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Jessica Cale and George Ireland performing at the Kathleen Ferrier Awards

Ferrier Award success for RCM musicians

Tuesday 15 December 2020

Talented Royal College of Music students and alumni made up the majority of finalists in this year’s Kathleen Ferrier Awards.

Jessica Cale, a student in the RCM International Opera Studio, has won the prestigious Kathleen Ferrier Award’s First Prize following an exceptional performance in the final, broadcast online on Sunday 13 December. Jessica is a soprano studying with Rosa Mannion, and will be competing in the Welsh Singers Showcase next year from which the winner will represent Wales in the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World competition. She has also worked with The Sixteen and the Monteverdi Choir, appeared with the Gabrieli Consort at Ryedale Festival Opera, and was a finalist in the 2020 London Handel Festival Singing Competition.

For her winning Ferrier performance, Jessica chose characterful arias from Handel’s Serse and Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro, as well as three songs from Hugo Wolf’s Italian songbook, and Maude Valérie White’s So we’ll go no more a-roving. Accompanying Jessica on the piano was RCM keyboard alumnus George Ireland. George studied with Simon Lepper and Roger Vignoles during his time at the College, and is a much sought-after collaborative pianist.

The 2020 Ferrier final also saw alumna Milly Forrest take home the Song Prize for her performance of Marx, Massenet, Handel and Elgar, and alumnus Hamish Brown was awarded the Accompanist’s Prize for his skilful collaboration with Milly. Additionally, the competition final yielded more magnificent performances by RCM alumni, students and staff, including Judith Le Breuilly, Jo Ramadan, Julieth Lozano Rolong, Lucy Colquhoun, Ted Black and Ana Manastireanu, with the contest’s digital format showcasing their considerable talent to an online audience.

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

Photo credit: © emmabrownphotography