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Olivia Bell wins Gold Medal 2022

Thu 27 January 2022

The soprano wowed judges and audience with bold contemporary work

Each year, Trinity Laban’s prestigious Gold Medal competition showcases the diverse talent from across the conservatoire’s Faculty of Music.

Competing for the 2022 prize were Emma Arizza (Violin), Olivia Bell (Voice), Giordano Buondonno (Piano), Lucy Brindle (Musical Theatre), Nneka Cummins (Composition), Lindsey Eastham (Percussion) and Tom Morley (Jazz Piano).

The seven outstanding young artists performed live at King’s Place on Wednesday 26 January, delighting the audiences with a mix of jazz, classical and contemporary music.

In an evening filled with creativity and musicianship, 2021 graduate Oliva Bell won over the panel and the public with a commanding interpretation of Judith Weir’s unaccompanied monodrama King Harald’s Saga to claim both the Gold Medal and the Audience Prize.

Olivia Bell performing in full length black dress gesturing with an animated face and both hands out to her sides

To judge the competition, the conservatoire’s Assistant Director of Music and Head of Programmes David Bahanovich was joined by Director of Dance Sara Matthews, Head of Music Education Tim Palmer and Programme Leader: BMus and Foundation Aleksander Szram.

David Bahanovich commented –

“What an evening and what extraordinary and diverse talent. The panel was so impressed by everyone on this stage who demonstrated a clear sense of love for their artforms.”

Explaining what made soprano Olivia a worthy winner, Aleksander Szram commented –

“Olivia took us through a wonderful emotional landscape and involved herself in the whole work.”

Olivia completed her master’s in vocal studies last summer, supported by a Trinity Laban award. While studying, she was a member of the conservatoire’s chamber choir and co-founded Levedy, a harp and vocal ensemble with which she won the inaugural Carne Competition. She is also a founding member of the operatic trio Sorelle, reimagining the role of women in opera and exploring power and gender in some of the genre’s most iconic and exciting works.

As a member of Emma Kirkby’s Dowland Works, she performs with lutenists across the country, and is a soloist with the Facade Ensemble, specialising in contemporary music. She is also a member of St Martin’s Voices at St Martin in the Fields. ​Upcoming work includes covering Papagena in Oxford Opera’s production of The Magic Flute and Belinda in Dido an Aneas by All Aboard! Opera.

​ On singing in the competition, Olivia comments –

“King Harald’s Saga is a real celebration of the solo voice. It has everything – wit, pathos, coloratura, trance, fighting, reflection – and after the past 18 months, where we were all isolated and alone so much, I wanted to really embrace what it means to be an individual artist, standing alone on stage.

“The sheer joy I felt in being able to share this story with a live audience was completely incomparable, as was the support I’ve had from my teacher, department, and fellow students and performers.”

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.

Congratulations to all our finalists.

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

Image L-R: Giordano Buondonno, Emma Arizza, Lindsey Eastham, Oliva Bell, Nneka Cummins, Tom Morley, Lucy Brindle (credit Tas Kyprianou)