Eight singers from all over the world have made it through to the finals of the John Kerr Award for English Song, to be held at Finchcocks historical instrument museum in Kent , on 3 October 2010. Seven sopranos and one baritone will compete for the top prize of £2,000 plus the opportunity of a recital.

Speaking about this year’s final, the competition’s founder, Maureen Lyle, said:

“We had a very strong field from which to choose this year, and anyone coming along to hear these young singers’ recitals on 3 October is in for a real treat. Once again there was an overwhelming number of applications from sopranos (although the repertoire includes a great number of excellent songs for men), and this is reflected in the line-up of finalists.”

The finalists are:
Soprano Penelope Appleyard, aged 25, from Cleveland
Baritone Marc Callahan, aged 32, an American living in London
Soprano Susanna Hurrell, aged 23, from Barnet, Greater London
Tokyo-born soprano Kyoko Murai, aged 35, who now lives in London
Soprano Iria Perestrelo, aged 27, originally from Portugal and now based in London
Soprano Rachael Robinson, aged 22, from London
Soprano Abigail Sudbury, aged 32, from London
Soprano Stefanie True, aged 29, who lives in The Hague.

In the final of the John Kerr Award for English Song each candidate gives a 25-minute public recital of varied English songs from 1600 to 1900 before a distinguished panel comprising the soprano Julie Kennard, the tenor Ian Partridge, and Dr Geoffrey Govier, Fortepianist and Professor of Fortepiano at the Royal College of Music. Each candidate brings their own accompanist, and these - this year drawn from all over the world – compete for an Accompanist Prize, worth £500, sponsored by Margaret Searle.

The competition encourages candidates to research the repertoire, to come up with interesting and unusual pieces, and to perform with the accompaniment most appropriate to each song. The competition final is, therefore, an opportunity to hear a wide range of English Song Repertoire – performed with a variety of accompaniments such as lute and harpsichord - in the atmospheric setting of Finchcocks’ recital room. Open to the general public, tickets for this all-day event can be purchased in advance for £20 (£15 for a half day) from Maureen Lyle (T 01892 530049; E [email protected]).


The John Kerr Award for English Song was established in memory of the remarkable tenor John Kerr, after his premature death in 2004, by his many admirers including his partner Maureen Lyle, the lutenist Anthony Rooley, and Richard and Katrina Burnett of Finchcocks. In its content it reflects Kerr’s love of English song – of which he was a wonderful interpreter - and in its location it reflects the way in which his life was for many years involved with Finchcocks, for whom he gave many recitals and made three recordings. The John Kerr Award Trust is a registered charity no. 1121245.


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