Our Patron, Australian soprano, Danielle de Niese starred in the Glyndebourne 2016 production of The Barber of Seville. The BBC has just announced its Christmas schedule and we are delighted to share the news that the acclaimed production will be shown on BBC Four this December. The broadcast will be preceded by a documentary that follows Danielle de Niese in her preparations for the role of Rosina.
Birth of an Opera: Danielle de Niese on The Barber of Seville
7.00pm, Sunday 18 December, BBC Four
Offering unparalleled insight into the process of staging an opera, the documentary follows Danni as she prepares to make her debut in the opera’s starring role of Rosina. It also features interviews with director Annabel Arden, conductor Enrique Mazzola, designer Joanna Parker and key Glyndebourne figures.
Il barbiere di Siviglia
Immediately afterwards, at 8.00pm, audiences can watch the opera in full, recorded live this summer.
We are delighted to report that our Patron, Leanne Benjamin AM OBE, has been asked to join the jury of the prestigious Prix de Lausanne 2017. This is a great honour and acknowledges Leanne’s stature in the world of classical ballet.
Lauren Songberg, ballet – English National Ballet School
Chloe Keneally, ballet – English National Ballet School
Rebecca Blenkinsop, ballet – Royal Ballet School
The article below was published by gramilano.comon the 30th November.
Jury members announced for the Prix de Lausanne 45th edition
The jury of Prix de Lausanne 2017 is composed of nine major personalities from the dance world, presided over by the Royal Ballet’s Director, Kevin O’Hare.
The Prix de Lausanne is a wonderful opportunity for me to see the talented dancers of tomorrow. I see it as more than a competition; it is a place where our young dancers are encouraged, cared for and given the feedback that provides the foundation for their future careers.
Each of the jurors has a link with one of the competition’s partner schools and companies, or is a former prize winner. Other aspects taken into consideration in forming the panel are having a wide geographical representation, a mix of experiences, and a representation of different styles of dance.
The jury of this edition is made up of the following members:
Kevin O’Hare: Director, Royal Ballet London – President of the jury (England)
Leanne Benjamin: Prix de Lausanne Laureate 1981 (England)
Paola Cantalupo: Artistic and Educational Director, Ecole Supérieure de Danse Cannes-Mougins Rosella Hightower and Prix de Lausanne Laureate 1977 (France)
Gigi Hyatt: Director of Education and Deputy Director, Hamburg Ballet (Germany)
Sue Jin Kang: Artistic Director, Korean National Ballet (Korea)
Goyo Montero: Ballet Director and Choreographer, Staatstheater Nürnberg and Prix de Lausanne Laureate 1994 (Germany)
Aki Saito: Prix de Lausanne Laureate 1991 (Japan)
Christian Spuck: Artistic Director, Zurich Ballet (Switzerland)
Shelly Power, who is the Artistic Director and Chief Executive Officer for the 2017 Prix de Lausanne, said,
I am honored to present the 2017 jury who collectively bring years of experience ranging from teaching, performing, directing and choreographing worldwide. Kevin O’Hare as President and his team of jury members will open doors and make dreams come true for the talented few who are about to embark on the next and perhaps most important step of their careers.
Tickets for all Prix de Lausanne 2017 events go on sale 15 December 2016 on prixdelausanne.org
Lovely to hear from 2007 Tait Awardee, Helen Sherman. Helen had great success in the 2011 Cardiff Singer of the World as Australia’s representative in this career making competition. She won the third prize in the Wigmore Hall/Kohn Foundation International Song Competition in 2013.
As you can see from her year in review below, Helen is now singing in the very best houses and is an international singer of repute. This recording of Vivaldi’s, Bajazet by Pinchgut Opera has just been released. We look forward to hearing more about this exciting artist.
Update from Helen
2016 has been a challenging and exciting year for me. Highlights included singing Dorabella in Opera North’s revival of Tim Albery’s production of ‘Cosi fan Tutte’ and Donna Elvira for Classical Opera’s Don Giovanni at Cadogan Hall. The jewel of the year for me however, was making my Strauss debut as Octavian in David McVicar’s iconic production of ‘Der Rosenkavalier’ with Opera North. There was something quite ‘out-of-body’ about having Sarah Connolly’s name stitched into my trousers! The music in ‘Der Rosenkavalier’ is really out of this world and this production is beautiful in every way. I really learned so much from this role. We sang a show the night the divisive US election result was announced; it reminded me how truly blessed we are as musicians to be able to transcend this world and all it’s troubles through our work. It also re-emphasised to me how relevant and important music is; it proves that together we can do incredible things.
The conductor of this year’s Tait Memorial Trust concert on gender, education and musical styles.
It’s that time of year again in London when the beautiful concert hall at St. John’s Smith Square is taken over by the Australian, Tait Memorial Trust.
The venue will be filled with talented Australian musicians and singers, many having benefitted from a Tait music scholarship. November 30th will be an opportunity for audiences to hear a wonderful programme of music and spot the Australian stars of the future.
If you are living in London or have friends over there, you should rush to get tickets. Conducting and curating this concert will be the internationally acclaimed Australian-born conductor, Jessica Cottis. On a wet and stormy London morning we manage to Skype and I ask first about her involvement with the Tait Memorial Trust.
“I sit on their advisory board and together we make the artistic decisions for programming concerts,”
“I benefitted from a Tait scholarship myself so feel really excited to be working with students and professionals who have come up through the same route.”
The Tait Memorial Trust is pleased to be assisting these fine young Australian artists in 2016.
The Tait Adopt a Performer scheme
The adopt a performer scheme allows a donor to directly support a young Australian performing artist annually for a three-year commitment. Please click here to learn how to actively involve yourself in the career development of a young performer.
The greatest return, however, would be to see your awardee fulfill their true potential and, as they graduate to a professional career, the pleasure of knowing that you played an important part in making this possible.
Royal College of Music
Tait Scholar – The Julian Baring family
The Royal College of Music Sally Law, Violin
To learn more about Sally please click here
Royal Northern College of Music
Higgins Scholar – The Higgins family Waynne Kwon, Cello
To learn more about Waynne please click here
The Leanne Benjamin Awards
selected by Leanne Benjamin AM OBE.
Financial assistance and support for young Australian dancers studying at major UK ballet schools
John Frost – Leanne Benjamin Award
The Royal Ballet School Rebecca Blenkinsop
Leanne Benjamin Award
The English National Ballet School Chloe Keneally
Leanne Benjamin Award
The English National Ballet School Lauren Songberg
Partner Award Funding
Royal Over-Seas League Tait Prize Award funded by Chevalier Richard Gunter
Australian musician showing the most promise Ann Beilby, Viola
John Frost, Frank and Viola Tait Award
Australian International Opera Awards Nathan Lay, Baritone
Bel Canto Awards Joan Sutherland & Richard Bonynge Foundation
A Concert platform for a young Australian/New Zealand singer Emma Moore, Soprano
Tait & Sir Charles Mackerras Chair
A Chair in the Southbank Sinfonia for the duration of the annual programme. This award is made possible due to a generous gift from the Estate of Lady Mackerras to fund a portion of the Chair for at least the next 10 years. This year the Tait contribution to this award has been made by Stephanie McGregor & Albert Kwok.
John Amis Award
Dartington International Summer School
For a 1 week course of intensive study for an Australian musician Matthew Thomson, Tenor
Margaret Rodgers Award
Selected by Margaret Rodgers personally Cameron Campbell, Viola
Margaret Rodgers Award
Selected by Margaret Rodgers personally Nick Mooney, French Horn
Whalley and Tait Gift
Special funding to assist with the purchase of a 1930 Natale Carletti (Bologna), Viola
from the Whalley family and the TMT Lisa Bucknell, Viola
Tait General Awards
Award funded by The Thornton Foundation
To assist with continued private study Andrey Lebedev, Guitar
Award funded by the VEC Acorn Trust
To assist with continued private study Jo Dee-Yeoh, Cello
Award funded by The Thornton Foundation
To assist with continued private study Vivien Conacher, Mezzo-Soprano
Award funded by The Hunter family
To assist with continued private study Krystal Tunnicliffe, Piano Accompanist
Award funded by Louise Worthington
To assist with continued private study Ashlyn Tymms, Mezzo Soprano
Former Tait Awardee Claudia Dean graduated from The Royal Ballet School in August 2011, having moved to London aged 16 to train at the Upper School in Covent Garden. She was the recipient of the Tait Memorial Trust, Dance Arches Award in 2011, and went on to be offered a contract by The Royal Ballet. In 2014 Claudia made the difficult decision to return home to Australia, we are delighted to see that this very talented young dancer is passing the baton to the next generation of aspiring dancers in her homeland. We wish her all the very best and look forward to hearing more about her work in Australia.
The article below was published by Ballet News, May 2015.
Claudia Dean | Ballet Dancer to Business Owner
Sprezzatura is the Italian word for nonchalance; the effortless art of making something difficult look easy. The sustained hard work needed to conceal the effort has been a hallmark of Claudia Dean’s training and professional ballet career.
Claudia Dean graduated from The Royal Ballet School in August 2011, having moved to London aged 16 to train at the Upper School in Covent Garden. In her native Australia she had been dancing since the age of four, and had won a number of prestigious competitions including the Gold Medal plus the Audience Choice Award at the Genée International Ballet Competition in 2009.
I interviewed Dean for my Student to Star series at the time of her graduation, a few weeks before she started work in the Company, and I asked her what she anticipated the differences might be between school and company life. She told me, “I think it’s going to be a bit of a change for me. I will be my own person having to be responsible for myself. At school, you have teachers guiding you, although we work for ourselves, there is still a lot of extra support. Also, no uniform! I will have to decide what to wear each day which will be very different !”
Lovely interview with our first awardee, Liane Keegan. Liane was the reason that Isla Baring created the Tait Memorial Trust in 1992.
Liane wanted to further her studies in the UK but needed financial assistance to allow her to continue. Isla offered to produce a concert at Australia House, invited her friends, and due to their generosity raised a great deal of money and the Trust was born…well it wasn’t quite that simple but that is how we started.
Now 24 years later the Trust has helped over 300 young Australians and has raised more than £600,000 to assist young Australian performing artists to complete their studies in the United Kingdom. And it all began with a young contralto from Victoria.
Now we are thrilled to see Liane is at the very top of her chosen profession and is singing Erda in the Neil Armfield production of Wagner’s epic Ring at Melbourne’s State Theatre, with Opera Australia.
Deborah Humble talks with dramatic contralto Liane Keegan about her musical life in Melbourne and recreating the role of Erda in the 2016 Melbourne Ring.
What motivated your return to Australia in 2012 and what is your perception of the cultural and artistic life here by comparison?
I no longer enjoyed working in opera in Germany. I had been living overseas for 20 years by this stage and felt it was time to come home.
The fest system stifles individual development if you are an ensemble member as I was at the Deutsche Opera. Without being able to supplement my monthly stipend with guest contracts it was also no longer financially viable to remain in Germany.
Since my return to Melbourne my life has been extremely happy and fulfilled. I have had some wonderful opportunities with my singing and my teaching studio was very quickly established and I now have many talented young singers working with me on a weekly basis. I also established XLArts.org, a not for profit group, with conductor Patrick Burns and we work to provide performance opportunities for developing singers of all ages and stages, to help them further develop their craft and skill set as burgeoning opera singers.
The opera and arts scene here in Australia is very different to Europe. In Australia we don’t have the commitment to the arts that the Europeans do either financially or culturally. In Europe very young children are taken to the opera not as a special treat but as a part of their daily life. Here the companies are working hard on this next generation of opera lover and there is some very fine work being done by these companies in Australia. However, I do not feel that more funding to the Arts is the answer but better education. The lack of music education in schools here now means that exposure for the young to art and culture is just not there in their foundation years and that is vitally important to the future of our artistic culture.
Melbourne is fabulously cultural and creative and certainly has the most going on in the field of opera of all our capital cities. I was amazed and rather overwhelmed by the choice of entertainment available and could not get over how much the arts scene had “exploded” in Melbourne since my departure in 1992. It is fabulous to see that there are companies and groups catering to the needs of performers at all levels and to suit all musical tastes. I was thrilled that we still have a Victorian opera company as I was overseas during the demise of its predecessor and that made me very sad indeed.
The orchestras in Melbourne are also world class and I have been most fortunate to work with the Royal Melbourne Philharmonic and the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra as well as the many and varied community and council sponsored orchestras. We now have the Melbourne Recital Centre and the vast amount of performances offered there are of an extremely high standard. As an audience member all my needs are catered for and I am more often than not, spoilt for choice! My needs as a performer are also met here in Melbourne and I am busier than I ever was in Europe….
Acclaimed for her performances of the works of Richard Wagner, Australian mezzo-soprano, Deborah Humble is one of Australia’s most successful international singers. She has appeared at the Edinburgh Festival, Festival d’Aix-en-Provence, Salzburg Easter Festival, Seattle Symphony, with the Stuttgart Philharmonic, the Hamburg Philharmonic and the London Mozart Players and at the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris. We are delighted to confirm that Deborah has agreed to join the Music Board, of esteemed Australian performers and artists, of the Tait Memorial Trust.
After gaining a Bachelor of Music from the University of Adelaide and a Masters Degree from the University of Melbourne, Deborah was a member of the Victoria State Opera Young Artist Programme. Having been a Principal Artist for both Opera Australia and The State Opera of Hamburg she has embarked upon a freelance career which takes her all over the world. Deborah is a highly sought after adjudicator and advanced teacher in Australia and recently gave a master class for the Melba Trust in Melbourne, as part of her role as a Mentor with the Trust, and was also invited to adjudicate for the Sydney Eisteddfod
The Music Board and the Artistic Planning Committee bring their vast international experience to assist us in selecting our Annual awards. Over the past three years our awards have more than doubled, and have increased to £40,000 per annum, with several awards of £5,000 per awardee, the selection process is vital to ensure the most deserving and talented young artists are supported in their studies.
Deborah joins our Music Board which is chaired by TMT Chairman, Isla Baring OAM
Caroline Almonte, Concert Pianist
Julian Gavin, Operatic Tenor
Dr Leslie Howard, Concert Pianist
Deborah Humble, Operatic Mezzo-Soprano
Liane Keegan, Operatic Dramatic-Contralto
Cameron Menzies, Stage & Opera Director
Anthony Roden, Operatic Tenor & Teacher
We were delighted to learn that Western Australian composer and Tait Awardee, Kevin Penkin has composed an original score commissioned by Rio Tinto in 2016, to mark 50 years since Rio Tinto’s first contracted shipment of iron ore which departed Dampier for the Yawata Iron and Steel Company in Japan.
Ahead of this milestone, thousands of Australian contractors and suppliers laid almost 300 kilometres of railway, moved 12 million cubic metres of earth and rock and installed 300,000 tonnes of plant and equipment. The company also built the towns of Dampier and Tom Price, and dredged a port to accept the largest ore carriers of the day. Rio Tinto Iron Ore chief executive Chris Salisbury said
“When the MV Houn Maru set sail 50 years ago nobody could have predicted that Pilbara iron ore would underpin Australia’s economic growth. “The Pilbara’s vast iron ore deposits, and the people who developed them, have helped build modern Australia and some of the world’s leading economies,”
Kevin was our first Tait Scholar which enabled him to complete his studies at the Royal College of Music. The debut performance of Hoan Maru, by Perth Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Jessica Gethin was recorded live at the 50th anniversary celebration on Friday 26th August, 2016 at the Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre.
B i o g r a p h y
Kevin Penkin is an Australian composer who has written for video games, anime, film and the concert stage. He won ‘Outstanding Vocal Theme’ at the 2013 Video Game Music Awards for his song ‘I Race the Dawn’, and was nominated for ‘Best Newcomer’ in 2012 by Square Enix Music Online for his work with Final Fantasy composer Nobuo Uematsu on the game ‘Juza Engi Engetsu Sangokuden’.
Since developing an interest for Japan at an early age, it was always a goal for Kevin to compose for both video games and anime. Recent efforts have seen him write for the anime series ‘Norn9’, and the highly anticipated sci-fi film ‘Under the Dog’. While expanding in the world of anime, he has remained passionate about video games, composing for the indie hits ‘Defenders Quest’, ‘Implosion – Never Lose Hope’, and ‘Deemo’.
Kevin moved to London in 2013 to attend the Royal College of Music to pursue a Masters of Composition for Screen, from which he graduated from in June of 2015. He was selected as the inaugural Tait Scholar which gave him a £5,000 per annum scholarship to support his studies. The Tait Trust commissioned an original piece for solo flute and Chamber Orchestra entitled ‘Changing Feet’ which was debuted at the 2014 Tait Winter Prom at St John’s Smith’s Square in December 2014.
Changing Feet is about changing pace. Leaving the world’s most isolated city to live in one of the most industrious and compact environments requires a huge mental change. This piece tries to reflect not only the mentality of someone who grew up in Perth, but the experience of moving to London and ultimately returning home back to Australia. This work explores what one could miss of Perth, be it the silence, the space or the natural beauty.
During his time as a student, he heavily expanded his efforts to be involved in local projects. As a result, Kevin is now working on UK based short films and theatre. He is also involved in concert music, writing for ensembles such as the ‘Perth Chamber Orchestra’, ‘Greywing Ensemble’, and the ‘And So Forth Opera Company’.