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: 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."

2015 Awardee: Christopher Roberts

"I can't thank Dewar Arts Awards enough for the assistance, I feel it came at the most crucial of times in my early career."

Biography

Born in Edinburgh, trumpeter and vocalist Christopher Roberts showed prodigious talent from a very young age, quickly developing a full register, flexibility and clear articulation.  He began playing the trumpet from the age of 7, and from the age of 15 held the position of Principal trumpet in the Edinburgh Youth Orchestra.

In 2007, Christopher accepted a full scholarship place at St. Mary’s Music School where he studied with Bede Williams and John Kenny. During this time, he performed regularly, gaining professional experience with orchestras and ensembles in the UK and abroad. In 2014 he was a member of the KLANGSPUREN International Ensemble Modern Akademie where he studied with Sava Stoianov, and he has also studied with John Wallace, Tom Poulson and Mark O’Keeffe.

Making his concerto debut at the age of 15, Christopher has subsequently appeared as a soloist throughout the United Kingdom playing with the Milne-Graden Chamber Orchestra, Heisenberg Ensemble and with the world renowned Choristers of St. Mary’s Cathedral.

As a founding member of Carnyx Youth Brass, Christopher has been involved in many projects for ensemble, premiering new works for brass and featuring as the principal trumpet on the CD ‘Storm Chaser’. Christopher has been a major prize winner at festivals in Edinburgh and Glasgow.

While a student at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Christopher was conductor in residence with Brass Sounds Inverclyde. During this time, he proudly represented Scotland with SCOKENDIA, featuring as part of the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games. He has taken part in numerous impressive masterclasses, as well as studying with Professor Urban Agnas and Professor Friedemann Immer at the Hochschule für Musik und Tanz, Köln.

How the Award Helped

Christopher received an award to help him to continue to flourish in his bachelor degree studies at the Hochschule für Musik und Tanz, Köln.

"I can't thank Dewar Arts Awards enough for the assistance, I feel it came at the most crucial of times in my early career."

2007 Awardee: Maureen McMullan

I was absolutely delighted to receive the news of the award.

Biography

Brought up in Coatbridge, Maureen studied voice and piano from the age of 12. She went on to study music at Strathclyde University, gaining a first class degree in Applied Music, winning the ‘Sir Alexander Stone Prize for Excellence in Performance’ for her final recital.

Maureen has trained in a range of styles, from classical, musical theatre, jazz and contemporary. In 2007 she performed at the 41st Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland, where she beat off competition from thousands of singers worldwide to compete in the semi-final of the Shure Vocal competition. She was the only UK singer to reach the final eight.

Acclaimed Scottish jazz musician, Tommy Smith, describes Maureen as a ‘phenomenal singer … [whose] … voice embraces jazz, blues, gospel, and soul and transmits emotions like few other singers.’ As a singer/songwriter and backing vocalist, Maureen has performed at many major Scottish music festivals, including the Edinburgh ‘Fringe’, Celtic Connections and the Glasgow Jazz Festival, and has worked with some of Britain’s most influential contemporary musicians. In 2008 she joined the Scottish Jazz Orchestra as the singer on their Jazz Toons tour.

After working hard as a full-time professional singer for some years, Maureen has a strong desire to expand her knowledge of music and develop her creativity as a singer/songwriter. She has been awarded a partial scholarship to study for a Diploma in Professional Performance at the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston.

How the Award Helped

The Dewar Arts Award will provide financial assistance to enable her to take up this fantastic opportunity.

In 2008, Maureen once more was selected for the semi-final of the Montreux Jazz Festival, Shure Vocal Competition, in Switzerland. She is the only UK entrant to make the final 12 worldwide. The president of the jury this year is jazz/soul legend Patti Austin.

Since the Award

Maureen made the most of her opportunities while at Berklee, graduating with top honours (Summa Cum Laude) majoring in song-writing. Her tutors at Berklee have tipped her as the one who will make it.  Maureen was invited to sing during the Commencement Ceremony of her graduation. Afterwards Barbra Streisand, no less, came back stage to congratulate her and encourage her to continue singing. Maureen has gained an internship with the world-famous Warner/Chappell house in Nashville which has some major names on its label. Maureen writes, “Sometimes it is hard to put into words how much this experience has completely changed my musical horizons and perspectives. Doors are opening up for me now that I could never have imagined..I have only positive things to say about the Dewar Awards who believed in me from start to finish and allowed me to follow my dreams.”

I was absolutely delighted to receive the news of the award.

2005 Awardee: Susan McCathie

I am so overwhelmed by your support and cannot thank you enough. You have given me the opportunity to move one step closer to my dream

Biography

Susan McCathie gained a first-class honours degree in music teaching at the University of Aberdeen. Her singing tutor was struck by the potential of her singing, both by her technical ability and her artistic response to the music she was performing. She received maximum marks at her end of year assessments.

In gaining a place on the prestigious Royal Academy of Music’s one-year postgraduate Musical Theatre course, Susan beat off some serious competition. Over 1,500 people applied for the 30 places given.

How the Award Helped

The Dewar Arts Award funded Susan on the one-year postgraduate Musical Theatre course at the Royal Academy of Music, London.

Since the Award

Susan graduated with a Postgraduate Diploma in Performance, gaining a distinction in all but one subject.  She continues to write songs, and to sing, act and teach singing.

I am so overwhelmed by your support and cannot thank you enough. You have given me the opportunity to move one step closer to my dream