The winner of the First Prize at the Ferrier Finals, held in the Wigmore Hall last Friday evening, was 24 year old tenor Ben Johnson. Ben studied at the Royal College of Music with Neil Mackie and went on to the Benjamin Britten Opera School, where he now studies with Tim Evans Jones. He has been supported in his studied by an Ian Fleming Charitable Trust Award, a Sybil Tutton Award, and by the Countess of Munster and Josephine Baker Trusts. On the concert stage he works regularly with the London Mozart Players. Last year he made his debut in Elgar's Dream of Gerontius, with the National Philharmonic of Lithuania, sang the title role in Britten’s Albert Herring and most recently sang Tom Rakewell Stravinsky’s The Rakes Progress for BBIOS. Future plans include his debut with Scottish Opera as Tonik in Smetena's The Two Widows.
2nd PRIZE (£5,000)
Alexander Robin Baker (baritone)
Just 22 years old, Alexander Baker, born in Surrey, is one of the Ferrier’s youngest ever prize-winners. He joined the Guildhall School of Music and Drama 2003 to study with David Pollard, and will start on the Opera Course there this coming September. He has appeared at many major London venues including the Wigmore, Barbican and Royal Albert Halls and he sang in the 2007 BBC Proms Composer Portrait for David Matthews, broadcast on BBC Radio 3. He has appeared at the Aldeburgh, Oxford Lieder, Chipping Campden and Ponte de Lima (Portugal) Festivals. His operatic roles include scenes as the Count, Sid, Billy Budd, Marcello, Owen Wingrave, Papageno, Mountjoy and Smirnoff in Walton’s The Bear. In May 2007 he won the GSMD English Song Prize. Future engagements include the role of Gasparo in Donizetti’s Rita and various recitals around the UK. He is supported by Maidment and Boise Scholarships.
SONG PRIZE (£4,000)
Ida Falk Winland (soprano)
Ida Falk Winland (25) was born in Sweden and studied cello and piano before beginning formal singing lessons at the age of 16. In 2002 she was awarded a scholarship to the Royal College of Music where she is currently studying with Lillian Watson at the BBIOS. Her operatic roles include Euridice in Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo for Drottningholm Opera, Anne Truelove in Stravinsky’s The Rakes’s Progress and the Fox in Janacek’s Cunning Little Vixen for BBIOS. She has performed in concert with the Helsinki Philharmonic, Swedish Radio Symphony, Gothenburg Symphony and Stockholm Royal Philarmonic orchestras under conductors such as Dudamel, Harding, Honeck, Mackerras and Schreier. In June last year Ida was a finalist in the BBC Singer of the World Competition and in December she performed at the Nobel Prize Ceremony.
MBF ACCOMPANIST’S PRIZE (£3,000)
James Southall (piano)
James Southall (25) is currently the holder of the David Bowerman Junior Fellowship at the Royal College of Music where he studied with John Blakely and Roger Vignoles, gaining an MMus distinction in Piano Accompaniment in 2007. Prior to that he read music at Queens’ College Cambridge. He won the MBF Accompanist’s Prize in the 2008 Maggie Teyte Competition and in March made his Wigmore Hall debut with violinist Haik Kazazyan. In 2007, he performed at the Aldeburgh Festival with the Britten-Pears School and at St John’s, Smith Square with the Young Songmakers Project. James also studies conducting with Peter Stark and has been the chorus master of the Opéra de Baugé for the past two seasons.