Claire Iselin wins 2013 Isabelle Bond Gold Medal performance showcase competition

Claire Iselin -Gold Medal -JK Photography

Harpist Claire Iselin became the winner of the 2013 Isabelle Bond Gold Medal Award for Excellence in Performance, the most prestigious award for a solo music performance offered by Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, in January.

Claire was one of six students hoping to receive this prestigious award, performing in a showcase evening in front of a packed audience, with guest of honour, and Trinity Laban Patron, HRH the Duke of Kent, at King's Place in North London.

The annual Gold Medal Showcase celebrates the success of leading performers from the previous year's cohort. Competitors are nominated by Trinity Laban's Heads of Departments for their exceptional musical flair and professionalism and all receive the Trinity Laban Director's Award for Achievement in recognition of this.

After her win Claire said: "It was amazing just to have been selected - but to win it, I just can't find the words...it is magic, fantastic, wonderful, extraordinary. I am also so happy that the harp has won: this amazing instrument that I love so much and which deserves a more important place in the music scene."

Claire started learning the harp in her native Alsace when she was six years old. She graduated from Trinity Laban with a BMus First Class Honours in 2010. Claire is continuing her study for an MMus at Trinity Laban with Gabriella Dall'Olio, and is mentored by Suzy Kawalec of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. Claire is also supported by the Helen Roll and Alliance Foundations.

Claire has performed solo recitals and chamber music concerts (flute and harp duo, duo and harp trio) in France UK, Germany, Switzerland, Ireland and China: She also enjoys teaching and in addition to her private pupils she has been a deputy teacher at Trinity Laban's Junior Trinity department since 2007, and has given Masterclasses in Illzach, France in 2010.

This year's adjudicators were Barry Wordsworth, Music Director of the Royal Ballet Covent Garden, and Dr Claire Mera-Nelson, Director of Music at Trinity Laban.

Barry advised the audience to make a note of all of the finalists' names: "These elite musicians are the musical stars of the future and we are privileged to hear the result of many years' training in tonight's performances."

Dr Claire Mera-Nelson said after the performance: "Claire has blossomed into a wonderful performer and a stylish musician. She was the very first recipient of the John Marson prize, and winning the prestigious Gold Medal award is just one of many accolades she will attract over her musical career."

The 2013 finalists were Helen Whitaker (flute); Mikhail Shilyaev (piano); Alex McManus (jazz drums); Theo Jamieson (composition); Saran Denbee (mezzo soprano); and Claire Iselin (harp).

Notes to Editors

Picture of Claire Iselin, credit JK Photography.

For press information, images and interviews, please contact Susie Haywood, 020 8305 9349 or email [email protected].

The origins of theIsabelle Bond Gold Medal Awardgo back to 1905 when the Tallis Gold Medal was presented to Isabelle Beatrice Bond in recognition of her outstanding mark in the Trinity Licentiate Diploma examination. Isabelle's son inherited the medal and generously returned it to Trinity Laban in memory of his mother.

Barry Wordsworth - Adjudicator

Barry Wordsworth is Music Director of the Royal Ballet Covent Garden, having also previously held the position from 1990-95.  In 2006 he became Conductor Laureate of the BBC Concert Orchestra, having served as its Principal Conductor since 1989. Barry is also Principal Conductor of the Brighton Philharmonic, and has recently become Music Director Laureate of the Birmingham Royal Ballet.

In a distinguished career, Barry has appeared with many of the world's leading orchestras both in the UK and overseas, including the Philharmonia Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the Ulster Orchestra, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Toronto Symphony, Sydney Symphony, New Zealand Symphony, Rotterdam Philharmonic, and the Seoul Philharmonic.

He has made regular appearances at the BBC Proms with the BBC Concert Orchestra, and in 1993 he conducted the "Last Night of the Proms" with the BBC Symphony Orchestra.  As Principal Conductor of the BBC Concert Orchestra for 17 years, Barry toured extensively with the orchestra, including visits to Japan and the United States.

In addition to his concert career, Mr. Wordsworth has enjoyed a long and close relationship with the Royal Ballet in London and the Birmingham Royal Ballet.  In recent seasons, he has also conducted productions for the New National Theatre Tokyo, Leipzig Ballet, Christopher Wheeldon's Morphoses, and the ballet of the Opéra National de Paris where, in 2007 and 2009, he conducted La fille mal gardée.

Barry has a large catalogue of recordings and has made commercial releases for all the UK based companies, including a long association with Argo/Decca International.  His recording of the "Last Night of the Proms" with the BBC Concert Orchestra for Phillips Classics has achieved enormous popular success.  Most recently he has made two albums of songs with Bryn Terfel and the London Symphony Orchestra for Deutsche Grammophon, the first of which won a Grammy Award in 2007; a recording of Lionel Sainsbury's Violin Concerto for Dutton Epoch; and Tchaikovksy's Sleeping Beauty with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.

Barry holds honorary doctorates from the University of Brighton and the University of Central England in Birmingham, and is an Honorary Fellow of Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance.

Dr Claire Mera-Nelson - Adjudicator

Dr Claire Mera-Nelson joined the staff of Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance in 1999 (then Trinity College of Music), taking up the post of Director of Music in 2011.

Born and educated in Scotland, Claire Mera-Nelson commenced her musical studies as a violin pupil of Ian Tyre, former leader of the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and Palm Court Orchestra. She later studied violin and baroque Violin at the Royal College of Music, London with Frances Mason and Catherine Mackintosh, where she was the recipient of numerous prizes and awards. A former member of the National Youth Orchestra of Scotland and European Union Baroque Orchestra, Claire was until recently an active period instrument performer. She has performed extensively in Europe, Australia and Asia with ensembles including the the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, the Gabrieli Consort, Florilegium, English Touring Opera, the London Handel Orchestra and the orchestra of The Sixteen, performing with the latter on a regular basis for more than 15 years.

More recently, Claire's career as a music educator has enabled her to work closely with colleagues across the UK conservatoire sector and classical music industry on key issues affecting musicians in the 21st century.  A regular speaker at national conferences and events, Claire also undertakes a wide range of expert and advisory roles within the music sector and is the recipient of numerous research grants and awards relating to her work in music from organizations including the British Academy, British Federation of Women Graduates, Learning Skills Foundation, the Higher Education Academy, Leverhulme Trust, Arts Council England, and NESTA.

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