I was awarded £750 by the Tait Memorial Trust in 2006, just as I embarked on my first year of post-graduate studies specialising in piano accompaniment at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.
This award felt like a welcome from a community of like-minded antipodean ex-pats: it made me feel like I was in the right place, and that pursuing my musical studies was worthwhile. I deeply appreciated this as I was so far from my family and trying to manage the precarity of student life and the breathless pace of London.
With the help of this award, my one year programme became seven years of intensive study and performance in London. During that time I performed all around the UK and further afield, at venues including the Wigmore Hall, Royal Festival Hall, Purcell Room, Snape Maltings, the Slovakian Philharmonic and Amsterdam’s Het Concertgebouw, and Sydney’s Angel Place Recital Hall. During this period I also performed often with other Tait Awardees, including singers Derek Welton, Seija Knight and Eleanor Greenwood. I performed at the Paxos International Music Festival in Greece from 2009-2013, and from 2010-2013 was Artistic Director.
I recently returned to live in London after completing doctoral studies at the University of Toronto, where I researched the contemporary implications of singing Lieder in English translation. My studies in Canada followed a year spent as resident collaborative pianist at the Banff Centre in the Canadian Rockies, where I had the chance to perform with dozens of musicians from across the world. This included a performance as soloist with the Australian Chamber Orchestra, and recitals with cellist Gavriel Lipkind, pianist Ronan O’Hora and Broken Social Scene’s Kevin Drew.
Please see my website for further information or news of future projects or to get in touch. I thank the donors past and present for their support and encouragement of young artists like myself as we navigate the very many challenges and joys of this vocation.
A performance research presentation from Shakespeare’s The Tempest
3 performances only at
London Theatre Workshop EC3V. April 13-14.
This work-in-progress multi-media performance explores the mind and persona of Shakespeare’s most enigmatic protagonist, Prospero.
It does so by investigating the dramatic ramifications of sound patterning in Shakespeare’s poetry—what Peter Brook has referred to as the “verbal music” to expose the sound-world Shakespeare creates through words.
Nowhere else in Shakespeare is the action, and even the disposition of all the characters so utterly the construction of the central protagonist. Shakespeare uses the device of a stage magician – a Faustian necromancer, to explore a single character through all the stage action of the drama.
This expressionist approach to characterisation is fuelled by the most knotted, ornate and ethereal language in the Shakespearean canon. That language creates a sound world that is simultaneously the world of the island, and a sonic portrait of Prospero’s psyche.
Gerrard McArthur (Howard Barker’s The Wrestling School) plays Prospero in a performance that draws not just on Prospero’s own words, but those of his alter egos Ariel and Caliban.
The performance incorporates some of the play’s surviving music by the play’s gifted original composer Robert Johnson. Johnson was composer-in-residence to Shakespeare’s company the King’s Men in Shakespeare’s final years. This performance draws on new research into Johnson’s other surviving songs to partially reconstruct an original score for the play.
Counter-tenor Russell Harcourt
(Oreste – Royal Opera House)sings the music of Ariel.
Through live projection, video artist Ben Glover creates a visual expression of the sonic patterning in the poetry, and the diffusion of Prospero’s persona beyond the confines of the body of the actor who ‘plays’ him throughout the other characters and the world of the play.
Book your tickets via London Theatre Workshop here.
This performance is the inaugural presentation of Persona per sona– a performance research initiative led by McArthur and Australian director Christopher Hurrell into the somatic implications for the actor of sound in the language of Shakespeare.
Gerrard McArthur and Russell Harcourt, with Alice Haig, via video as Miranda.
Director: Christopher Hurrell Sound Designer: Nikki Aitken Video Designer: Ben Glover Stage Manager: Jari Laakso
London Theatre Workshop
88 Gracechurch Street
London EC3V 0DN
We are delighted to confirm that Connor D’Netto is to be our 3rd Tait Scholarat the Royal College of Music, a generous award sponsored by the Julian Baring family. We wish him all the very best and look forward to working with him as he aspires to reach the very top of the musical world.
Being awarded the title of the Tait Scholar means so much to me. It’s incredibly encouraging to have this support as I take this next big step in my career, moving to London and beginning to really establish myself in the International music scene. Studying at the Royal College of Music is an important part of this, and it mightn’t have been possible without the generous support of the Tait Memorial Trust.
Connor D’Netto | June 2017
I have been selected as a fellow of the prolific American new-music ensemble Bang On A Can. As part of my fellowship, I have been invited to take part in an intensive three-week residence as part of their Summer Music Festival, held this July at MASS MoCA, the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Arts. My new work summer / summer, a concerto of sorts for saxophone, two voices, and chamber orchestra, will be premiered by the ensemble
as a feature in the Festival.
I am the artistic director and co-founder of Argo, a contemporary classical music concert series based in Brisbane, Australian. Argo has four concerts left in 2017, collaborating with the likes of Camerata – Queensland’s Chamber Orchestra, the Viney-Grinberg Piano Duo (Liam Viney and Anna Grinberg), soprano Merlyn Quaife, violinist Monica Curro, pianist Stefan Cassomenos, Opera Queensland, the Queensland Music Festival and the Queensland
Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art, and presenting four newly commissioned works by young local composers, including new work by me, as well as multiple Australian premieres.
Connor D’Netto (b. 1994) is a Brisbane based composer of contemporary classical music, described as “the model contemporary Australian composer” by ABC Classic FM. Throughout his works, Connor balances the quasi-neoclassical with post-minimal influences, combining
them with contemporary performance practices, unique one-off concerts and performances, and the delicate incorporation of electronic music elements and production techniques. His music combines driving post-minimal rhythmic elements with heartfelt lyrical expression drawn from his extensive performance experience as a classically trained bass baritone, contrasted with textural devices that push the expectations of an instrument’s capabilities without confronting the audience. Connor’s music has been commissioned and performed across Australia and abroad, including commissions from ensembles such the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Queensland’s Camerata and new music specialists PLEXUS, and performers such as Katie Noonan, Karin Schaupp and Claire Edwards.
In 2017, Connor has been selected as a fellow of Bang On A Can. As part, his music will be featured at Bang On A Can’s Summer Music Festival at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Arts (MASS MoCA) in July, and will travel to the USA to take part in a three-week residency with the ensemble. In 2015, Connor was named winner of Chamber Music Australia’s Australian New Works Award. His winning work, String Quartet No. 2 in E minor, became the set work for the 7th Melbourne International Chamber Music Competition and received premieres by three internationally chosen finalist ensembles at the Melbourne Recital Centre. He has also been awarded a Brisbane Arts and Cultural Innovation Award 2017 for his contribution to the Arts, the Percy Brier Memorial Composition Prize 2016 for his Texture No. 1 for Orchestra, and the Donald Tugby Musicology Prize and Scholarship 2015 by the University of Queensland for exceptional contribution to the field of music research.
Connor is the artistic director, producer, and co-founder of the successful contemporary classical music concert series and collective Argo. Founded in 2015, Argo creates immersive art music experiences bending the boundaries of genre and artform, combining contemporary classical music with electronic music, live-visuals, and fostering creative collaborations between artists of various mediums. Its focus is on creating experiential and concept driven events that fuse classical instruments and ensembles with contemporary influences and new
modes of musical expression.
As a performer, Connor is a trained classical bass, having previously studied with Shaun Brown. Connor is also a talented photographer, videographer and visual-artist, creating and shooting not only material for his music, but also for a number of other local artists and musicians. Currently Connor is working on his PhD through the University of Queensland, having completed a Bachelor of Music (Honours) at the University of Queensland, graduating with First-Class Honours in 2016. In September, Connor moves to London, where (while continuing his PhD) he will study his Masters of Music at the Royal College of Music.
We are delighted to confirm that Samantha Crawford has been awarded the 2017 Julian Baring Award. The Julian Baring award winner is selected personally by our Chairman, Isla Baring OAM, it is one of the Trust’s most prestigious awards. This summer Samantha will debut at the Bayreuther Festspiele in concert and perform Agathe DER FREISCHÜTZ for Blackheath Opera.
This year we are thrilled to announce that awards to the value of £47,100 are to be offered to young performing artists from Australia and New Zealand. This is an increase of 22% compared to last year’s awards, awards growth has been an outstanding 362% in the past 5 years. We will be announcing our other music award recipients in the coming weeks. This growth is due to the incredibly generous support of our Friends and our Principal Partner, the Commonwealth Bank of Australia. Thank you!
Samantha graduated from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama’s Opera Course, where she studied with Yvonne Kenny AM as a Baroness de Turckheim Scholar. Samantha is the winner of the Golden Medal with Honours at the 2017 inaugural Berliner International Music Competition, First Prize and President’s Prize at the 2016 Wagner Society Singing Competition and Royal Philharmonic Society Chilcott Award finalist.
Equally at home on stage singing in opera or concert, Samantha has performed at Glyndebourne, Edinburgh Festival, Scottish Opera, Aldeburgh Festival, Garsington Opera,
Opera Holland Park, Wigmore Hall, Barbican, Wales Millennium Centre and Schlosstheater
Schönbrunn. She received critical acclaim for her recent performances of Rosalinde DIE
FLEDERMAUS, Contessa LE NOZZE DI FIGARO, Donna Elvira DON GIOVANNI, Micaela
CARMEN, Erste Dame DIE ZAUBERFLÖTE and Mrs. Coyle OWEN WINGRAVE. Her
performances have been broadcast on live cinema relay in Europe, on television and radio for the BBC and filmed for DVD (Sony).
Recent engagements include Samantha’s debut at Teatro Real Madrid as a Blumenmädchen PARSIFAL under Semyon Bychkov, debut at the Bayreuther Festspiele in concert, Agathe DER FREISCHÜTZ for Blackheath Opera, title role in SOUR ANGELICA at Théâtre municipal de Fontainebleau, Fiordiligi COSI FAN TUTTE for Scottish Opera and Miss Jessel TURN OF THE SCREW for GTO covers. In concert, Chausson’s POÈME DE L’AMOUR ET DE LA MER at Barbican Milton Court, Mozart’s REQUIEM under Martyn Brabbins, Wagner’s WESENDONCK LIEDER for City of London Festival and Strauss’ VIER LETZTE LIEDER at Blackheath Halls.
Viola, Lady Tait’s zest for life was an inspiration. These qualities remained with her always together with a remarkable memory, clarity of mind and youthful outlook. With a prodigious vocal talent she excelled in the operas of Gilbert & Sullivan, beginning as a chorister with the Carl Rosa Company in the United Kingdom, graduating to the D’Oyly Carte Opera Company, and was given a year’s contract as principal soprano. Accepting a contract to tour Australia in 1940, she was to meet and marry her future husband, Frank Tait.
She was a champion of new and emerging talent, adjudicating for numerous scholarships and awards both in Australia and overseas. As an adjudicator for The Mobil Quest in 1950, Viola was instrumental in launching Joan Sutherland’s career. This passion for supporting young artists continued throughout her life, in 1992 she inspired her daughter, Isla Baring, to organise a fundraising concert in support of a young Australian singer, Liane Keegan, who was newly arrived in London. It kicked off with a Christmas Concert at Australia House. The concert was a great success and became the foundation of our yearly events. Liane went on to have a major international career, she sang Erda in the recent Opera Australia, Ring Cycle.
In 1984, the Performing Arts Collection, housed at the then newly opened Victorian Arts Centre, received a significant donation from Lady Tait of 300 costume designs by leading European theatrical designers of the late Victorian and Edwardian periods. The designs had been imported for use in re-staging productions in Australasia by the commercial theatre management J.C. Williamson Ltd and its forerunners.
Another of her loves was writing and researching Australian theatrical history. She amassed a formidable collection of theatrical memorabilia and was the author of The Family of Brothers(1971), which chronicled the contribution of the Tait brothers to Australian theatre.
Her last book, Dames, Principal Boys and all that: A History of Pantomine in Australia (2001) was lavishly launched at Her Majesty’s Theatre, Melbourne, the home of the Tait-Williamson empire. When Viola’s death was announced the illuminated sign outside the Theatre read “Farewell Lady Tait, Star”.
Viola Wilson (1938-39)
Source: The Gilbert & Sullivan Archive
[Born Pressburg, Austria-Hungary 1 Nov 1911, died Melbourne, Australia 6 Feb 2002]
Viola Wilson, whose real name was Viola Hogg, studied singing for six years at the Scottish National Academy of Music. In 1935 she was engaged by the Carl Rosa Opera Company and sang in the chorus of Die Fledermaus at the Lyceum Theatre, London. After tours of the British Isles and South Africa, she graduated to principal soprano.
Upon returning to London she auditioned with D’Oyly Carte Opera Company and was given a year’s contract as principal soprano, taking Viola Wilson (her maternal grandfather’s name) as her stage name at Rupert D’Oyly Carte’s suggestion. From May 1938 to June 1939 she appeared with the Company as Patience in Patience, Phyllis in Iolanthe, Yum-Yum in The Mikado, and Gianetta in The Gondoliers. Three of these parts were shared with other artists at various times: Patience and Phyllis with Ann Drummond-Grant until December 1938, and Gianetta with Helen Roberts. Miss Wilson also appeared on occasion in 1938-39 as Rose Maybud in Ruddigore and Elsie Maynard in The Yeomen of the Guard. She left the D’Oyly Carte in June 1939.
Viola Wilson then accepted an offer from Nevin Tait, J. C. Williamson’s London director to tour Australia and New Zealand in the Gilbert & Sullivan operas. In the 1940-42 Williamson tour she appeared as Aline in The Sorcerer, Josephine in H.M.S. Pinafore, Mabel in The Pirates of Penzance, Casilda in The Gondoliers, Princess Ida in Princess Ida, Rose, Patience, Phyllis, and Elsie. While in Australia, she met and married Frank Tait, later Sir Frank, the youngest of the five Tait brothers who were then running the Williamson Company. She retired as a singer in 1946 but remained involved with the Williamson Company, serving for a time as an artistic director.
Following Sir Frank Tait’s death in 1965, Lady Viola Tait, as she was then known, wrote an informal history of the Williamson-Tait partnership. In “A Family of Brothers: The Taits and J. C. Williamson; a Theatre History” (William Heinemann, Melbourne, 1971) she also provides a good deal of information about her own life and career.
Lady Tait retained her interest in the performing arts thoughout her life and was a patron of many arts organizations, including the Tait Memorial Trust. She was instrumental in the establishment of the Performing Arts Museum in Melbourne, and was appointed a member of the Order of Australia (AM) in 1990. In her later years she published a book on the history of pantomime in Australia, “Dames, Principal Boys…and All That” (Macmillan, Melbourne, 2001)
British/Australian baritone Duncan Rock was a Tait Awardee in 2008 and a graduate of the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and the National Opera Studio, London. He has appeared in major roles at the Glyndebourne Festival, English National Opera, the Royal Opera House (Covent Garden), Théâtre du Châtelet, Deutsche Oper (Berlin), Teatro Real (Madrid), the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Opera North, the Boston Lyric Opera and Welsh National Opera.
We are thrilled to see the great success this very talented Western Australian singer has accomplished in a relatively short time. Below is a post from the ENO website about the Harewood Young Artists programme which gave him so many excellent opportunities. This type of advanced training/on the job experience is crucial to develop a great artist.
The Dowager Countess of Harewood was a professional violinist in Sydney and has been a dear friend of the Trust’s from the very beginning. We are honoured to say she is our Patron. To celebrate her 90th Birthday we are dedicating the performance of Mozart’s, Violin & Viola Concertante with Orchestra K364 to her in our 2016 Tait Winter Prom at St John’s Smith Square. Please come if you can. Book here
ENO Harewood Artists’ Match Campaign 2016
Support opera’s rising stars and see your donation double. More here
From Monday, 21 November, to Thursday, 1 December, 2016, donations made to the ENO Harewood Artists’ programme will matched, making them twice as valuable to ENO.
We have £70,000 ready to be matched but we need your help to reach our target and unlock these vital funds. At ENO we are committed to nurturing talent. The ENO Harewood Artists’ programme makes a crucial contribution to developing the next generation of operatic stars. The programme costs over £200,000 a year to deliver and is funded entirely through donations.
The Harewood Artists’ programme provides exceptional training and mentoring to nine of the best British or British-trained singers at the beginning of their professional careers and gives opera’s rising stars the opportunity to develop and learn whilst being cast in roles on the London Coliseum stage. Each singer undertakes a programme of vocal and language training, is coached by experts in their repertoire and receives ongoing support from members of ENO’s artistic and music staff.
Previous Harewood Artists include Sophie Bevan, Katherine Broderick, Allan Clayton, Elizabeth Llewellyn, Iain Paterson, Duncan Rock and Sarah Tynan.
This season, our Harewood Artists performances include: Mary Bevan Don Giovanni; Andri Björn Róbertsson Tosca & Rigoletto; Nicky Spence Lulu; Matthew Durkan Rigoletto & Partenope; Katie Coventry, Soraya Mafi & David Webb The Pirates of Penzance; and Samantha Price The Winter’s Tale.
Matched support is generously donated by The Shears Foundation, The Queen Anne’s Gate Foundation and Talal & Lina Kanafani. For more information or to donate over the phone please contact email@example.com or call 020 7845 9331.
We were delighted to learn that Western Australian composer and Tait Awardee, Kevin Penkin has composed an original score commissioned by Rio Tinto in 2016, to mark 50 years since Rio Tinto’s first contracted shipment of iron ore which departed Dampier for the Yawata Iron and Steel Company in Japan.
Ahead of this milestone, thousands of Australian contractors and suppliers laid almost 300 kilometres of railway, moved 12 million cubic metres of earth and rock and installed 300,000 tonnes of plant and equipment. The company also built the towns of Dampier and Tom Price, and dredged a port to accept the largest ore carriers of the day. Rio Tinto Iron Ore chief executive Chris Salisbury said
“When the MV Houn Maru set sail 50 years ago nobody could have predicted that Pilbara iron ore would underpin Australia’s economic growth. “The Pilbara’s vast iron ore deposits, and the people who developed them, have helped build modern Australia and some of the world’s leading economies,”
Kevin was our first Tait Scholar which enabled him to complete his studies at the Royal College of Music. The debut performance of Hoan Maru, by Perth Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Jessica Gethin was recorded live at the 50th anniversary celebration on Friday 26th August, 2016 at the Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre.
B i o g r a p h y
Kevin Penkin is an Australian composer who has written for video games, anime, film and the concert stage. He won ‘Outstanding Vocal Theme’ at the 2013 Video Game Music Awards for his song ‘I Race the Dawn’, and was nominated for ‘Best Newcomer’ in 2012 by Square Enix Music Online for his work with Final Fantasy composer Nobuo Uematsu on the game ‘Juza Engi Engetsu Sangokuden’.
Since developing an interest for Japan at an early age, it was always a goal for Kevin to compose for both video games and anime. Recent efforts have seen him write for the anime series ‘Norn9’, and the highly anticipated sci-fi film ‘Under the Dog’. While expanding in the world of anime, he has remained passionate about video games, composing for the indie hits ‘Defenders Quest’, ‘Implosion – Never Lose Hope’, and ‘Deemo’.
Kevin moved to London in 2013 to attend the Royal College of Music to pursue a Masters of Composition for Screen, from which he graduated from in June of 2015. He was selected as the inaugural Tait Scholar which gave him a £5,000 per annum scholarship to support his studies. The Tait Trust commissioned an original piece for solo flute and Chamber Orchestra entitled ‘Changing Feet’ which was debuted at the 2014 Tait Winter Prom at St John’s Smith’s Square in December 2014.
Changing Feet is about changing pace. Leaving the world’s most isolated city to live in one of the most industrious and compact environments requires a huge mental change. This piece tries to reflect not only the mentality of someone who grew up in Perth, but the experience of moving to London and ultimately returning home back to Australia. This work explores what one could miss of Perth, be it the silence, the space or the natural beauty.
During his time as a student, he heavily expanded his efforts to be involved in local projects. As a result, Kevin is now working on UK based short films and theatre. He is also involved in concert music, writing for ensembles such as the ‘Perth Chamber Orchestra’, ‘Greywing Ensemble’, and the ‘And So Forth Opera Company’.
We are thrilled to report that Tait Awardee, Panayiota Kalatzis, won the coveted 2016 Herald Sun Aria in Melbourne’s, Hamer Hall a few days ago. Panayiota was the 2014 recipient of the Australian International Opera Awards which gave her the funds to study at the Wales International Academy of Voice with Dennis O’Neill.
SCINTILLATING soprano Panayiota Kalatzis swept all before her last night to win the 2016 Herald Sun Aria.The 30-year-old Brisbane vocalist, trailing an elegant train, won the coveted prize in its 92nd year ahead of four other outstanding classical singers.“I never thought it would happen,’’ she said after accepting the prestigious award from Herald Sun editor Damon Johnston. “You work hard and enter competitions and then someone, ‘Yes’. Winning this changes everything.’’Kalatzis, of Greek background, captivated a 1500-strong audience at Hamer Hall with thrilling performances of Massenet and Verdi. A huge ovation greeted her win which carries $15,000 cash and a $22,500 scholarship for overseas tuition.“The plan is to go back to the UK, make some connections there, and then go to America,’’ she said. “Winning this makes all that possible.’’Jessica Harper, a 26-year-old soprano from Sydney, was runner up while the encouragement award went to Douglas Kelly, a Victorian-based tenor.Judges Richard Mills, Margaret Haggart and John Bolton-Wood praised the high standard of competition and Penny Fowler, Chairman of the Herald and Weekly Times, paid special tribute to Richard Divall — the Aria’s long serving maestro and chief adjudicator.
We are delighted to introduce you to Jo Dee-Yeoh. Jo is one of our musical awardees this year, and is continuing her Masters Degree in Performance at the Royal College of Music. Jo is to play with the Tait Chamber Orchestra in our Tait Winter Prom at St John’s Smith Square on Wednesday 30th November.
A review of Jo Dee Yeoh’s performance at the 2015 Open Instrumental Finals Concert
Townsville Civic Theatre 7.30pm 28 July 2015
Review by Katy Frewen-Lord, Townsville
The Open Instrumental Finals Concert gave Townsville a chance to hear some of Australia’s finest up-and-coming musicians. Adjudicator Carl Pini had his work cut out for him, given that the standard of this year’s entrants were very high.
Hailing from Melbourne, Cellist Jo Dee Yeoh opened the night with Dvorak’s Cello Concerto in B minor. Immediately, Yeoh proved herself to have complete control over the character and strength of her sound. The second movement provided an opportunity for Yeoh to bewitch the audience with her beautiful, lush low notes and song like phrasing. The third and final movement erased any doubt that the audience could possibly have about Yeoh’s technical prowess, as her fingers flew across all four strings with precision and vigour.
To read more about the Australian Concerto and Vocal Competition please click here
1. Dazed or distracted with romantic sentiment.
2. Mentally deranged; crazy.
Vivien Conacher is an operatic mezzo-soprano from Sydney, Australia. She now holds a Tier 1 UK Exceptional Talent Visa and currently based in London where she studies under the tutelage of Yvonne Kenny. Vivien trained at the Royal College of Music, where she achieved a Distinction in her Masters degree in Vocal Performance. She then completed the Opera Works training scheme at English National Opera. Vivien is also an alumna of the Oxford Lieder Festival Mastercourse with Roger Vignoles and has participated twice in the prestigious Britten Pears Young Artist Programme.
Vivien has performed for Opera Australia, Grange Park Opera, the BBC Proms, Wexford Festival Opera, Iford Arts Festival, British Youth Opera, and Bloomsbury Opera. On the concert platform in Sydney, she has appeared as a soloist for Pacific Opera, Opera & Arts Support Group, and The Joan Sutherland & Richard Bonynge Foundation. In the UK, Vivien has performed in concert at the historical St-Martin-in-the-Fields, the Foundling Museum, and her new solo show entitled ‘Moonstricken’ will be performed at this year’s Bloomsbury Festival on 20 October. Vivien wishes to express her sincere gratitude to the Tait Memorial Trust for their support of her continued study and training.
Les Chemins de l’amour by Poulenc
Vivien Conacher (mezzo soprano) & Simon Kenway (piano)
copyright Puresonics Media for Pacific Opera.
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