Rowan Pierce, 27, has won £7,500 and a role in a future production by The Grange Festival at the inaugural Grange Festival International Singing Competition.
At yesterday’s final [Sunday 24 September] with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, the prize was awarded by a jury composed of Dame Felicity Palmer (also the Patron of the competition), The Grange Festival’s Artistic Director, Michael Chance, ROH Jette Parker Young Artists artistic director David Gowland, internationally acclaimed accompanist and coach Roger Vignoles, Managing Director of Groves Artists Jonathan Groves, Head of Concerts and Programming at Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, Heather Duncan and Director of Artistic Administration at The Grange Festival, Scott Cooper. The Final’s conductor Peter Robinson also served as a jury member.
Rowan Pierce is an alumna of the Royal College of Music (where she was awarded the President’s Award by HRH Prince of Wales) and is also a Samling Artist. Recent and future performances include engagements with the Academy of Ancient Music, the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Gabrieli Consort. Rowan was also included in the first cohort of the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment’s Rising Stars scheme, and she made her BBC Proms debut with the OAE in August this year singing Handel’s Israel in Egypt.
The competition also awarded £5,000 to Samuel Sakker (second prize) and £2,500 to Božidar Smiljanić (third prize) – as well as roles in future productions at The Grange Festival. Other finalists Katie Coventry, Sam Furness, and Dominic Sedgwick won £1,000, and winners of the Song Prize (awarded at the semi-finals to Rowan Pierce) and the Audience Prize (Dominic Sedgewick) won £2,500 and £2,000 respectively. The Accompanist Prize was awarded to Ceri Owen for her playing for Dominic Sedgwick in the semi-final, and the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra Prize was awarded last night to Samuel Sakker.
The exceptional level of the singers and accompanists aged 32 and under who entered the first International Singing Competition at The Grange (continuing The Hampshire National Singing Competition, last held in 2013), as well as the variety of nationalities which took part, make The Grange Festival International Singing Competition a major forum for young talent from home and abroad. Around 150 young singers from 28 countries entered the competition.
As the first country house opera company to present such a competition, this ambitious undertaking underlines The Grange Festival’s desire to extend its work outside the summer opera season, offering a broader and more dynamic range of events than ever before, as well as its artistic vision to nurture the careers of young singers.
Full list of winners
1st Prize Rowan Pierce
2nd Prize Samuel Sakker
3rd Prize Božidar Smiljanić
All other finalists
Rowan Pierce for Die Liebende Schreibt (F Mendelssohn)
Audience Prize £2,000
Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra Prize (one finalist of BSO’s choice will be offered an engagement with the orchestra)
Waynflete Singers Prize (up to three competitors will be offered solo parts in Mozart’s C Minor Mass at Winchester Cathedral in 2018)
Katie Coventry, Sam Furness, Božidar Smiljanić
Ceri Owen for her playing for Dominic Sedgwick