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Theo Perry wins Trinity Laban Gold Medal 2020

Tue 28 Jan 2020

Our Patron HRH The Duke of Kent presented baritone Theo Perry with this year’s prestigious Gold Medal award following a sell-out showcase at Southbank Centre’s Purcell Room on 27 January.

The Gold Medal Showcase 2020 saw seven students and recent alumni compete for the prestigious Prize while demonstrating the diversity of musical talent at Trinity Laban with a thrilling and eclectic mix of classical and contemporary music, jazz and musical theatre.

To adjudicate this year’s competition, our Director of Music Havilland Willshire was joined by Chi-chi Nwanoku OBE, Founder, Artistic and Executive Director of the Chineke! Foundation and Honorary Fellow and Visiting Professor of Double Bass at Trinity Laban, and Rebecca Allen, President of Decca Records UK, Trinity Laban alum and Governor.

We were honoured to welcome Trinity Laban’s Patron HRH The Duke of Kent to present the Gold Medal.

In an evening filled with creativity and musicianship, post-graduate vocal student Theo Perry won over the judges with his lyricism, storytelling and elegance to claim the sought-after Award.

Explaining what made Theo a worthy winner Chi-chi commented –

“You had a vulnerability - just you, the music and us - and for that I thank you.”

His eclectic programme of song saw him perform the charming ‘Die Taubenpost’ from Franz Schubert’s Schwanengesang, D957, the poignant ‘The Lads in their Hundreds’ and ‘Is My Team Ploughing?’ fromGeorge Butterworth’s Six Songs from a A Shropshire Lad, the atmospheric ‘"C"’ from Francis Poulenc’s Deux Poemes de Louis Aragon, and Charles Ives’ dramatic General William Booth Enters into Heaven.

On winning Theo commented -

"I am delighted to have been awarded the Trinity Laban Gold Medal this year, and would like to extend my heartfelt thanks to all those who have guided me since I started studying at Trinity Laban, but especially to my superb duo partner Guy Murgatroyd."

Theo is a Kathleen Creed Scholar and the 2019/20 recipient of the Elliot Rosenblatt Memorial Scholarship, and last year received the Drapers’ De Turckheim scholarship. He made his operatic debut in Trinity Laban Opera’s production of Thea Musgrave’s A Christmas Carol and recently sung the title role in Don Giovanni with Rogue Opera on a UK tour. This April, Theo will perform the role of Guglielmo in Cosi Fan Tutte with Hurn Court Opera.

For a second year running, the Audience Prize was awarded following a public vote. This year Olivia Fraser received the accolade for her stunning performance of Edwin Roxburgh’s technically demanding Study 1 for Solo Oboe and the romantic Omaggio a Bellini for Cor Anglai by Antonio Pasculli with harpist Lucy Wakeford.

Since graduating with an MA in Oboe from Trinity Laban in 2019, Olivia has since played with the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, English National Opera, Royal Ballet Sinfonia and London Mozart Players.

Also in attendance at the were the Representative Deputy Lieutenant for the London Borough of Southwark Colonel Simon Duckworth, the Mayor and Mayoress of the Royal Borough of Greenwich Councillor Mick Hayes and Mrs Gillian Hayes, The Speaker of Lewisham Council Councillor Jacq Paschoud.

Speaking at the ceremony, Havilland Willshire said –

“What a wonderful evening. Each finalist presented their work with such conviction and individuality.”

Chi-chi continued –

“What we’ve heard this evening has proven that the arts are the most important subjects to teach. I felt spoilt, inspired and entertained in every way.”

Baritone Theo Perry joins an illustrious list of recent Gold Medal winners, many of whom are already enjoying great success.

Last year’s winner Elena Abad, who stunned both the adjudicators and the audience with her arrangement of Freddie Mercury's Bohemian Rhapsody for solo violin, has since performed with the Parallax Orchestra on ‘Bring Me The Horizons’ new album amo which reached no.1 album the UK.

2018 winner pianist Iyad Sughayer released his debut album for BIS records, 2017 winner baritone James Newby is a BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artist, and 2015 winner soprano Nardus Williams recently made her debut as Micaëla in Bizet’s Carmen with English National Opera.

The annual Gold Medal Showcase celebrates outstanding young Trinity Laban musicians. Competitors are nominated by the Heads of each of Departments within Trinity Laban’s Faculty of Music for their exceptional musical flair and professionalism, and all receive a Trinity Laban Director’s Prize for Achievement in recognition of this.

The 2020 finalists performing alongside Theo and Olivia were Florence Russell (Musical Theatre), Christos Fountos (Piano), Wilmien Janse van Rensburg (Violin), Olly Chalk (Jazz), and Ben Leigh Grossart (Composition).

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

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Image L-R: Theo Perry, HRH Duke of Kent, Olivia Fraser (credit Tas Kyprianou)