The Gold Medal
The Guildhall School’s premier music prize was founded and endowed by Sir H. Dixon Kimber in 1915 and since the 1950s it has been open to singers and instrumentalists in alternate years. The final traditionally takes place in May each year in a sold-out Barbican Hall.
Previous winners include Jacqueline du Pré (1960), Tasmin Little (1986), and Bryn Terfel (1989).
In recent years, the Gold Medal has launched the careers of:
Harpist Oliver Wass (pictured above) is in his first year of a Masters degree at the Guildhall School, for which he was awarded a full scholarship to study with Imogen Barford. He graduated from the University of York with a First Class Honours degree, achieving the highest mark ever awarded for a final recital, and winning the Blake Music Prize.
He has performed numerous concertos and has directed the Handel Harp Concerto in the Barbican Hall in 2011. He has also performed concertos at the London Handel Festival, the City of London Festival, with the Oxford Sinfonia, and with the World Chamber Orchestra.
He is a Tillett Trust Young Artist and will make his Wigmore Hall debut in November 2016. He is also a 2016 St John's Smith Square Young Artist, and will be giving recitals throughout the 2016/17 season.
Wass recently won 1st prize in the British Harp Chamber Music Competition with his flute-viola-harp trio, and they have upcoming concerts at St John’s Smith Square, the Two Moors Festival, and for the United Kingdom Harp Association. An experienced soloist, Wass competed in and won music festivals throughout his childhood. He studied with Charlotte Seale at the Junior department of the Guildhall School, where he became the only harpist to have been a prize-winner in the prestigious Lutine competition, and he was Principal Harp in the National Youth Orchestra.
Jennifer Witton (Opera 2015) studied at Bishop Luffa School and Chichester College before completing undergraduate and postgraduate courses at the Guildhall School. She currently studies on the Opera Course at the Guildhall School under the tutelage of Sarah Pring. Jennifer recently won a Miriam Licette award at the 2015 Maggie Teyte Competition. In 2014 she won first prize in the Rosenblatt Recital Prize in the North London music festival and first prize in the Guildhall School Aria Prize, and in 2013 she won the Dvořák society Song Prize at the Emmy Destinn Awards, and the Winchester consort prize at the Hampshire Singing Competition. Jennifer has worked with Opera North, Wexford Festival Opera, Raymond Gubbay ltd, Opera di Peroni, Glyndebourne Festival Opera, Royal Opera and has performed at venues including St Martin-in-the-fields, Royal Albert Hall and the Wigmore Hall. In the 2014-15 season she covered the role of La Musica/Euridice in Monteverdi’s Orfeo for the Royal Opera House.
Marta Fontanals-Simmons (Opera 2015) is from Castle Cary, Somerset and attended St Antony's Leweston School in Sherborne, Dorset. She is on the Guildhall School Artist Diploma programme studying with Marilyn Rees, having completed the postgraduate Vocal Studies programme and the Opera Course. A finalist in the 2014 Kathleen Ferrier Awards, Marta is winner of the Maureen Lehane Vocal Awards 2011, the Odette Sansom Award for English Song at the Guildhall School, Runner-Up in the Thelma King Award, and finalist in the Hampshire Singing Competition. She was awarded the Principal’s Prize in 2014 and is a Jerwood Young Artist for 2015. Marta made her Wigmore Hall recital debut in June 2014 as a Tillett Trust Artist and will be joining the Glyndebourne Festival chorus this year.
Michael Petrov (cello, 2014) studied at the Yehudi Menuhin School and, since 2009, at the Guildhall School with Louise Hopkins. In 2013 Michael was selected for representation by Young Classical Artists Trust (YCAT) and was selected as an ECHO Rising Star for the 2014/15 season. During his studies Michael won numerous prizes and awards including 2nd Prize in the 2012 International Brahms Competition in Austria and 1st Prize in the 2011 International Suggia Competition in Porto. In 2012 he performed at the Weill Recital Hall as part of Guildhall Artists at Carnegie Hall and as a soloist he performed Prokofiev’s Sinfonia Concertante at the Barbican, conducted by Gianandrea Noseda, Saint-Saëns’s Concerto No.1 at St. John’s Smith Square. Michael studied on the Guildhall Artist Masters programme of Advanced Instrumental Studies.
Magdalena graduated from the Opera Course under the guidance of Rudolf Piernay. In the 2012/13 season she returned to the Teatr Wielki Opera Narodowa to perform the title role in Halka by Stanisław Moniuszko. She has also sung with Wrocław Opera House, Glyndebourne Festival and Clonter Opera and for a number of years she performed with Gdańsk Chamber Opera.
As a soloist she made her life debut as Atalanta in G.F. Handel’s opera Serse Re di Persia in 2006. After successful performances she has been re–invited to perform it during Summer Festival of Chamber Music in Hel (Poland) and Die Bergedorfer Musiktage in Hamburg. She has also performed and mastered the following characters: Die Erste Dame in Die Zauberflöte, Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni, Countess in Le nozze di Figaro, Vitellia in La clemenza di Tito, Anita in La Navarraise by J. Massenet, Mrs Webbs in Our Town by Ned Rorem, K. Zeller – Kurfürstin in Der Vogelhändler, J. Strauss – Rosalinde in Die Fledermaus, Mother in Hansel and Gretel by E. Humperdinck.
In 2014 Magdalena debuted as A Milliner (Der Rosenkavalier) and Aninna (La Traviata) during Glyndebourne Festival.
British pianist Ashley Fripp (piano, 2012) graduated with First Class Honours and was awarded the Concert Recital Diploma (Premier Prix), the Kathleen Higginson Piano Prize and the Lord Mayor's Prize. He is currently undertaking postgraduate studies at the School with Ronan O’Hora, provided with a full scholarship. He was recently selected by the European Concert Halls Organisation onto their Rising Stars scheme and will soon be giving a European-wide tour at many of the most illustrious venues throughout Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and the UK.
Ashley has given solo and concerto performances in many of the most prestigious venues throughout the UK, such as the Royal Festival Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Purcell Room, Barbican Hall, Wigmore Hall, Cadogan Hall, St. John’s Smith Square, Bridgewater Hall, Kings Place and Birmingham Symphony Hall. Recent international invitations have taken him throughout Poland, Germany, France, the Netherlands, Norway, China, Japan, Australia and the USA to such halls as the Carnegie Hall (New York), Salle Cortot (Paris) and the Audimax Hall (Regensburg).
His recording of both Chopin Piano Concertos was recently released under the Spektral Records label.
In the 2011/12 season Natalya (soprano, 2011) sang Mozart’s Requiem with Swansea Philharmonic Choir, Haydn’s Nelson Mass and Duruflé’s Requiem at Sherbourne, Giunia Lucio Silla and a concert of Mozart arias in Baden Baden for Classical Opera Company, and cover of the Countess Le Nozze di Figaro for the Glyndebourne Festival. She is currently an Associate Artist with the Classical Opera Company and in May 2012 won the first prize and the song prize in the Kathleen Ferrier Competition. In the 2012/13 season Natalya joins Houston Grand Opera’s prestigious Young Artist Program.
Martyna (piano, 2010) has appeared as a soloist with the Lithuanian National Symphony Orchestra, Lithuania Chamber Orchestra, Kaunas Symphony Orchestra and the London Festival Orchestra. In 2011 she won the Giorgios Thymis International Piano Competition, and she recently released her debut CD.
Gary (baritone, 2009) went on to study on the School's Opera Course, and made his professional debut with Welsh National Opera in the role of Guglielmo (Cosi fan tutte) in the 2010-11 season. In 2011-2012 Gary will be an Associate Artist at WNO where his roles will include Masetto (Don Giovanni), Claudio (Béatrice et Bénédict) and Schaunard in a new production of La bohème.
Sasha Grynyuk (piano, 2008) went on to be a Fellow at the Guildhall School and also won the Guildhall Wigmore Recital Prize, receiving a recital at the Wigmore Hall as his award. During 2008/09 he won the Yamaha Music Foundation of Europe Piano Scholarship and was the overall winner of the 2008 Tunbridge Wells International Young Concert Artists Competition and winner of 1st Prize in the Piano section. He was recently selected as a ‘Rising Star’in BBC Music Magazine and International Piano magazine.
Katherine Broderick (soprano, 2007) also won the Kathleen Ferrier Award in the same week, studied at the National Opera Studio and went on to appear twice at the BBC Proms, singing Woglinde Götterdämmerung with the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Donald Runnicles in 2007, and the Young Lover Il Tabarro with the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra and Gianandrea Noseda in 2008. Other recent projects include Erste Dame Die Zauberflöte for Glyndebourne on Tour and Bruckner Mass in F minor with the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Jiri Belohlávek.
Anna-Liisa Bezrodny (violin, 2006) has had solo performances with the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, the Helsinki National Opera Orchestra and the Haydn Chamber Orchestra. In 2007 she made her Wigmore Hall and Cadogan Hall debuts, and in 2008 won awards from the Ricci Foundation and Making Music Foundation. Other recent activities include a debut recital in the Berlin Kontzerthaus, a concerto with the Bach Orkester of Leipzig in Cologne Philharmonie, a concerto tour with Tallinn Chamber Orchestra under maestro Eri Klas, and the release of her debut CD.
Anna Stéphany (soprano, 2005), won the Kathleen Ferrier Award, went on to study at the National Opera Studio and now performs at an international level, including concerts with the Academy of St Martin in the Fields, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, Britten Sinfonia, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and with Sir Colin Davis and the London Symphony Orchestra at both the Barbican and Carnegie Hall.
Gold Medal Winners since 1980
- 2016, Oliver Wass (harp)
- 2015, Jennifer Witton & Marta Fontanals-Simmons
- 2014, Michael Petrov (cello)
- 2013, Magdalena Malendowska
- 2012, Ashley Fripp (piano)
- 2011, Natalya Romaniw
- 2010, Martyna Jatkauskaite
- 2009, Gary Griffiths
- 2008, Sasha Grynyuk
- 2007, Katherine Broderick
- 2006, Anna-Liisa Bezrodny
- 2005, Anna Stephany
- 2004, Boris Brovtsyn
- 2003, Susanna Andersson
- 2002, David Cohen
- 2001, Sarah Redgwick
- 2000, Maxim Rysanov
- 1999, Natasha Jouhl
- 1998, Alexander Somov
- 1997, Konrad Jarnot
- 1996, Stephen de Pledge
- 1995, Jane Stevenson
- 1994, Richard Jenkinson
- 1993, Nathan Berg
- 1992, Katherine Gowers
- 1991, William Dazeley
- 1990, Eryl Lloyd-Williams
- 1989, Bryn Terfel
- 1998, Simon Smith
- 1987, Juliet Booth
- 1986, Tasmin Little
- 1985, Peter Rose
- 1984, Kyoko Kimura
- 1983, Carol Smith
- 1982, Simon Emes
- 1981, Susan Bickley
- 1980, Julian Tear