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.

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: Myrna Tennant

myrna tennant singer

"I feel incredibly honoured and grateful to be a recipient of the Dewar Arts Awards. I can say with certainty that I would not have been able to pursue my Artist Masters studies if it had not been for the generous support I received. Thank you!"

Biography

Born in the Netherlands, Myrna started music lessons at a young age, quickly developing a passion for singing. She completed her undergraduate studies at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland under the tutelage of Helen Lawson, graduating with a Bachelor with Honours of the First Class, after which she spent two years working as a freelance performer and studying on a part-time basis with Wilma MacDougall.

Myrna has performed across the UK in venues like The Bridgewater Hall and Glasgow City Halls. She regularly performs as a solo recitalist and has been the soloist in various oratorios including Haydn’s Missa Sancti Nicolai, Mozart’s Requiem, and Handel’s Messiah. She has also been a soloist in works including Britten’s Rejoice in the Lamb and Vaughan Williams’ Serenade to Music. Opera highlights include the title role in Massenet’s Cendrillon, Galatea (Acis and Galatea), Sandman (Hansel and Gretel), and Héro (Béatrice et Bénédict, scenes).

A keen small ensemble singer, Myrna has sung regularly with RCS Voices, with whom she has recorded for the RSNO and has performed in the St Magnus International Festival, the Aberdeen International Youth Festival, and the Edinburgh Fringe. She is proud to be an alumnus of the Genesis Sixteen 2017/18 programme with Harry Christophers. Myrna has also been an opera chorus member for the RCS, Blackbird Opera, and an RCS/Scottish Opera collaboration.

Myrna has won prizes including the Keldwyth Award, the AESS Courtney Kenny Award, and the Norma Greig French Song Prize, and she was a semi-finalist in the prestigious Handel Singing Competition in 2019. She has participated in courses including British Youth Opera, the Art of Song, and Samling Academy, and has had the benefit of working with outstanding vocal coaches including Patricia McMahon, Roderick Williams, Iain Burnside, Julia Lynch, and Joan Rodgers.

How the Award Helped

Myrna’s Dewar Arts Award helped her on to the Artist Masters programme at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London.

myrna tennant singer

"I feel incredibly honoured and grateful to be a recipient of the Dewar Arts Awards. I can say with certainty that I would not have been able to pursue my Artist Masters studies if it had not been for the generous support I received. Thank you!"

2020 Awardee: Roisin Lavery

"I am so honoured to be chosen as a Dewar Artist. This award has allowed me to begin my Masters degree in Vocal Performance at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. It has also given me an incredible personal and professional lift as I commence my career as a young opera singer."

Biography

Rosie Lavery is a ‘Ginger Soprano’, described by her tutor Clare Shearer at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland as ‘innately musical’ with ‘a very special soprano voice that has huge potential’.

Rosie is a Britten-Pears Young Artist 2020, has won the prestigious Governor’s Recital Prize at RCS and was Highly Commended (2nd Place) in the French Song Competition. She has performed recital programmes around Scotland, in venues such as The House of an Art Lover  and Institut Français. She has also completed a residency at the Centre for Contemporary Arts (CCA) in Glasgow as one of two singers in a live art installation names An Atmosphere of Joyful Contemplation’.

Following her love of contemporary music, Rosie was a soloist during RCS Plug Festival, premiering a piece by Graeme Law titled ‘This May be for the best’. She has performed all over Europe, including performances of Donizetti’s L’elisir d’amore’ in the Palazzo Corsini in Florence. She has been the soprano soloist with many choirs in Glasgow, including RCS Voices, Academy of Sacred Music and Glasgow Cathedral Choir.

Rosie has been involved in various projects with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, including a radio recording of Bartok’s Der Wünderbar Mandarin’. She was selected for the Associate Artist Programme at RCS, working with Karen Cargill in coachings, masterclasses and residencies.

Rosie is also the Musical Director for Sounds International Choir, and the Assistant Musical Director of the St Andrew’s Cathedral Choir. Her ambition is to perform throughout the world.

How the Award Helped

Rosie’s Award enabled her to study a Masters Degree at the RCS with her respected tutor Clare Shearer.

"I am so honoured to be chosen as a Dewar Artist. This award has allowed me to begin my Masters degree in Vocal Performance at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. It has also given me an incredible personal and professional lift as I commence my career as a young opera singer."

2019 Awardee: Liam Bonthrone

"I enjoy using my voice not only through performance, but through enriching the lives of others"

Biography

Scottish tenor Liam Bonthrone was born in Perth, where he attended the High School and received free musical tuition as a member of the Perth Jambouree Singers. He credits the choir’s director Edna Auld for his musical inspiration, and his first singing teacher Fiona Brownsmith for nurturing his voice and musical ear from the age of 11.

A community-based project, the choir performed almost every weekend at local events. Liam was encouraged to develop his stage presence, his capacity as compere, and his ability to accompany other singers on piano. As Liam’s voice changed from treble to young tenor, Edna and Fiona guided Liam’s development.  He went on to successfully audition for the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland’s undergraduate voice programme.

Whilst at the Conservatoire, Liam studied with Scott Johnson and won the Hugh S. Roberton Prize for Scottish Singing, the Leonie Kayser Prize and the Elgar/Spedding Lieder Duo Prize. He continued on to postgraduate study at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama, under the tutelage of Robert Dean and Adrian Thompson, and won First Prize in the GSMD English Song Competition.

As an Alvarez Young Artist in the Garsington Opera 2019 Season, Liam performed in the choruses of Don Giovanni and as an ensemble soloist in Monteverdi Vespers of 1610.  In September 2019, he made his role debut as Don Ramiro in La Cenerentola with British Youth Opera and won both the Dame Hilda Bracket Prize from Sadler’s Wells and the Basil A. Turner Opera Award for his performances.

Liam has performed in masterclasses led by Sir Willard White, Malcolm Martineau, Ann Murray, John Treleaven, John Mark Ainsley and Roger Vignoles. On the concert platform, solo performances have included Handel Messiah and Samson, Mendelssohn Elijah, Mozart Requiem and Mass in C minor, Haydn The Creation, Bach St John Passion, Finzi For St. Cecilia and the Scottish premiere of Joubert’s St. Mark Passion. He also appeared in various roles in the ensemble for Bernstein’s Candide, with the London Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Marin Alsop, in the Barbican Centre.

Liam is in high demand as a recitalist; in 2019, he performed alongside the Prince Consort at the Wigmore Hall, and in Graham Johnson’s Song Guild at Milton Court. He was a featured soloist in the April 2019 BBC Boulanger sisters’ ‘Total Immersion’ weekend, later broadcast on BBC Radio 3, and he frequently performs in collaboration with pianist Alasdair Hogarth for Classic FM.

Highlights of the 2019/2020 season include an appearance in a concert celebrating the work of composer Julian Philips, Handel’s Samson at Haddo House, and performing his International debut as Bruno in Bellini’s I Puritani with the Rotterdam Operkoor, in De Doelen.

How the Award Helped

Liam received a Dewar Arts Award to support his postgraduate studies at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.

Since the Award

Update 2020:

In February 2020, Liam sang Russian songs as part of an exchange project at the Mariinsky Theatre, in St Petersburg. He also gained the opportunity to undertake training as a Samling Young Artist.

Alongside a classical singing career, Liam appears regularly in theatres across the UK as part of ‘The Two Highland Lads’, a Scottish variety performing duo, with baritone Kenneth Maciver (also a member of Jambouree), Leonard Brown and his All-Star Band. He has since returned to his hometown of Perth to assist Edna Auld in the training of young voices in the choir, and to perform in charity fundraising concerts.

From September 2020, Liam will study at the Royal Academy Opera School, as a recipient of a Bicentenary Scholarship.

"I enjoy using my voice not only through performance, but through enriching the lives of others"

2018 Awardee: Colin Murray

"Without the award I received from the Dewar Arts Awards it would not have been possible to complete my studies. Thanks to their incredible generosity, I am now able to move forward into life as a professional singer."

Biography

Colin Murray discovered singing at a young age, taking part in the National Boys Choir of Scotland before graduating to the National Youth Choir of Scotland. Through NYCoS, Colin had the privilege of singing in some of Europe’s finest concert venues whilst he was still a teenager. These experiences, alongside the top musicianship training offered, gave him the passion and the opportunity to pursue singing further by gaining entry to the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.

Colin’s operatic engagements include the role of ‘Harry Easter’ in The RCS production of Kurt Weill’s ‘Street Scene’, the title role in Victor Ullman’s ‘Der Kaiser von Atlantis’ and covering the role of ‘Belcore’ at the inaugural New Generation Festival in Florence. In his time at the RCS he performed several roles, including ‘Le Roi Mark’ in a rare staged performance of Frank Martin’s ‘Le Vin Herbe’, ‘Don Alfonso’ in Mozart’s ‘Cosi Fan Tutte’ and ‘Father’ in Humperdinck’s ‘Hansel und Gretel’ in a performance opening the 2016 Saint Magnus Festival on Orkney. Outside the RCS, Colin is a founding member of the company Raucous Rossini, and has performed the roles of ‘Blansac’ in ‘La Scala di seta’ touring Britain and Italy.

Colin is an accomplished concert soloist and award-winning ensemble singer. He works regularly with many of Scotland’s biggest choral societies and recent high-profile appearances have included Elgar’s ‘Dream of Gerontius’ and Walton’s ‘Belshazzar’s Feast’ at Glasgow’s City Halls.  He is passionate about ensemble singing and in 2017 won the Governor’s Recital Prize for Chamber Music at the Royal Conservatoire, part of the first vocal ensemble ever to do so. Colin is a founding member of the ‘RCS Voices’ and a regular choral scholar with the choir of Paisley Abbey.

How the Award Helped

Colin’s award supported him in completing his postgraduate studies at the Alexander Gibson Opera School at the Royal Conservatorie of Scotland, where he studied with Scott Johnson.

"Without the award I received from the Dewar Arts Awards it would not have been possible to complete my studies. Thanks to their incredible generosity, I am now able to move forward into life as a professional singer."

2018 Awardee: Grace Wain

"I am so very thankful for my Dewar Award. It would have been impossible for me to participate in the masterclasses without financial help and I'm incredibly grateful for the generous support that I have received."

Biography

Grace is originally from Lincolnshire and went on to study at The Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama with Suzanne Murphy.  She graduated in 2014 with an MA in Opera Performance and a 1st Class BMus (Hons).  During her time at RWCMD she has appeared in concerts with the College Chorus and Symphony Orchestra as well as lunchtime recitals as a chorus member and as a soloist.  After moving to Scotland in 2014, Grace studied with Patricia MacMahon.

Grace’s operatic work includes; Zweite Dame/Zweite Knabe in Die Zauberflöte (Escales Lyriques), Dryade (Cover) in Ariadne auf Naxos (Scottish Opera),La Ciesca in Gianni Schicchi (Les Azuriales), 2nd Bridesmaid (Cover)/Chorus in Le Nozze di Figaro and Chorus in Eugene Onegin, Aleko/Francesca da RiminiLa Traviata, IolantaLa bohèmeLe VilliL’amico FritzPelléas et MélisandeThe MikadoRusalkaCarmen and Madama Butterfly (all Scottish Opera). Chorus in HMS Pinafore, Princess Ida, The Mikado and The Pirates of Penzance (all The National Gilbert and Sullivan Opera Company), Jennifer/The Creator in My Perfect World (Welsh National Opera Outreach Workshop), 2nd Lady in The Magic Flute (RWCMD), Stewardess (Cover) in Flight (RWCMD), Bianca and Auntie in Britten’s Women (RWCMD at The Bath International Music Festival), Bianca in The Rape of Lucretia (RWCMD), Chorus in The Bartered Bride and Chorus in Le Nozze di Figaro (both British Youth Opera).

In scenes, she has also sung: Componist in Ariadne auf Naxos (with orchestra), Rosina in Il barbiere di SivigliaDorabella in Così fan tutteCarmenIdamante in IdomeneoCendrillon (with orchestra), Meg in FalstaffCharlotte in Werther (with orchestra) (all RWCMD), and Hansel (Opera’r Ddraig).

Grace’s oratorio performances include: Handel Messiah, Haydn Stabat Mater, Mozart Regina Coeli KV 267Rutter Feel the Spirit, Mozart Requiem, Mozart Coronation Mass, Britten Ceremony of Carols, Vivaldi Gloria and Magnificat and Pergolesi Stabat Mater.

Grace was a finalist in Ljuba Welitsch International Vocal Compeition 2017, Les Azuriales competition 2016, semi-finalist in The Mozart Competition 2013, a finalist in The Thelma King Award 2013 and 2014, and she was chosen to compete in the prestigious Kathleen Ferrier Bursary Award in 2009. Additional engagements include: Prince Charmant in Cendrillon (Fife Opera) and Chorus in Edgar (Scottish Opera).

How the Award Helped

In 2018, Grace was chosen to participate in the residential Song Masterclass with Malcolm Martineau at Crear Space to Create. Her Dewar Arts Award enabled her to take up this opportunity.

Grace writes; “The masterclasses have truly been a turning point for me, as they gave me a safe environment to explore and discover different repertoire whilst finding new confidence in myself and in what I have to offer as an artist.”

"I am so very thankful for my Dewar Award. It would have been impossible for me to participate in the masterclasses without financial help and I'm incredibly grateful for the generous support that I have received."

2018 Awardee: Stephanie Maitland

"I cannot thank the Dewar Arts Awards enough for their generous funding. Without their support, I would be unable to attend this wonderful institution and I am so grateful...for the chance to further my studies."

Biography

Stephanie has always had a passion for singing. She studied her undergraduate degree at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland on a scholarship where she achieved an Honours Degree of the First Class. During her time there, she participated in a masterclass with Meribeth Bunch Dayme, received coaching from Rachel Nicholls and partook in many poignant choral engagements. She sang the role of Hermia in Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream in the RCS Opera Scenes and was a member of the chorus of the Conservatoire’s production of Die Fledermaus in May of 2017.

Stephanie was part of the launch of the Piccalilli Opera Company; a new budding opera company based in the Yorkshire area. She has also worked closely with the Charles Rennie Mackintosh Society by putting on various concerts in the Charles Rennie Mackintosh church and the House for an Art Lover.

Over the summer of 2017, she joined Opera Bohemia on their sell-out tour around Scotland as a member of the chorus in their production of Bizet’s The Pearl Fishers. She also attended her second British Youth Opera summer workshop as well as attending the Oxenfoord International Summer School.

Having gained a scholarship to study at the Royal Northern College of Music, Stephanie sang the role of Mercedes in Bizet’s Carmen in 40minutes, participated in a weekend residency with Opera North working with Nicholas Kok and Tim Albery, and sang in a masterclass with Andrew Shore. She was also involved in the first recording of Cellier’s Dorothy with Richard Bonynge and Victorian Opera Northwest singing the role of Phyllis (released in Febuary 2019 by NAXOS).

Stephanie was also a finalist in the Frederick Cox Award and has sang in various charity concerts and opera galas throughout the year. She portrayed the Sandman in RNCM’s spring production of Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel, conducted by Anthony Kraus and directed by Stephen Medcalf. She was also involved in Clonter Opera’s Spring Opera Showcase singing a variety of repetoire and working with Michael McCaffery and Anthony Legge.

In summer 2018, Stephanie sang with Buxton International Festival, singing chorus in Mozart’s Idomeneo, conducted by Nicholas Kok and directed by Stephen Medcalf, and singing chorus and covering the role of Zuma in Verdi’s Alzira, conducted by Stephen Barlow and directed by Elijah Moshinsky. Additional engagements include singing the roles of La Principessa in Suor Angelica and Zita in Gianni Schicchi in RNCM’s Puccini double bill, directed by Robert Chevara and conducted by Marin Andre.

Stephanie is very grateful to be supported by The Sir James Caird’s Travelling Scholarship Trust and the Dewar Arts Awards.

How the Award Helped

Stephanie’s Award supported her in studying on the Masters in Vocal Performance course the Royal Northern College of Music.

"I cannot thank the Dewar Arts Awards enough for their generous funding. Without their support, I would be unable to attend this wonderful institution and I am so grateful...for the chance to further my studies."

2018 Awardee: Michael Gibson

"Thanks to the support of the Dewar Arts Awards, I am able to not only to complete my studies, but also begin preparing and planning the next steps in my development as a professional singer."

Biography

Glasgow born tenor, Michael Gibson, started singing at the age of 14 after much encouragement from his music teachers at Boclair Academy. It was due to their influence that Michael decided initially to follow a career as a music teacher, and went on to omplete a Bachelor of Education in Music at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, graduating in 2015.

During his time at RCS, Michael studied with both Gordon Wilson and Alan Watt. After completing his probationary teaching year in 2016, Michael decided to pursue his passion for performing. He gained a place to study for a Masters at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, and continued on to an Advanced Postgraduate Diploma with Peter Alexander Wilson.

Michael’s operatic roles include Rinuccio (Gianni Schicchi) and Le Prince Charmant (Cendrillon) at the RNCM and Tamino (Die Zauberflöte) in a semi-staged production at Shrewsbury School. In opera scenes he has performed the roles of Jaquino (Fidelio), Fenton (Falstaff), Lyonel (Martha), Tom Rakewell (The Rake’s Progress), Don Ottavio (Don Giovanni) and Fritz (L’amico Fritz). Michael was also a member of Buxton International Opera’s Young Artist Programme in 2018.

Michael’s concert engagements include Finzi Dies Natalis with the Lindsay Chamber Orchestra and the Mozart Requiem with Cantores Salicium in Bolton Abbey, Yorkshire. He regularly performs at gala concerts, both in the UK and in Europe.

In 2019, Michael joins the chorus of Glyndebourne opera festival for their productions of Il barbiere di Siviglia and La damnation de Faust. Following this, he commences further studies at the Royal College of Music’s opera school in London.

How the Award Helped

Michael’s Dewar Award supported him in completing his Advanced Postgraduate Diploma at the Royal Northern College of Music.

"Thanks to the support of the Dewar Arts Awards, I am able to not only to complete my studies, but also begin preparing and planning the next steps in my development as a professional singer."

2017 Awardee: Emily Norris

"The Dewar Arts Awards' incredible generosity and support have opened up a world of opportunity to me and will allow me to realise my full potential and aspiration of becoming a professional singer. Thank you!"

Biography

Born in the Scottish Borders, Emily is a third-generation musician who began singing as a teenager under the tutelage of Patricia MacMahon.

As a youngster, Emily discovered her affinity with opera as it merges her two greatest passions – music and drama – fuelling her ambition to enter a career as a professional vocalist with the ultimate goal of becoming an operatic soprano. Whilst still at school and preparing for her undergraduate studies, she was winner of the regional final of the Rotary Young Vocalist of the Year Competition and a member of the Scottish Chamber Choir.

In 2013, Emily began her Bachelor of Music with Honours degree at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland where she was taught by Helen Lawson. During her undergraduate studies, Emily regularly sang in live performances, commercial recordings, radio broadcasts, fully-staged operatic productions and opera scenes.

She has performed as a soloist and chorus member for a number of vocal ensembles including Les Sirènes Female Chamber Choir (BBC Choir of the Year 2012), the RSNO Chorus and the RCS Voices in major venues including Edinburgh’s Usher Hall and Glasgow’s Royal Concert Hall. She has performed as a chorus member in the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland’s latest production of Die Fledermaus and sung roles including Susanna from Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro and Carolina from Cimarosa’s Il matriomonio segreto.

Emily’s other musical interests include Kodály Musicianship – a philosophy that focuses on the use of the voice. Emily discovered the value of this educational method when she was selected to take part in an Erasmus Exchange in the Netherlands and plans to complete her Kodály training as part of her Master of Music degree at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.

How the Award Helped

Emily’s Award helped to fund her Master of Music (Vocal Studies) degree at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. This two-year course offers world-class tuition, performance opportunities in major venues, and opportunity to further develop vocal technique.

Performing in Die Fledermaus at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland

"The Dewar Arts Awards' incredible generosity and support have opened up a world of opportunity to me and will allow me to realise my full potential and aspiration of becoming a professional singer. Thank you!"