John Amis Award at Dartington International Summer School

We are delighted to announce The Tait Memorial Trust, ‘John Amis Award’ at the Dartington International Summer School. The Award, valued at £1,700, will fund the studies of a young Australian for two weeks intensive work at next year’s School. This will be an annual award available to an Australian citizen who wishes to further their musical studies in the UK. Please apply directly to Dartington  to register your interest.

Melbourne born Tenor Matthew Thomson was the John Amis Award’s first recipient at the 2016 Dartington International Summer School and Festival. Speaking of Matthew as the first recipient of the award, Isla Baring says,

“John loved singing, he loved Australia, and he loved Dartington – these three elements have come together perfectly in Matthew receiving the first of these annual awards in celebration of John’s legacy at Dartington.”

John Amis
Writer, broadcaster, narrator, mimic, wit, raconteur, visionary, bon vivant, and an excellent organizer, John Amis’ life was a remarkable one, through which music, and the joy of it, ran as a rich golden vein.

John Amis at Dartington International Summer School
John Amis at Dartington International Summer School

When John Amis died in 2014, Isla Baring, the “Indian Summer” of his life, and Chair of the Tait Memorial Trust, of which John too had been an active patron, invited gifts from those who loved and appreciated him to create a ‘John Amis Award.

In celebration of John Amis’ defining role in its history, The Dartington International Summer School and Festival, and the Tait Memorial Trust have now joined to offer this award to an Australian Student applying to attend the Summer School each year.

John’s role in the Summer School goes back to 1948, when as William Glock’s right hand man, he helped set up the Summer School at Bryanston, a relationship that continued when the Summer School moved to Dartington in 1951, where John was closely involved in both its artistic direction and administration. Through the close friendships John built with notable musicians, composers, and conductors, he ensured that many of them featured at Dartington, where he worked to develop the special musical atmosphere that pervades to this day. (John was also in charge of the “trogs”; the unpaid volunteers who keep the show on the road – christened “troglodytes” by George Malcolm one summer.)

Matthew Thomson, Tenor

Matthew specialises in Baroque to Classical solo and chamber repertoire, this year bringing the characters of ‘Pyramus’ and ‘Sailor’ to colourful dramatic and vocal life at Dartington in Richard Williams’ quirky, demanding ‘back to back’ productions of ‘Pyramus & Thisbe’ and ‘Dido and Aeneas’, and excelling in his solo performances in the Monteverdi Vespers and Handel’s ‘Alexander’s Feast’.

Matthew Thomson, Tenor. Recipient of the John Amis Award at Dartington International Summer School
Matthew Thomson

Matthew says of his experience on the Advanced Opera Course at this year’s Dartington International Summer School and Festival

“These two weeks at Dartington provided one of the most intensive and rewarding learning and performance experiences of my career. I am thrilled too to be the first recipient of this award.”



Matthew’s course diary

“Week 1: Emma Kirkby was amazing to work with and learn from – as well as having the opportunity to have a lesson with Jessica Cash who was fantastic!! Having so many baroque and early music instruments there and working with all the lutenists really made the experience special. Also, I think it is important to give students the opportunity to sing some solos in the major concert alongside some of the more established professionals as I did in the Monteverdi Vespers with Stile Antico. Emma said some things that really assisted me regarding vowels and how I come on to notes when I sing. This will definitely change the way I approach songs in the future. Also, I feel like Jessica Cash helped me to overcome a mental block that I have been experiencing for years regarding listening to my sound and not singing freely – a bit of a revelation really!

Week 2: It is hard to pick a highlight of this week when it was opera for every session, but I have to say, I enjoyed it so much! Working with Maggie Faultless was probably the most valuable experience for me. Also, a shout out to the staff, particularly Georgie who was very helpful and understanding. Also – I loved the music shop. So many wonderful scores and so much money I probably shouldn’t have spent but did!! I have never really considered myself as someone who was good at performing staged opera – it isn’t something I have had confidence in. Performing in Pyramus and Thisbe, the comic opera, threw me in the deep end. I had to perform lines, a death scene, learn stage movements, memorise a tonne of music and on top of all of that, it had to be funny. A massive challenge that I really feel like I rose to. My confidence in this area has increased significantly to a point where opera is something I am seriously considering pursuing further.”

Artists seeking to apply for the award should please apply to the Tait Memorial Trust

To learn more about the Dartington International Summer School click here

To learn more about Matthew Thomson please click here

To learn more about Tait Awards please click here


Yelian He plays cello concerto with the Sydney Symphony

2015 is a pretty special year for me. It’s the first year I’ve spent experiencing the 30’s, the first time my cello was swabbed and searched instead of me in an airport, and it’s the first time I’ve performed a concerto without a conductor – and with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra to boot.



Speaking of, I must mention that all of these fantastic experiences happened during the month of May as a result of winning the inaugural Australian Cello Awards Grand Prize in 2014 (ACA Website, next competition in 2017). That was a highlight not soon forgotten in itself and I’m sure I’ll be hearing even greater things from CEO Roland Gridiger and his team at MOST. But as I was trying to say, my excitement grew endlessly (so too did practice) as my debut with the Sydney Symphony drew nearer.

On the way to my first rehearsal, I was nervous about what to expect. There have been times in the past where the concerts haven’t lived up to expectations owing to insufficient rehearsal time or difficulties in communication. When I arrived I was greeted by the Concertmaster Andrew Haveron before meeting the Orchestra for some one-on-one time with the Bach Concerto; this is when general & interpretational decisions are brought up so there are fewer surprises during rehearsal. It was clear from the start Andrew was confident and accommodating – vital qualities for a good musician, and a good human being.



A Concerto without a conductor is a trust building exercise, and it’s easy to lose your nerve or get too excited. There’s bound to be more communication between the musicians, leading to more ideas being aired, but you also better know the score intimately! Not only will there be questions from the orchestra, knowing how the 1st violins bow a particular sequence of quavers or how the cellos phrase another section makes all the difference in rehearsals and performances, all the while giving a brilliant unique interpretation of the work.

It’s not difficult when you play with a wonderful orchestra, to get carried away in the passion of a running passage and/or to indulge the slow movement so much everyone else thinks it’s like watching paint dry; it’s happened many times during my earlier years and I’m embarrassed to say that wasn’t too long ago, which is why I advocate discipline and self-control! Having said that, it doesn’t mean I’m to be lifeless on stage when not playing anything either. Here’s me and the SSO taking a couple of minutes off after the rehearsals to shred the piece we just spent hours rehearsing. (It’s definitely the SSO’s good nature that I’m allowed to get away with this…but what can I say? Music’s got to be enjoyed by the ones playing and the ones listening!


About two weeks prior the SSO’s website had listed the concert as SOLD OUT which meant the only chance of securing a ticket was to wait and chance it at the returns desk. As a performer the adoration of your audience is key! Don’t believe me? Try playing for a hall half-empty (or half-full depending on your philosophical bend) and tell me you don’t wish you’d have given more love and attention to them more often; for a concert organizer that’s also a great reason not to see you again any time soon. I’m sure both the Australian Cello Awards and the Sydney Symphony have worked very hard to push this concert to the public, and if anybody else was involved, I thank you sincerely for making all of this a fantastically memorable event!

Latest harvest news, a provençal wedding, the best of figs & win a Mirabeau tree of life

The Mirabeau Wines, Rose was a big hit with our audience at Kabarett at Leighton House. Good to see the 2015 vintage is shaping up well.

Thank you Mirabeau Wines for supporting our work by supplying such delicious wine.

Source: Latest harvest news, a provençal wedding, the best of figs & win a Mirabeau tree of life


We’re very happy to report that the harvest 2015 is in the cellars of our growers and best of all it seems the quality of the fruit and juice is outstanding. Soon we’ll be starting to assemble the new vintage and we are ecstatic that we should be able to produce something truly special for you. October is the start of the mellow season in Provence and the vineyards are producing a last fireworks of colours and other crops like Figs and Pomegranates are coming into season – this really is a great time to come down and visit if you get the chance!



Toby Thatcher, Conductor – Ensemble Eroica 24th September

Next concert with young Australian conductor, Toby Thatcher with his London group, Ensemble Eroica.

Toby was recently announced as the new assistant conductor with the Sydney Symphony.

September 24th 2015, 19:30

Ensemble Eroica Season Opener – Stone(s) from the Moon


Commenced in the autumn of 1822, Schubert’s enigmatic B minor symphony provides us with one of art’s great questions; intentional or not? And in either case, does it matter? The work is a glorious example of non-conformity, forcing its way into the symphony canon. To borrow eminent Austrian conductor Nikolaus Harnoncourt’s quote (intended for Bruckner’s equally enigmatic Ninth Symphony), the work conjures mystery, fascination, and perplexity equal to that of suddenly stumbling across a ‘stone from the moon’.

In another enigmatic example of compositional intrigue, Johannes Brahms wrote of his second symphony that this was a work of such‘melancholy that you (his publisher) will not be able to bear it. I have never written anything so sad, and the score must come out in mourning’. It is not blasé to state that this opinion of the work is rarely shared by interpreters, the symphony seemingly borrowing more from Haydn and the classical form than from such romantic intentions.

London-based American Flautist Alyson Frazier is a multiple prizewinner and founding member of contemporary music group ensemble x.y. Garnering reviews as a ‘theatrical and compelling performer’ who is ‘impressively accomplished with a beautiful singing tone’. We are thrilled for this collaboration.


Brahms: Symphony No. 2 in D major Op. 73
– interval –
CPE Bach: Flute Concerto in D minor Wq. 22
Schubert: Symphony No. 8 in B minor D. 759 “Unfinished”

Ensemble Eroica
Conductor – Toby Thatcher
Flute Soloist – Alyson Frazier

Tickets will be available at the door. £10 (£3 students). Complimentary refreshments will be available during the interval break.

St James’s Church, Sussex Gardens
W2 3UD London, United Kingdom

Below are links to the event on both Facebook and our website:

Tait Winter Prom 2014 at St John's Smith Square

The 2014 Tait Winter Prom was a landmark event for the Tait Memorial Trust at St John’s Smith Square, proudly supported by Australia’s largest bank, the Commonwealth Bank of Australia. To see and hear our talented Awardees performing at one of London’s most prestigious concert platforms was thrilling…truly a great night for the Trust and for our young Australians we support.

Tait Memorial Trust Winter Prom 2014

Now in our 23rd year Awards have increased by 30% from 2013  largely due to the more than three fold rise in Tait Friends subscriptions in 2014 and our loyal audience who come to our events and generously give towards our scholarship fund.

Thank you.


We are very grateful for the
support that we receive
from the following organisations:

Principal Partner:
Commonwealth Bank of Australia

Australian Business
The Australia Day Foundation
Bailey Nelson UK
The Britain-Australia Society
Cubitt House
Minter Ellison
Oliveto & Olivo Ltd
Royal Over-Seas League
The Thornton Foundation
Treasury Wine Estates

2014 Tait Winter Prom at St John’s Smith Square
London Tuesday 9th December 2014
St John’s Smith Square,
Showcasing Australian Talent — An evening of Music and Ballet
Supported by Commonwealth Bank of Australia
Conducted by Kelly Lovelady
Tait Chamber Orchestra
Presented by former Miss Australia, Kimberley Busteed
Directed by Greg Eldridge

Jayson Gillham, Piano
Elena Xanthoudakis, Soprano
Xenia Deviatkina-Loh, Violin
Sophie Moffatt, Dancer
Calvin Richardson, Choreographer
Matthew Ball, Dancer
Marlena Devoe, Soprano
Chad Vindin, Piano
Adam Szabo, Cello
Yelian He, Cello
Nicola Crowe, Flute
Gerard Schneider, Tenor

Concert Programme

Percy Grainger (1882-1961)
Handel in the Strand
Jayson Gillham, Piano

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791)
Piano Concerto: No. 14 in E flat , K. 449
Jayson Gillham, Piano

Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958)
The Lark Ascending
Xenia Deviatkina-Loh, Violin

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791)
Ch’io mi scordi di te? Non temer, amato bene. K.505
Elena Xanthoudakis, Soprano
Jayson Gillham, Piano

Interval 20mins

Gabriel Faure
Kenneth MacMillan 1 – choreography
Requiem, Pie Jesu solo
Sophie Moffatt, dancer 2
Coached by Leanne Benjamin OBE
Marlena Devoe, Soprano
Chad Vindin, Piano

The Swan
The Carnival of the Animals
Calvin Richardson – choreography
The Dying Swan
Calvin Richardson, Dancer 3
Adam Szabo, Cello
Chad Vindin, Piano

Giovanni Sollima (1962- )
Violoncelles Vibrez!
Yelian He & Adam Szabo, Cellos

Kevin Penkin (1992- )
Changing Feet
Nicola Crowe, Flute

Giacomo Puccini (1858-1924)
La Boheme, Act 1
Che gelida manina
Si, mi chiamano Mimi
O soave fanciulla

Marlena Devoe, Soprano
Gerard Schneider, Tenor 4

1 Performed with the kind permission from The MacMillan Estate
2 Appears with kind permission from The Royal Ballet School
3 Appears with kind permission from The Royal Ballet
4 Appears with kind permission from The National Opera Studio

Winter Prom highlights

Jayson Gillham playing Grainger’s, Handel in the Strand

Xenia Deviatkina-Loh playing Vaughan William’s,  The Lark Ascending

Elena Xanthoudakis singing Mozart’s, Ch’io mi scordi di te? K 505 with Jayson Gillham, piano

Adam Szabo & Yelian He playing Sollima’s, Violoncelles Vibrez!

Marlena Devoe & Gerard Schneider sing the Final scene from Act 1, La boheme, Puccini

Review in Limelight Magazine

Review in Seen and Head

Nicholas Lester, Baritone – Tait Memorial Trust Award Winner 2009

Below is a report we received from Nicholas Lester, Baritone. Awarded a Tait Trust scholarship in 2009 he  has gone on to build a remarkable career here in the UK  and now broadening his work to the continent and his native Australia.

“Mark well the dark eyes watching in the crowd! Love waits for you!”

Escamillo the Toreador sings in Rory Bremner’s translation of Carmen!

We’ve just completed our London rehearsals and are moving to Wales to start our tech week before opening a 23 venue, 27 show tour of Wales and some of England too.

Nicholas Lester, Baritone
Nicholas Lester, Baritone

Escamillo is my 5th of 6 roles for the year, of which 5 are brand new and I start rehearsing the last new role just before the year is out where I will make my debut with Danish National Opera.  Two have been in English, the remainder all Italian. It’s fantastic to have such a busy schedule, but it requires quite a lot of forethought and planning.  This means: carefully planned learning and memorising time, language coaching, singing lessons, repertoire coaching and study, all this delicately coordinated around the family schedule (We are a family of four with a boy about to start school and a girl soon to turn one). This usually involves cups of tea accompanied by chocolate (Haighs is currently on supply after a trip home to South Australia) and the scribbling-in of diaries and/or the updating of computerised calendar entries too. What would we have done without technology?

Nicholas Lester singing Schaunard, La boheme

Growing up in a country town of about 1500 people I enjoyed getting stuck into whatever activity was available. I played pretty much any of the sports available in the community, took part in the Scout group and stuck with it through to obtain my Queen’s Scout Award, and got interested, at about the age of 10, in performing. One of my first performing memories was as Friedrich in The Sound of Music – probably quite odd to have a very tall 10 year old singing higher than a lot of the women in the chorus. From this, the high school music teacher offered to give me some singing lessons. During my school years my performing was just for fun – I had never really planned to take it any further than that. It wasn’t until I met my wife (I auditioned for her…well she was on the panel when I auditioned for a company she was a part of!) that I got properly fired-up and interested in performing. I started not only to be interested in G&S, musical theatre and acting in plays but more and more in classical songs and opera more specifically.

I attended the University of Adelaide, starting with a broader Arts Degree and commencing s Diploma of Languages alongside it with Bahasa Indonesian as my language. After a while on the vocal degree I decided instead to defer the degrees and instead to work to pay my bills, audition and get as much practical singing experience as I could. I started to bother/court/coerce a Welsh baritone who had emigrated to Australia to teach me, eventually he relented!

I moved to London with my wife and for the first few years she did the auditioning thing, while I worked for The Salvation Army. I worked with a great teacher Raymond Connell and started to get some coaching. I also worked for a period with Russell Smythe, which really fired my understanding of what roles I wanted to learn and perform. By 2005 I had started to audition and worked with companies like British Youth Opera, got into the Glyndebourne chorus, started covering roles and doing small ones. Basically instead of learning my rep in a college or institution I have done an extended apprenticeship. It has been great for me, even though at times it may have felt a little bit of a slow progression career-wise.

Nicholas Lester with Anne Sophie-Duprels. The Jacobin, Buxton Festival 2014
Nicholas Lester with Anne Sophie-Duprels. The Jacobin, Buxton

“Tall and distinguished looking, Nicholas Lester made a finely attractive Bohus (he impressed earlier this year as Rossini’s Figaro at Opera Holland Park). His opening solo was the character’s big moment, and Lester showed a feeling both for Dvorak’s dramatic line and for the feeling of nostalgic melancholy in Bohus’s love of his homeland.” Dvorak’s The Jacobin in Buxton, Planet Hugill, Robert Hugill

After three attempts I was offered a place at the National Opera Studio, which I attended 2008-9. I was also very lucky to have fantastic financial support during my NOS time from generous people such as Serena Fenwick, Christopher Ball, plus a scholarship from Glyndebourne Festival Opera, and after the course by organisations including the Simon Fletcher Charitable Trust, Tait Memorial Trust, and Independent Opera who awarded me the NOS Opera Postgraduate Voice Fellowship. This practical financial support meant that I could concentrate on the singing and training, not about how I was going to pay my bills!

Figaro, Opera Holland park 2014

The National Opera Studio gave me an intense environment where I could try out several roles, learn music quickly, and could develop and test my stamina. As a result of the time I’ve been able to take, or that my career development has taken, I have been able to adapt the repertoire that best suits me. Waiting and adjusting as my voice makes it clearer what repertoire I can or should be singing. I have felt more and more confident singing larger and more demanding roles many of which I’ve been lucky to sing. I have really solidified my technique and trust that my voice will do what it’s told the majority of the time!

I also had several companies take a risk on me and by doing so provide a great training ground for me. I’ve been given the chance to perform smaller roles whilst covering larger ones. English Touring Opera, Opera Holland Park and Scottish Opera have all been instrumental in this. The last few years in particular have enabled me to sing some of the best operatic roles for my voice such as Onegin, The Count, Figaro (Barbiere), Marcello and Malatesta from Don Pasquale. The extra privilege of being able to sing any of these roles for a second or even third time is fantastic!

The Count-The Marriage of Figaro, English Touring Opera
The Count-The Marriage of Figaro, English Touring Opera

I was really chuffed to be invited back to Adelaide to make my principal role debut with the State Opera of South Australia, and the following year to return and create the role of Edward Lear in a newly composed opera based on his life ‘Ode to nonsense’ – created by an entirely South Australian team I believe. I really look forward to returning to Australia in the future, if nothing else it’s a great way to be able to spend time with family who still live there.

The singing community in Adelaide is relatively small, but it is interesting that in London the community can also feel small. Despite the apparent size of the community there is plenty of competition for an ever-shrinking amount of work both here in Europe and in Australia.

After 11 Years in the UK I am starting to feel a part of the industry here. I remember that at some of the first auditions I ever attended in the UK being a little thrown by how lots of the singers seemed to know each other, greeting the panel and colleagues like good friends, names being mentioned “…when I was working with…..” OR “oh…..she/he is lovely/a great colleague” OR “you must know…”. Now I have to be careful to avoid repeating particular circle/practice myself-I’m certainly not perfect.

I’m led to believe that I still just sneak into the category of a younger baritone. It’s hard to believe this as I do more and more jobs where I am no longer one of the youngest artists!

I’m looking forward to what the future holds, but also trying to make the most of what I am doing now. It would very easy for me to think forward and imagine how future work is going to be great fun, without enjoying the present.

There is a very exciting bit of work news that I am very keen to share with my friends, but am still obliged to keep under wraps. Stay tuned for more info.


Schaunard-La bohème (Nationale Reisopera-Netherlands 2011)


Nicholas’ website







John Frost AM – New Patron of the Tait Memorial Trust

The Tait Trust are delighted to announce that John Frost AM has kindly agreed to be a new Patron of the Trust here in the UK and has also agreed to be Patron for the Tait Performing Arts Association in Australia. We are also thrilled to congratulate him on being awarded the AM (Member in the General Division) part of the 2014 Queen’s Birthday Honours Australia.



This has been a significant year for our new Patron as he was also awarded the coveted, JC Williamson Award from the Helpmann Awards. It is significant to us too as the Trust was created to memorialise the great work done by Sir Frank Tait and his four brothers when they ran The Firm/ J.C.Williamson’s Ltd. We are delighted to know that the name of this once great Australian firm has been immortalised in this wonderful award.

The article below is reprinted from the Helpmann Awards site
Live Performance Australia (LPA) has today announced that revered theatre producer John Frost has been named the 2014 JC WILLIAMSON AWARD™ recipient.

The JC WILLIAMSON AWARD™ is the foremost honour that the Australian live entertainment industry can bestow. The award recognises individuals who have made an outstanding contribution to the Australian live entertainment and performing arts industry and shaped the future of our industry for the better. Past winners include such iconic figures as Dame Joan Sutherland OM AC DBE, Barry Humphries AO CBE, Michael Gudinski AM, John Farnham AO and Graeme Murphy AM to name but a few.

John Frost has produced some of Australia’s most successful musical theatre productions over the past 3 decades. From the early days of the Gordon Frost Organisation with Hello Dolly!, The Secret Garden, Cabaret and Crazy for You to blockbuster musicals of more recent times such as Wicked, The Sound Of Music, Annie, The Wizard of Oz, Grease The Arena Spectacular, Chicago, South Pacific and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, John Frost has nurtured and steered the careers of hundreds of cast and crew with his passion and imparting knowledge. This year alone sees him producing multiple shows around Australia including Grease, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Wicked – 10th Anniversary production, The King and I with Opera Australia, and Once with the Melbourne Theatre Company.

JCW Logo
John Frost OAM wins the JC Williamson Award 2014

John commenced his impressive career at the age of 16 when he was employed as a dresser on the J.C. Williamson Ltd production of Mame. The dedicated teenager worked his way up within the theatre world to Wardrobe Master, Stage Manager, Company Manager and eventually Producer. Having produced countless successful Australian productions over the years John has also gained international respect having won 2 Tony Awards for the Broadway productions of Hairspray and The King and I and currently has 2 shows playing on London’s West End, The Bodyguard and Blithe Spirit. John’s Australian productions of The Producers, Wicked and Legally Blonde – The Musical won Helpmann Awards for Best Musical in 2005, 2009 and 2013 respectively.

“I am truly grateful to Live Performance Australia and the JC Williamson Award Committee for this incredible honour. Receiving the JC Williamson Award™ is the highest tribute that can be bestowed on someone working in the performing arts industry, and to be acknowledged by my peers for a job I love is gratifying and inspiring. I’m humbled to be in the company of Googie Withers and John McCallum, Kenn Brodziak, Clifford Hocking, Tony Gould and other past recipients of this prestigious award. Thank you.” said John.

John Frost will be honoured at an industry celebration hosted by LPA in association with Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC) in Brisbane on Monday 19th May. The night will include special performances as well as a host of special guests paying tribute to the theatre impresario and his outstanding contribution to the live performance industry in Australia.

LPA President Andrew Kay said, “We are thrilled to announce John Frost as this year’s JC Williamson Award recipient. John joins the ranks of a group of individuals who in their own way, and in their own field, have made extraordinary contributions to shaping and changing the landscape of our dynamic live performance industry. John’s contribution to commercial musical theatre in Australia is internationally renowned and esteemed in this country. We are delighted to be able to formally recognise his contribution and achievements at a celebratory dinner in May and at the Helpmann Awards on 18 August.”

NSW Minister for Tourism, Major Events and Minister for the Arts, George Souris today congratulated Mr Frost on his prestigious award, which will be presented at the Helpmann Awards at Sydney’s Capitol Theatre in August. The Helpmanns, supported by the NSW Government, recognises those who have made an outstanding contribution to the performing arts industry.

“Over the past three decades, John Frost, who hails from Sydney has produced some of Australia’s most successful musical theatre productions, many of which have premiered right here in Sydney.” Mr Souris said.

“It has been a great joy to work with my friend John Frost during this exciting period of development for Opera Australia. John is the ultimate professional and his advice and knowledge of the music theatre business is not only highly perceptive but it is fuelled by a real passion for the theatre. He is also a wonderful human being whose generosity of spirit and his genuine love of the theatre is inspiring to everyone who has had the privilege of working with him. He has been (and still is) an extraordinarily strong advocate for Australian artists and I believe that there is no-one who is more deserving of this prestigious award than John Frost….and there is no-one who is a finer ambassador for our industry.” said Lyndon Terracini, Artistic Director Opera Australia.

QPAC Chief Executive Mr John Kotzas paid tribute to Mr Frost calling him one of the great legends of the stage in Australia. “I’ve worked with John for many years now and the professionalism and consistently high quality productions that John tours around Australia are remarkable. John is a well-respected and most welcome producer and guest at many venues around the country – I know QPAC staff are always eager to work with him and our audiences certainly show their support. Well done John!”

JC Williamson Award ™ presented by Live Performance Australia™ in association with Queensland Performing Arts Centre

Tait Friends at Stoke Lodge 18th March 2014

On Tuesday March 18th the Trust invited our Friends to the home of the Australian High Commissioner, Stoke Lodge. The evening was hosted by Sasha Carruozzo, wife of Mike Rann CNZM the Australian High Commissioner, and by Tait Memorial Trust Chairman, Isla Baring OAM. The Trust are terribly grateful to Mike and Sasha and want to publicly thank them for their generosity in allowing us to use their home to entertain our guests.

Isla Baring OAM giving her welcome speech to our guests
Lindsay Birrell, President of Legacy UK, Isla Baring OAM and Mrs Jenny Dunn
Lindsay Birrell, President of Legacy UK, Isla Baring OAM and Mrs Jenny Dunn
Tait Friends, Mr and Mrs Ian Tegner with TMT Awardee, Benjamin Mellefont
Tait Friends, Mr and Mrs Ian Tegner and Mrs Karen Goldie-Morrison with TMT Awardee 2013, Benjamin Mellefont

We were delighted to welcome many of our most valued and generous supporters, the Deputy Australian High Commissioner, Mr Andrew Todd and his wife, and the Agents’ General of Western Australia, Queensland and Western Australia.

Awardees present included: Greta Bradman, Soprano; Benjamin Mellefont, Clarinet; Xenia Deviatkina-Loh, Violin; Sophie Moffatt, Ballet; Kevin Penkin, Composition (2013/14 Tait Scholar); Calvin Richardson, Ballet and Adam Szabo, Cello.

Great Bradman TMT Awardee with Sasha Carruozzo
Greta Bradman TMT Awardee with Sasha Carruozzo

Joining us was Sam Sakker, a young Australian tenor who is to sing at the Royal Opera House in their Jette Parker Young Artist Programme from September 2014, who sang Lehar’s classic, Dein is mein ganzes Herz and the Australian National Anthem all a capella. He has the most thrilling voice with the richest/warmest tone. Adam Szabo, Tait Awardee 2013, played some selections from JS Bach’s cello suites…incredibly beautifully.

TMT Awardees 2013, Calvin Richardson & Sophie Moffatt with Miss Leanne Benjamin OBE and Tait Friend, Mrs Sue Lloyd
TMT Awardees 2013, Calvin Richardson & Sophie Moffatt with Miss Leanne Benjamin OBE and Tait Friend, Mrs Sue Lloyd

 Tait Friends

We launched our new Friends scheme which includes a new initiative called, Adopt a Performer. The scheme would link a donor, or a group of donors, to one awardee for three years ( the length of the typical undergraduate degree or course) For a minimum subscription of £75 Tait Friends receive discounts to Tait events and an invitation to an annual reception. The greatest benefit to all donors is the knowledge that they are making a tangible difference to the life of a young Australian performing artist. More information about our new Friends scheme can be found here

 Julian Gavin, new Tait Patron

Our new Patron, Australian international tenor, Julian Gavin was introduced to our Friends and has agreed to join our Music Board (the selection process for the 2014/15 awards begins soon. Applications for music awards close on Monday 31st March. More info here

The Leanne Benjamin Awards

Isla Baring OAM with Leanne Benjamin OBE
Isla Baring OAM with Leanne Benjamin OBE

An honoured guest was Australian principal ballerina, Leanne Benjamin OBE. Recently retired from The Royal Ballet after a 21 year first class career with the company, Miss Benjamin has agreed to join us to create a new award(s) in her name which will help fund the studies of young Australian dancers in the UK. Called The Leanne Benjamin Awards the Trust are producing a gala reception with a masterclass taken by Miss Benjamin and Australian senior teacher at the school, Mark Annear, at The Royal Ballet School, Floral Street, Covent Garden. This fundraising event will be held in the Linden Studio at The Royal Ballet School on Thursday 12th June. We are very grateful to the staff and students at the school for allowing us to use this excellent venue for our event.



Tickets to this special Tait event are available here


Tait Patron, Julian Gavin with Tait Committee member, Jan Gowrie-Smith and Tait Trustee, Susie Thornton
Tait Patron, Julian Gavin with Tait Committee member, Jan Gowrie-Smith and Tait Trustee, Susie Thornton
Adam Szabo, Cello. Awardee 2013 playing at the Tait Friends event
Adam Szabo, Cello. Awardee 2013 playing at the Tait Friends event
Tenor, Sakker with TMT Executive Director, James Hancock and the Queensland Agent General, Ken Smith OBE
Tenor, Sakker with TMT Executive Director, James Hancock and the Queensland Agent General, Ken Smith OBE
Tait Friend, Mrs Pamela le Couter; TMT Awardee 2013, Greta Bradman and Tait Trustee, Mrs Shirley Barr
Group shot of Awardees with Isla Baring OAM, Julian Gavin, Sam Sakker and Leanne Benjamin OBE
Group shot of Awardees with Isla Baring OAM, Julian Gavin, Sam Sakker and Leanne Benjamin OBE

Jewels of the Bel Canto – Elena Xanthoudakis, Catherine Carby, Richard Bonynge, Royal Northern Sinfonia

The Tait Memorial Trust are thrilled to announce the launch of a new recording by Tait Awardee, Elena Xanthoudakis, and the great Australian master of Bel Canto, Richard Bonynge. Released by Signum Records the CD will be officially launched in March 2014 generously supported by the Borletti Buitoni Trust. Please watch the attached video

Elena Xanthoudakis, Soprano - Jewels of the Bel Canto Conducted by Richard Bonynge Catherine Carby, Mezzo Soprano. Royal Northern Sinfonia
Elena Xanthoudakis, Soprano – Jewels of the Bel Canto Conducted by Richard Bonynge
Catherine Carby, Mezzo Soprano. Royal Northern Sinfonia

2008 Tait Prize winner, Elena Xanthoudakis was nominated for a Borletti-Buitoni Trust Award in 2011 and is a ‘Borletti-Buitoni Trust artist’. The BBT and Signum Records have come together to present Elena in a solo recital disc of ‘Bel Canto’ arias called ‘Jewels of the Bel Canto’ with the Royal Northern Sinfonia and Maestro Richard Bonynge. Jewels of the Bel Canto’ is for release April 1st 2014 and also features special guest artist, Australian Mezzo-soprano Catherine Carby, as Alisa in Lucia.

The process of making this CD involved Elena coaching with Maestro Bonynge in his home in Switzerland which were also supported by the Tait Memorial Trust.

More info about Elena here

Five new singers to join the Jette Parker Young Artists Programme in September 2014 < News – Royal Opera House

Lauren Fagan, Soprano

Thrilled to be able to announce that 2013 Tait Awardee, Lauren Fagan has been offered a place in the Royal Opera House, Jette Parker Young Artists Programme to begin in September 2014. The news is even sweeter as two other young Australian singers have also been offered a place; Tenor, Sam Sakker and Baritone, Samuel Johnson. Congratulations to you all


Five new singers to join the Jette Parker Young Artists Programme in September 2014 < News – Royal Opera House.