Glyndebourne Academy 2017 — Where are they now?

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As we approach 2019 we are excited to be auditioning our next cohort for Glyndebourne Academy in January. We take a look at where some of the singers from Academy 2017 are now.

Photo: Sam Stephenson, 2017

Kiefer Jones

Since Academy 2017 what have you been up to?

This Summer I got my first professional role with Opra Cymru; singing Dr. Malatesta in Donizetti’s Don Pasquale. I intend to continue having a career as an opera singer. Glyndebourne Academy gave me the experience that I could never afford on an Masters opera course.

How did being part of Glyndebourne Academy help you?

Being in the Academy gave me my first real taste of industry-level experience. The intense, long days really helped me gain an insight into the stamina that is required to sing professionally. Mary King helped me fix some vocal faults which I have continued to work on after Academy. The Academy also gave me much needed reassurance that I should follow this as a career and that I can consider myself to be ‘good enough’ and taken seriously.

What would you say to anyone else thinking of applying for Glyndebourne Academy?

I would encourage them to apply without over-thinking their eligibility and capability. The audition process alone was so supportive and such a worthwhile experience where priceless musical development and contacts can be made. I would remind them that the super team of Glyndebourne Academy are not looking for a ‘finished product’ and that they should not underestimate or allow their singing experience, financial background, age or qualifications stop them from applying. Please, just apply.

Photo: Sam Stephenson, 2017

Fionn Ó halmhain

Since Academy 2017 what have you been up to?

I’ve just finished my third year in my degree in Traditional Music at Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT) and am thrilled to have gained 1st class honours in both Performance (recital and technical exam), Early Music (performance and research project in medieval German Minnesang) and the Irish-Gaelic song tradition.

I’m glad to say that I’ve had lots of opportunities to be active in singing since the course. Connor (Campbell, Glyndebourne Academy Alumni 2017) and I sang Melchior and Balthazar respectively in a production of Menotti’s Amahl and the Night Visitors at the Yorke Trust. In July 2017 I will return to sing chorus (incl. solo chorus) in Gluck’s Orfeo et Euridice. I also got a few parts in opera scenes with DIT including Father Truelove from The Rake’s Progress and Bartolo from Le nozze di Figaro. I also sang Noye in Noye’s Fludde with the Salford Choral Society and Tom Newall which I’m really excited for. Finally the new Irish National Opera company are putting on a production of Verdi’s Aida this winter and I am delighted to say I’ve got a place – I will be among 20 or 30 student singers from both DIT and the Royal Irish Academy of Music and a few other schools to join a 30 strong professional chorus for the production. I’m really looking forward to that.

I am still active with traditional music and piping with some of this year’s highlights including concerts for Na Píobairí Uilleann, representing them in Prague for International Uilleann Piping day giving concerts and masterclasses. Next year I am attending the Festival Interceltique in Lorient to adjudicate the McKrimmon Cup and give a masterclass alongside musician Paddy Keenan.

How did being part of Glyndebourne Academy help you?

Glyndebourne Academy gave me the confidence to take part in a new student led Operatic Society, the first of its kind in Ireland. I am now a committee member an in our recent production of Acis and Galatea I sang the role of Polyphemus and the chorus, which was one to a part. I seriously treasured the experience from Glyndebourne Academy as everything I had learned came into play with this production. It was a hugely rewarding experience.

The Academy increased my knowledge of composers such as Benjamin Britten, I had my first proper contact with his music during the course which I have really gotten into.

Photo: Sam Stephenson, 2017

Joe Hookway

Since Academy 2017 what have you been up to?

I am currently enrolled at The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and am about to enter my second year of study on the Undergraduate Vocal Course. During my first year I have had the opportunity to be a part of some wonderful ensembles including the RCS Chorus and Glasgow Chamber Choir. As a soloist I have competed in The Molly Rob Competition for Young Singers and been able to perform in local recitals. I am looking forward to the year ahead and getting to join the Scottish Chamber Orchestra Chorus for their upcoming performances of Haydn & The Seasons.

How did being part of Glyndebourne Academy help you?

Glyndebourne was where I saw my first opera and where I fell in love with classical singing. It came at a time when I felt very much in limbo and needed something to offer me a guiding hand. The big dream is to return to Glyndebourne as a professional; whether that be in the chorus, as a young artist, educator or soloist.

Glyndebourne Education Award Winners

Rising stars Olivia Moss and Emilie Parry-Williams are alumni of Glyndebourne Academy 2017 and were recognised this year with two Glyndebourne awards for young singers; the Gus Christie Award which aims to support a young classical singer who has shown exceptional promise through their work at Glyndebourne. And the Bill Weston Award which supports a Glyndebourne education participant who has shown exceptional potential and would benefit greatly from financial support in order to help develop their musical progression.

Photo: James Bellorini, 2018

You can still apply for Glyndebourne Academy 2019

In order to attract the broadest possible range of applications we have extended the application deadline to Sunday 6 January 2019 11.59pm. If you or anyone know is aged between 16 and 26, has outstanding vocal potential and would benefit from the world-class input of the Glyndebourne Academy team then apply now. Applications received between 12 December and 6 January will be shortlisted and notified if they have been selected to audition week commencing 7 January.