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Competition Success for Alumni

Thu 28 June 2018

Emily Gray and Nicole Johnson have won prizes at The Patricia Routledge National English Song Competition 2018.

Vocal alumnus Emily Gray was awarded Second Prize in this year’s Patricia Routledge National English Song Competition. The mezzo soprano and 2018 Trinity Laban Gold Medal Finalist performed with fellow alumnus and pianist Nicole Johnson, who won the Accompanist’s Prize.

Run by the Association of English Singers & Speakers, the competition is open to musicians aged 23 to 32 and aims to “encourage the communication of English words, in singing and in speech, with clarity, understanding and imagination”. Previous Prize Winners include British baritone Roderick Williams OBE, and Trinity Laban’s own piano alumnus Peter Foggit.

This year’s final was held in Trinity Laban’s Peacock Room on 27 June.

Emily and Nicole performed a twenty minute themed recital from memory entitled In which one leaves Malvern. The programme integrated spoken word and English song, featuring musical pieces by composers such as Finzi, Vaughan Williams and Gurney, and text by poets including Frost and Keats.

Patricia Routledge (left) with Second Prize winner Emily Gray

Distinguished soprano Susan Bullock CBE – the inaugural winner of the Patricia Routledge National English Song Competition – spoke on behalf of the judging panel to explain that they were looking for clarity and honesty of expression, the use of colours in the voice, and the marrying of it with spoken text and song.

Dame Patricia Routledge spoke of her admiration for the artistry of such promising young performers and urged them to continue their journey with the English language.

Patricia Routledge (left) with Nicole Johnson

Nicole comments –

“English song is a particular passion of mine, and it was a pleasure and an honour to perform with a great colleague and friend for such an esteemed panel. Being awarded the accompanist’s prize meant a great deal to me and I think it testament to our ensemble that we enabled each other to respectively perform our very best.”

The duo first formed whilst both studying their undergraduate degrees at Trinity Laban and have continued to perform together, winning both Second Prize and the Audience Prize in the John Kerr competition in February of this year.


For more information on the visit the Patricia Routledge National English Song Competition, see the AESS website.

To find out more about studying at Trinity Laban, visit our music pages.


Cover image: Emily Gray (credit: JK Photography)

In-line images: Emily Gray (1) and Nicole Johnson (2) with Dame Patricia Routledge (Left)