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!"

Dewar Awardees at Celtic Connections 2022

We’re delighted to see Dewar Awardees featured in the programme for Celtic Connections 2022, Glasgow’s annual celebration of folk, roots and world music.

Celtic Connections, Glasgow’s annual celebration of folk, roots and world music, returns from 20 January – 6 February 2022. The festival will see over 2,100 musicians from around the world bring the city to life for 18 days, and we’re delighted to see that the programme features many Dewar Awardees. Here’s a round-up…

Violinist and composer Catriona Price will release her debut album, Hert, and perform a launch concert as part of the festival. Initially inspired by George Mackay Brown’s iconic poetry, Hert (Orcadian Scots for ‘heart’) is a folk, jazz, classical and pop-infused suite in eight movements for vocal trio, string quartet, jazz trio, harp and flute. She is also performing at the festival as a member of the band Fara.

Lauren MacColl will perform new work Heal & Harrow at the festival. A collaboration with Rachel Newton, the two award-winning musicians will interweave instrumental and vocal music with spoken word and visual projections to explore the Scottish witch trials’ cultural and political context, as well as modern-day parallels.

Steven Blake will perform with his band RURA, who are known for their electrifying mash-up of pipes, flute, bodhran and guitar. The concert will feature a premiere of music from their upcoming release, a unique collaborative EP with four folk music luminaries.

Louis Abbott is performing as part of the Roaming Roots Revue, 10th anniversary concert, which will showcase contemporary artists’ dynamic dialogue with iconic forebearers.

Calum MacCrimmon is a member of the band Breabach and they will present a live premiere of their new work Dùsgadh at the festival. Produced in collaboration with BAFTA-winning animator Cat Bruce, Dùsgadh is an animation inspired by a folk tale of the sea maiden, set to new music by the band.

Double bassist Duncan Lyall will be performing in Ross Couper’s New Voices concert.

Hamish Napier is performing ‘Nae Plans’ with long term collaborator, Adam Sutherland. Distilling the essence of a traditional session, Nae Plans gigs involve no set-list – the pair simply sit down together, take a deep breath, and go where the music takes them.

Nuala Kennedy is performing as part of Irish music trio, The Alt, who combine flute, whistle, guitars, bouzoukis and three lead vocals in magically harmonious renderings of favourite songs and tunes.

Jenna Reid will be performing with Harris Playfair as part of Shetland 550, Celtic Connections’ anniversary concert series celebrating the distinctive culture of the islands.

 

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."

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."

2020 Awardee: Tiger Mitchell

Tiger Mitchell Actor Musician

"Without [the Dewar Arts Awards], I wouldn’t have been able to finish my degree at Drama School. Thanks to them, dropping out so close to the finish line was no longer an option. Eternally grateful!"

Biography

Growing up in St. Andrews in a Scottish/Thai household, Tiger moved to Edinburgh just before his 18th birthday after securing a place on the BA (Hons) Acting Course at The MGA Academy of Performing Arts.

With passions in physical theatre, voiceover and music, Tiger considers himself an Actor-Musician. In 2018, he set up a musical duo called Not The Musical with his peer, Kat Hamilton Smith, in which they cover songs as well as write original compositions.

After writing his dissertation on Voice Work in Shakespearean Performance, Tiger would love the opportunity to one day act on the stage of The Globe in Much Ado About Nothing or A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

How the Award Helped

Tiger’s Award supported him in his studies at The MGA Academy of Performing Arts.

Tiger Mitchell – Short Film

Tiger Mitchell Actor Musician

"Without [the Dewar Arts Awards], I wouldn’t have been able to finish my degree at Drama School. Thanks to them, dropping out so close to the finish line was no longer an option. Eternally grateful!"

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."

2020 Awardee: Georgina MacDonell Finlayson

georgina macdonell finlayson musician

"I cannot thank Dewar Arts Awards enough for their support in making this venture possible and helping me bridge the gap into life as a professional freelance musician"

Biography

Georgina MacDonell Finlayson is a violinist, composer, sound artist, and community arts practitioner from the North East of Scotland. She enjoys a varied portfolio of composing, performing, and teaching in both classical and traditional styles, and has a particular interest in multi-disciplinary performance.

In 2019, Georgina graduated from The University of Edinburgh with a first class degree in music, studying violin with Ruth Crouch. She frequently gave solo and chamber recitals, often sitting section principal in the university orchestras and in her final year leading Edinburgh University String Orchestra.

Her experience playing with orchestras and ensembles across Scotland and the UK include Nevis Ensemble, National Youth Orchestra of Scotland, NYOS Futures and Camerata, Kellie Consort, Edinburgh Contemporary Music Ensemble, Dundee Symphony Orchestra, and major festivals such as the BBC Proms, Edinburgh International Festival, and the Edinburgh Fringe.

Georgina is also a performer and composer of traditional music, often working with live storytelling and theatre. She has appeared at the Scottish International Storytelling Festival and the Audacious Women Festival.

During her time at Edinburgh, Georgina began to find her own compositional voice, studying with Gareth Williams and Pippa Murphy. As a composer, her works have been played by members of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Red Note Ensemble and Any Enemy, performed at Aberdeen’s soundfestival and broadcast on BBC Radio 3’s New Music Show.

Born and raised in a remote glen, her creative work is often influenced by her experiences of landscape, nature and traditional culture. She is fascinated by the ways in which traditional music and culture are so deeply connected with landscape and language, but also how this connection can be found in the fusion of classical and traditional music across the world.

How the Award Helped

After graduating in 2019, and with thanks to the support of the Dewar Arts Award, Georgina started an MMus in violin performance at the Royal Northern College of Music studying with Cath Yates and Pavel Fischer.

georgina macdonell finlayson musician

"I cannot thank Dewar Arts Awards enough for their support in making this venture possible and helping me bridge the gap into life as a professional freelance musician"