Congratulations go to Gordon Waterson, counter-tenor, and Melis Ömeroğlu, piano, for their recent success at the The Courtney Kenny Award 2011, organised by the Association of English Singers & Speakers. The duo won second prize at this year's competition, held on 13th March at the Whitgift School, Croydon, playing a programme including songs by Vaughn-WIlliams and Jeffrey Joseph. In addition, Melis was awarded the Pianists Prize by the panel.
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' with original English texts from memory. This is the second year of the competition, and was judged by the chairman of the AESS, Graham Trew, Ameral Gunson and the Director of Music and Drama at Whitgift, Paul Wilson.
Gordon Waterson is in his third year at Trinity Laban, where he studies with the head of the vocal department Linda Hirst and Robert Aldwinckle. His recent performances include soloist roles in Orff's Carmina Burana and Bach's Magnificat in D, as well as various engagements with Edinburgh Studio Opera. Gordon has been a finalist in the Lieder and English Song competitions at Trinity Laban, in which he was highly commended. He represented Trinity at the Kathleen Ferrier Junior Bursary Competition in 2009, and has participated in many masterclasses.
A senior alto scholar with the Old Royal Naval College Chapel Choir under the direction of Richard Tanner, Gordon also sings with the professional vocal ensemble The Blossom Street Singers, who will be releasing an album with Signum Classics later this year. Future engagements include the title role in Handel's Rinaldo and a solo recital of music written for him by Jeffrey Joseph.
Melis Ömeroğlu, aged 20, was born in Turkey, and started learning the piano at the age of 9 after moving to England. She attended the Royal College of Music Junior Department and the Purcell School before moving to Trinity Laban. Now in her third year, she studies the piano with Deniz Arman Gelenbe on a scholarship with full private sponsorship.
Melis has already had success in a variety of competitions and festivals including Harrods' Young Pianist of the Year and winning the Il Circolo Solo Piano Competition in 2010, and she has performed as a soloist in many prestigious venues including the Wigmore Hall, St Martin-in-the-Fields and the Royal Festival Hall. She has performed at masterclasses with, amongst others, Melvyn Tan and Ian Hobson. A keen chamber musician, Melis also holds a grade 8 distinction on the violin and voice, and played Principal viola for the Purcell School Symphony Orchestra where she was conducted by Sir Simon Rattle and Sir Peter Maxwell Davies.