The Guildhall School is delighted to announce baritone Josep-Ramon Olivé as the winner of this year’s Gold Medal, the School’s most prestigious prize for outstanding soloists. The prize is awarded to singers and instrumentalists in alternate years and this year was the turn of the singers. Josep-Ramon Olivé’s winning performance included Mompou’s Jo et pressentia com la mar (Combat del somni, No. 3), Schubert’s Du bist die Ruh, D776, Duparc’s Le manoir de Rosemonde, Rachmaninov’s O dolgo budu ja, Op. 4 No. 3 and Strauss’ Heimliche Aufforderung (Secret invitation), Op. 27 No. 3 with pianist Lana Bode. His programme also featured Handel’s Se il mar promette calma (from Lotario HWV 26), Korngold’s Mein Sehnen, mein Wähnen (from Die tote Stadt) and Rossini’s Largo al factotum (from Il barbiere di Siviglia, accompanied by the Guildhall Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Dominic Wheeler.
The other Gold Medal finalists, Daniel Shelvey, Bianca Andrew and Samuel Carl also performed programmes of songs and arias of their choice before a Barbican Hall audience.
Josep-Ramon Olivé commented: “I am completely overwhelmed, it’s a dream come true to win the Gold Medal. It’s a great achievement that is the icing on the cake for my time at the Guildhall School. I would like to thank my family, friends, fellow colleagues at the School and of course my tutor Professor Rudolf Piernay.”
The Final took place before a distinguished panel of judges including the Guildhall School’s new Principal Lynne Williams; General Director of Glyndebourne Sebastian F. Schwarz; Vice-Principal & Director of Music, Guildhall School Jonathan Vaughan; Head of Opera, Guildhall School Dominic Wheeler; and accompanist Malcolm Martineau.
The Gold Medal award was founded and endowed by Sir H. Dixon Kimber in 1915. Since 1950 it has been open to singers and instrumentalists in alternate years. Previous winners include William Primrose (1922), Jacqueline du Pré (1960), Patricia Rozario (1979), Tasmin Little (1986) and Bryn Terfel (1989).
Born in Barcelona, baritone Josep-Ramon Olivé studied at the Escola Superior de Musica de Catalunya, followed by the Guildhall School’s Opera Course. He is currently on the Artist Diploma programme under Professor Rudolf Piernay and is a recipient of the Harry Rolfe Award.
His operatic roles include Il Conte in Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro, Tarquinius in Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia, Orfeo in Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo, Lesbo in Handel’s Agrippina, Aeneas in Purcell’s Dido & Aeneas, Frank in Strauss’ Die Fledermaus, Pantalone in Wolf-Ferrari’s Le donne curiose, Thésée in Martinů’s Ariane and Uberto in Pergolesi’s La Serva Padrona. His Oratorio repertoire includes Brahms Ein Deutches Requiem, Fauré Requiem, Duruflé Requiem, Mozart Requiem, Orff Carmina Burana, Handel Messiah and Bach B minor Mass, Magnificat.
He has performed with the London Handel Orchestra, Les Concert des Nations, Hespérion XXI, Barcelona Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment. He has performed all around the world in venues including: Palau de la Música Catalana, Shanghai Grand Theatre, Konzerthaus Vienna, Philharmonie de Paris, and the Barbican Hall. He has collaborated with Jordi Savall, Kazushi Ono, Laurence Cummings and Sigiswald, Kujken and has recorded for Alia-Vox, Columna Música, Phaedra, Discmedi and Musièpoca labels. He is currently a member of the Capaella Reial de Catalunya, conducted by Jordi Savall.
Josep-Ramon was awarded First Prize, as well as the Audience Prize, at the 2015 Handel Singing Competition; Second Prize at the 2013 International Singing Competition ‘Symphonies d’Autômne’ (Mâcon); Second Prize at the 2013 International Singing Competition ‘Germans Pla’ (Balaguer) and Second Prize at the 2011 Concurso Permanente of Juventudes Musicales de España. In 2015 he was nominated for ‘Oxford Lieder Young Artist’, together with pianist Ben-San Lau.
His future plans include The Count in Le nozze di Figaro with Clonter Opera; and Le Jardin des Voix Academy with William Christie and Paul Agnew.
Recent winners include Michael Petrov (2014) who was selected for representation by Young Classical Artists Trust (YCAT) in September 2013. In 2015, there were two winners of the Gold Medal: soprano Jennifer Witton performs the role of Juno in Shakespeare’s The Tempest with the Royal Shakespeare Company at the Barbican in summer 2017; whilst mezzo-soprano Marta Fontanals-Simmons performs in Vivaldi’s Gloria at the Basilica de Sant Francesc in April 2017. Last year’s winner, harpist Oliver Wass, is in his second year of a Masters Degree at the Guildhall School, for which he was awarded a full scholarship to study with Imogen Barford. He presents an evening of French chamber music for the harp on 21 May with his ensemble, the Pellėas Ensenble, at St John’s Smith Square where they are part of the St John’s Smith Square Artists scheme.