tempos.  One of her proudest achievements has been attaining a place at the Junior Conservatoire in Glasgow in September 2018, specialising in percussion.  She went on to apply for a BA in Music at the RCS from 2020.

How the Award Helped

Ceri-Ann’s Award supported her studies at the Royal Conservatoire of Music in Glasgow and in purchasing a marimba.

Ceri-Ann Townsend

“The generosity of the Dewar Arts has been amazing! It means a lot to me and I am so excited to grow as a musician.”

2019 Awardee: Timothy Edmundson

"Quite simply, without the financial support of the Dewar Awards, I wouldn't be able to undertake my place at the RCS and continue my studies in the opera school. I now look forward to focusing and taking full advantage of the opportunities of the programme without worrying about my finances."

Biography

Timothy is a British baritone who is a graduate of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland (RCS) with a Bachelor of Music (Honours) and a Master of Music. In 2019, Timothy gained a place at the Alexander Gibson Opera School (RCS) to study under the tutelage of Scott Johnson and Duncan Williams. He is grateful for his studies being supported by the Dewar Arts Awards, the Clemence Charitable Trust, the Kathleen Trust, the McGlashan Charitable Trust, the Mario Lanza Educational Foundation and an RCS Trust Scholarship.

Operatic highlights include his role debuts as Macheath Die Dreigroschenoper and Betto di Signa Gianni Schicchi, both for RCS Opera, Papageno Die Zauberflöte for Berlin Opernfest, the title role in The Marriage of Figaro for Edinburgh Studio Opera and Schaunard La Bohème for Edinburgh Grand Opera. For the 2020/21 season, he was scheduled to sing Curio Giulio Cesare, Minskman Flight, Le Chat in L’enfant et les sortilèges with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and the role of Count Almaviva in Le nozze di Figaro with Ensemble Orquesta. However, due to Covid-19, these performances were cancelled.

Scenic roles and covers include Faninal Der Rosenkavalier, 1st Lieutenant Billy Budd and Vater Hänsel und Gretel, Sam Trouble in Tahiti, Valentin Faust, Zurga Les Pêcheurs de Perles, Count Almaviva Le Nozze di Figaro, Malatesta Don Pasqaule, Guglielmo Così fan tutte and the title roles in Don Giovanni and Gianni Schicchi. Chorus work has led to him performing at prestigious events such as the Edinburgh International Festival and the BBC Proms under the baton of conductors including Gustavo Dudamel, Daniel Barenboim and Sir Andrew Davis. Works including Mahler Symphony No.2, Stravinsky The Rake’s Progress, Wagner Götterdämmerung and Scottish Opera’s The Fiery Angel by Prokofiev.

On the concert platform, Timothy is in demand throughout the United Kingdom and Europe with repertoire including Handel ‘Messiah’, Duruflé ‘Requiem’, Fauré ‘Requiem’, Puccini ‘Messa di Gloria’, Mozart ‘Requiem’ and Beethoven ‘Symphony No.9’, which he performed at the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall. As a lay clerk with the Choir of Glasgow Cathedral, he is a frequent soloist, and was soloist with them for Haydn’s ‘The Creation’. He has taken part in masterclasses with Patricia MacMahon, Philip Moll, Gidon Saks, Nicky Spence and Christopher Purves.

How the Award Helped

Timothy’s Award enabled him to study at the Alexander Gibson Opera School (RCS) under the tutelage of Scott Johnson and Duncan Williams.

Since the Award

In the 2020/21 season, Timothy became a member of the ‘Bridging the Gap’ scheme with the Dunedin Consort.

Timothy Edmundson performs Papageno’s Suicide Aria in Die Zauberflöte. Recorded live at OpernFest 2018 with Berlin Opera Academy.

"Quite simply, without the financial support of the Dewar Awards, I wouldn't be able to undertake my place at the RCS and continue my studies in the opera school. I now look forward to focusing and taking full advantage of the opportunities of the programme without worrying about my finances."

2019 Awardee: Mari-Anne Green

“Without the incredible support I have had from [the Dewar Awards], I would never have been able to take up my place on my dream course at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London. I am enjoying and making the most of every moment there and the fact that Dewar have decided to support me inspires me to push to do the best I possibly can with this amazing opportunity.”

Biography

Mari Green is a jazz vocalist from Glasgow, who is influenced by a wide range of artists and styles of music. She fell in love with jazz at 13, on discovering her gran’s old cassette tapes and is heavily influenced by vocal improvisers such as

Mari became involved with the Strathclyde Youth Jazz Orchestra and was mentored and taught by leading UK jazz pianist and Dewar Arts Awardee, Alan Benzie, as well as jazz vocalist Stephen Duffy. In 2018 she joined the National Youth Jazz Orchestra of Scotland.

Mari is also a talented songwriter and composer. Her own work is inspired not only by jazz, but also other styles such as RnB and soul music. In 2016, she was selected to perform her original music at the Music For Youth Proms at the Royal Albert Hall in London. She went on to successfully gain a place to study at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London.

How the Award Helped

Mari’s Award supported her studies at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.

“Without the incredible support I have had from [the Dewar Awards], I would never have been able to take up my place on my dream course at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London. I am enjoying and making the most of every moment there and the fact that Dewar have decided to support me inspires me to push to do the best I possibly can with this amazing opportunity.”

2020 Awardee: Lea Shaw

Lea Shaw Opera Singer

"Without the support of the Dewar Arts Awards I simply would not have been able to complete my degree. I am forever grateful...This last year has opened up so many doors and opportunities for me!"

Biography

Lea Shaw is an award-winning Mezzo-soprano from the Rocky Mountains of Denver, Colorado.

An accomplished soloist in concert, opera and improvisation, she has performed both locally and worldwide. Her repertoire spans widely, ranging from Handel’s ‘Messiah’, Bach’s ‘St. John Passion’, and the works of Britten, Handel, Bernstein, Purcell, Strauss, to the works of Vaughan Williams, Turnage, Ravel, Macmillan, Schoenberg’s ‘Pierrot Lunaire’ and Maxwell Davies’ ‘The Medium’.

In her solo pursuits, Lea is passionate about the ways in which music can instigate social change and start conversations about the problems we face in contemporary life.  She collaborates regularly with living composers and artists to create installations and new works.

Lea received a first class BMus with honours and a Masters of Music in Vocal Performance at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, before going on to study at the RCS’ Alexander Gibson Opera School.

How the Award Helped

Lea’s Award contributed to her final year of tuition at the Alexander Gibson Opera School at the RCS.

Lea Shaw Performing

Lea Shaw Performing

Lea Shaw Opera Singer

"Without the support of the Dewar Arts Awards I simply would not have been able to complete my degree. I am forever grateful...This last year has opened up so many doors and opportunities for me!"

2020 Awardee: Colum Donovan-Paterson

Colum Donovan-Paterson vocalist

"I am extremely grateful to the Dewar Arts Awards for making it possible to begin my Masters at the RCS. This has allowed me to pursue crucial further training which will help me realise my dream to be a professional opera singer."

Biography

Born and raised in Glasgow, Colum is a vocalist who is passionate about opera and Scots song. It is his dream to share these passions with audiences everywhere.

Colum’s opera appearances include chorus work in Donizetti’s ‘L’Elisir D’Amore‘ (New Generation Festival, Florence) and Wagner’s ‘Götterdämmerung‘ with Sir Andrew Davis and the RSNO, Kurt Weill’s ‘Street Scene‘ at RCS and Prokofiev’s ‘The Fiery Angel’ in a co-production with Scottish Opera. He played the principal role of The Boy in Kurt Weill’s ‘Der Jasager’ with Scottish Opera Connect and also appears in the Netflix Originals feature film ‘Outlaw King‘ in a singing role.

Choral music is very important to Colum. In 2019, he was selected for the prestigious Genesis Sixteen programme, performing alongside The Sixteen in the world premiere of Sir James MacMillan’s 5th Symphony at The Usher Hall during the Edinburgh International Festival. Colum was also selected for the inaugural Dunedin Consort Young Artist scheme and sang on their ‘Golden Age’ tour and at the Edinburgh Fringe.

Colum was Highly Commended at the prestigious Governors’ Recital Prize 2020, received third place in the Hugh S Roberton Prize, and was Highly Commended in the Leonie Kayser Prize for Singing. In 2020 Colum was one of seven students selected for the RCS Associate Artist scheme.

How the Award Helped

Colum’s Award made it possible to study a Master’s degree at the RCS.

Colum Donovan-Paterson vocalist

"I am extremely grateful to the Dewar Arts Awards for making it possible to begin my Masters at the RCS. This has allowed me to pursue crucial further training which will help me realise my dream to be a professional opera singer."