Message from the Principal

Bicentenary Scholars are outstanding young musicians selected each year by the Academy. They are offered significant funding as well as artistic development opportunities which are designed to meet their individual needs and ambitions as they prepare for professional careers. Scholars embark on a special year of study (in some cases two). Some are afforded the chance to record for Linn Records while others undertake additional training with world-leading artists or engage in personalised projects connected to their particular career path. Since the scheme’s inception in 2018, each has benefited from a uniquely intensive and productive year at the Academy. I have been privileged to play a small mentoring role for each of the scholars.

Several collaborations have emerged as a result of the scheme, including our association with the Fondazione Mascarade Opera Foundation in Florence. The students who have studied in Florence form part of this creative network of musicians. Annual reunions, alternating between London and Italy, allow our current scholars, alumni and the students at Mascarade to make lifelong connections and meet up with old friends, while building a supportive family of musicians. Each reunion invites distinguished guest speakers from the music industry who can offer relevant insights to our young artists.

The programme has recently been extended to 2028 thanks to the generosity and sustained support of the founding donors. I offer my deepest thanks again on behalf of everyone at the Academy.

Professor Jonathan Freeman-Attwood CBE



Please find current and past recipients of the Bicentenary Scholarship listed below in reverse chronological order.

Ananda Brandão Hamon

Drummer Ananda Brandão Hamon is in her first year of the postgraduate Jazz Percussion course at the Academy. After studying classical piano, Ananda undertook further studies in jazz drumming, graduating in 2023 from Centre des Musiques Didier Lockwood (CMDL), a leading jazz school founded and named after the famous violinist. Her studies at the Academy are supported by a Bicentenary Scholarship.

Ananda has performed in renowned Parisian jazz clubs such as Le Duc des Lombards, 38 Riv’ and Sunset Sunside.

In 2022, Ananda performed alongside renowned organist Rhoda Scott, then in 2023 toured Brazil and France with Irmandade, playing original music written by members of the band. She co-leads the group Ninanda alongside Israeli pianist Nina Gat, bringing together original music influenced by modern jazz and folk music. They released two singles in January 2024 and have recently been selected to perform in Jazz à Vienne as finalists in the Rezzo Jazz Competition.

Georgi (Jojo) Dimitrov

Classical guitarist Georgi (Jojo) Dimitrov is in the first year of his Master’s degree at the Academy studying with Professor Michael Lewin, Stephen Goss, Christoph Denoth and Elizabeth Kenny, supported by a Bicentenary Scholarship.

Jojo completed his undergraduate degree with Paolo Pegoraro and Łukasz Kuropaczewski, graduating from the University of Music and Performing Arts Graz with honours. He studied Baroque guitar with David Bergmüller and viola da gamba with Christoph Urbanetz.

Alongside fellow Bicentenary Scholar Jasmin Ghera and trombonist Miguel Zoco, Jojo founded the first brass and classical guitar trio at the Academy. He won First Prize and the Special Prize at the 2021 International Guitar Competition Maurizio Biasini, First Prize at the 2022 European Bach Guitar Award – which allowed him to tour Germany and Italy and perform at Bachfest in Leipzig – and recently recorded a CD of music by Bach with Norbert Kraft, to be released by Naxos later this month.

Jasmin Ghera

Trumpeter Jasmin Ghera is working towards an Advanced Diploma of Performance with Mark David, Paul Beniston, James Fountain, John Hutchins and Jeroen Berwaerts, supported by a Bicentenary Scholarship, having recently completed a Professional Diploma at the Academy.

Jasmin completed her undergraduate degree at the Conservatorio di Musica ‘Luigi Canepa’ di Sassari in Trumpet Performance. Subsequently she completed a Master of Arts in Music Performance at the Lausanne Conservatory under the guidance of Éric Aubier. She graduated with the highest grade of her cohort.

Jasmin has played at the opening concert of the 31st International Music Festival in Prague, joined the Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester at the Salzburg Festival and collaborated with the Chamber Orchestra of Lausanne.

She has also performed with the Discanto European Orchestra, Ente Concerti Marialisa de Carolis, Orchestra Jazz della Sardegna and Wind Orchestra of Lorenzo della Fonte.

Madison Horman

Soprano Madison Horman is in her second year of Royal Academy Opera, studying with Nuccia Focile and Ingrid Surgenor. She is supported by a Bicentenary Scholarship and by the Kiri Te Kanawa and Wayne Sleep Foundations. Previously Madison studied at Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM) with Eiddwen Harrhy.

At the Academy Madison has performed the roles of Lady Billows and Countess Almaviva in Albert Herring and Le nozze di Figaro. She has also sung the roles of Mimì, Arabella, Fiordiligi and Ellen Orford in opera scenes of La bohème, Arabella, Così fan tutte and Peter Grimes.

Madison’s recent competition successes include being runner-up at the Clonter Opera Prize 2024 and coming second in the Lockwood New Zealand Aria Competition, where she also won the German Lied Prize. In 2023 she won the Richard Lewis/Jean Shanks Award at the Academy, and the Tait ROSL Award for most outstanding New Zealand/Australian musician at the 2023 Royal Over-Seas League overseas final.

Xiaowen Shang

Xiaowen Shang is a pianist, harpsichordist and versatile musician interested in early, classical and contemporary music. She is working towards a Master’s Degree, having completed her Bachelor’s degree and Licentiate of the Royal Academy of Music (LRAM) with Professor Joanna MacGregor. Her studies at the Academy have been supported by a Bicentenary Scholarship and the Clumber Studio Scholarship.

Xiaowen will release her debut album, Music of Silence, with Linn Records as part of the Bicentenary Series in April 2024. She has performed in recitals at the Royal Festival Hall with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and with the Academy Baroque Soloists at Wigmore Hall. Future engagements include two recitals as a solo pianist and harpsichordist with Brett Dean, Lawrence Power and the Nash Ensemble at Wigmore Hall. Recent awards include the Gold Medal from the Beethoven Piano Society of Europe and the Harriet Cohen Bach Prize from the Worshipful Company of Musicians, where she is on the Young Artist Programme.

Charlotte Spruit

Violinist Charlotte Spruit is a chamber musician and soloist. She is in her second year of a Master’s degree in Historical Performance at the Academy, studying with Rachel Podger, Pavlo Beznosiuk and Ying Xue, supported by a Bicentenary Scholarship and an Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music (ABRSM) Scholarship. She completed her Bachelor’s degree at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama with David Takeno.

Charlotte won First Prize, the Audience Prize and the Genuin Classics prize at the Leipzig International Johann Sebastian Bach Competition 2022. In 2023, she was a prize-winner at the Young Classical Artists Trust (YCAT) International Auditions held at Wigmore Hall.

As a soloist, Charlotte has played with orchestras including the Residentie Orkest in The Hague, the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, the Pauliner Barockensemble and Ensemble Esperanza.

Charlotte plays an 18th-century anonymous Italian violin, kindly on loan from the Dutch Musical Instruments Foundation.

Samuel Stopford

Tenor Samuel Stopford is in his first year of an Advanced Diploma with Royal Academy Opera, supported by a Bicentenary Scholarship, the Julien Award, the Josephine Baker Trust and the Countess of Munster Musical Trust. He completed both his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees at the Academy, studying with Kate Paterson, Jonathan Papp and Janet Haney.

An alumnus of the 2023 Internationale Meistersinger Akademie, Samuel recently made his Wigmore Hall debut performing Liszt’s Tre sonetti de Petrarca with the Academy Song Circle. This summer he will be a member of the Salzburg Festival’s Young Singers Project. He is also an Opera Prelude Young Artist.

Samuel won Second Prize and the Song Prize in the Richard Lewis/Jean Shanks Award and was a recipient of HRH Princess Alice’s Prize for Exemplary Studentship.

Samuel will be joining the Opera Studio of the Bavarian State Opera in Munich for the 2024/25 season.

Hadewych van Gent

Cellist Hadewych van Gent completed her Master’s degree at the Academy, and is now working towards an Advanced Diploma in Performance with Hannah Roberts. She is supported by the Hattori Foundation and a Bicentenary Scholarship. She completed her undergraduate studies at the Conservatorium van Amsterdam with Professor Jelena Očić.

Hadewych has performed at venues such as the Concertgebouw, Muziekgebouw, Dutch National Opera and Barbican Centre.

Also a vocalist, Hadewych collaborated with Sheku Kanneh-Mason on one of his albums for Decca Classics, playing the cello as well as singing. As part of her Bicentenary Scholarship, Hadewych will record her debut album with Linn Records, continuing to combine her instruments.

Hadewych plays a cello made by Jean Baptiste Vuillaume, on loan from the Academy collections. She plays with a bow made for her by Andreas Grütter, sponsored by Stichting SEM.

Binny Yang

Soprano Binny Yang is working towards an Advanced Diploma in Opera at the Academy with Nuccia Focile and Ingrid Surgenor. She is currently supported by the Hyundai Motor Chung Mong-Koo Arts & Culture Foundation, the Josephine Baker Trust and a Bicentenary Scholarship. Previously she completed her Master’s degree at the Academy supported by an Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music (ABRSM) Scholarship.

Binny completed her Bachelor’s degree at Seoul National University, studying with Mihae Park and Eunjin Chang.

She has won awards including the Special Prize in the 2022 Korea National Opera Concours, First Prize and the Mayor of Busan Prize in the 2017 Glovil National Musical Competition and First Prize in the 2017 Eom Jeong-Haeng Music Competition.

Binny is a Kumho Art Hall Yonsei Young Artist and will return there in 2024 to give a solo recital.

Vitor Bispo - Singing, Baritone (Opera)

Junyan Chen - Piano

Ryan Vaughan Davies - Singing, Tenor (Opera)

Madison Horman - SInging, Soprano (Opera)

Anna Im - Violin

Aidan Mikdad - Piano

Xiaowen Shang - Piano and Harspichord

Luiza Willert - Singing, Soprano (Opera)

Cassandra Wright -Singing, Soprano (Opera)

Vitor Bispo - Singing, Baritone (Opera)

Liam Bonthrone - Singing, Tenor (Opera)

Junyan Chen - Piano

Nicolò Umberto Foron - Conductor

Sheku Kanneh-Mason MBE - Cello

Ilan Kurtser - Piano Accompaniment

Charlie Lovell-Jones - Violin

Aidan Mikdad - Piano

Edvard Pogossian - Cello

Joshua Ryan - Organ

Luiza Willert - Singing, Soprano (Opera)

Liam Bonthrone - Singing, Tenor (Opera)

Camilla Harris - Singing, Soprano (Opera)

Ossian Huskinson - Singing, Bar/Bass (Opera)

Ha Min (Daniel) Go - Cello

Do Gyung (Anna) Im - Violin

Charles Lovell-Jones - Violin

Julie Park - Viola

Margarita Balanas - Cello

Roberts Balanas - Violin

Camilla Harris Singing - Soprano (Opera)

Ossian Huskinson Singing - Bar/Bass (Opera)

James Orford - Organ

Ariel-Shimon Lanyi-Umansky - Piano

Anna Geniushene - PFT

Claudia Lucia Lamanna - Harp

Emily Nebel - Violin

Yoanna Prodanova - Viola

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