The prize winners of the 65th Kathleen Ferrier Awards Competition were announced last night (Sunday 13 December) at the end of the competition’s final, streamed from Southwark’s Henry Wood Hall.
The prestigious Kathleen Ferrier Awards, held annually in memory of the great British contralto, are renowned for kick-starting the careers of outstandingly talented young singers. This year Jessica Cale won the first prize of £12,500. Jessica, from Pembrokeshire, studied at the Royal College of Music, having already worked extensively with The Sixteen and the Monteverdi Choir. She has appeared with the Gabrieli Consort, at Ryedale Festival Opera and was a finalist in the 2020 London Handel Festival Singing Competition.
Ella Taylor won the second prize of £6,000. Sheffield born, where their father was Director of Music at the cathedral, Ella was a chorister from the age of ten. They went on to the Royal Academy and graduated with distinction and were a Young Artist in the 2019/20 season at the National Opera Studio. They have a passion for contemporary music and works by women and gender non-conforming artists.
The Ferrier Loveday Song Prize of £5,000 went to Milly Forrest, from West London. Milly studied for her Masters degree at the Royal College of Music having graduated from the Royal Academy where she was also a Junior. She won the Emmy Destinn Czech competition in 2019, was a finalist in the 2020 ROSL competition and will make her solo debut at Wigmore Hall in February 2021.
Finally, the Accompanist’s Prize – funded by Help Musicians – went to Hamish Brown who will receive £5,000. No stranger to winning prizes, London based Hamish Brown won the Britten-Pears Young Artist Programme Prize Winner in the 2019 Wigmore International Song Competition and the Pianist’s Prize at the Mozart Singing Competition. He is a former Oxford Lieder Young Artist.
The awards were judged by eminent mezzo-soprano Rosalind Plowright, Welsh tenor Ryland Davies, Grammy award-winning pianist and accompanist Christopher Glynn and jury chair Valerie Beale who has chaired the Ferrier since 2013.
Jury Chair, Valerie Beale, said: ‘Winning the 2020 Kathleen Ferrier is a great start to Jessica’s career. In this year when so many musicians have been silenced we felt it important to give young singers a chance to show what they can do and we are happy that Jessica and the other singers in the finals took that chance. Jessica takes her place amongst the other Ferrier winners whose careers have been boosted by winning the competition’.
Viewers can still watch the free-to-view awards – which were presented by BBC Radio 3 Presenter Martin Handley – on the competition’s website, and can do so until 31 January 2021.