Trinity Laban’s Gold Medal Showcase 2019 saw seven students and recent alumni compete for the Gold Medal while demonstrating the diversity of musical talent at Trinity Laban with a thrilling and eclectic mix of classical, contemporary, jazz and musical theatre.
In an evening filled with creativity and musicianship, Spanish violinist Elena Abad won over the audience and judges with her versatility, curiosity and musical flair to claim both the newly introduced Audience Prize and the sought-after Gold Medal.
Her innovative programme saw her perform Fritz Kreisler’s colourful Recitativo and Scherzo, Op. 6 and her own solo violin of arrangement of Freddie Mercury’s iconic Bohemian Rhapsody – a gift for her Father, who shares a birthday with Mercury.
On winning the Gold Medal Elena commented – “I feel honoured to be awarded this year's Gold Medal as well as the Audience Prize. It was a truly magical experience to perform to such a wonderful audience at the Purcell Room. I'd like to sincerely congratulate the rest of the finalists for their remarkable performances. Many thanks to Trinity Laban, all my teachers, the audience, the panel and all the staff who contributed to making this event so special. I’ve really enjoyed the creative environment at Trinity Laban, which I found very inspiring and made me think of other ways of making music that I’d never thought about before.”
To adjudicate this year’s competition, Trinity Laban’s Director of Music Havilland Willshire was joined by Sam Jackson, Managing Editor of Classic FM, and award-winning trumpet player Alison Balsom OBE.
Alison Balsom commented – “What an honour to experience such a wonderful Southbank Centre concert – I almost forgot this was a competition. This was a staggeringly diverse evening of music with clever and creative programming. I don’t think I’ve been to anything quite like this. How incredible people are when they do their job brilliantly.”
Sam Jackson, a governor at Trinity Laban, commented – “Bold and innovative programming is part of the ethos of Trinity Laban and it was wonderful to see that in action tonight. I’m proud to be involved in such a creative institution.”
Elena Abad recently completed her MA Music in Violin at Trinity Laban. While studying she was a Trinity College London Scholar, Violet Wright Scholar, Beatrice Taylor Scholar and Helen Roll Scholar. Elena has performed in some of the most prestigious venues in the UK and Europe.
Elena joins an illustrious list of recent Gold Medal winners, many of whom are already enjoying great success: last year’s winner Iyad Sughayer has just recorded his debut album for BIS records, 2017 winner baritone James Newby is a BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artist, and 2015 winner soprano Nardus Williams has joined Houston Grand Opera Studio.
The annual Gold Medal Showcase celebrates outstanding young Trinity Laban musicians. Competitors are nominated by the Heads of each of Departments within Trinity Laban’s Faculty of Music for their exceptional musical flair and professionalism, and all receive a Trinity Laban Director’s Prize for Achievement in recognition of this. The 2018 finalists performing alongside Elena Abad were Sayaka Aoki (Piano), Laura Barnard (Musical Theatre), Sahra Gure (Jazz Voice), Ben Ramsden (Composition), Anna Rea (Soprano), and Ewan Wright (Saxophone).