Primavera Shima to play at Tait Winter Prom 2013

Australian pianist, Primavera Shima, has been the recipient of major prizes and awards in numerous national and international competitions. The Tait Memorial Trust are delighted that Miss Shima has agreed to play in our Tait Winter Prom and will open the second half of the concert with a Schumann Romance and, for the first time in the UK, Guido Agosti’s thrilling transcription of a suite from Stravinsky’s ever-popular ballet The Firebird.

Tait Winter Prom, November 26 6.30pm reception – 7.30pm concert begins Holy Trinity Church, Sloane Square, Sloane St, Chelsea SW1X 9BZ

Most recently, she won the first prize in the Cecile Edel-Latos Competition in Chatou, and reached the keyboard finals in the Royal Overseas League Competition in London where she received the Overseas Award and the Tait Memorial Trust Scholarship. In 2010, she became the first ever dual recipient of the Sterndale Bennett Prize and the Scholarship since its inception 140 years ago. The same year, she received the Managing Director’s Award in the Jaques Samuel Intercollegiate Piano Competition. She won the first prize in the Werner Baer Memorial Award in 2004, and in 2009, reached the semi-finals of the Lev Vlassenko Piano Competition with an Encouragement Award. After being selected as one of the state-finalists in the ABC Symphony Australia Young Performers Award in 2001, she performed an hour long live programme on the 2MBS-FM. In 2011, she reached the semi-finals for both the Pancho Vladigerov International Piano Competition in Bulgaria, and the 5th Campillos International Piano Competition in Spain.

Primavera performed the Liszt Piano Concerto No.1 with the East-West Orchestra at the Queen Victoria Building in Sydney, under the baton of Henryk Pisarek. She made her Paris debut at the Salle Cortot in 2012.

Primavera gained a first class mark for her final recital and received her Bachelor’s Degree with Honours from the Royal Academy of Music in London. Previously, she studied at the Colburn Conservatory of Music in Los Angeles, and the Juilliard Pre-College in New York. Her teachers have included John Perry, Margaret Hair, Elizabeth Powell, Herbert Stessin, and Ian Fountain. She has also participated in Masterclasses given by Marc Durand and Lev Vlassenko. She is currently studying at the Ecole Normale de Musique Alfred Cortot in Paris under the direction of Marian Rybicki.


Primavera Shima’s website

Helena Dix to sing the title role in 'Cristina, regina di Svezia' at Wexford Festival Opera

Delighted to hear that Tait Memorial Trust awardee, Helena Dix is to sing the title role in Cristina, regina di Svezia at Wexford Festival Opera Performances on the 25th, 28th, 31st October and the 3rd of November 2013.

Soprano, Helena Dix to sing the tile role in Cristina, regina di Svezia at Wexford Festival Opera 2013
Soprano, Helena Dix to sing the tile role in Cristina, regina di Svezia at Wexford Festival Opera 2013

Helena Dix biography from her website

Having won the Wagner Society’s 2012 Bursary Competition, Helena Dix has begun to establish herself as one of the UK’s up-and-coming Wagnerian sopranos.

Australia-born Helena has had a great deal of success in competitions, most notably representing Australia in the 2005 BBC Cardiff Singer of the World. Helena was also runner up in the prestigious Herald Sun Aria, a finalist in the McDonalds Aria held at the Sydney Opera House and won the Nino Sanciolo scholarship to further her studies in Italy. Helena has been successful in many competitions in London and competed in the finals of the ‘Songmakers Almanac’, the Opera Rara Bel Canto prize, Blyth Buesst Opera Prize, Clonter Opera prize and the Richard Lewis competition.

Helena’s operatic repertoire includes Flowermaiden, Parsifal for English National Opera, Rosalinde, Die Fledermaus and Hanna Glawari, The Merry Widow for Scottish Opera where she has also covered Frasquita, Carmen and Karolina in The Two Widows, Fiordiligi, Cosi fan tutte, Donna Anna, Don Giovanni and Nella, Gianni Schicchi for The Opera Project, Li-Li Greed for the Glyndebourne Young Artist Project and Musetta in La Boheme for Opera Novella. She has also covered the title role Ariadne auf Naxos for Garsington Opera. Other roles have included Felice School for Fathers, Erste Dame Die Zauberflöte, Title role Thais, Cio-Cio San, Madama Butterfly, Elvira, Ernani , Violetta, La Traviata and Noémie in Massenet’s Cendrillon.

Helena is in high demand on the international concert stage. She has sung with the Royal Melbourne Philharmonic in Handel’s Messiah, receiving critical praise for her performance, and returning as soloist in several performances of Messiah, Mozart’s Great Mass in C Minor and Carmina Burana. Recently, she returned to Australia to sing as a guest artist at Opera in the Alps and give a series of recitals including one for The Melba Trust at The Kooyong Tennis club.

In London her concert engagements include Handel Messiah, Rossini Petite Messe Solennelle Mozart Coronation Mass in C, Requiem and Mass in C Minor, Oratorio de Noel by Rheinberger, Saint-Saens Christmas Oratorio, Brahms Requiem, Richard Strauss Four Last Songs, Mendelssohn Elijah, Beethoven 9th Symphony, Mozart Exsultate Jubilate, Faure Requiem, Britten War Requiem, Orff Carmina Burana, Haydn’s Creation and Verdi Requiem for which she is always in demand. Helena has performed in many of the UK’s leading venues, including The Royal Albert Hall, Barbican, Cadogan Hall, Westminster Abbey, St. James Piccadilly, St John’s Smith Square, Dorchester Abbey, St.Paul’s, Ripon, Guildford and Gloucester Cathedrals. Her credits with orchestras include the RPO and she has sung under the baton of conductors such as Sir Colin Davis, Sir Charles Mackerras, Simone Young, Matthew Willis, Giuseppe Finzi and Mark Wigglesworth.

Since having won the Wagner Society’s Bursary Competition, Helena has performed in the 2012 Bayreuth Stipendiatenkonzert at the Festspielhaus for members of Wagner’s family and recently sang in Karlsruhe as part of the International Wagner prize. She gave a concert of Strauss Lieder with the Music Camp Orchestra and then went on to perform Strauss’ Four Last Songs at Cadogan Hall.

Upcoming engagements include her ongoing contract with Lübeck as Elettra in Idomeneo ,the Title role in La Gioconda in Vallodiad, Erste Dame in Magic Flute at the Tobacco Factory, Verdi requiem at The Royal Albert Hall, Strauss Songs at St. John’s Smith Square and Mahler’s Rückert Lieder with Northampton Symphony.

Jayson Gillham to play for Tait Performing Arts Association

Jayson Gillham is to play in concert in Melbourne at the Savage Club on the 12th September 2013 for our sister organisation in Australia, the Tait Performing Arts Association After reading the review below by eminent critic and Tait Patron, John Amis, how could you miss it?

Concert details info here


Jayson Gillham by John Amis

One of the pleasures of being a critic is that you sometimes spot a tremendous talent before it becomes known to the public at large: in my sixty years writing about artists I was able to come across some young muzos that I recognised as being star quality. I was able to appreciate when he was only seventeen the conductor Simon Rattle, and the guitarist Julian Bream when he was in his mid-teens. And now I am happy to salute the young Australian pianist Jayson Gillham. I am not alone in saluting his talent: he has a following already, he has success with orchestras in various countries and has won important prizes such as the Gold Medal of the Royal Overseas League. At the 2012 Leeds Piano competition he was a semi-finalist and won warm praise from Sir Mark Elder; likewise in the Warsaw Competition he won praise from the great Marta Argarich.

Recently, I heard Jayson again at one of the Bob Boas Concerts in Mansfield Street when he played a recital programme of Bach, Beethoven, Schumann, Debussy and two Liszt transcriptions. Each composer was done justice and the performances could not have been bettered. Gillham has virtuosity to spare but uses his technique as a springboard to making deeply satisfying and freshness of Bach (the G major Toccata), the wit and strength of Beethoven (opus 78, the ardent passion of Schumann (the Etudes symphoniques), the voluptuous poetry of Debussy (3Etudes) and the passion of Wagner (the Liebestod and the coruscating wit of the Rigoletto Paraphrase). It was a recital to cherish and remember. Jayson Gillham will surely have a big and important career.

This article was published by John Amis in his wonderful blog


Jayson Gillham’s website

©2013 Tait Memorial Trust •

Registered charity 1042797

John Amis – Critic, Broadcaster and Patron of the TMT

John Amis has lived a life surrounded by the greats of modern British music. At Dulwich College, South London he was close friends with the satirical/ witty composer, Donald Swann. In his professional life Britten, Tippett and Walton, to name a few, were his friends and contemporaries. He followed and nurtured their careers, wrote about their work, broadcast about them on BBC radio and on BBC television, the justly famous, ‘Music Now’ brought his wit and comprehensive knowledge into the nation’s living rooms.

John Amis. A portrait by June Mendoza
John Amis. A portrait by June Mendoza

John is now 91 and is very ill. Thankfully he is being visited by many of his old friends and colleagues, his reaction to them is lovely to witness. Isla and all of the members of the Tait Memorial Trust pray for a swift recovery and ask that you join us in asking for John’s health to be restored to him so he can continue the active life for which he is so famous.

This is a recent portrait of John Amis by the celebrated Australian artist, June Mendoza. This is the John that many of us have come to know and love. We so want him to return.


If you would like to send a personal message to John or wish to pay him a visit please use the contact form attached

A clip of John from the May 1971 BBC broadcast of ‘Music Now’. A special programme made about the premiere of the new Benjamin Britten opera made for Television and commissioned by the BBC, Owen Wingrave.

©2013 Tait Memorial Trust •
Registered charity 1042797

Duncan Rock – Baritone on his way

Duncan Rock, Baritone
Duncan Rock, Baritone

Since being awarded a Tait study award from the Trust in 2010 Duncan has gone from strength to strength. Winner of the 2012 Chilcott Award and John Christie Award at Glyndebourne, W.A baritone Duncan Rock has had a meteoric rise in the UK.

Since jumping in as Don Giovanni at WNO the ENO have secured him a position as a house baritone where Duncan has sung Schaunard, La boheme; Donald, Billy Budd; Papageno, Magic Flute ( sung with Tait awardee Elena Xanthoudakis as Pamina ). Other roles include Don Giovanni, Opera North; Carousel, Chatalet in Paris and is currently rehearsing for Billy Budd at Glyndebourne singing the Novice and Tarquinius in Britten’s, The Rape of Lucretia also at Glyndebourne.

Duncan Rock website Tait Memorial Trust website
©2013 Tait Memorial Trust •
Registered charity 1042797

Valda Wilson – Australian soprano on the high seas

Delighted to hear that Valda Wilson, a Tait Awardee in 2008, has gone from success to success. Most recently she won the Public Prize of the Stella Maris International Voice Competition against other young singers from the best opera houses/ studios in the world including The Metropolitan Opera, Covent Garden, San Francisco, Hamburg, Munich etc. A first prize of 15,000 Euros which Valda plans to use to make a recording with a small chamber orchestra in Europe.

The competition was held onboard the ship as it cruised from Dubai, Oman and on to the Seychelles in November last year. A four part documentary was filmed by German director, Ralf Pleger currently available to watch online on 3sat plus this interview in this months magazine.


Valda Wilson

Valda has been part of the ensemble at the Semperoper, Dresden and is a regular visitor to the UK. A highlight was being asked to sing at the memorial service at Westminster Abbey for Tait Memorial Trust patron, Dame Joan Sutherland. A true honour for a young singer.

We look forward to hearing Valda again at the 2013 Winter Prom featuring appearances by Dame Gillian Weir, Travis Baker and Primavera Shima.

Holy Trinity Sloane Square, Chelsea 26 November 2013


The website of Valda Wilson –

Tait Memorial Trust website

©2013 Tait Memorial Trust • Registered charity 1042797