Kiandra Howarth wins Bel Canto Award

We are all thrilled for 2019 #TaitAwardee Kiandra Howarth for winning this years AUD$30,000 Joan Sutherland & Richard Bonynge Bel Canto Award and Foundation #BelCantoAward which was recently announced in Sydney. Kiandra was also awarded the AUD$1000 Audience Choice Prize, and was also placed third in the Elizabeth Connell Prize for Aspiring Dramatic Sopranos, winning $5000.  The Gold Coast-born soprano holds the distinction of being the first finalist to ever participate in both competitions, Kiandra is a former member of the Royal Opera House’s Jette Parker Young Artist Programme,

Kiandra secured her Bel Canto Award win with a performance of Dove sono from Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro and Ch’il bel sogno di Doretta from Puccini’s La Rondine. In the Elizabeth Connell Prize, the soprano sang Das war sehr gut, Mandryka from Strauss’ Arabella and Senza Mamma from Puccini’s Suor Angelica.

Second place in the Bel Canto Award was awarded to New Zealand soprano Eliza Boom who won the AUD$10,000 Richard Bonynge Award, while Australian soprano Michelle Ryan received the AUD$5000 DECCA Award & the Tait Memorial Trust Award for placing third.

Earlier this year Kiandra and fellow Tait Awardee, Krystal Tunnicliffe, piano delighted our Tait Friends singing, “We’ll Gather Lilacs” by Ivor Novello at our annual Friends event at Stoke Lodge, the official residence of the Australian High Commissioner, London. We thank the High Commissioner, His Excellency the Hon George Brandis QC most sincerely for inviting us into his home for such a special occasion.

To learn more about the Joan Sutherland & Richard Bonynge Foundation please click here

Samantha Crawford, soprano | 2017 Julian Baring Award

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 Crawford

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
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.

Photo credit: Jeremy Hosking



Tait Awards 2016

The Tait Memorial Trust is pleased to be assisting these fine young Australian artists in 2016.

The Tait Adopt a Performer scheme
The adopt a performer scheme allows a donor to directly support a young Australian performing artist annually for a three-year commitment. Please click here to learn how to actively involve yourself in the career development of a young performer.

The greatest return, however, would be to see your awardee fulfill their true potential and, as they graduate to a professional career, the pleasure of knowing that you played an important part in making this possible.

Royal College of Music
Tait Scholar – The Julian Baring family
The Royal College of Music
Sally Law, Violin
To learn more about Sally please click here

Sally Law, Tait Scholar

Royal Northern College of Music
Higgins Scholar – The Higgins family
Waynne Kwon, Cello
To learn more about Waynne please click here

Waynne Kwon, cello, Higgins Family scholar
Waynne Kwon, Higgins Scholar

The Leanne Benjamin Awards 

selected by Leanne Benjamin AM OBE.

Financial assistance and support for young Australian dancers studying at major UK ballet schools

John Frost – Leanne Benjamin Award
The Royal Ballet School
Rebecca Blenkinsop

Rebecca Blenkinsop
Rebecca Blenkinsop

Leanne Benjamin Award
The English National Ballet School
Chloe Keneally

Chloe Keneally, Leanne Benjamin Awards 2016. The English National Ballet School
Chloe Keneally

Leanne Benjamin Award
The English National Ballet School
Lauren Songberg

Lauren Songberg
Lauren Songberg

Partner Award Funding

Royal Over-Seas League Tait Prize
Award funded by Chevalier Richard Gunter
Australian musician showing the most promise
Ann Beilby, Viola

Ann Beilby

John Frost, Frank and Viola Tait Award
Australian International Opera Awards
Nathan Lay, Baritone

Nathan Lay
Nathan Lay

Bel Canto Awards
Joan Sutherland & Richard Bonynge Foundation
A Concert platform for a young Australian/New Zealand singer
Emma Moore, Soprano

Emma Moore
Emma Moore

Tait & Sir Charles Mackerras Chair
A Chair in the Southbank Sinfonia for the duration of the annual programme. This award is made possible due to a generous gift from the Estate of Lady Mackerras to fund a portion of the Chair for at least the next 10 years. This year the Tait contribution to this award has been made by Stephanie McGregor & Albert Kwok.

Sujin Park
Sujin Park

John Amis Award
Dartington International Summer School
For a 1 week course of intensive study for an Australian musician
Matthew Thomson, Tenor

Matthew Thomson
Matthew Thomson

Extraordinary Awards

Margaret Rodgers Award
Selected by Margaret Rodgers personally
Cameron Campbell, Viola

Cameron Campbell
Cameron Campbell

Margaret Rodgers Award
Selected by Margaret Rodgers personally
Nick Mooney, French Horn

Nicholas Mooney
Nicholas Mooney

Whalley and Tait Gift
Special funding to assist with the purchase of a 1930 Natale Carletti (Bologna), Viola
from the Whalley family and the TMT
Lisa Bucknell, Viola

Lisa Bucknell
Lisa Bucknell

Tait General Awards

Award funded by The Thornton Foundation
To assist with continued private study
Andrey Lebedev, Guitar

Andrey Lebedev
Andrey Lebedev

Award funded by the VEC Acorn Trust
To assist with continued private study
Jo Dee-Yeoh, Cello

Jo Dee Yeoh
Jo Dee Yeoh

Award funded by The Thornton Foundation
To assist with continued private study
Vivien Conacher, Mezzo-Soprano

Vivien Conacher
Vivien Conacher

Award funded by The Hunter family
To assist with continued private study
Krystal Tunnicliffe, Piano Accompanist

Krystal Tunnicliffe
Krystal Tunnicliffe

Award funded by Louise Worthington
To assist with continued private study
Ashlyn Tymms, Mezzo Soprano

Ashlyn Skye Tymms
Ashlyn Skye Tymms

Message from Sky Ingram, Soprano


Dear Friends,

I hope you’ve all had a lovely start to your autumn/spring (depending on hemisphere!) – I certainly have! Most especially the start of rehearsals for my debut with the Royal Opera House world premiere of Glare in the role of Lea. Very exciting!! Helping develop a new opera and new story line has been such a creative and different rehearsal experience. I hope that if you’re in London you might be able to come!

Am I am robot?… am I a woman?… am I ‘perfect’?… ’imperfect’?… who knows?! – Come and find out!

Please see the trailer attached and performance dates below…

There’s also lots of exciting stuff in the pipeline for 2015. In particular, (and what I’m currently allowed to reveal), is that I have accepted a La Bohème contract for my debut with English Touring Opera. We will be travelling all around the UK. I can’t wait to visit all the towns that I haven’t had the opportunity to go to yet. I am also excited to be performing in this opera with two fellow Adelaidians; Grant Doyle and Nicholas Lester.

2015 also marks my debut in the beautiful Royal Albert Hall with Raymond Gubbay in their Grand Organ Gala as their guest soloist.

Well, that’s just a little info for now.  As always, please let me know what you’ve been up to – I always love to hear!

Lots of love,



Upcoming performance dates:

Glare, Royal Opera House            

14, 15. 18, 18, 19, 21 November 2014 at 7.45pm
 & Saturday 22 November 2014 at 6.00pm

Lea, Glare, Linbury Studio, Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, London.

Danish-German composer Søren Nils Eichberg presents a taut operatic thriller about trust and reality.


Haydn Nelson Mass

Friday 5 December 2014 at 7:30pm, Guest Soprano, Victoria Law Courts

Corporation Street, Birmingham, West Midlands, B4 6QA, United Kingdom


La Bohème, Musetta, English Touring Opera

Friday 13 March & Saturday 14 March 2015 at 7.30pm

Hackney Empire, 291 Mare Street, Hackney, E8 1EJ


Tuesday 17 March 2015 at 7.30pm

Hall for Cornwall, Back Quay, Truro, TR1 2LL


Friday 20 March 2015 at 7.30pm

Lighthouse, Kingland Road, Poole, BH15 1UG


Monday 23 March 2015 at 7.30pm

Norwich Theatre Royal, Theatre Street, Norwich, NR2 1RL


Tuesday 24 March 2015 at 7.30pm

Norwich Theatre Royal, Theatre Street, Norwich, NR2 1RL


Monday 30 March 2015 at 7.45pm

Lyceum Theatre, 55 Norfolk Street, Sheffield, S1 1DA


Friday 10 April 2015 at 7.30pm

Everyman Theatre, Regent Street, Cheltenham, GL50 1HQ


Saturday 11 April 2015 at 7.30pm

Everyman Theatre, Regent Street, Cheltenham, GL50 1HQ


Monday 13 April 2015 at 7.30pm

Wolverhampton Grand Theatre, Lichfield Street,
Wolverhampton, WV1 1DE


Friday 17 April 2015 at 7.30pm

Snape Maltings Concert Hall, Aldeburgh Music, Snape
Suffolk, IP17 1SP


Monday 20 April 2015 at 7.30pm

Curve, Rutland Street, Leicester, LE1 1SB


Friday 24 April 2015 at 7.30pm

Warwick Arts Centre, University of Warwick, Coventry, CV4 7AL


Saturday 25 April 2015 at 7.30pm

Warwick Arts Centre, University of Warwick, Coventry, CV4 7AL


Tuesday 28 April 2015 at 7.30pm

Exeter Northcott Theatre, Exeter Northcott, Stocker Road
Exeter, EX4 4QB


Thursday 30 April 2015 at 7.30pm

Exeter Northcott Theatre, Exeter Northcott, Stocker Road
Exeter, EX4 4QB


Wednesday 6 May 2015 at 7.30pm

The Hawth, Crawley, Hawth Avenue, Crawley, RH10 6YZ


Friday 8 May 2015 at 7.30pm

The Marlowe Theatre, The Friars, Canterbury, CT1 2AS


Monday 11 May 2015 at 7.30pm

Grand Theatre Blackpool, 33 Church Street, Blackpool, FY1 1HT


Thursday 14 May 2015 at 7.30pm

Buxton Opera House, Water Street, SK17 6XN


Saturday 16 May 2015 at 7.30pm

Buxton Opera House, Water Street, SK17 6XN


Monday 18 May 2015 at 7.30pm

Gala Theatre, Durham, 1 Millennium Place, Town Centre
Durham, DH1 1WA


Thursday 21 May 2015 at 7.30pm
Musetta, La Bohème
English Touring Opera

Perth Festival, Perth Concert Hall, Mill Street, Perth, PH1 5HZ


** 3 more possible dates in May yet to be confirmed…  J


Grand Organ Gala, Raymond Gubbay

Sunday 4 October 2015 at 3pm, Guest Soprano, Raymond Gubbay

Royal Albert Hall, London


Kind regards,

Sky Ingram


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

Lauren Fagan, Soprano. Opera course at The Guildhall School of Music and Drama 2013

Lauren Fagan, Soprano
Lauren Fagan, Soprano

Australian born soprano Lauren Fagan is a young artist at the outset of a promising career. Initially completing a Business degree, Lauren has recently moved to London to accept her scholarship on the Opera course at The Guildhall School of Music and Drama under the tutelage of Susan Waters. Lauren is a 2013 Tait Memorial Trust Awardee.

Lauren Fagan has been in Banff, Canada for the past 5 weeks singing the role of Mrs Coyle in Owen Wingrave. This was the Canadian premiere of this opera, conducted by Dominic Wheeler and directed by Kelly Robinson. GSMD took across 6 singers from the opera course for the production where they got the chance to work with the original Owen, baritone, Benjamin Luxon.

Listen to Lauren’s lovely voice here

Lauren Fagan with Benjamin Luxon

Lauren is about to start her second year on the opera course at The Guildhall School of Music and Drama. In the first term Lauren will be singing the role of Lia in Debussy’s L’enfant prodigue at the Barbican and in the second term, Lauren will sing the role of the Blue Fairy in Jonathan Dove’s The Adventures of Pinocchio

Lauren’s  website:

Lauren’s award is supported by the Michael Whalley Foundation


Australian born soprano Lauren Fagan is a young artist at the outset of a promising career. Initially completing a Business degree, Lauren has recently moved to London to accept her scholarship on the Opera course at The Guildhall School of Music and Drama under the tutelage of Susan Waters. In August this year Lauren will be singing the role of Mrs Coyle in Britten’s Owen Wingrave as part of the Banff Summer Arts Festival in Canada. In Guildhall’s Opera scenes she has been featured as; Micaëla Carmen, Jenůfa Jenůfa, Marschallin Der Rosenkavalier, Natasha War and Peace, Vitellia La clemenza di Tito, Alice Falstaff, Fiordiligi Così fan tutte and First Lady Die Zauberflöte. Other operatic roles performed include Frasquita in Carmen at The State Theatre and Chorus in the Australian premiere of Dead Man Walking.

Lauren was runner up in the 2012 McDonald’s Operatic Aria Final, with finalists from around Australia and New Zealand. In 2012, she also placed third in the National Joan Sutherland Richard Bonynge Vocal Scholarship and won the Operatic Aria Final at the Ryde Eisteddfod. She was awarded ‘The Dame Nellie Melba Scholarship – ‘Patrick and Vivian Gordon Award’ from ‘The Dame Nellie Melba Opera Trust’ in 2011 and 2012. To celebrate the 150th anniversary of Dame Nellie Melba she performed a solo recital on 3MBS FM, Melbourne as part of Ann Blainey’s radio interview, ‘I am Melba’. Her performance of “Depuis le jour” was later selected for the 3MBS Alive CD (2012).

She has developing experience as a soloist; performing for The Opera and Arts Support Group, Clonter Opera, Artsong NSW, Opera on the Beach, Joan of Arc – Voices of Light Oratorio, Carols in the Domain, World Youth Day Opening Ceremony and Australian Idol Grand Final.

Over the last two years Lauren has had the opportunity to work with Dennis O’Neill, Christine Brewer, Liane Keegan, Sylvia Greenberg, David Aronson, Cheryl Barker, Eilene Hannan, Yvonne Kenny, Sharolyn Kimmorley, Glenn Winslade, Anna Sweeney and Chuck Hudson.

Lauren’s continued development is generously supported by The Dame Nellie Melba Opera Trust, The Opera and Arts Support Group, The Tait Memorial Trust, Ars Musica Australis, The Donnelly’s, Opus 50 Charitable Trust and The City Livery Club London.

Cast of Owen Wingrave, Bannf, Canada. August 2013

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.