Anna StÈphany was awarded the Guildhall School of Music & Dramaís Gold Medal, the premier prize for exceptional soloists in a public final at the Barbican on 4 May. Anna StÈphany also won first prize in the Kathleen Ferrier Awards in the same week. Now in its 90th year, the Guildhall School Gold Medal competition is for instrumentalists and singers who compete in alternate years for this illustrious prize.
In the final each performer sang a short programme with piano accompaniment followed by arias with the Guildhall Symphony Orchestra conducted by David Syrus who is Head of Music at the Royal Opera House. Anna StÈphany performed a programme for voice and piano accompanied by pianist John Beatty including Brahmsí Liebe kam aus fernen Landen from Die schˆne Magelone, Op. 33, Poulencís Violon from Fiancailles pour rire, Reynaldo Hahnís ¿ Chloris and Geoffrey Bushís It was a lover and his lass. This was followed by Mahlerís Rheinlegendchen from Des Knaben Wunderhorn and Mozartís Parto, ma tu ben mio from La Clemenza di Tito.
The final took place before a panel of distinguished judges which included Professor Barry Ife, Principal of the Guildhall School, Donald Maxwell, Director of the National Opera Studio and baritone soloist, Elaine Padmore, Director of Opera at the Royal Opera House, Alderman Dr Andrew Parmley, Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Guildhall School, David Syrus and a capacity audience.
Anna is currently in the second year of the Guildhall School Opera Course and studies with Susan Mulloch and in September will join the National Opera Studio. Earlier this year she won the Clonter Opera Prize and last year the First prize in the Susan Longfield competition. This summer she will be singing Dorabella for British Youth Opera and in November she is participating in the Samling Foundation Masterclasses with Sir Thomas Allen and Felicity Palmer.
The runners-up Glass Trophy, generously donated by The Worshipful Company of Glass Sellers, was awarded to Portuguese soprano Joana Seara who performed songs by Wolf-Ferrari, Poulenc, Handel and Walton. The other three finalists were soprano Ciara Hendrick and tenors Adrian Ward and Nicholas Spence. Pianist Annabel Thwaite, who appeared with tenor Adrian Ward, won the Accompanist Award.
Principal Barry Ife CBE commented:
One of the pleasures of working in a Conservatoire is seeing young professional musicians developing almost week by week. This year the Guildhall School has seen the emergence of an exceptional talent in Anna StÈphany - a wonderful voice allied to a mature musical intelligence.The Gold Medal award was founded and endowed by Sir H Dixon Kimber in 1915. Previous winners include Jacqueline du PrÈ, Bryn Terfel and Tasmin Little. The 2002 winner David Cohen was shortly after appointed Principal Cellist of the Philharmonia Orchestra; 2003 Gold Medal winner was soprano Susanna Andersson, who has been performing with great success in recital and on stage; 2004 winner, violinist Boris Brovtsyn, has performed with the Moscow State Chamber Orchestra, BBC Philharmonic and the Orchestre Nationale de Lille.
The Guildhall School celebrates its 125th anniversary this year and further details of famous alumni can be found at www.gsmd.ac.uk/125