Winter Prom 2013 – A night to remember

A selection of photos from our Tait Winter Prom 2013. We all enjoyed a glittering reception thanks to the Wolf Blass sparkling wine from Treasury Wine Estates and the delicious canapes from Jane Sutherland catering. As ever it was lovely to greet our riends and supporters to this annual Tait tradition

All in all it was a lovely night. 

The concert was created by and dedicated to the memory of John Amis. The three Ave Maria’s by Bach-Gounod, Schubert and Verdi was the central theme. The playing of the Bach Prelude by Primavera Shima was a delight and a gentle lead into the various versions of the prayer sung by Valda and John’s old friend, Rosemary Forbes-Butler

We were blessed to have Travis Baker playing the Handel Organ Concerto in D Minor with Musique Cordiale. Not hard to see why it was one of Handel’s favourite compositions.

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

All in all the evening was a triumph. Thank you John

Photography by Anne Purkiss

Elena Xanthoudakis, Soprano – Recording of Bel Canto arias with Richard Bonynge

Elena Xanthoudakis, Tait Memorial Trust Prize winner at the Performing Australian Music Competition 2008 this year has been busy in New York City covering in Le Comte Ory and Rigoletto for the Metropolitan Opera as well as performing in Concert with the Melbourne Symphony amongst other engagements. This year, she was fortunate to record a solo Orchestral Disc with Maestro Richard Bonynge with the Support of the Borletti-Buitoni Trust and the Tait Memorial Trust. The CD of Bel Canto arias will be released next March 2014 on Signum records. Elena is also looking forward to performing Gilda in Rigoletto for Opera Queensland in the the new year along with recitals at the Melbourne Recital Centre with TrioKROMA.Image

Kevin Penkin, Inaugural Tait Scholar at the Royal College of Music

On Friday November 1st Isla Baring and Executive Director, James Hancock were invited to meet with the inaugural Tait Scholar, 21 year old Western Australian composer, Kevin Penkin at the Royal College of Music. Kevin began his studies at the RCM in September and has already impressed his teachers with his dedication and talent.

Tait Scholar, Kevin Penkin with Tait Memorial Trust Chairman, Isla Baring OAM
Tait Scholar, Kevin Penkin with Tait Memorial Trust Chairman, Isla Baring OAM

You can listen to samples of Kevin’s work here

B i o g r a p h y​​

Kevin Penkin is a British-Australian composer who composes for video games, film and the concert stage. He is starting a Masters Degree in Composition at the Royal College of Music in September, for which he has received a Scholarship from Tait Memorial Trust and is the inaugural Tait Scholar. Kevin is also supported by a Clifton Parker Award. He has also been awarded the Doctor Harold Schenberg music prize in music composition from the UWA School of Music.

Kevin debuted at the age of 18, collaborating on a Japanese video game with legendary Final Fantasy Series composer Nobuo Uematsu. The collaboration proved to be so successful, Kevin has now been in involved with Uematsu on 4 different video game projects. In 2011, Kevin wrote music for his first Indie Game “Defenders Quest”, which went on to earn over $500,000 in gross revenue.

Recently, it was announced that Kevin is part of a new JRPG Kickstarter, codenamed “Project Phoenix”, along with composers Nobuo Uematsu and Tomoki Miyoshi. The Kickstarter campaign achieved its goal of $100,000 in only 9 hours and is, even now, continues to be crowd funded.

In January 2013, Kevin was nominated for the Annual Game Music Awards held by Square Enix Music Online under the “Outstanding Achievement: Newcomer” category for his work on his debut project “Jyuzaengi Engetsu Sangokuden”.

As a composer of concert music, Penkin has been commissioned to write works for the Perth Symphony Orchestra, Perth Chamber Orchestra and the new music group Decibel. His work “Looking for Serenity” was premiered at the inaugural concert of the Perth Chamber Orchestra in the GPO building in April 2013.

Website of Kevin Penkin

A golden night for singing

Last night two Tait awardees; Lauren Fagan, Soprano 2013 and Lauren Zolezzi, Soprano 2012 sang the lead roles in the Guildhall School of Music & Drama double bill at the Silk Street Theatre, The Barbican.

Lauren Fagan, Soprano singing the Countess, The Marriage of Figaro 2012

Lauren Fagan appeared first in Debussy’s l’enfant prodigue. Her singing was of the highest standard, ravishing tone and an impeccable technique. Her performance as the despairing Mother was full of pathos…lovely. Lauren displayed a maturity of performance not often seen in student productions. We look forward to hearing her sing again in a TMT concert in 2014. Read more about Lauren here

Lauren Zolezzi stole the show in the second opera performed last night, Donizetti’s, Francesca di Foix. Glittering top notes, easy production and a stage presence that was simply divine. Earlier in the year Lauren sang in the first concert of the Trust series at the Foundling Museum, London and gave this interview

All in all it was a golden night for the Trust. Thrilling for us at the Tait Memorial Trust to see Lauren Fagan and Lauren Zolezzi performing to such a high standard in one of the most prestigious music schools in the world.

We are very grateful for the steadfast and loyal; support we receive from our many donors. Last night was their triumph.

Lauren Zolezzi, Soprano
Lauren Zolezzi, Soprano
Initially stepping onto the stage as a young ballerina, Australian born soprano Lauren Zolezzi has now moved into the world of opera and is at the outset of an exciting career.

In September 2012, Lauren took up her scholarship on the Opera Course at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London under the tutelage of Susan Waters. Before that, Lauren completed her Master of Arts (Preparatory Opera) with Distinction and scholarship at the Royal Academy of Music, London. Her musical training alongside previous ballet training as well as her study of the Italian language, has led to a well-rounded performer who manages to capture the attention of audiences internationally.

Lauren has been most successful in many singing competitions and scholarships, having won over one hundred awards and scholarships over the years. Recently she won the National Joan Sutherland and Richard Bonynge Scholarship in Australia. Lauren also placed first in Sydney Eisteddfod open age Oratorio and Russian Song sections as well as the Lieder and Oratorio Sections (21-25 yrs).  She placed 3rd in both the Female Voices and the Operatic Aria Sections. Other scholarships and prizes include The Sainsbury Award at the Royal Academy of Music and The Marion Macaulay Bequest Scholarship for overseas study from the University of Sydney.

Lauren is an extremely busy performer both in the UK and Australia. Roles include Armida Rinaldo, Drusilla L’Incoronazione di Poppea, Despina Cosi’ fan tutte and Journalist 1 The Last King of Scotland, The Princess L’enfant et les sortilèges, Norina Don Pasquale, Sophie Der Rosenkavalier, Jano Jenufa, Melisande Pelleas et Melisande and Barbarina The Little Green Swallow (Dove) in Guildhall Opera Scenes.  She also performed the role of Barbarina Le Nozze di Figaro (GSMD) in February 2013 and covered the role of Susanna as well as receiving a solo recital of artsong at the Foundling Museum in London.

Before arriving in the UK she sang as soloist for the Australian ‘Opera and Arts Support Group’ soiree in Sydney Australia. During the 2008 World Youth Day celebrations, she sang to great acclaim as the featured soloist at the Evening Vigil liturgy with Pope Benedict XVI, held at Randwick Racecourse, Sydney. She was also featured soprano in a concert of excerpts from The Messiah at St Mary’s Cathedral in December 2008. Lauren was invited by the Honorary John Aquilina to perform at the National European Day ball held at Government House in 2008 to an audience of foreign representatives.

Lauren’s past featured operatic roles have included Naiad Ariadne auf Naxos and Ellen Lakme’ (Academy Opera Scenes). She also played the title role of Carmen in ‘Carmen – The Musical’ at the State Theatre and a member of the chorus for Dead Man Walking – The Opera at the Lyric Theatre in 2007. She partook in all of the Mid-Summer Operas held at the Conservatorium of Music from 2005-2008, in all of which she featured as a soloist performing roles such as Virtu’ L’Incoronazione di Poppea and Papagena Die Zauberflöte.

Lauren’s continued development is generously supported by the Tait Memorial Trust, the Opera and Arts Support Group Australia, The Worshipful Company of Gold and Silver Wyre Drawers, the Worshipful Company of Barbers and the Australian Government through the Australian Council of the Arts, it’s Arts Funding and Advisory Body.

Annual Tait Winter Prom 2013

This year the prizes include:


1. Long weekend stay (Thursday to Monday between December ’13 – May ’14 subject to availability) in The Fiougiere, a charming country house in Provence, France near the village of Correns. The house sleeps six, has a swimming pool, plenty of small ‘basins’ to paddle in and a river running through the property, great for walks and picnics etc…

2. Two Grand Tier tickets for Friday 20th December 7.30pm show. Backstage tour included in the prize.

3. Joan Sutherland Les Huguenots 1981 water colour and Goaucha .. signed Stillwell 72′ x 52′

Tickets are £20 and can be purchased online before the concert. Tickets will allocated sequentially from online purchase details. The draw will be made at the Tait Winter Prom, Holy Trinity, Sloane Square. Tuesday November 26 between 7.30pm – 9.30pm. Tickets can be purchased on the night.

Winter Prom Raffle 2013

Raffle tickets can be purchased on the night or online here