2010 Awardee: Lynda-Jane Workman

[Being able to concentrate solely on my studies] will allow me to participate in opera productions, work with professional singers and accompanists in masterclasses and concentrate on my language skills.

Biography

Born and raised in Northern Ireland, mezzo-soprano Lynda-Jane has been studying opera at Glasgow’s RSAMD for the past five years under Kathleen McKellar-Ferguson.

Before coming to Scotland Lynda-Jane sang with the Ulster Youth Choir at Proms in the Park and took part in their Ireland and France Tours. She has sung in a number of RSAMD’s opera productions and also in the opening concert of the 2008 Edinburgh International Festival as one of the ‘Ladies of Mahagonny’ from Kurt Weill’s Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny.

In 2006, she represented the RSAMD at the Junior Kathleen Ferrier Awards. She has sung in masterclasses with Malcolm Martineau and Patricia McMahon and was a finalist in the Frank Spedding Lieder prize and the 2009 RSAMD Governor’s Prize for Voice.

Lynda-Jane is a founder member of Dieci – an a cappella group she established with some friends at the RSAMD in 2006. Dieci were recently grand finalists in the BBC Radio 3 Choir of the Year competition. The group are on the point of releasing their second CD and tour regularly throughout the UK.

Lynda-Jane is considered to exude star quality and, according to her mentors, her voice has developed wonderfully and her ability to tackle major vocal challenges is inspirational.

How the Award Helped

The Dewar Arts Award will enable Lynda-Jane to pursue a Master of Music (Performance) degree at RSAMD.

After a successful first year, Lynda-Jane’s award was extended for a second and final year towards a Master of Music in Voice Performance.

[Being able to concentrate solely on my studies] will allow me to participate in opera productions, work with professional singers and accompanists in masterclasses and concentrate on my language skills.

2010 Awardee: Louise Alder

Thank you so much for considering me, I cannot tell you what a difference this will make to my life next year. To be supported by such a prestigious trust is an honour.

Biography

London-born Louise Alder studied music at the University of Edinburgh and is considered to be one of the very best singers the Music Department have had in recent years. While at Edinburgh University, Louise won two prestigious singing competitions, the Edinburgh University Concerto Competition 2009 and the 2010 Margaret Fletcher Lieder Prize.

Louise is considered to be an outstanding talent with international potential of the highest quality. She has given memorable performances while still a student at Edinburgh, including Creation at the St Magnus Festival, Orkney, Bach Magnificat in St Giles’ Cathedral and Carmina Burana in St Mary’s Cathedral in Edinburgh. Her performance of Vixen in ‘The Cunning Little Vixen’ won great critical acclaim.

In the summer of 2010, she will be understudying the role of Euridice in Peri’s ‘Euridice’ with the British Youth Opera and will perform the role of Musetta in the OperaUpClose production of ‘La Bohème’. She is a Britten Pears Young Artist.

How the Award Helped

The Dewar Arts Award will enable Louise to pursue a Master of Vocal Performance at the Royal College of Music in London. After an excellent first year, Louise’s funding was extended for a second and final year.

Thank you so much for considering me, I cannot tell you what a difference this will make to my life next year. To be supported by such a prestigious trust is an honour.

2010 Awardee: Ben McAteer

This award will make a huge difference to my studies next year, and also in my ability to fund myself in terms of living costs in London.

Biography

Born and raised in Northern Ireland, Ben was an undergraduate at St Andrews University, where he held the Cedric Thorpe Davie Vocal Scholarship for five years and was senior choral scholar at Holy Trinity Church.

While still an undergraduate, Ben performed as a concert soloist with numerous groups across Fife and Central Scotland, in works including Handel’s Messiah, Bach’s St John Passion, Mozart’s Mass in C Minor, Haydn’s Nelson Mass and Requiems by Duruflé, Fauré and Mozart. He was also very involved with St Andrews’ Opera and sang the roles of Aeneas in Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas, Sir Henry Milhouse in Roger Scruton’s The Minister and Tarquinius in Britten’s Rape of Lucretia. He also worked extensively with the Gilbert & Sullivan Society both as a soloist and musical director.

Ben was considered to be one of the most outstanding singers who had studied at St Andrews in over 25 years and his bass solo in Handel’s Messiah was described as “perfection”. Ben moves to London to continue his vocal studies.

How the Award Helped

The Dewar Arts Awards will help him pursue a Master of Vocal Performance at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.

At the end of his first year, Ben successfully auditioned for the Guildhall Opera Course and was moved onto the Advanced Certificate in Opera course. His award was extended for a second and final year to enable him to complete a MMus in Vocal Performance.

This award will make a huge difference to my studies next year, and also in my ability to fund myself in terms of living costs in London.

2010 Awardee: Ross Mcinroy

I am very excited about the possibilities and opportunities available to me this year and fully intend to embrace it and make the very most of it. I fully appreciate that all this would not be possible without the generous support of the Dewar Arts Awards. I am so very thankful for your help.

Biography

Dundee born Ross grew up in Arbroath in Angus. He began his musical training with the National Youth Choir of Scotland, featuring as a soloist on their CD of Scots songs. He studied singing at RSAMD, graduating with a BMus, went on to study opera at the Royal Academy of Music and later at the Royal College of Music’s International Opera School.

During these years of training, Ross has been watched with interest by Scottish Opera. He possesses a real bass voice which is rare in the UK and which observers believe is capable of reaching a high level of performance.

In his first year at the Royal Academy, Ross performed in three of the Academy’s productions, including the role of Collatinus in The Rape of Lucretia, where his performance was judged to be ‘outstanding’. In his second year, he sang Barolo in Le Nozze di Figaro, under Sir Colin Davies. During his time at the Royal College of Music, Ross performed with distinction, singing roles as diverse and demanding as Sarastro, Quince and Krusina.

Ross has been offered a place at the prestigious National Opera Studio, London, the studio from which many a stellar career in opera has been launched. The trustees have also watched Ross’s progress with great interest and have been delighted to be able to help with his postgraduate training, both at the RAM and later at the RCM’s Opera School.

How the Award Helped

The Dewar Arts Award will help towards the costs of studying at the National Opera Studio in London.

Since the Award

During his year at the National Opera Studio, Ross successfully auditioned for the role of Leporello in Mozart’s Don Giovanni with Opera della Luna where he performed it as part of the 2011 Iford Arts Festival.

Later in the year, he successfully auditioned for the Emerging Artist scheme at the Scottish Opera. Ross says of his final year at NOS that “I felt like I had never worked so hard but equally I had never been so motivated to do so.”

I am very excited about the possibilities and opportunities available to me this year and fully intend to embrace it and make the very most of it. I fully appreciate that all this would not be possible without the generous support of the Dewar Arts Awards. I am so very thankful for your help.

2009 Awardee: Beth Mackay

Every day I am inspired by my teachers and coaches, directors and my peers, which encourages me to perform to my highest potential. I would not have been able to take advantage of this opportunity without the Trust's support and I thank you so very much for enabling me to do so.

Biography

Yorkshire-born mezzo-soprano Beth Mackay gained her first degree at Leeds University, during which time she sang in the Leeds Baroque Choir. She progressed to the RNCM in Manchester to pursue postgraduate vocal studies, moving on to continue her studies at the RSAMD in Glasgow.

Beth has a range which is ideally suited to the music of the 18th century. She continues to perform regularly as a soloist with the Leeds Baroque Choir and for the last two years has performed at the Suffolk Villages Festival, East Anglia’s Early Music Festival. Whilst at RSAMD she has impressed with her development as a stage artist, able to convey the inner drama of her character.

In 2009 Beth was offered a place on the RSAMD’s prestigious Masters Programme for Opera Studies. She finds the environment of studying at RSAMD to be very energising, and has experienced great growth and development from their teaching.

How the Award Helped

The Dewar Arts Award will help with the expenses of pursuing the two-year programme towards a Master of Opera.

Since the Award

Beth successfully graduated with a Master of Opera (distinction) from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.  Immediately after graduation, she took up a contract with the Clonter Opera in Cheshire.

Beth writes that her future is exciting, including as it does working with Opera North on a contemporary music project, with the Britten Choir in London, concert and oratorio appearances already in the diary and auditions for opera companies in the pipeline.

Every day I am inspired by my teachers and coaches, directors and my peers, which encourages me to perform to my highest potential. I would not have been able to take advantage of this opportunity without the Trust's support and I thank you so very much for enabling me to do so.

2009 Awardee: Jemma Brown

I am delighted to be able to accept this award and am very grateful for the trust’s assistance.

Biography

Dunfermline-born Jemma got her start as a singer as a chorister at Dunfermline Abbey. She was subsequently awarded a music scholarship to St Leonard’s School in St Andrews where she continued her singing and piano playing and took up the bassoon.

Through her early life Jemma’s greatest inspiration and biggest source of encouragement was her paternal grandmother who was a musician of potential but who had to forgo her place at the Royal Academy of Music because of family circumstances. She spotted the musical talent in Jemma and encouraged her to sing and make music.

Jemma moved to Glasgow to study music at Glasgow University with Pat MacMahon, where she held a Lanfine Choral Scholarship and a Currie organ studentship. She won the Hague Prize for performance on graduating. Jemma then moved to the RSAMD for postgraduate study in singing and completed a Master of Music performance the following year studying with Kathleen McKellar Ferguson.

Jemma has now gained a coveted place on the Master of Music Opera course at RSAMD continuing her studies with McKellar Ferguson.

Jemma possesses a warm mezzo soprano voice, well suited to the larger roles in opera. Her tutors believe that there are exciting times ahead of her.

How the Award Helped

The Dewar Arts Award will help towards the costs of studying towards an MMus Opera.

After a successful first year on the RSAMD opera course, during which she won the John Ireland Prize for voice and piano and made her debut at the BBC Proms with the BBC SSO, Jemma’s funding has been continued into the second and final year of her studies.

I am delighted to be able to accept this award and am very grateful for the trust’s assistance.

2009 Awardee: Katherine Grosset

I am determined to continue achieving at a high standard, and I have no doubt that …[the tutors] at the Guildhall can support and aid me in both setting and accomplishing my goals .. I am extremely grateful to the Dewar Arts Awards for making another year at this inspiring institution possible.

Biography

Mezzo-soprano Katherine Grosset from Edinburgh first studied composition and performance at the University of Glasgow graduating with an honours degree in music. She later went on to study for a Master of Music in Vocal Training at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, with Susan McCulloch. In between graduation and going to the Guildhall, she was a peripatetic Kodaly vocal instructor for the National Youth Choir of Scotland.

As well as possessing a well-trained, rich voice full of potential Katherine has a deep musicality and artistic imagination. She has had master classes with (former Dewar awardee) Karen Cargill, Rosalind Sutherland, Amy Jarman and Malcolm Martineau. Katherine is considered to have both the talent and the character to achieve great success in her chosen career.

Katherine looks forward to the challenges of a second year at Guildhall. She and her tutor are building up a bank of repertoire that she can take to competitions and auditions and perform at an exemplary level.

How the Award Helped

The Dewar Arts Award will go towards the costs of studying at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.

Since the Award

In the summer of 2010, Katie graduated with an MPerf degree with distinction. A highlight of the year was singing the role of ‘Ma’ in Iain Burnside’s highly-acclaimed production of ‘Lads in their Hundreds’, which incorporates a variety of English songs by different composers about the tragedy of war. At the end of a very eventful year, Katie was awarded a fellowship by the GSMD enabling her to continue her opera studies for a further year.

I am determined to continue achieving at a high standard, and I have no doubt that …[the tutors] at the Guildhall can support and aid me in both setting and accomplishing my goals .. I am extremely grateful to the Dewar Arts Awards for making another year at this inspiring institution possible.

2009 Awardee: Nicky Spence

Thank you so much….I can’t tell you how grateful I am to ..the trustees for your generous support. It’s true to say that without this award, my life this year would be significantly more difficult.

Biography

Born and brought up in rural Dumfries and Galloway, Nicky Spence showed early musical promise, which was nurtured both at school and in the community. From an early age, his goal was to sing professionally on the operatic stage.

Thanks to scholarship support he studied music at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, completing a BMus, MMus and MMP with distinction. Nicky became a bit of a star in his own right at an early stage while he was at the Guildhall after he made a well-received CD. But this did not deflect him from pursuing seriously his opera studies. He has recently gained entry to the highly-competitive and prestigious National Opera Studio.

Already Nicky has performed in some of the coolest venues in Europe and has sung with well-known singers as diverse as Dame Kiri te Kanawa, Dame Shirley Bassey and Bryn Terfel. He is a Britten-Pears Young Artist and Samling Scholar and his awards include the Kathleen Ferrier Young Singer’s Bursary Award, the Young Classical Performer of the Year nomination at the Classical Brit Awards and a place in the final of the Gold Medal at the Guildhall School.

Nicky’s teachers consider him to be one of the most gifted singers of his generation who is developing into a professionally exciting operatic tenor. British Youth Opera cast him as Tom Rakewell in the 2009 production of Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress. For more information about Nicky, see www.nickyspence.com.

How the Award Helped

The Dewar Arts Award will help with Nicky’s studies at the National Opera Studio.

Since the Award

During the year, Nicky was selected to represent the Studio in the annual Bruce Millar Opera Prize and repaid their confidence by bringing the prize back after many years absence. He writes that “one of the most useful elements of the Studio is its ready connection with outside entities who are working in the operatic arena.” As a result he had the opportunity during the year of working with renowned singers, directors and conductors as well as auditioning for many of the major opera companies. Nicky has won principal roles in 2010-2011 at Scottish Opera (debut), ENO, Opera North, Opera Holland Park and in Paris and America.

Thank you so much….I can’t tell you how grateful I am to ..the trustees for your generous support. It’s true to say that without this award, my life this year would be significantly more difficult.

2007 Awardee: Ronald Nairn

This money will make it possible for me to concentrate on developing my voice and my stagecraft in this course, and hopefully put me in a position to recognise my dream of becoming an opera singer.

Biography

Ronald Nairne is a bass baritone with a large talent. Kirkcaldy-born Ronald was accepted into the National Youth Choir of Scotland when he was 16 and was immediately cast as a soloist. With the choir he toured Sweden and performed in Chicago.

Ronald was a choral scholar at Paisley Abbey. He studied for his first degree and a postgraduate diploma in concert singing at the RSAMD, where he won the Frank Spedding Lieder Prize. He took part in several RSAMD opera productions. Ronald went on to postgraduate study in opera at the Royal Academy of Music and worked for a year with smaller operatic companies and performing a wide range of concert repertoire. While at the Academy he undertook the role of Sarastro in ‘The Magic Flute’ and created the role of the Mongolian Soldier in the London premiere of ‘A Night at the Chinese Opera’, by Scottish composer Judith Weir.

In 2005 Ronald was a Royal Philharmonic Society Young Artist and Sue Chilcott Scholar. In 2007 he was awarded a Samling Foundation scholarship to spend a week in masterclasses with Philip Langridge, Patricia McMahon and Paul Farrington. In June that year he sang the role of The Commendatore in Samling Opera’s production of ‘Don Giovanni’ directed by Sir Thomas Allen.

Ronald has been accepted into the prestigious National Opera Studio in Wandsworth, in preparation for a full-time career in opera. He possesses a real bass baritone, which is a rare commodity, and is considered to have a successful career in opera ahead of him.

How the Award Helped

The Dewar Arts Award will support Ronald during his year at the National Opera Studio.

Since the Award

Ronald had a good year at the NOS, improving both as a singer and a performer. As a result of his performance in the end of year Showcase, Ronald was offered a young artist contract by the Grange Park Opera performing Sparafucile in Rigoletto.

This money will make it possible for me to concentrate on developing my voice and my stagecraft in this course, and hopefully put me in a position to recognise my dream of becoming an opera singer.

2006 Awardee: Elysia Leech

I am so lucky to have the internal instrument I have and thank God every day for it!

Biography

When she was at school, Elysia was only ever aware of pop music until one day she heard someone sing opera. She was inspired, and at the age of 16 decided to take up classical singing. Since then, her passion for opera and for becoming a major operatic performer has not wavered.

Born and brought up in Scotland, Elysia has been studying singing at Glasgow’s RSAMD.  After graduation, she intends to proceed to the postgraduate course in performance.

Her tutor considers her to be a singer of major potential who combines a mezzo-soprano voice of rare quality with an innate musicality and sense of drama.

Elysia’s ambition is to become a world class singer and perform in all the major opera houses around the world. Given the right opportunities and vocal education, all the indications are that this is a realistic ambition well within her capabilities and talent.

How the Award Helped

The Dewar Arts Award will help finance Elysia as she continues to study opera performance at the highest level at RSAMD.

Since the Award

Unexpectedly during the course, Elysia’s voice type changed from low mezzo to high mezzo/soprano. She studied with renowned opera singer, Jane Irwin.  In 2008 Elysia won the RSAMD’s prestigious Governors’ prize and throughout August 2009, she was guest soloist for the Edinburgh Military Tattoo. Elysia continues her studies as she gets to grips with new repertoire to suit her new voice type.

I am so lucky to have the internal instrument I have and thank God every day for it!