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.
MA - Guitar
Bulgarian classical guitarist Georgi ('Jojo') Dimitrov is in his first year of his Master of Arts at the Royal Academy of Music. He completed his undergraduate degree with Paolo Pegoraro, graduating cum laude from the University of Music and Performing Arts Graz (KUG), Austria. As a devotee of historically informed performance, he has also taken classes on the viola da gamba and the Baroque guitar at KUG.
Georgi is the winner of the First prize and the Special prize at the 2021 International Guitar Competition Maurizio Biasini in Bologna. He has recently won the First prize at the European Bach Guitar Award in Darmstadt, 2022, enabling him to tour in Germany and Italy, including a performance at the prestigious Bach Festival in Leipzig. In addition, he recorded a selection of J.S. Bach’s music with NAXOS Records in Toronto.
Georgi was awarded the Diploma di Merito by the Accademia Musicale Chigiana under the tutelage of the world-renowned maestro Oscar Ghiglia. His EP recording for dotGuitar, funded by the Italian Guitar Campus, was released in May 2023 and includes the first recording of Corren los Soles, composed by the Argentinian composer Alex Nante.
Georgi has performed at many famous concert halls including Auditorio Nacional de Música in Madrid, Bulgaria Hall in Sofia, Teatro Comunale di Bologna, Minoritensaal Graz, Sobornaya palata in Moscow, Konzerthauz in Blaibach, Stadtcasino in Basel and Castello di Dozza in Bologna.
An audience favourite since his early studies at the National Music School in Sofia, Georgi was accredited as a talented young musician by eminent organisations and cultural institutions in Bulgaria, becoming a scholarship holder of the Ministry of Culture of Bulgaria. He was the first young musician honoured with the Olga Kamburova Award, supporting talented young artists, held by the Bulgarian National Radio broadcast Allegro Vivace.
Advanced Diploma - Trumpet
Jasmin Ghera is an Italian trumpet player from Sardinia, where she achieved her bachelor’s degree in Trumpet Performance in 2017.
In 2022, she achieved the highest grade, 6/6, in her master’s in Music Interpretation at the Lausanne High School of Music (HEMU) under the guidance of Eric Aubier. Since November 2022, she has been working towards her Professional Diploma with Mark David, Paul Beniston, James Fountain, John Hutchins and Jeroen Berwaerts at the Academy.
Jasmin enjoys performing in solo recitals and she has already performed in numerous venues in Sardinia as well as in the Vatican museums of Rome and in the Opening Concert of the 31st International Music Festival in Prague.
Between June and August 2022, Jasmin joined the Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester (GMJO) for the Salzburg Festival, conducted by Teodor Currentzis. In September 2022, she collaborated with the OCL (Chamber Orchestra of Lausanne). She also played with the Discanto European Orchestra, Ente Concerti Marialisa de Carolis, Orchestra Jazz della Sardegna, wind orchestra of Lorenzo della Fonte.
MA - Drums (Jazz)
Ananda Brandão is a young Franco-Brazilian artist from the Paris. She had the great privilege of growing up in a musical family, with Western classical and Brazilian musical influences from her father and mother respectively.
Aged six, she joined a conservatoire in the southern suburbs of Paris where she studied classical piano for 10 years. During this period, she learnt a lot about music theory. However, her love of Brazilian popular music led to her beginning drum lessons at the age of 12. She quickly discovered her love of jazz and improvised music.
Ananda developed her instrumental abilities, jazz and harmony knowledge at the Conservatory of Versailles where she studied between the ages of 17 and 20. She then joined the CMDL, the leading jazz music school near Paris founded by the legendary French jazz violinist Didier Lockwood. In May 2023, she graduated with a bachelor’s degree.
Through the CMDL and jams in Paris, Ananda has taken advantage of the opportunity to meet and perform with talented musicians in famous Parisian jazz clubs as Le Baiser Salé, Le 38 Riv, Le Sunset/Sunside, Le Duc des Lombards. She has also performed in international projects, including Brazilian jazz ensemble MENALUA, and Greco-Turkish jazz ensemble AEGN, with whom she performed at the IKSEV jazz festival in Izmir, Turkey.
Last year, Ananda performed frequently with the legendary singer Rhoda Scott. In the summer she toured around France with Scott’s Lady All Star band, playing at several European festivals including Festival Des 5 Continents and Django Reinhardt Festival.
Ananda demonstrates great versatility in her jazz projects through composing, arranging and performing as a drummer and singer. She seeks to explore new mixtures that combine the music of her Brazilian origins, her various influences of folk, English rock and the modern jazz scene.
Royal Academy Opera
Since beginning at the Academy, Madison has performed the role of Countess Almaviva in the Royal Academy Opera performance of Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro, the roles of Fiordiligi and Ellen Orford in opera scenes of Così fan tutte and Peter Grimes, and debuted at Wigmore Hall in a masterclass with American soprano Roberta Alexander. Madison recently won the Richard Lewis/Jean Shanks Award for singing and was awarded the Tait ROSL Award for the most outstanding New Zealand/Australian musician at the 2023 Royal Over-Seas League final.
In 2022 she made her Bridgewater Hall debut preforming both the small role of Cousin and as part of the ensemble in Puccini’s Madam Butterfly with the Hallé conducted by Sir Mark Elder. She also performed alongside the Philharmonia Voices in a performance of Beethoven’s Fidelio conducted by Sir Donald Runnicles at the Edinburgh International Festival.
At the Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM), Madison made her operatic role debut as Mrs Gobineau in the production of Menotti’s The Medium and sang the role of Ellen Orford in Britten’s Peter Grimes. She also performed excerpts of Mimì from Puccini’s La Bohème in RNCM conducting masterclasses with full orchestra. Madison has been heard in opera scenes including the title role in Strauss’ Arabella, Donna Elvira in Mozart’s Don Giovanni, Elettra in Mozart’s Idomeneo, and Magda in Puccini’s La Rondine. She has sung in masterclasses with Sir Graham Vick, Susan Bullock, Adrianne Pieczonka, Ann Murray, Omer Wellber, Prof. Edith Wiens and Nicky Spence and in 2021 was one of two sopranos selected for the Opera North Chorus Mentorship Scheme.
Other competition successes include: the 2022 Royal Over-Seas League Award for a young New Zealand musician of promise and second place in the Isabel Jay Memorial Prize at the Academy. She was the winner of the Bessie Cronshaw/Frost Brownson Song Cycle Prize at the RNCM for her performance of Korngolds Op.22: Drei Lieder and was awarded the Brigitte Fassbaender Award for the best singing of Lieder at the RNCM. In both 2020 and 2021 she was a finalist in the prestigious Frederic Cox Award competition at the RNCM, and was a finalist in the 2021 Sir David Madison Opera Prize in Liverpool. Madison has been a winner in the New Zealand Aria Competition, the International Trinity College Exhibition Prize, and was nominated for the bi-annual National Young Performer Awards in 2016 and 2018.
Madison’s studies are generously supported by the Royal Academy of Music Bicentenary Scholarship, the Wayne Sleep Foundation, and Madison gratefully acknowledges the Kiri Te Kanawa Foundation who have provided her with mentoring and financial support.
MMus - Piano
Xiaowen Shang is a pianist, harpsichordist and versatile musician, interested in early, classical and contemporary music. She has a wide range of repertoire from Renaissance composers such as Antonio de Cabezón and Orlando Gibbons to contemporary composers including Boulez and Xenakis. She has worked with renowned musicians and composers such as Dame Imogen Cooper, Rachel Podger, Brett Dean, Ryan Wigglesworth and Adrian Brendel. Xiaowen is always keen to collaborate with other musicians, composers and artists, including theatre, improvising with silent films, playing concerts with animation and premiering new works.
Xiaowen is studying with Joanna MacGregor, Dame Myra Hess Chair of Piano, in her second year of master’s degree at the Academy as a Bicentenary Scholar. She received her bachelor’s degree with First Class of Honours and was awarded the Edwin Samuel Dove Prize for special merit during the studentship of her undergraduate studies. Her recent awards include winning the First Prize of the Beethoven Piano Society Europe Senior Intercollegiate Competition in March 2023, First Prize of Lilian Davis Prize in 2022, First Prize of String and Piano Duo Prize in 2022 and First Prize of the WCOM Harriet Cohen Bach Competition at the Academy in 2019. Xiaowen is also a Young Artist of The Worshipful Musician’s Company.
As an active musician performing on stage, her recent performance highlights include a full Saint-Saëns concert at Royal Festival Hall with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Academy Baroque Soloists concert in Wigmore Hall, and performing the harpsichord solo of the Bach Keyboard concerto in F minor with Rachel Podger as part of the Bach the European concert series. She also performed as a soloist and chamber musician in other festivals and venues such as Brecon Festival, Petworth Festival, Dartington Festival, Victoria and Albert Museum and St. James’s Piccadilly. She has been invited to perform alongside the Brighton Philharmonic Orchestra in several concerts in recent years. Xiaowen performed in every Summer and Autumn Piano Festival at the Academy between 2018 and 2023.
MA - Violin (Historical Performance)
Charlotte Spruit was born in 2000 in the Netherlands. She is a keen chamber musician and soloist, having performed at prominent locations such as the Concertgebouw, Wigmore Hall and the Elbphilharmonie. She has performed chamber works with acclaimed musicians including Janine Jansen, Rachel Podger, Gidon Kremer, Tabea Zimmermann, Lawrence Power and Christian Tetzlaff. As a soloist, Charlotte has played with numerous orchestras, including the Residentie Orkest in The Hague, The Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, the Pauliner Barockensemble and Ensemble Esperanza.
In 2022, Charlotte won the first prize as well as the audience prize and the Genuin Classics prize at the Leipzig International Johann Sebastian Bach Competition. In 2023, she was a prize-winner at the Young Classical Artists Trust (YCAT) International Auditions held at Wigmore Hall. Charlotte is also prize winner at many other national and international competitions, such as the Kloster Schöntal International Violin Competition, Concours International Arthur Grumiaux, and the Oskar Back Violin Competition. In 2020, she received the Anton Kersjes Violin Prize.
Charlotte began her violin studies at the age of four with Coosje Wijzenbeek. She studied at the Guildhall School of Music with David Takeno, and with Ying Xue at the Academy and is currently pursuing a master’s degree at the Academy with Rachel Podger, Pavlo Beznosiuk, and Ying Xue. She has participated in masterclasses with Shunske Sato, Robert Levin and Liza Ferschtman.
Charlotte is regularly invited to perform in festivals, such as the Chamber Music Connects the World Festival at the Kronberg Academy, the International Chamber Music Festival Utrecht and the Mendelssohn on Mull Festival where she performed with the Doric String Quartet. Charlotte also enjoys exploring different ways of bringing music to her audience by joining different forms of art. She has collaborated with artist Jérémie Queyras, creating performances combining painting and music. Together they won the first prize at the Goodmesh Concours in 2022.
Charlotte plays an 18th-century anonymous Italian violin, kindly on loan from the Dutch Musical Instruments Foundation.
Royal Academy Opera
British tenor Samuel Stopford is in his first year of the Royal Academy Opera programme. He has performed extensively as a soloist across Europe, Asia, and the United States. Highlights include an invitation to make his Wigmore Hall debut with Academy Song Circle performing Liszt’s Tre Sonetti di Petrarca, three concerts with the Manhattan Symphonie Orchestra in the Shanghai Symphony Hall and a performance in the Shenzhen Universiade Sports Stadium to an audience of over 12,000, which reached a further 1.2 million via livestream.
Samuel completed both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees at the Academy, studying under the guidance of Professor Kate Paterson, Janet Haney, and Jonathan Papp and graduating with highest honours. He was an ABRSM Postgraduate Scholar, received the Edna Bralesford Vocal Prize, and was awarded the HRH Princess Alice Duchess of Gloucester Prize for Exemplary Studentship. Samuel won the Second Prize in the 2022 Richard Lewis/Jean Shanks Award. He was also Very Highly Commended in the 2021 Blythe-Buesst Operatic Prize and a prize-winner in the 2019 Kathleen Ferrier Society Bursary for Young Singers.
Previous Royal Academy Opera credits include Offizier in Strauss’s Ariadne auf Naxos, under the baton of Ryan Wigglesworth, and solo tenor in a chorus quartet in Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas, with Musical Director Liz Kenny. Samuel was invited to attend the 2023 Internationale Meistersinger Akademie, where he appeared in several concerts of operatic arias with the Nuremburg Symphony Orchestra, a Lieder recital broadcast on Bavarian Radio and Opera and Cabaret galas. He also received tutelage on operatic repertoire from Professor Edith Wiens, KS Brigitte Fassbaender, Thomas Lausmann, and Tobias Truniger.
On the concert platform, Samuel’s solo credits include Puccini’s Messa di Gloria and Mendelssohn’s Hymn of Praise at the Petersfield Music Festival. He has also performed Beethoven’s An die ferne Geliebte in a celebratory Song Circle recital at the Austrian Cultural Forum attended by the Austrian Ambassador.
Samuel’s involvement as a Young Artist with Opera Prelude has included giving a Lecture-Recital entitled Crafting an Italianate Tenor: Bel Canto, Romanticism, and Verismo and conducting numerous outreach workshops with greater London primary schools. He also frequently performs in concerts with the outreach group Woolwich Opera Works to bring opera to wider audiences. Since he began at the Academy, Samuel has been regularly involved with the Open Academy programme and has performed in several Music for the Moment concerts for Dementia sufferers. He has also worked on musical projects primary school children, and also led a number of workshops for the Singing with Friends Dementia choir, in collaboration with Wigmore Hall.
Samuel sincerely appreciates the generous support of the Academy, the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music, the Chipperfield Choral Society Hammond Award, the Josephine Baker Trust, and the Countess of Munster Musical Trust.
Hadewych van Gent
Advanced Diploma - Cello
Hadewych van Gent is a Dutch cellist born in Amsterdam in 1997.
At the age of 12 Hadewych started studying at the Conservatory of Amsterdam with Professor Monique Bartels where she played alongside prestigious string ensemble The Fancy Fiddlers, led by Coosje Wijzenbeek. With this group she gave weekly concerts in the Netherlands and abroad. She also sang in the National Children’s Choir lead by Wilma ten Wolde. With this choir she performed in many concerts on a professional level from a young age.
During her undergraduate degree at the Conservatorium van Amsterdam, Hadewych studied with Professor Jelena Očić. During this time, she focused on developing her skills as a cellist as well as playing in many chamber music projects, interdisciplinary projects, singing, improvising and playing alternative styles such as jazz and pop. In 2020 she created the music for the dance show Anam Cara, which played in theatres and won several awards in the Netherlands.
Hadewych has performed in many different concert halls as a soloist and with chamber groups in het Concertgebouw, het Muziekgebouw aan t’IJ, the Dutch national Opera and the Barbican. She has had the pleasure of playing in The young Pianist Foundation competition with a string ensemble as well as leading the cello section in the finals of the competition under the baton of Jean-Bernard Pommier.
Hadewych has played in many masterclasses, festivals and concerts internationally in Switzerland, Germany, Sweden, Italy and England. She has had the pleasure of sharing the stage with great musicians and conductors including Edward Gardner, Sir Mark Elder, Jaap van Zweden, Reimbert de Leeuw, Max Richter, 12 Ensemble, Andreas Ottensamer, Menahim Pressler and Janine Jansen.
After graduating from the Conservatorium van Amsterdam she started studying at the Academy with Professor Robert Cohen. In September 2022, Hadewych was invited by fellow Bicentenary Scholar Sheku Kanneh-Mason to play and sing at his album release. The performance of the piece that she arranged, sung, improvised and played, was mentioned in the Times as 'an intoxicating invocation'. Shortly after she received an invitation by music label Decca to record together with Sheku in 2023.
Hadewych is now studying for her Advanced Diploma course at the Academy with Professor Hannah Roberts.
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.
Royal Academy Opera
Soprano Binny Supin Yang is joining the Royal Academy Opera course under the tutelage of Nuccia Focile and Ingrid Surgenor. She is currently based in London and studied for her master’s degree at the Academy under the tutelage of Nuccia Focile and Iain Ledingham as an ABRSM International Postgraduate Scholar.
Binny completed her BMus at Seoul National University where she studied with Mihae Park and Eunjin Chang. Prior to her undergraduate degree, she attended Busan Middle and High School of Arts, where she studied voice and piano.
Notable competition successes include winning Special Prize in the 2022 Korea National Concours, the First Prize and the Mayor of Busan Prize in 2017 Glovil National Musical Competition, First Prize in the 2017 Eom Jeong-Haeng Music Competition and First Prize in the 2017 Sung-Jung Music Competition. She is a Kumho Art Hall Yonsei Young Artist and will return in 2024 to give a solo recital.
On the operatic stage, she has appeared as Dalida in Handel’s Ariodante for Royal Academy Opera, under the baton of David Bates. She has sung Madame Herz in Mozart’s Die Schauspieldirektor, Blonde in Mozart’s Die Entführung aus dem Serail and Susanna in Mozart’s Le nozze de Figaro for Royal Academy of Music Opera Scenes, under the baton of Peter Robinson. She has also sung the role of Despina in Mozart’s Così fan tutte in the Seoul Art’s Centre opera scenes. Her chorus roles have included Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress at the Academy, under the baton of Trevor Pinnock CBE, and Puccini’s Suor Angelica for Seoul National University.
Binny has performed in concert venues across Korea and London, including the Glovil Art Hall where she performed a solo recital, the Busan Culture Centre and the Italian Culture Institute. She has also travelled to New Delhi, India, for the Global Classic Dream Project to perform concerts in the Korean Culture Centre and lead workshops as a music tutor for which she received the Appreciation Certificate of the Korean Culture Centre, India. Binny shares her love for music with her community through volunteer work and regularly performs in hospitals, orphanages, and shelters in Korea in association with the Hyundai Motor Chung Mong-Koo On-Dream Ensemble. Her studies are generously supported by the Hyundai Motor Chung Mong-Koo Arts and Culture Foundation and the Josephine Baker Trust.
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