The Courtney Kenny Award 2018

The final will take place at Sevenoaks School on Sunday, March 11th at 2.30pm

The preliminary round will take place at Taggs Yard, Barnes, on Sunday March 4th

The deadline for entries will be Friday, February 23rd

Entrants are encouraged to explore the vast wealth of material from five hundred years of song writing, prose and poetry, of writers and composers world-wide who employ the English language. Ideas can be found in the AESS Century of English Song – Volumes 1-10, details of which can be found at

The Courtney Kenny Award 2018



The purpose of the AESS Courtney Kenny Award, in accordance with the general aims of the AESS, is “to encourage the communication of English words, in singing and in speech, with clarity, understanding and imagination”.


Competitors are asked to present and sing a themed recital of classical ‘Art Songs’ and the spoken word, with original English texts. (N.B.’Art Songs’ does NOT include opera, oratorio, operetta or musical theatre). The integrated programme may include spoken links and must contain poetry and/ or prose. The programme should not exceed 20 minutes in total. Candidates should provide their own accompanist.

The entire programme must be delivered from memory in both rounds.

The judges will give equal emphasis to the spoken and sung elements of the programme.


The competition is open to young singers aged 18 to 23. The application form must be signed by an AESS member.

Age Limit:

Singers, together with pianists eligible for the accompanists’ prize, should be in the above age-range on or before the date of the final. In 2018 this is March 11th.


First Prize – £1,000
Second Prize – £500
Third Prize – £500
Accompanists’ Prize – £500

Selected prize winners will be offered the opportunity to perform in the AESS’s Prize Winners Concert on November 3rd 2018 as part of The London Song Festival.

The Competition:

The competition will be in two stages.

Stage One:

There will be a preliminary session on Sunday, March 4th at Tagg’s Yard, Barnes , London. The panel of judges will be drawn from members of the Association, who have not themselves submitted candidates. They will select a maximum of 6 competitors for the final.

Stage Two:

The final will be held at Sevenoaks School in Kent from 2.30pm on the afternoon of Sunday March 11th 2018.

Venue – The Recital Room, Performing Arts Centre, Sevenoaks School, Kent TN13 1HU


A nominal, non-refundable, entry fee of £20.00 is charged to cover administrative expenses. Entries must be made on the official forms provided and must be received no later than February 23 2018.

Entry Form:

Courtney Kenny Award Application Form

Previous Prize Winners:

2010 – Angharad Lyddon
2011 – Raphaela Papadakis
2012 – Elizabeth Desbruslais
2013 – Sinéad O’Kelly
2014 – Meilir Jones
2015 – Charlotte Yeoman                                                                                                                       2016 – Leilani Barratt                                                                                                                                                                           2017 – Renee Michaela G Fajardo

Previous winners of this competition are not eligible to enter a second time.

Feedback from the judges will be given to all entrants as soon as is practicable for both rounds.


Anthony Dawson,

The Coach House, Lossenham Lane, Newenden, Kent TN18 5QA Tel: 01797 253632 Mobile 07798 635674  email:

The article by 2014 Senior Prizewinner, Alexei Winter will be of use to those who are unsure of how to devise a recital for the AESS competitions. You can read it here: Devising a recital

Leilani Barratt, the Courntey Kenny 2016 winner has also written about how she came to devise her programme. Read here 

Read Caroline Taylor’s Blog about her experience in entering the 2016 Courtney Kenny Award


Courtney Kenny writes about his thoughts on the competition