2022 Competition Jury
Members of the Competition Jury are:
John Gilhooly OBE, Chairman
Chairman of the Jury, Artistic and Executive Director of Wigmore Hall
John Gilhooly became Director of Wigmore Hall in 2005, making him, then, the youngest leader of any of the world’s great concert halls. As Director of Wigmore Hall, he programmes the largest chamber music and song series in the world. John has been honoured by heads of state and academic institutions. In 2013 he was awarded an OBE and in 2015 was made a Knight of the Order of the White Rose of Finland by the President of Finland. John has also received the Austrian Cross of Honour for Science and Art and the Order of the Star of Italy. In 2016 he was awarded the German Order of Merit, Germany’s highest civilian honour. He is a recipient of Honorary Fellowship of the Royal Academy of Music (2006), Honorary Membership of the Royal College of Music (2012), Honorary Fellowship of the Guildhall School (2015), and Honorary Fellowship of the Royal Irish Academy of Music (2016) and is patron of Leeds Lieder, Irish Heritage, Cavatina Chamber Music Trust, Wimbledon Music Festival and Corpus Christi Maiden Lane Refurbishment Project. John was awarded the Heidelberger Frühling Music Award in 2019 he was also presented with the Musicians’ Company Cobbett Medal for chamber music. He is Chairman of the Royal Philharmonic Society, one of the oldest music societies in the world, and is the current Song Prize Chair for BBC Cardiff Singer of the World.
Among the most compelling singing actresses of our time, Roberta Alexander enjoys international renown for her riveting, incisive characterizations, and her miraculous vocal and dramatic range. She recently performed the role of Curra in Christoph Loy’s production of La Forza del Destino at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden in 2019, and at Dutch National Opera in 2017. With Patrice Chéreau she created the role of Fünfte Magd in his legendary production of Elektra at the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence in 2013. Since then, she has revived the role at the Metropolitan Opera in 2016, at Teatro alla Scala in 2018, and at the Staatsoper unter den Linden, Berlin in 2019. In future seasons she will return to the Berliner Staatsoper as Fünfte Magd and will focus on roles such as Marcellina in Le Nozze di Figaro, Madame de Croissy in Les Dialogues des Carmélites and Mrs Sedley in Peter Grimes. As well as performing, teaching and masterclasses remain an important part of her daily life, as passing on her expertise to the next generation of young singers is a significant purpose for her. She offers a broad range of classes for Young Artists Programmes, drawing on her 45 years of stage experience. An uncommonly communicative recitalist, Roberta Alexander has offered acclaimed programmes at Carnegie Hall, the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, the Vienna Musikverein, Wigmore Hall and the Amsterdam Concertgebouw. An especially ardent and persuasive interpreter of American masterworks, her latest recordings include Songs My Mother Taught Me and With You (an anthology of Broadway songs).
Olaf Bär lives in his home town of Dresden where he started his musical education as a member of the Dresdner Kreuzchor boys’ choir. His international career was launched when he won the inaugural Walther Gruner Lieder Competition, and since then, he has appeared worldwide in recitals and concerts and has made major tours of Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Japan and America. For many years he was a principal member of the Semper Oper Dresden, and has also appeared at Covent Garden, La Scala in Milan, at the opera houses in Vienna, Berlin, Paris, Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Zurich, Chicago, Rome, Naples and Turin and at the Glyndebourne, Salzburg, Bayreuth, Aix-en-Provence, Wiener Festwochen and Ruhr-Triennale festivals. Mr Bär has made numerous recordings with EMI, Decca, Philips and other companies. In 1998 Mr Bär was awarded the Schumann-Prize by the city of Zwickau. Since 2004 Mr Bär has been Professor of Lied Interpretation at the Hochschule für Musik in Dresden. He is regularly invited to be a Juror for international singing competitions and to give masterclasses, specialising in the interpretation of German Lieder.
Hugh Canning was born in Pembrokeshire and studied Modern Languages at Pembroke College, Oxford. He began his career as a classical music journalist, writing for various student publications. During a post-graduate course in theatre studies at Cardiff University’s Sherman theatre, he started reviewing concert and opera performances for the Western Mail. After moving to London in 1979, he worked for several specialist publications, including Classical Music, Music and Musicians and The Listener. Since 1983 he has been a prominent critic and feature writer in national newspapers and was named Critic of the Year 1994 in the British Press Awards. He is member of Opera magazine’s editorial board and a regular contributor.
Bernarda Fink, born in Buenos Aires to Slovene parents, received her musical education at the Instituto Superior de Arte del Teatro Colón. As one of the most sought-after singers in concerts and recitals and much acclaimed for her musical versatility, she frequently performs alongside leading orchestras and conductors in Europe and America. With a repertoire that ranges from ancient to contemporary music, she has worked with the Philharmonic Orchestras of London, Prague, Vienna and Berlin, Staatskapelle Dresden and the Royal Concertgebouw, Bavarian Radio Symphony, Cleveland and Philadelphia Orchestras, and with the foremost Baroque orchestras under Blomstedt, Bychkov, Chailly, Davis, Gardiner, Gergiev, Harnoncourt, Jacobs, Jansons, Muti, Norrington, Pinnock, Prêtre, Rattle and Welser-Möst. Bernarda Fink is welcomed regularly in Argentina and at the main opera houses of Europe and often appears in recitals at the Wiener Musikverein and Konzerthaus, Schubertiade Schwarzenberg, Concertgebouw and Wigmore Hall. Some of her nearly 50 recordings have been awarded coveted prizes (Diapason d’Or, Grammy). In 2006, Bernarda Fink was awarded the Austrian Honorary Medal for Art and Science and in 2013, together with her brother Marcos Fink, the most prestigious cultural award of Slovenia sponsored by the Prešeren-foundation. In 2014 the Austrian Ministry of Arts awarded her the title of Austrian Kammersänger.
David Jackson is the Artistic Director of BBC Cardiff Singer of the World, one of the most highly regarded classical singing competitions in the world. He has been a producer, executive producer and commissioner of television and radio for the BBC and the independent sector. His programmes have won many awards including a Primetime Emmy, BAFTAs, the Rose d’Or, SONY Awards, a number of Golden Prague and Vienna TV Awards and many nominations. Previous posts have included Head of Music at BBC Wales, Vice Principal at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, Acting Director of the BBC National Orchestra and Chorus of Wales, and Managing Director of the National Children’s Orchestras of Great Britain. In addition to his professional work David served for a number of years as a Trustee and Chair of the Cultural Committee of the Wales Millennium Centre. He is a former trustee of the chamber orchestra Sinfonia Cymru, sits on the Governors’ Music Committee of Wells Cathedral School, and is a Governor of Ysgol y Deri Special School in Sully. He currently serves as chairperson of the Forget-Me-Not Chorus for people with dementia and their carers, and since October 2017 he has been Chair of National Youth Arts Wales, the organisation responsible for the National Youth Ensembles of Wales. David is married with two grown-up children and lives in Cardiff.
Graham Johnson OBE
Graham Johnson OBE
Graham Johnson is recognised as one of the world’s leading vocal accompanists. In 1976 he formed the Songmakers’ Almanac to explore neglected areas of piano-accompanied vocal music; the founder singers were Dame Felicity Lott, Ann Murray DBE, Anthony Rolfe Johnson and Richard Jackson. He is Senior Professor of Accompaniment at the Guildhall School of Music and has led a biennial scheme for Young Songmakers since 1985. For Hyperion Records, he has devised and accompanied a set of complete Schubert lieder on 37 discs and a complete Schumann series. There is an ongoing French Song series all issued with his own programme notes and two solo recital discs with Alice Coote. Awards include four Gramophone solo vocal awards, most recently in 2001 with Magdalena Kozena. He is author of The Songmakers’ Almanac: Twenty Years of Recitals in London, The French Song Companion (2000), The Vocal Music of Benjamin Britten (2003), Gabriel Faure - the Songs and their Poets (2009) and Franz Schubert: The Complete Songs (2014). His latest book, Poulenc – The Life in the Songs, was published in August 2020. Graham Johnson was made an OBE in 1994 and was created Chevalier in the Ordre des Arts et Lettres in 2002 and Honorary Member of the Royal Philharmonic Society in 2010; he was awarded the Wigmore Hall Medal in 2013, the Hugo Wolf Medal in 2014 for his services to the art of song and Germany’s Cross of the Order of Merit in 2021.
Dame Felicity Lott
Dame Felicity Lott
Felicity Lott read French at Royal Holloway College, of which she is now an Honorary Fellow, and singing at the Royal Academy of Music, of which she is a Fellow and a Visiting Professor. She has built up her formidable international reputation as an interpreter of the great roles of Mozart and Strauss singing at the leading opera houses throughout the world. Highlights include the Marschallin under Mackerras, Tate, Davis and Haitink at the Royal Opera House, the Marschallin under Carlos Kleiber and Countess Almaviva under James Levine at the Metropolitan Opera, New York, and Poulenc’s heroine in staged performances of La Voix Humaine at the Teatro de La Zarzuela, Madrid, the Maison de la Culture de Grenoble and the Opera National de Lyon. Felicity has sung with the world’s leading orchestras including the Vienna, Munich, London and Berlin Philharmonic orchestras, the Chicago, Boston and BBC Symphony orchestras, and the Deutsche Staatskapelle, working with conductors such as Solti, Mehta, Haitink, Welser-Möst, Masur, Previn, Sir Andrew Davis, Rattle and Philippe Jordan. A founder member of the Songmakers' Almanac, Felicity has appeared on the major recital platforms and at the leading music festivals of the world. She received the Wigmore Hall Medal in 2010; alongside several honorary doctorates and awards, she was made a CBE in the 1990 New Year Honours and in 1996 was created a Dame Commander of the British Empire.
The American soprano Claron McFadden has sung the title role in Lulu at Glyndebourne, the role of Zerbinetta in the Dutch National Opera’s production of Ariadne auf Naxos and the title role in Cavalli's La Didone at La Scala. She is known for her unique interpretation of contemporary music and has many world premières to her credit, including works by the late Harrison Birtwistle, Jörg Widmann and Michel van der Aa. She works regularly with The Arditti Quartet and Klangforum Wien and has participated in several cross-arts projects, such as Alain Platel’s Pitié, and Ruben van Leer's dance film Symmetry, filmed at C.E.R.N. She is frequently asked to join improvising musicians such as Kris Defoort and is a regular member of the David Kweksilber Big Band. She is artist-in-residence at Muziektheater Transparant and has realized several multidisciplinary projects: Lilith (2012), Secrets (2015), Nightshade: Aubergine (2017) and most recently, Façade: The last days of Mata Hari and Mitra and Harriet for the 2018/19 season. In 2002 she was nominated for a Grammy Award and in 2007 she was awarded the Amsterdam Prize for the Arts. In 2015 she was a member of the jury at the Cardiff Singer of the World Competition. In May 2019 she received a special Oeuvre Prize from Rotterdam Operadays, recognising the wide range of repertoire she has presented throughout her career and in April 2020 she was knighted in the Order of the House of Orange.
Asadour Santourian joined the Boston Symphony Orchestra in January 2022 as vice president for Tanglewood Music Center and Learning. Prior to this he was vice president of artistic administration and artistic advisor for the Aspen Music Festival and School for 18 ground-breaking years. He developed programmes that were relevant to diversity, equality and inclusion, and season themes surrounding the human condition or timely topical material, as well as immersive and in-depth thematic mini-festivals. In his time the AMFS garnered seven ASCAP Awards for Adventuresome Programming of Contemporary Music. Asadour was previously artistic director of the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra and the Gergiev Festival in Rotterdam and is currently a member of the Recommendation Board of the Avery Fischer Career Grants. He has served on several jury panels including the Wigmore Hall International Song Competition, the Dublin International Piano Competition, the Barlow Endowment, Young Concert Artists, Inc., and Princess Christina Concours, in addition to being a regular lecturer for the Los Angeles Philharmonic and a featured lecturer for its 2012 Mahler Project. From 1991 to 2000 he was the Minnesota Orchestra’s director of artistic planning and was appointed as the orchestra's artistic advisor in autumn 2014. He was recently invited to consult on artistic planning and projects with the Minnesota and Fort Worth Symphony orchestras.