Guildhall School of Music and Drama Gold Medal Winners

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Guildhall School of Music and Drama Gold Medal Winners

Guildhall School of Music and Drama Gold Medal Winners

The Gold Medal

The Guildhall School’s premier music prize was founded and endowed by Sir H. Dixon Kimber in 1915 and since the 1950s it has been open to singers and instrumentalists in alternate years. The final traditionally takes place in May each year in a sold-out Barbican Hall.

Previous winners include Jacqueline du Pré (1960), Tasmin Little (1986), and Bryn Terfel (1989).

In recent years, the Gold Medal has launched the careers of:

Oliver Wass

Harpist Oliver Wass (pictured above) is in his first year of a Masters degree at the Guildhall School, for which he was awarded a full scholarship to study with Imogen Barford. He graduated from the University of York with a First Class Honours degree, achieving the highest mark ever awarded for a final recital, and winning the Blake Music Prize.

He has performed numerous concertos and has directed the Handel Harp Concerto in the Barbican Hall in 2011. He has also performed concertos at the London Handel Festival, the City of London Festival, with the Oxford Sinfonia, and with the World Chamber Orchestra.

He is a Tillett Trust Young Artist and will make his Wigmore Hall debut in November 2016. He is also a 2016 St John’s Smith Square Young Artist, and will be giving recitals throughout the 2016/17 season.

Wass recently won 1st prize in the British Harp Chamber Music Competition with his flute-viola-harp trio, and they have upcoming concerts at St John’s Smith Square, the Two Moors Festival, and for the United Kingdom Harp Association. An experienced soloist, Wass competed in and won music festivals throughout his childhood. He studied with Charlotte Seale at the Junior department of the Guildhall School, where he became the only harpist to have been a prize-winner in the prestigious Lutine competition, and he was Principal Harp in the National Youth Orchestra.

Jennifer Witton

Jennifer Witton (Opera 2015) studied at Bishop Luffa School and Chichester College before completing undergraduate and postgraduate courses at the Guildhall School. She currently studies on the Opera Course at the Guildhall School under the tutelage of Sarah Pring. Jennifer recently won a Miriam Licette award at the 2015 Maggie Teyte Competition. In 2014 she won first prize in the Rosenblatt Recital Prize in the North London music festival and first prize in the Guildhall School Aria Prize, and in 2013 she won the Dvořák society Song Prize at the Emmy Destinn Awards, and the Winchester consort prize at the Hampshire Singing Competition. Jennifer has worked with Opera North, Wexford Festival Opera, Raymond Gubbay ltd, Opera di Peroni, Glyndebourne Festival Opera, Royal Opera and has performed at venues including St Martin-in-the-fields, Royal Albert Hall and the Wigmore Hall. In the 2014-15 season she covered the role of La Musica/Euridice in Monteverdi’s Orfeo for the Royal Opera House.

Marta Fontanals-Simmons

Marta Fontanals-Simmons (Opera 2015) is from Castle Cary, Somerset and attended St Antony’s Leweston School in Sherborne, Dorset. She is on the Guildhall School Artist Diploma programme studying with Marilyn Rees, having completed the postgraduate Vocal Studies programme and the Opera Course. A finalist in the 2014 Kathleen Ferrier Awards, Marta is winner of the Maureen Lehane Vocal Awards 2011, the Odette Sansom Award for English Song at the Guildhall School, Runner-Up in the Thelma King Award, and finalist in the Hampshire Singing Competition. She was awarded the Principal’s Prize in 2014 and is a Jerwood Young Artist for 2015. Marta made her Wigmore Hall recital debut in June 2014 as a Tillett Trust Artist and will be joining the Glyndebourne Festival chorus this year.

Michael Petrov

Michael Petrov (cello, 2014) studied at the Yehudi Menuhin School and, since 2009, at the Guildhall School with Louise Hopkins. In 2013 Michael was selected for representation by Young Classical Artists Trust (YCAT) and was selected as an ECHO Rising Star for the 2014/15 season. During his studies Michael won numerous prizes and awards including 2nd Prize in the 2012 International Brahms Competition in Austria and 1st Prize in the 2011 International Suggia Competition in Porto. In 2012 he performed at the Weill Recital Hall as part of Guildhall Artists at Carnegie Hall and as a soloist he performed Prokofiev’s Sinfonia Concertante at the Barbican, conducted by Gianandrea Noseda, Saint-Saëns’s Concerto No.1 at St. John’s Smith Square. Michael studied on the Guildhall Artist Masters programme of Advanced Instrumental Studies.

Magdalena Molendowska

Magdalena graduated from the Opera Course under the guidance of Rudolf Piernay. In the 2012/13 season she returned to the Teatr Wielki Opera Narodowa to perform the title role in Halka by Stanisław Moniuszko. She has also sung with Wrocław Opera House, Glyndebourne Festival and Clonter Opera and for a number of years she performed with Gdańsk Chamber Opera.