27 young singer and pianist duos from around the world have been shortlisted for this prestigious competition, taking place at Wigmore Hall in September with the generous support of Independent Opera
Competition dates: Friday 6 – Wednesday 11 September 2019
As part of Wigmore Hall’s longstanding commitment to celebrating the art form, its week-long biennial International Song Competition has grown in status and prestige to become one of the most significant platforms worldwide for recognising young talent in song recital since it was established in 1997.
This year’s shortlist features a truly international list of emerging performers aged 33 and under from the UK, Germany, USA, Australia, Austria, Bulgaria, Canada, Finland, France, Ireland, Israel, Italy, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Romania, Russia and South Korea – all on the verge of embarking on significant international careers.
Over a five-day period, the shortlisted duos will compete in front of a distinguished panel of jurors and Wigmore Hall audiences. They will also receive coaching and feedback from some of the foremost international song performers and experts. Between the rounds, leading musical figures such as John Mark Ainsley, Iain Burnside, Graham Johnson and Judith Weir give talks, workshops and masterclasses which are also open to the public.
The week culminates in a prize-giving ceremony, in which the overall winning singer receives £10,000. A Pianist’s Prize of £5,000 is also awarded, as well as the Jean Meikle Prize for the best Duo and the Richard Tauber Prize for best interpretation of Schubert Lieder.
There are two new prizes this year – the Vaughan Williams Prize for the best interpretation of songs in English by a British composer and the Britten-Pears Young Artist Programme Prize.
The Semi-Finals (9 September, 3pm & 7.30pm) and Final (11 September, 6pm) will be streamed live via Wigmore Hall’s website.
Past winners include British baritone Marcus Farnsworth, who now enjoys a busy international career, tenor Robin Tritschler (2nd prize winner in 2007) who is now a Signum recording artist, and 2009 Pianist’s Prize-winner James Baillieu, in great demand around the world, as well as more recent successes such as Milan Siljanov and Julien van Mellaerts.
Director of Wigmore Hall and chair of the Jury John Gilhooly OBE says of the Competition: ‘The Wigmore Hall/Independent Opera International Song Competition forms an integral part of our work to recognise and encourage the next generation of great performers. It offers an unrivalled platform for these singer and pianist duos to introduce their musical personalities and qualities to an audience that appreciates the countless imaginative insights that the repertoire requires. We look forward to the excitement within the global singing community which surrounds the event and expect in future to see many of these young artists on the world’s most prestigious stages. We are particularly grateful for Independent Opera’s magnificent support, which has secured the future of the competition for many years to come.’
This is the first Competition to be sponsored by Independent Opera, with whom Wigmore Hall has had a relationship for almost 12 years, since its first Wigmore Hall/IO Voice Fellowship was awarded to baritone Matthew Rose. He was selected from amongst the participants of the International Song Competition and auditioned by IO’s Creative Director Natalie Murray Beale. Subsequent Wigmore Hall/IO Voice Fellowships have been awarded to Gaëlle Arquez, Clara Mouriz, Dominik Köninger, Anna Huntley, James Newby and Peter Kellner.