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!"

2015 Awardee: Klaudia Korzeniewska

This award has made my plans and dreams possible to achieve. I would not be able to continue my studies and certainly could not give my full potential and focus to singing if not for this generous award...Thank you for giving me your support and belief.

Biography

Klaudia begun her musical education at the National Music School in Poland studying flute. After moving to the Scotland she entered the Royal Conservatoire, studying voice with Helen Lawson. During her undergraduate studies she had the opportunity to collaborate with the Scottish Opera on projects that captured her imagination, including Janacek’s Cunning Little Vixen and Monteverdi’s L’Incoronazione di Poppea.

Klaudia’s childhood dream was to sing and act, and since discovering a love of opera she found this to be the perfect combination of her two passions. She set out to gain as much experience as possible in the operatic environment, and to study the profession at the highest level.

In 2014, Klaudia went on to gain a place on the Masters in Opera, under tutelage of Clare Shearer. Klaudia has played key roles in numerous high profile performances, and has finely developed her soprano voice. She was highly commended in the Frank Spedding Lieder competition; gained the Hugh S Roberton Prize for Scottish Singing, and won the Tony and Tania Webster Russian Song Competition 2015.

How the Award Helped

Klaudia received a Dewar Award to support her masters studies at the RCS, allowing her to pursue her love of opera and achieve her full potential as a soprano.

This award has made my plans and dreams possible to achieve. I would not be able to continue my studies and certainly could not give my full potential and focus to singing if not for this generous award...Thank you for giving me your support and belief.

2015 Awardee: Thomas Henderson

The support of the Dewar Arts Award allowed me to complete the necessary study to take my career to the next level. I have returned from it a more confident and prepared professional.

Biography

Thomas is young Scottish opera stage director based in Edinburgh. He studied at St Mary’s Music School, and went on to find his inspiration for the art-form whilst directing for the Aberdeen University Opera as an undergraduate. He continued to develop his craft by studying at the Accedemia Europea di Firenze in Italy, focusing on Italian opera.

Thomas is a trained musician, singer and English teacher, who speaks Italian and French.  This rounded background provides the perfect combination of qualities for his chosen career.  He has a flair for communicating, and is able to elicit natural and fluent performances from his cast.

Thomas has directed productions for the Edinburgh Studio Opera and Magnetic Opera, and has showcased work at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe since 2012, Alongside this he has gained professional experience including a two month ‘observership’ with the Scottish Opera, and has ambitions to write and produce his own material.

How the Award Helped

Thomas’ Award enabled him to study a course in Opera Directing with Rudolfo Tomasi at the Accedemia Europea in Florence.

The support of the Dewar Arts Award allowed me to complete the necessary study to take my career to the next level. I have returned from it a more confident and prepared professional.

2014 Awardee: Juliet Montgomery

The generous support of the Dewar Arts Awards has allowed my aspirations of postgraduate study to become a reality! Thank you.

Biography

Juliet is a soprano with a voice of distinctive quality.  Born in Stirling, she grew up in a musical environment; her mother is a freelance musician who plays and teaches violin and viola.  Juliet attended Stageworx Stage School for six years before beginning tuition in classical singing.  She then went on to study at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester.

During her time as an undergraduate student she proved herself to be “an intelligent, musical singer of promise and a joy to teach”.  On graduating with a First Class Bachelor of Music (Honours), she was offered a coveted place for postgraduate study, reserved for only those students with the greatest talent and potential.

Juliet has played key roles in numerous operatic productions and has performed as a recitalist in a wide variety of venues including the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, Halifax Minster and the Bridgewater Hall.  She has also performed solo for the prestigious Bulava Chorus, at the Notre Dame in Paris and the Cathedral of Resurrection in Kiev.

How the Award Helped

Juliet’s Award enabled her to benefit from postgraduate study at the RNCM.

She first completed a postgraduate diploma, and then received a further award to supporto continue her studies on the Masters of Music in Performance course. This course is designed to provide advanced training in solo performance.  As well as world-class one to one vocal tuition and performance opportunities, the course includes regular coaching sessions, language classes, repertoire classes, movement classes, Alexander Technique, acting technique and audition skills classes, equipping Juliet with the knowledge and experience needed to become a professional opera singer.

The generous support of the Dewar Arts Awards has allowed my aspirations of postgraduate study to become a reality! Thank you.

2014 Awardee: Drishti Bundhoo

The Dewar Arts Awards has created a wealth of opportunities for me as a young singer and for this I thank you very much. It is an honour and privilege to be supported by this distinguished trust.

Biography

Drishti Bundhoo is a hard-working and passionate musician whose aim is to connect emotionally to the music she performs and to find her individual voice.

Born in Crosshouse, East Ayrshire, Drishti was brought up in a musical household in Kilmarnock.  Her Mauritius-born mother studied Indian classical music, and has performed and taught in Glasgow and Edinburgh.

Drishti’s singing talent was prominent from a very early age. She trained at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland with a scholarship to complete her BMus (Hons) in 2014, and studied Spanish classical music for six months in Andalusia.

An engaging performer, Drishti has given solo recitals around the UK, Spain, India and Germany. Most recent performances have included engagements with Indian composer AR Rahman and the BBCSSO at Celtic Connections in 2014, performance for the UK WW1 Centenary commemoration service at Glasgow Cathedral and solo performances at the Glasgow  2014 Commonwealth Games.

How the Award Helped

Drishti’s award has allowed her to study a Masters at the Royal Academy of Music in London, where she has performed the role of Susanna in Mozart’s opera Le Nozze de Figaro and the role of Tina in Jonathan Dove’s opera Flight.

The Dewar Arts Awards has created a wealth of opportunities for me as a young singer and for this I thank you very much. It is an honour and privilege to be supported by this distinguished trust.

2013 Awardee: Hazel McBain

I feel that this course will really give me the opportunity to explore my boundaries as a performer and make me ready to enter into the profession

Biography

Hazel was born and raised in Glasgow.  A skilled opera singer with excellent technique as well as acting ability, Hazel studied at the Royal College of Music in London before returning to Scotland to study at the Royal Conservatoire.  She graduated with a first class honours and continued her studies with a masters in performance.

Hazel was chosen to represent the Conservatoire in the Maggie Teyte/Miriam Lycette competition, and successfully auditioned for the MBF awards.  Her instinctive creativity earned her roles in productions with the RCS and the Scottish Opera.  Through hard work and dedication she went on to earn a place on the MMus in Opera at the RCS.

The journey to becoming an opera singer is a long one, and the MMus offered Hazel the training she needed to prepare herself for professional performance. The course provided the opportunity to develop her skills as a performer and also as a teacher.

How the Award Helped

Hazel received a Dewar Award to support her studies on the MMus at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.

I feel that this course will really give me the opportunity to explore my boundaries as a performer and make me ready to enter into the profession

2012 Awardee: Martha Hayward

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Dewar Arts Award for their continued support during my Master's degree. Without their help I would have been unable to carry on receiving the expert tuition that studying in a conservatoire offers.

Biography

Martha is an enthusiastic and passionate soprano singer who has lived in Scotland since the age of 3.

Whilst studying music at the University of Aberdeen, Martha proved herself to be a strong and confident performer.  She has sung with a range of chamber choirs and choral groups, including the University of Aberdeen Gilbert & Sullivan Society and the Edinburgh Festival Chorus, where she sang a solo for Prince Charles.  She also held a scholarship with the University Chapel Choir, which included recording a solo piece for their Christmas album.

When Martha was 14 her father passed away, leaving her in a difficult situation both financially and personally. In spite of her circumstances, she continued learning to sing and with a positive and dedicated approach she developed in maturity, musicality and technique.  After her Bachelors Degree, she was accepted onto a Masters in Performance at the Leeds College of Music.

Martha decided her goal was to become an opera singer.  The specialist vocal coaching available on the masters course at Leeds offered an excellent opportunity to take her to the next stage in achieving her ambitions.

How the Award Helped

Martha received a Dewar Award to support her in studying on the Masters in Performance course.

Since the Award

June 2014 – Whilst attending the masters course in Leeds, Martha has continued to develop her singing skills through tuition and performances, both solo and ensemble across the UK.  She writes: ” I have been fortunate to meet many other fine musicians during my time in Yorkshire and work closely with them to create some fantastic and innovative concerts.”

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Dewar Arts Award for their continued support during my Master's degree. Without their help I would have been unable to carry on receiving the expert tuition that studying in a conservatoire offers.

2011 Awardee: Deborah Rudden

Biography

From East Kilbride, Deborah made her solo debut aged 16 singing with the RNSO in Edinburgh’s Usher Hall. Since a young age she has been involved in music, attending Junior RSNO and Junior RSAMD as well as singing in school choirs and NYCoS. It has been her main ambition to become a professional singer for many years.

Deborah is already a soprano of considerable talent and potential and is poised to become an outstanding dramatic soprano, capable of stage and recital performance. She has already performed extensively at the Edinburgh International Festival, singing with world-famous soprano, Judith Howarth, in Dido & Aeneas in the role of First Witch.

More recently she was awarded the Ian Fleming Award by the MBF and was chosen to represent the RSAMD at the Kathleen Ferrier Award for Young Singers.

How the Award Helped

The Dewar Arts Award will enable Deborah to embark on a MMus in Performance in Vocal Studies at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland (formerly, RSAMD).

2011 Awardee: Natalie Montakhab

I am extremely grateful for your support. Without your careful consideration and assistance I would not be able to fully pursue my career in the Arts and I thank you once again for your generosity.

Biography

In 2001, Lancashire-born Natalie came to Glasgow to study singing at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland (formerly: RSAMD). After a spell at the Royal Academy of Music from 2007-2009 to continue postgraduate study in singing, and for which she was supported by a Dewar Arts Award, Natalie returned to Glasgow to undertake a MMus (Opera) at the Opera School. During that time she received glowing reviews for her accomplished performances in fully-staged RSAMD productions.

Natalie began singing in a school choir after being turned down by the coach of the school netball team. Fortunately, her talent was soon spotted and encouraged.

Throughout her career she has won scholarships, competitions and awards to support her studies.  Her opera debut was at the 2007 Edinburgh Festival in Purcell’s ‘Dido and Aeneas’ under Nicolas McGegan.

Natalie has been invited to join the newly-formed Welsh International Academy of Voice to prepare for her launch into a professional career in opera, where she will study with Dame Kiri te Kanawa and Renee Fleming, amongst other luminaries from the world of opera.

Natalie is considered to have a beautiful and individual vocal timbre. She is an accomplished musician and a sensitive and compelling performer on the concert platform as well as the opera stage who has developed into an extremely fine artist and singer.

How the Award Helped

The Dewar Arts Award will help Natalie financially at the WIAV during this final stage of her vocal studies.

Opera Squad 2012 from English National Opera on Vimeo.

I am extremely grateful for your support. Without your careful consideration and assistance I would not be able to fully pursue my career in the Arts and I thank you once again for your generosity.