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Esme Bronwen-Smith singing on stage to an audience in the foreground, and an accompanist is playing the piano behind her

Ferrier success for RCM musicians

Monday 25 April 2022

Mezzo-soprano Esme Bronwen-Smith, who graduated from the RCM with a Master of Performance in July 2021, has won first prize in the prestigious Kathleen Ferrier Awards.

Whilst studying at the RCM, Esme studied with Dinah Harris, Caroline Dowdle and her current teacher, Rosa Mannion. Her winning Ferrier programme featured works by Monteverdi, Poulenc, Mahler and Gluck.

Second prize was awarded to Emma Roberts who is part of the RCM’s Opera Studio. She also won the Loveday Song Prize for her performance of Debussy’s Colloque sentimental. Emma studies with Brindley Sherratt and Simon Lepper. Her next role is as Minsk Woman in the upcoming RCM Opera Studio production of Jonathan Dove’s Flight (28 and 30 June; 2 and 4 July in the RCM’s Britten Theatre).

The Help Musicians Accompanist Prize was awarded to Avishka Edirisinghe, a first-year RCM student in Collaborative Piano studying with Nigel Clayton, Simon Lepper and Roger Vignoles. Additionally, the competition final saw further wonderful performances by RCM students and alumni including soprano Charlotte Bowden and accompanists Lucy Colquhoun, Roelof Temmingh and Bradley Wood.

Head Vocal and Opera, Nick Sears says: 'The RCM Vocal and Opera Faculty is immensely proud of this remarkable achievement by RCM young artists, many congratulations! Their collective success builds on the RCM's exceptional record in this most important of UK singing competitions-a testament not only to the talent and dedication of the next generation of performers, but also to the commitment and expertise of their faculty teachers and mentors.' 

This year’s successes follow Hugh Cutting’s overall win in the 2021 competition, Jessica Cale’s win and Milly Forrest’s Ferrier Loveday Song Prize in 2020 and alumnus Hamish Brown’s Accompanist’s Prize also in 2020.

The Royal College of Music was recently announced as the global number one institution for performing arts in the 2022 QS World University Rankings by Subject. The RCM’s Opera Studio is one of the leading advanced training courses in the world, offering operatic training at the highest level for performers from around the globe.

If you are interested in finding out more about the Vocal & Opera Department at the Royal College of Music, visit our Study pages.

Tickets to the RCM Opera Studio’s upcoming production of Flight can be booked here.

Image: (c) Kathleen Ferrier Awards