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Commentary

11 Sep 2019

2019 Wigmore Hall/Independent Opera International Song Competition

Russian bass-baritone Mikhail Timoshenko has won the top prize at the 2019 Wigmore Hall/Independent Opera International Song Competition.

After four days of rounds in front of a distinguished panel of jurors and Wigmore Hall audiences, on Wednesday 11th September 25-year-old Mikhail Timoshenko won the £10,000 First Prize at Wigmore Hall’s International Song Competition, sponsored for the first time by Independent Opera .

The Final and Semi-Final rounds were live streamed to international audiences and can still be viewed at https://wigmore-hall.org.uk/ watch-listen/live-stream .

The £5,000 second prize place was awarded to 29-year-old British soprano Harriet Burns. Third place, with a prize of £2,500, went to British mezzo-soprano Beth Taylor and fourth to British tenor Kieran Carrel.

Michael Pandya, the 25-year old British pianist who partnered Harriet Burns, won the £5,000 Pianist’s Prize.

Mikhail Timoshenko studied at the Mednogorsk Conservatoire and the Hochschule für Musik Franz Liszt, Weimar. He has won top prizes in several other competitions in the past few years with his duo partner, pianist Elitsa Desseva, including First Prize at the Franz Schubert und die Musik der Moderne Competition in Graz, and the Hugo Wolf Competition in Stuttgart.

Director of Wigmore Hall and chair of the Jury John Gilhooly OBE says of the Competition:

‘The Wigmore Hall/Independent Opera International Song Competition is all about recognising and encouraging the next generation of great performers and there is no doubt that this thrilling week highlighted many wonderful musical personalities. The quality of the performances has been outstanding, and it is certain that the future of the great art of song is assured. Congratulations to Mikhail Timoshenko and to all our prize winners. We greatly look forward to hearing them again in future.’

Natalie Murray Beale, performer, jury member and Creative Director of Independent Opera said:

‘We've had an exceptional week, from the jury's viewpoint, witnessing exciting and brave performances from a wide range of talented young artists. Open masterclasses and expert talks have also given fascinating insights to performers and audiences alike. Independent Opera is delighted to have sponsored the competition and looks forward to its return in two years' time.’

Celebrating the art of song, the biennial International Song Competition has grown in status and prestige to become one of the most significant platforms worldwide for recognising young talent in song recital since it was established in 1997.

A truly international list of emerging performers aged 33 and under, all on the verge of embarking on significant international careers, had taken part during the week, which also included public masterclasses, coaching and feedback from some of the foremost international song performers and experts.

The Jury was mainly comprised of eminent performers including John Mark Ainsley, Iain Burnside, Bernarda Fink, Graham Johnson, Dame Felicity Lott, Thomas Quasthoff and Ailish Tynan.

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