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Outstanding Young Musicians Receive Kiwi Music Scholarships

Seven talented young performers—baritone Jonathan Eyers, tenor Harry Grigg, soprano Katherine McIndoe, viola player Julie Park, soprano Sophie Sparrow, pianist Siyu Sun and violinist Claudia Tarrant-Matthews—have been awarded Kiwi Music Scholarships to continue their musical development.

Baritone Jonathan Eyers, aged 25, achieved his Master’s in Performance with Distinction at the Guildhall School of Music in London, after completing a Bachelor of Music (1st class Honours) from the University of Waikato.

Last year he auditioned for the prestigious Opera Studies course at Guildhall, and was offered one of only two baritone places on the programme. “The Artist Diploma in Opera Studies will provide me with singing lessons, individual coaching in roles and repertoire, and acting and stage techniques such as movement, dance, make-up and drama,” he says. “This extensive training specifically in opera will be invaluable in my artistic development as an opera singer and will fully prepare me to launch into a professional career.”

Before leaving for London, Jonathan performed extensively with NZ Opera and as a baritone/bass soloist in oratorio roles and concerts. Since being in London, he has made the most of the opportunities offered, performing in a wide range of operatic roles, master classes, concerts and recordings.

Tenor Harry Grigg recently completed his BMus (Hons) at the University of Auckland, after studying for his undergraduate degree at the University of Otago. He is furthering his studies at London’s Royal College of Music (RCM) with a Master of Performance degree, having also been awarded a scholarship from the RCM.

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Harry has performed extensively in New Zealand and Australian in concerts and with NZ Opera and is particularly interested in auditioning for the three operas performed at RCM each year. “Having opportunities to be involved in creating and performing operas will help make me a more effective colleague and performer, and by extension more hirable once my studies are finished,” he says.

Soprano Katherine McIndoe is currently in the second year of her two-year Artist Diploma at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama (GSMD), a limited programme that accepts only four sopranos each year. Katherine had previously graduated from GSMD with an Artist Masters in Vocal Studies (Distinction).

Before moving to the UK, Katherine received a Bachelor of Music with First Class Honours in Classical Performance Voice from the New Zealand School of Music, Victoria University of Wellington, and was a Dame Malvina Major Emerging Artist with New Zealand Opera and a member of the inaugural Dame Kiri Te Kanawa Foundation Singer Development Programme the following year.

"This year, I will be taking part in fully staged operatic productions, which are socially distanced and livestreamed,” says Katherine. “I will be performing Susanna in Wolf-Ferrari’s Il segreto di Susanna in a few weeks’ time, and in the new year, the role of Barbarina in Jonathan Dove’s The Little Green Swallow. I will also start auditioning for opera studios and Young Artist Programmes, and will continue my training with wonderful tutors at Guildhall until the end of my course in July 2021."

Violist Julie Park has been pursuing her Master of Arts in Viola Performance at the Royal Academy of Music since 2018, and is being funded to continue her studies towards an Advanced Diploma in Performance—the first violist to do so.

Julie previously graduated from the University of Auckland with a Bachelor of Music (1st Class Hons) in Classical Performance. Over the past 18 months in London she has had extraordinary opportunities to perform with the London Symphony Orchestra under Sir Simon Rattle and Bernard Haitink, and to record with the LSO.

As an Advanced Diploma student, along with being one of the prestigious Bicentenary Scholars at the Royal Academy of Music, Julie will be given the opportunity to record her debut solo album with Linn Records, and is planning to attend international festivals, competitions and masterclasses.

“I believe that spending a year as an advanced diploma student at the Royal Academy of Music will lay out a great musical platform for me where I will be able to develop my musical technique and ideas to the highest extent along with making international connections and opportunities for the future.”

Soprano Sophie Sparrow recently finished her post-graduate studies at GSMD, having previously completed both a Bachelor of Accounting and a Bachelor of Music at the University of Otago, and has now embarked on the two-year Royal Academy Opera Programme as one of just nine singers.

“My experience in London has been incredibly invaluable, and I cannot wait for the next step in my training at the Royal Academy Opera,” she says. “To continue to this programme will ensure I gain further self-reliance and the confidence to embark on an opera career and will provide the bridge to a professional career, equipping me with the skills and knowledge for the opera industry.”

Pianist Siyu Sun, who studied for her Master of Music at the University of Auckland, is in her second year of an Artistic Master’s in Performance at GSMD. “I am thrilled to be performing in world-class facilities, representing New Zealand in competitions, and gaining valuable international experiences and connections from studying abroad at the Guildhall School,” she says.

Over the past year, Siyu has made the most of her opportunities, including a debut performance at the prestigious Royal Albert Hall with Gershwin’s Three Preludes for Piano and Saxophone, and receiving top Distinction marks for her mid-year examinations.

In her second year, Siyu will complete three independent and challenging performance projects at GSMD, and by the end of her studies she hopes to already have launched her career in performance.

Violinist Claudia Tarrant-Matthews is starting her second year Master of Arts in violin performance at the Royal Academy of Music in London, having complete a BMus at the NZ School of Music.

“I have already had the opportunity of playing in some amazing venues, with a variety of different ensembles from the Royal Academy,” says Claudia. “I have played first violin for the Royal Academy Symphony Orchestra in Dukes Hall conducted by Robert Trevino, and most recently I was principal second violin of the 2020 Sainsbury Royal Academy Soloists directed by Clio Gould.

“As a soloist, I performed in a public masterclass with Tasmin Little, playing Mozart’s Violin Concerto no.5. These are just some of the great opportunities the Royal Academy has offered me, and I am really excited to see what the next year brings.”

Chair of the selection committee, Peter Walls, said the standard of applicants was again very high this year. “These are some of the finest young musicians this country has produced in recent years. I know they will embrace the opportunities the Kiwi Music Scholarship offers. The panel members and I will follow their future careers with great interest and high expectations.”

The Kiwi Music Scholarship was established in 2009 by Mr Sven Stenbäck in memory of his wife Maida Stenbäck née Saunders, a New Zealander who loved classical music. Funding for the scholarship is made available through the Kiwi Music Scholarship Trust.

The scholarship is to assist New Zealand citizens who have demonstrated accomplishment in musical performance (including vocal performance) or conducting, to enable them to further their musical education.

Applications for the 2021 Kiwi Music Scholarship close on 1 March next year.

© Scoop Media

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