Open to vocal students undertaking postgraduate studies at the Academy in the following academic year, participants curate a programme including sacred work, English Art song and operatic arias, with a £14,000 first prize and £6,000 runner-up prize available. In 2002, a complementary award was established by Brenda Webb, a close friend and admirer of Richard Lewis, for the best accompanist at the Award final.

Last year’s first prize-winner, Patrick Keefe, commented that ‘seeing my name up on the wall in the room 150, my coach's preferred room where we prepared all the repertoire, was a personal highlight. I was very nervous to perform before a jury of such influential and experienced people in the industry, but they were a very welcoming and encouraging audience and I ended up having a lot of fun!

‘I am very grateful indeed to the Academy and to Mrs Muir-Lewis for continuing to facilitate this award, which serves as a bastion of support for young artists at the start of their careers.’

Patrick is currently making his Glyndebourne debut singing the Notary and Malatesta (cover) in Don Pasquale, and in the chorus for The Wreckers, Le nozze di Figaro and La bohème.

Returning in person for the first time since 2019, the final of this year’s Richard Lewis/Jean Shanks Award will be held in the Royal Academy of Music’s Duke’s Hall on Wednesday 6 July at 2.30pm. Tickets are available here.