Academy Visiting Professor of Chamber Music cellist Adrian Brendel joins RPS Award-winning Kirill Karabits and Academy alumna and Visiting Professor Dame Felicity Lott.

In the approach to its Bicentenary in 2022, the Academy presents a prestigious new competition, hosted at Wigmore Hall, with a grand prize of £10,000. Open to singers and instrumentalists studying at the Academy, six finalists exhibit the breadth of talent across many disciplines. Competing in the final are Elise van der Wel (violin), Samantha Quillish (soprano), Qianyu Zhang (accordion), Esther Beyer (harp), Amy Holyland (mezzo-soprano) and Ariel Lanyi (piano).

The Academy’s Principal, Jonathan Freeman-Attwood said:

‘The Royal Academy of Music provides bespoke training to exceptionally talented performers from all over the world, some of whom you will hear this evening. As we approach our Bicentenary in 2022, we remain committed to delivering a student experience of the very highest international standard. At the same time, we are looking to the future and the role we play in an ever-evolving musical landscape. All of our Bicentenary-related events and initiatives – including this, the inaugural Bicentenary Prize – are designed to celebrate the ‘here and now’ as well as laying the path for the Academy’s exciting plans as we enter our third century.

‘Our six finalists not only exemplify the Academy’s vibrant global community but also reflect the sheer breadth of disciplines we offer. In a conventional prize, one would not necessarily expect to see performers competing against one another on instruments as diverse as the Baroque violin, accordion, piano, harp and voice – and that’s before we mention tonight’s ‘supporting cast’, which includes the harpsichord, viola da gamba and theorbo!’

Read more about our jury below and join us on Monday 3 February at Wigmore Hall from 7.30PM. Click here to book your ticket for only £10.

Adrian Brendel, Cellist

Visiting Professor of Chamber Music, Royal Academy of Music

Artistic Director, Plush Festival

One of the most versatile and original cellists of his generation, Adrian Brendel has travelled the world as soloist, collaborator and teacher. His early immersion in the core classical repertoire inspired an enduring fascination that has led to encounters with many fine musicians at the world’s most prestigious festivals and concert halls. His discovery of contemporary music through the works of Kurtag, Kagel and Ligeti in his teenage years opened a new and vital avenue that he continues to explore with huge enthusiasm alongside his passion for jazz and world music. In 2014 he became a member of the Nash Ensemble of London.

Kirill Karabits, Conductor

Chief Conductor, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra

Royal Philharmonic Society ‘Conductor of the Year’ winner Kirill Karabits has been Chief Conductor of the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra for 11 years. Karabits’ relationship with the BSO has been celebrated worldwide and together they have made many critically acclaimed recordings and appeared regularly at the BBC Proms. Highlights of the 2019-20 season will include a number of North American visits, including Karabits’ debut with the Dallas Symphony, subscription debut with the Chicago Symphony, as well as a return to the Minnesota Orchestra. Other returns this season include performances with the Bamberger Symphoniker, Sydney Symphony and the Seoul Philharmonic. The 2019-20 season will also see Karabits embark on a European and South American tour with the Russian National Orchestra, including performances at the Elbphilharmonie Hamburg and the Tonhalle Düsseldorf.

Dame Felicity Lott, Soprano

Visiting Professor of Singing, Royal Academy of Music

Winner of the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2016 International Classical Music Awards, Dame Felicity Lott is one of Britain’s best-loved sopranos. In opera, her portrayals of the Strauss and Mozart roles in particular have led to critical and popular acclaim worldwide. Her concert engagements have taken her to the major orchestras, working with Rattle, Haitink, Mehta, Previn, Masur, Welser-Möst, Sawallisch and Sir Andrew Davis. Much of her concert and recital repertoire is recorded, as are many of her great operatic roles: from her wonderful Marschallin under Carlos Kleiber to her Belle Helene, with which she enchanted the Parisians when she sang the role for the first time at the Chatelet in Paris in 2000. A founder member of The Songmakers’ Almanac, Felicity has appeared on the major recital platforms of the world and in June 2005 she celebrated the 30th anniversary of her recital debut at the Wigmore Hall, with whom she has a particularly close association and received the Wigmore Hall Medal in 2010 for her exceptional contribution to the hall.

Click here to book your ticket for only £10.