The reviews are in for the world premiere of ‘The Monstrous Child’ by Gavin Higgins and Francesca Simon, a new production directed by Timothy Sheader and designed by Paul Wills, at the Linbury Theatre, The Royal Opera House. We are thrilled to see that #TaitAwardee, and Chair of the Tait Music Board, Jessica Cottis has received such glowing reviews for her work. Brava Jessica, we are so proud of you.
Isla Baring OAM, Chairman of the Tait Trust
“I had tickets for the opening night of The Monstrous Child, and it was sensational! Jessica Cottis was brilliant the way she handled this modern music, the incredible production, and the singers in this new opera. Bravo to Covent Garden at the newly refurbished Linbury Theatre. The reviews say it all! We are so proud of Jessica who is really making her way Up!! I am sure.”
“Jessica Cottis directs members of the Aurora Orchestra with incisive clarity, deploying her forces strategically, always mindful of the singers who must project Simon’s text without the help of surtitles. It’s no small praise to say that you hardly lose a word.”
Tonight Australian conductor (and Chair of the Tait Music Board) Jessica Cottis conducts the world premiere of Gavin Higgins and Francesca Simon‘s opera The Monstrous Child at the newly re-opened Linbury Theatre, Royal Opera House.
Directed by Timothy Sheader, designed by Paul Wills, with singers Marta Fontanals-Simmonds, Daniel Shelvey, Rosie Aldridge, Tom Randle, Lucy Schaufer, Graeme Broadbent, and Elizabeth Karani, and the Aurora Orchestra.
The Monstrous Child is the first opera by Gavin Higgins, a young British composer with a reputation for boldly imaginative music. The text is adapted by bestselling author Francesca Simon from her own darkly humorous novel. Puppetry and the inspiration of the Norse landscape contribute to this theatrical spectacle about one teenager trying to find her place in the world.
To learn more about this production and book tickets click here
The Tait Memorial Trust is to present renowned Australian tenor Stuart Skelton, at a gala concert to celebrate our 25th Anniversary at St Paul’s Church Knightsbridge, on Wednesday the 13th September at 7pm.
“Stuart Skelton’s Tristan is the finest account of Wagner’s most extreme and taxing operatic character…that I’ve ever seen or heard on a stage.” David Nice, The Arts Desk, June 2016
Stuart is arguably the world’s leading Wagnerian Heldentenor; he is critically acclaimed for outstanding musicianship, tonal beauty and for his intensely dramatic portrayals. As Tristan, he recently opened the 2017/18 season at the Metropolitan Opera, New York, and will make his long-awaited Royal Opera House debut singing Siegmund in Die Walküre in 2018.
He will shortly appear in this year’s BBC Proms at the Royal Albert Hall singing Florestan in Beethoven’s Fidelio. Accompanied by pianist Richard Peirson, Stuart will be joined by some of the Tait’s talented past and present awardees, Catherine Carby who is singing in the Royal Opera’s Ring Cycle next year, Deborah Humble who most recently recorded Erda for Naxos with Hong Kong Philharmonic, Katrina Sheppeard who last year sang Norma for English National Opera, Jayson Gillham who’s CD of Chopin, Bach and Schubert went to number 1 in Australia, and Liane Keegan, our first awardee, will return to London after a triumphant season in Melbourne’s recent Ring Cycle.
All are appearing to help raise funds for the Tait Trust’s work of providing scholarships for young performing artists from Australia and New Zealand studying in the UK. The evening will be introduced by Richard Wagner’s great-great grandson, Antoine Wagner.
Programme to include music by Beethoven, Copland, Elgar, Mozart, Respighi and Ravi Shankar
Join rollicking ringmaster Sir Henry Wood (founder-conductor of the Proms) on an exciting adventure for all the family. Together with young performers, the Ten Pieces Children’s Choir and guests, he discovers how nature, history, dreams, love, magic and lots more have inspired composers to create musical masterpieces.
Reflecting upon our 5th Tait Winter Prom and our rapidly approaching quarter century, I feel overwhelmed by the wonderful support and goodwill we had for this event, as for all of them since our very first concert with Liane Keegan at Australia House in 1992. A major Australian scholarship holder, Liane‘s arrival in the UK in that year prompted me to think about how we might set about trying to help talented young Australians arriving to study and work in Europe, and thus the Tait Memorial Trust was born.
2016 was another big and busy year for us, with three successful events, in addition to the Winter Prom. In the 2016/17 UK academic year 19 young artists will receive assistance from us, of awards totalling £40,000, which is more than triple the sum of only three years ago. Especially pleasing is the support of young dancers through the Leanne Benjamin Awards, and we look forward to extending our relationships with individuals and corporations who recognise the challenges facing very young Australian dancers leaving home and family to follow their dreams.
We also acknowledge a generous bequest from the Estate of Lady Mackerras, which will guarantee a ten year sponsorship of an orchestral chair for an Australian musician, in the Southbank Sinfonia, in the name of Sir Charles Mackerras. Heartfelt thanks to their daughter, Cathy, for appreciating and continuing the encouragement her father and mother always warmly extended to us.
The Trust has been honoured with such generous and continuing support and friendship from HE The Hon. Alexander Downer, High Commissioner for Australia, and his wife Nicola, who were our guests of honour at the Prom. With the help of a new enthusiastic and hard-working Tait Artistic Planning Committee, we again formed a near all-Australian chamber orchestra, a number of whom have been supported by the Trust in their studies. Our conductor Jessica Cottis, who is chairing this committee, is fast gaining recognition internationally for her work, and we are so very lucky to have her inspirational guidance as we continue to support the next generation of talented young Australians who come here to complete their studies.
We dedicated our first work, Mozart‘s Sinfonia Concertante for Violin, Viola and Orchestra K364 to our much loved Patron, The Dowager Countess of Harewood, on the occasion of her 90th Birthday. Once a professional violinist herself, this has special meaning for her. We are so grateful for Lady Harewood’s patronage over much of our 25 years – that she has wanted to share our cause has been very gratifying, and immensely helpful to us. A very happy 90th Birthday!
We are also deeply indebted to the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, who have been our Principal Partner for the past three years. We hope, as they see the important work we do for the young Australians in this highly competitive arts marketplace here, that their very welcome support will continue.
Chevalier Richard Gunter has once again generously sponsored our venue, this time the marvellous St John‘s Smith Square, and to our many individual sponsors and loyal supporters, all of whom we gratefully acknowledge below: we are so pleased to see your sponsorship growing year-on-year – we can‘t do without you!
Please continue to help us in any way you can (Click here for further information). Next year is our 25th anniversary and our work goes on! Happy Christmas, we look forward to seeing you in the New Year.
Isla Baring OAM
The Tait Memorial Trust
Tait Winter Prom Angels
Chev. Richard Gunter (Hire of the Hall)
The Hon. Sarah Joiner (Programme printing)
Mrs Jan Gowrie-Smith (Conductor)
The Linbury Trust
The Bernays Trust
Mr Kerry Rubie
Lady Rosa Lipworth CBE
Dame Norma Major DBE
Mrs Pamela Le Couter
Mr Patrick Kennedy
Mrs Lyn Robertson
Mr & Mrs J Bryant
Mr Christin Odey
Supported the Orchestra
Mr Peter Box
Mrs Katherine Scholfield
Mrs Lynette Braithwaite
The Hon. Susan Baring OBE
Mrs June Mendoza AM OBE
Countess of Portsmouth
Mr Henry Lumley
The Hon. Mrs Patricia Wyndham
Australia Day Foundation
Royal Over-Seas League
Australian Women‘s Club, London
The Cook Society
Roses Only UK
Raffle Prize donors
West Green Opera
Bobby Williams, Video
Hannan Images, Photo
Artistic Planning Committee
The Tait Chamber Orchestra
The Tait Committee
The Sidney Nolan Trust
We are very grateful for the support that we receive from
Commonwealth Bank of Australia
Tait Grainger Patron £10,000+
Julian Baring Family*
The Estate of Lady Mackerras*
Tait Sutherland Benefactor £5,000+
Sir David & Lady Higgins*
Mr John Frost AM*
Tait Bonynge Partner £3,000+
The Estate of Peggy Haim
Tait Helpmann Circle £1,000+
Mrs Jan Gowrie-Smith
Chevalier Richard Gunter
Mr & Mrs David Hunter
Mr Albert Kwok & Mrs Stephanie McGregor
Mr Andrew Loewenthal & Ms Eugenie White*
The Thornton Foundation
Mrs Margaret Rodgers
Mrs Jacqueline Thompson & Mr Damian Walsh
Mr Michael Whalley
Ms Karen Goldie-Morrison*
Ms Louise Worthington*
VEC Acorn Trust
TMT Frank & Viola Friends £500+
Mr Julian Agnew
Mr & Mrs Christopher Braithwaite
Mr Hugh Bayne
Tait Amis Supporter £250+
Mr John Coke
The Hon. Sarah Joiner
Mrs Anne Longdon
Mr & Mrs Jan Pethick
Mr Kerry Rubie
The Hon. Sir R. Storey Bt CBE
TMT Friends £75+
Miss Marylyn Abbott
Mr Eric Adler
Mrs June Allison
Ms Ariadne Jane Baring
The Hon. Mark Baring
The Hon. Susan Baring OBE
Mrs Nina Bialoguski
Mr Lindsay Birrell
Ms Sue Bradbury
Viscountess Harriet Bridgeman
Mrs Diana Burley
Mrs Lorraine Buckland
Mrs Jane Butter
Mr Marcus Clapham
Mrs Sandra Clapham
Mr John Crisp
Ms Fay Curtin
Mr Roger Davenport
Mrs Anne Davidson
Mrs Celeste Ekerick
Mr Edward Field
Dr Rodney Foale
Miss Rosemary Frischer
Mr Phillip Hart
Dr John Keets
Mr Patrick Kennedy
Mr Martin Kramer
Mrs Wendy Kramer
Lady Rosa Lipworth CBE
Mr Henry Lumley
Miss Joanna McCallum
Ms Sue McGregor
Ms Lisa Orlov
Ms Mary Rayner
Mr John Rendall
Ms Jacqueline Rowlands
Ms Katherine Scholfield
Mr Ian Tegner
Mrs Annette Thorp
Rev John Wates OBE
*Adopt a Performer
Our Winter Prom is only two days away. Here is a snippet of a piano run for violist, Lisa Bucknell; violinist, Alex Isted & accompanist, Chad Vindin, who are rehearsing Mozart’s Concertante for Violin and Viola K 364. Lisa and Alex are both Masters graduates of the Royal College of Music and have already gained impressive solo and orchestral CV’s.
Tickets are still on sale for our concert at St John’s Smith Square celebrating our very talented awardees who have travelled to the UK to complete their advanced musical studies. The Tait Chamber Orchestra will be conducted by Jessica Cottis.
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.”
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 are thrilled to confirm that 2016 Tait Awardee, James Guan, will be playing in London’s famous recital venue, Wigmore Hall tomorrow morning, competing as the Royal Academy of Music finalist in the Intercollegiate Piano Competition.
You can watch him on live stream, for those Aussies playing along at home it will be tonight at 6:55pm AWST and 9:55pm AEST. The Intercollegiate Piano Competition aims to provide students with an opportunity for outstanding students to perform at well known London concert venues.
James is a featured artist in our 2016 Tait Winter Prom at St John’s Smith Square on Wednesday 30th November. James will play Australian composer, Malcolm Williamson’s 2nd piano concerto with the Tait Chamber Orchestra. To book please click here
Final at Wigmore Hall – open to the public
10th November 2016
10am – 2:30pm
entry fee: £8
Wigmore Hall, 36 Wigmore Street, London W1U 2BP
box office tel: 0207 9352141
10:00 – 10:50 Jonathan Ferrucci, Guildhall School of Music & Drama
10:55 – 11:45 James Guan, Royal Academy of Music
— 30 minute break —
12:15 – 13:05 Ilya Kondratiev, Royal College of Music
13:10 – 14:00 Oda Voltersvik, Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance
approx. 14:15 announcement of the winner
The final is open to the public. The four finalists will each perform a 45-50 minute programme of own choice including the compulsory work. The announcement of the winner is made approx. 15 minutes after the end of the last performance.
All four piano professors of the heats/the semi final all or at least one of the following three: Paolo Fazioli, creator and builder of Fazioli Pianos and sponsor of the recital at the Fazioli Concert Hall John Gilhooly, director of Wigmore Hall Stuart Mitchell, S. W. Mitchell Capital LLP, sponsor of the live recording of the Wigmore Hall recital As chairman: Terence Lewis, Managing Director of Jaques Samuel Pianos
Intercollegiate Piano Competition
The Jaques Samuel Pianos Intercollegiate Piano Competition has taken place annually since 1996. Our competition aims to provide students with an opportunity to compete against like minded musicians, to gain experience in piano specific competitions and give outstanding students the opportunity to perform at well known London concert venues. The competition heats begin in May with the final and semi-final in October.
The winner will perform a solo recital at Wigmore Hall and at the Fazioli Auditorium in Sacile, Italy. The Wigmore Hall Recital will be recorded and he/she will receive 500 professionally produced CDs. A further four entrants will win a solo lunchtime recital at St James’s Piccadilly.
The competition is open to
all students (first year to postgraduate) of the four main London music colleges: Guildhall School of Music & Drama, Royal Academy of Music, Royal College of Music, Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance.
Jessica Cottis, Conductor: Colin Hattersley, Photography
Tait Winter Prom – Memories of Summer
The Tait Memorial Trust returns to St John’s Smith Square on Wednesday 30th November for their 5th annual Winter Prom. Now in its 24th year, the Trust supports young Australian performing artists who come to the UK to complete their advanced studies in music, dance and composition.
We are delighted to confirm that the Australian High Commissioner, His Excellency, The Hon. Alexander Downer AC and his wife Mrs Nicola Downer AM, have kindly agreed to be our Guests of Honour. They have been such loyal supporters of the Tait Trust, and we look forward to welcoming them on the night.
We are thrilled that Jessica Cottis has agreed to conduct and musically direct the Tait Chamber Orchestra, of young Australian musicians, and has selected the programme to showcase our award winners but also to acknowledge the tyranny of distance and the longing many of us feel for the wide open spaces of Australia.