The Guildhall School is delighted to announce that 32 year old soprano Magdalena Molendowska is the winner of this year’s Gold Medal, the School’s most prestigious prize for outstanding soloists, this year for singers. The prize presents a sum of one thousand pounds with the gold medal, generously donated by The Worshipful Company of Musicians.

The four Gold Medal finalists performed a short programme with piano accompaniment followed by a second half of arias with the Guildhall Symphony Orchestra conducted by David Syrus before a Barbican Hall audience.

Runner up Joshua Owen Mills was presented with the Glass Trophy, generously donated by The Worshipful Company of Glass Sellers. The other two finalists were soprano Lucy Hall, and bass baritone James Platt. The Piano Accompanist Prize was awarded to Anna Cardona supported and presented by Dr Andrew Parmley.

Magdalena Molendowska’s winning performance included a recital programme of Duparc’s Au pays où se fait la guerre, Wichrowski’s Liście, Tchaikovsky’s Reconciliation and Dvořák’s Songs my mother taught me accompanied by pianist Catherine Norton. Molendowska’s arias with the Guildhall Symphony Orchestra included Puccini’s Vissi d’arte, vissi d’amore (Tosca); Verdi’s Ritorna vincitor (Aida) and Barber’s Do not utter a word (Vanessa).

Magdalena Molendowska commented, ‘To win the Gold Medal is simply the biggest possible prize. The Guildhall School has brought me so many good things in life and with this accolade I can feel connected with the School forever. The Guildhall has allowed me to develop my personality, my acting, my performance skills and everything I have learnt here, I was able to draw on and present during tonight’s concert. And for me this is what makes it so special and important to win the Gold Medal’.

Magdalena Molendowska studied at the Music Academy in Gdansk before joining the Guildhall School’s Opera Course, where she studies with Rudolf Piernay. Previous competition successes include Competizione dell’Opera (Moscow), Jakub Pustina Competition and Concorso Internazionale di Musica Sacra. She is supported by the Worshipful Company of Merchant Taylors and the Margery and Frederick Stephen Wright Eisinger Bursary.

The final took place before a distinguished panel of judges including Sir John Tomlinson, bass; Fiona Maddocks, Chief Classical Music Critic, The Observer; Sir Antonio Pappano, Music Director, Royal Opera House; David Syrus, Head of Music for the Royal Opera House and conductor of the Guildhall Symphony Orchestra for the evening and Jonathan Vaughan, Director of Music, Guildhall School.

The Gold Medal award was founded and endowed by Sir H Dixon Kimber in 1915. Previous winners include Jacqueline du Pré (1960), Tasmin Little (1986) and Bryn Terfel (1989). The 2008 winner Sasha Grynyuk also won the inaugural Guildhall Wigmore Recital Prize which saw him perform a solo recital at the Wigmore Hall in 2009. 2009’s winner Gary Griffiths has performed solo recitals at the Wigmore Hall, Barbican Hall and Birmingham Symphony Hall, and made his professional debut with Welsh National Opera in summer 2011. In 2010 the prize was awarded to pianist Martyna Jatkauskaite, who has appeared as a soloist with the Lithuanian National Symphony Orchestra, Lithuania Chamber Orchestra, Kaunas Symphony Orchestra and the London Festival Orchestra. Natalya Romaniw won the 2011 singer’s Gold Medal and is currently on Houston Grand Opera’s Young Artist Program. 2012’s winner Ashley Fripp also won a Diploma of Outstanding Merit at the 8th Hamamatsu International Piano Competition and first prize at the Brant International Piano Competition last year. He will release his recording of Chopin Piano Concertos later this year.

Biographies

Lucy Hall was the first-ranked graduate of her class at the Guildhall School in 2010 and winner of the Dove Memorial Prize, and is now studying with Yvonne Kenny on the School’s Opera Course. She won first prize at the Oxford Lieder Young Artist Platform and is supported by the Silk Street Award, the Worshipful Companies of Glovers, Goldsmiths and Plumbers, and the Music Students' Hostel Trust.

Joshua Owen Mills studies on the Guildhall School’s Opera Course with Adrian Thompson and Yvonne Kenny. He was voted Dunraven Young Welsh Singer of the Year in 2012 and was selected as special prize-winner for best sacred aria at the International Mozart Singing Competition in 2011. He is supported by The London Syndicate and the Ashley Family Foundation.

James Platt is currently studying on the Guildhall School’s Opera Course with Janice Chapman. He has performed as a soloist at the Bridgewater Hall, Barbican Centre, Christ Church Spitalfields, the London Handel Festival and venues across Europe. He was previously a student of voice, piano, organ, composition and conducting at Chetham’s School of Music and obtained a scholarship to study for his undergraduate degree at the Royal Academy of Music. He is supported by Independent Opera, the Elizabeth Sweeting Award, the Edith Vogel Bursary and the Music Students' Hostel Trust.

 

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