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Nationwide Hunt for 2024’s Best Classical Vocal Talent

The Northern Aldborough Festival has begun a nationwide hunt, with the help of some of the most esteemed figures in classical music, for the best UK classical vocal talent of 2024.

Entries are now invited to apply to the annual New Voices Singing Competition, which offers £7k cash prizes and performing opportunities for the winners; deadline for entries is Friday 19 April, 2024.

Judges include one of the most sought-after conductors in the world, Edward Gardner OBE, who is principal conductor of the London Philharmonic Orchestra, and the celebrated English bass, Sir John Tomlinson CBE, who is also President of the Royal Northern College of Music.

The competition is open to soloists, duos, and ensembles of up to eight participants with a focus on singing. Participants must be aged from 18 to 32 to enter and be resident in the UK.

The judging panel also features the founder and artistic director of Oxford Lieder Festival, the sought-after pianist, Sholto Kynoch, alongside Northern Aldborough Festival’s director, Robert Ogden, and its chair, and chair of the judging panel, Sir Andrew Lawson-Tancred.

Successful applicants will be notified from 29 April.

The competition then features a live semi-finals and grand final during the Northern Aldborough Festival on 17 and 18 June, 2024.

The New Voices Competition was launched in 2023 by Northern Aldborough Festival’s director, Robert Ogden, in response to the funding cuts the classical music sector faced, to provide a platform for emerging talent. Robert began his career as a counter tenor.

Robert Ogden said: “The inaugural New Voices Singing Competition was a huge success last year, and we hope its annual return provides a welcome platform to support young classical singers to launch their careers, as well as get in front of some of the industry’s leading and influential figures.”

The Northern Aldborough Festival has built an enviable reputation for hosting performances, normally seen in leading metropolitan concert halls, in a rural North Yorkshire village setting. A charity, its remit is to bring world-class talent to rural locations.

As part of the prize, the 2024 winner will have the opportunity to perform their recital at the Northern Aldborough Festival 2025.

Last year’s New Voices Singing Competition winner, the mezzo soprano Lea Shaw - accompanied by Kristina Yorgova on piano - will perform her winning recital on 18 June as part of the 2024 festival.

She will be part of a festival line-up this summer that includes one of the UK’s most exciting young musicians, Tom Fetherstonehaugh conducting Fantasia Orchestra, pianist Alim Beisembayev, who at 23 won the last Leeds Piano Competition, the acclaimed choir Armonico Consort, leading British jazz pianist Julian Joseph, classically trained comedienne Amy Webber, and world-famous violinist, Viktoria Mullova.

Robert said: “All the judges last year were blown away by Lea’s voice of power, warmth, and radiance. She is a formidable talent, and is forging a path as one of the most promising young voices in classical music today.”

Lea Shaw was a Scottish Opera Emerging Artist and Scottish Opera’s Associate Artist; Opera Magazine said she was a ‘name to watch.’ Bulgarian pianist Kristina Yorgova is a master’s student at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, where she won the Bach Prize, and was a winner at the National Svetoslav Obretenov Competition.

The winner of the 2024 New Voices Singing Competition will receive The Seastock Trust Prize of £5,000, with a second prize of £1,500 from The Yorkshire Music Future Fund, and a third, Audience Prize of £500.

Aldborough is a picturesque Roman village, just half an hour from York or Harrogate.

Now in its 30th year, the Northern Aldborough Festival has become a leading fixture on the classical music calendar.

To find out more and to apply visit New Voices Singing Competition 2024 | The Northern Aldborough Festival

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