Sally Burgess Masterclass Review

Masterclass given by Sally Burgess

St Marylebone Parish Church On Thursday June 27th, the day after the finals of the Patricia Routledge National Singing competition, four of the entrants were treated to a master class with international mezzo soprano and AESS member, Sally Burgess.  The four singers were Renee Fajardo, who sang the unaccompanied My Love is Mine by Jonathan Dove, Haley Swanton, who sang Dreamland by Vaughan Williams, accompanied by Rachel Fright, Laurence Williams, who sang The Crucifixion by Samuel Barber, also accompanied by Rachel Fright, and Siȃn Dicker, who sang Armida’s Garden by Parry, accompanied by Jonathan Jarvis. Miss Burgess encouraged all of them to use their imaginations more, and really to engage with and understand the texts of the songs. She asked them to speak their texts in many different ways to find the true inflections and meaning of the words in order to really paint shapes with their voices.  There was a small audience of enthusiastic supporters. The AESS is very grateful to Sally Burgess for giving so much of her time to listen to the prelims and the finals of the competition, in order to get to know the singers better. Sarah Leonard – Chairman of the AESS  

Patricia Routledge National English Song Competition 2019 Final Result

The Patricia Routledge National English Song Competition 2019
Final Result
The final of this year’s Senior Prize took place at St Marylebone Parish Church and the AESS is
grateful to the Rector and his staff for their help and support. Thanks too to the Director of Music,
Gavin Roberts who is an AESS committee member. 
A record number of people attended the final and they greatly enjoyed the five singers and their
pianists who performed twenty minute themed programmes of English art songs, poetry and prose of their own devising.
Former winner, Barbara O Neill, explained how the judges arrived at their decision and what they
were looking for, particularly an ability to inhabit the material at hand and convey the full emotional gamut to the audience.
Dame Patricia commended everyone for the hard work of planning and rehearsing the
programmes. She spoke of the need to be able to work spontaneously with a new and sometimes
difficult acoustic.
Chariman, Sarah Leonard, announced the winners:
First Prize of £2,000                            Milly Forrest
Joint Second Prize of £1,000 each    Siân Dicker & Laurence Williams
Pianist’s Prize of £1,000                     Cameron Richardson-Eames
Congratulations to them and thanks to everyone who entered the competition for helping the AESS in its core aim which is ‘to encourage the communication of English words, in singing and speech, with clarity, understanding and imagination’.
The programme: 1 & 2
Barbara O Neill addresses the performers and audience
The performers, judges and Dame Patricia
With Dame Patricia from left: Rachel Fright, Hayley Swanton, Peter Edge, Milly Forrest, Cameron Richardson-Eames, George Ireland, Siân Dicker, Laurence Williams, Jonathan Jarvis

Our thanks to the judges of both rounds:

Jane Roberson, Patricia Williams, Sarah Leonard

Sally Burgess, Julia Dewhurst, Barbara O Neill, Stephen Gutman, Brian Parsons

Thanks to Lynda Morgan for her practical help

The Co-ordinator is Stephen Miles

AESS Speech Prize Results 2019

On Saturday April 27ththe finals of the Timothy West & Prunella Scales Prize for Actors took place at
the Royal Central School of Speech & Drama. 

There were eleven finalists, and the judges, led by Timothy West all agreed that it has been a
competition of the highest standards. 

The first prize of £1000 was awarded to Thomas Josling, 21, from The Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama. 

The second prize of £600 was awarded to Thara Schon, 23, from Guildford School of Acting 

The third prize of £400 was awarded to Connor Jones, 23, from The Royal Academy of Music MT post graduate course. 

The judges were Jonathan Courage, Martin Parr and Timothy West.

The judges for the preliminary round were Jonathan Courage and Gay Soper.  

The AESS is very grateful to Timothy West & Prunella Scales, and John and Julia Dewhurst for
sponsoring the competition. 

Special thanks go to the competition administrator, Stephen Varcoe, for all his hard work to make
this the most successful actors prize so far. 

Thomas Josling, Timothy West, Thara Schon and Connor Jones.

Timothy West, Martin Parr, Thomas Josling, Thara Schon, Connor Jones and Jonathan CourageO

All the finalists and the judges

AESS AGM and Dinner 2019

The AESS AGM and Dinner took place at the Royal Over-Seas League on Sunday, April 14th The AGM was well attended. Members heard reports from the chairman, membership secretary and treasurer. The chairman’s speech, the accounts and Trustees’ Report will be uploaded to the AESS website in due course under ‘Past Events’. Forty-one people attended the dinner. Rosamund Shelley and Gavin Roberts presented a vivid, amusing and moving recital on the subject of war from various standpoints and periods. It was enthusiastically received by the audience. Hon. President, Michael Chance CBE, was the guest speaker and addressed his attention to the aspects of expression which might often be overlooked, namely exhalations which convey mood and are an emotional, non-verbal precursor to text.   

Gavin Roberts and Rosamund Shelley
Michael Chance CBE and Chairman, Sarah Leonard

AESS Courtney Kenny Award 2019

AESS Prize Winners Concert – London Song Festival 2018


2.00pm Saturday November 3rd 2018 Hinde Street Methodist Church Hinde Street
London W1U 2QJ

Ailsa McTernan – winner of the 2017 Catherine Lambert Prize

Lila Chrisp – winner of the 2018 Courtney Kenny Award

Emily Gray – 2nd prize winner of the Patricia Routledge National English Song Competition 2018

Nicole Johnson – winner of the Patricia Routledge accompanists prize 2018

Composers prize:            First prize – Dreamers – by Tim Ravalde
Second prize – Anthem for Doomed Youth – Robert Crehan                                                                   Sung by Florian Panziere Tenor

Tickets for AESS members special concessionary rate of £10 at the door.London Song Festival website:


Tim Ravalde, Robeet Crehan, Ailsa McTernan, Lila Chrisp, Nicole Johnson, Florian Panzieri, Emily Gray, Sarah Leonard, Nigel Foster

AESS Prize Winners Concert 2018 Review

A full house waited in anticipation for the second AESS Competitions Prize-Winners Concert which is now held as part of the London Song Festival. The AESS is grateful to artistic director,Nigel Foster, for hosting this showcase for the excellent performances which were enjoyed by an enthusiastic audience.

The theme of the hour-long concert was Conflict in all it Forms and included the first and second prize winning songs from the recent Song Composition Competition.

The concert included a wide-ranging repertoire of English song from the 18th to the 21st centuries. In spite of the seriousness of the theme, there was a great variety of emotional responses to the texts, from Gurney and Harvey’s In Flanders, via Britten and Auden’s Johnny, to Dring and Shakespeare’s Take o take those lips away.

Nicole Johnson proved to be a sympathetic, stylish and technically assured colleague for the four singers who all gave heartfelt and engaging performances with varied tonal expression of songs performed from memory. Particularly memorable in the opening group was Emily Gray’s performance of In Flanders, marrying text and meaning, and shaping melody to produce a moving feeling of home sickness with a wonderful sense of stillness.

Ailsa McTernanbrought a bright, fresh sound with excellent diction to the text of Everyone Sang with a plangent sincerity that brought alive the sense of hope in the poem.

Lila Chrisp’s real emotional commitment to text and a sense of urgency in her delivery, as well as a sense of fun, created well delineated vocal portraits of varied material.

In two world premier performances, Florian Panzieri gave smooth toned, considered and deeply felt performances of the new songs by Tim Ravalde and Robert Crehan. Crehan employed spare textures for Owen’s Anthem for Doomed Youth with a thumping ostinato pulse which gave way to almost plainsong like unaccompanied vocal melisma.

In the winning song of the composition competition, Ravalde used an aching rolling piano scheme with rhythmic martial punctuation in Sassoon’s Dreamers, the vocal line well suggesting the multi-faceted and fractured life of existence in the trenches.

This was a really excellent showcase for the aims of the AESS. Chairman, Sarah Leonard said it was very important to keep the tradition of creating new English Song alive and the occasional song composition competition was one way of achieving this. The previous winners in the first competition had been published in the latter volumes of A Century of English Song and it is to be hoped that possible further volumes will include the new additions to the genre. The AESS is grateful to The Thompson Educational Trust for its support of the Song Composition Competition.

Stephen Miles and Harold Lorenzelli

The AESS Catherine Lambert Junior Recital Prize 2018

The AESS Catherine Lambert Junior Recital Prize 2018

The final took place in the Carole Nash Hall at Chetham’s School of Music, Manchester on Saturday November 17th. The hall is a stunning venue, with a glorious Bosendorfer piano and all our singers and pianists rose to the occasion.

We are very grateful to Chetham’s School for letting us use this wonderful space.

The judges were Jonathan Courage and Sarah Leonard. Due to the Northern Trains rail strike, our third judge, Eiddwen Harrhy was not able to be with us.

There were seven young singers aged between 14 – 17 in the finals. The prizes were awarded in the following order.
1st Prize £300 – Matilda Wale

2nd Prize £200 – Mia Serracino–Inglott

3rd Prize £100 – Nadia Potter (given by Coral Gould)

The Marian Lines Speech Prize £200 – Anna Haestrup

The judges particularly liked Matilda’s sense of communication in both song and poetry on her theme of “Everlasting Echoes; Greek Mythology in Song”

Jonathan Courage read a letter from Catherine Lambert wishing all the singers luck in the future and encouraging them really to understand and enjoy the words in prose and song.

The co-ordinator is Carolyn Richards. Our thanks to her.


From L to R – Sarah Leonard, Anna Haestrup, Matilda Wale, Nadia Potter, Mia Serracino-Inglott, Jonathan Courage


The Patricia Routledge National English Song Competition 2018