Harpist Claire Iselin became the winner of the 2013 Isabelle Bond Gold Medal Award for Excellence in Performance, the most prestigious award for a solo music performance offered by Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, last week.

Claire was one of six students hoping to receive this prestigious award, performing in a showcase evening in front of a packed audience, with guest of honour, and Trinity Laban Patron, HRH the Duke of Kent, at King’s Place in North London.

The annual Gold Medal Showcase celebrates the success of leading performers from the previous year's cohort. Competitors are nominated by Trinity Laban’s Heads of Departments for their exceptional musical flair and professionalism and all receive the Trinity Laban Director’s Award for Achievement in recognition of this.

After her win Claire said: “It was amazing just to have been selected - but to win it, I just can't find the words...it is magic, fantastic, wonderful, extraordinary. I am also so happy that the harp has won: this amazing instrument that I love so much and which deserves a more important place in the music scene.”

Claire started learning the harp in her native Alsace when she was six years old. She graduated from Trinity Laban with a BMus First Class Honours in 2010. Claire is continuing her study for an MMus at Trinity Laban with Gabriella Dall’Olio, and is mentored by Suzy Kawalec of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. Claire is also supported by the Helen Roll and Alliance Foundations.

Claire has performed solo recitals and chamber music concerts (flute and harp duo, duo and harp trio) in France UK, Germany, Switzerland, Ireland and China: She also enjoys teaching and in addition to her private pupils she has been a deputy teacher at Trinity Laban’s Junior Trinity department since 2007, and has given Masterclasses in Illzach, France in 2010.

This year’s adjudicators were Barry Wordsworth, Music Director of the Royal Ballet Covent Garden, and Dr Claire Mera-Nelson, Director of Music at Trinity Laban.

Barry advised the audience to make a note of all of the finalists’ names: “These elite musicians are the musical stars of the future and we are privileged to hear the result of many years’ training in tonight’s performances.”

Dr Claire Mera-Nelson said after the performance: "Claire has blossomed into a wonderful performer and a stylish musician. She was the very first recipient of the John Marson prize, and winning the prestigious Gold Medal award is just one of many accolades she will attract over her musical career."

The 2013 finalists were Helen Whitaker (flute); Mikhail Shilyaev (piano); Alex McManus (jazz drums); Theo Jamieson (composition); Saran Denbee (mezzo soprano); and Claire Iselin (harp).


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