2011 Wigmore Hall/Kohn Foundation International Song Competition

After months of intensive preparation, the 7th biennial Wigmore Hall/Kohn Foundation International Song Competition drew to an awe-inspiring close on Thursday 8 September 2011. Four singers and their pianists battled it out on stage, each performing 30 minute recitals, for the coveted First Prize of £10,000 and the chance of winning a recital at Wigmore Hall.

Watch this video postcard from the 2011 competition, which charts the highs and lows of competition week through interviews with competitors and jurors, and highlights the fact that it's not necessarily the winning that counts, but the taking part, the making of contacts, and the experience of performing on Wigmore Hall's legendary stage.

Watch a postcard documentary of the Wigmore Hall Song Competition 2011

First Prize

Dominik Köninger & Volker Krafft

Dominik Köninger baritone

dominik koninger prizewinner2011Taking my first step on to the stage at Wigmore Hall was simply like a dream coming true. It was the occasion of my first rehearsal with my accompanist Volker Krafft for the Wigmore Hall International Song Competition. We had often talked about one day being on that stage but to find ourselves there was almost overwhelming.

The acoustic of Wigmore Hall is one of the most exciting spaces that I have ever sung in. Finally a place, where one can sing a pianissimo and take the chance to use space and time to give full effect of the songs and to have the right atmosphere or to burst out into a big forte, without losing the balance between voice and piano.

It also seems to me that the audience of Wigmore Hall are incredibly friendly and supportive and generally interested in the singers at the competition. They would talk openly and directly to both Volker and myself and their knowledge of the song repertoire was very skilled.

I was also lucky to come into direct contact with the members of the Jury of the Competition and given various advice, and I am sure that this will help in my career as a singer in the future.

I am now looking forward to going back to Vienna to perform at the Volksoper, amongst others, and to some Christmas concerts; including Mendelssohn’s Elijah and Bach‘s Christmas Oratorio in Germany.

Dominik Köninger

bio dominik koningerBorn in Heidelberg, the German baritone Dominik Köninger studied in Karlsruhe with Prof. Roland Hermann.

Since his debut in 2004, his opera and concert engagements allowed him to work with conductors and directors as Kent Nagano, Bertrand de Billy, Robert Wilson and Robert Carsen, at prestigious venues including the Festspielhaus Baden-Baden, Hamburg State Opera, Staatstheater Stuttgart, Theater an der Wien or Bavarian State Opera.

Starting with the 2012/13 season, Dominik will be an ensemble member of the Komische Oper Berlin and he will make his debut at NNT in Tokyo in 2013.

Watch Dominik's recital at the Final

 

Volker Krafft piano

bio volker krafftVolker Krafft was born in Tübingen and studied in Leipzig and Amsterdam with Phillip Moll, Christian Kluttig and Bart van Oort.

He has been a prize winner at several major piano competitions and has established a reputation for Chamber Music and Lieder recitals and has worked in particular with Richard Egarr, Dominik Köninger and Andrew Watts.

Since 2010 Volker has been a member of the Jette Parker Young Artist Programme at the Royal Opera House where he works closely with Antonio Pappano, Sir Colin Davis and Sir Mark Elder. Previously, Volker worked in several German opera houses.

 

Second Prize

Stuart Jackson & Jocelyn Freeman

Stuart Jackson tenor

bio stuart jacksonStuart Jackson graduated from university in 2008 and is currently studying on the opera course at the Royal Academy of Music.

Stuart is the winner of the 2010 Oxford Lieder scholarship, the 2010 Flora Nielsen song prize, the 2010 Elena Gerhardt Lieder Prize, and the 2010 Chelsea Schubert Song prize.

His teacher is the renowned tenor Ryland Davies, and he is coached by Jonathan Papp.

Stuart has taken part in masterclasses with Gerald Finley, Sarah Walker, Florian Boesch, Colin Lee, and Thomas Allen and has performed recitals in a number of venues including Wigmore Hall and Oxford's Holywell Room.

Watch Stuart's recital at the Final

 

Jocelyn Freeman piano

bio jocelyn freemanJocelyn Freeman is rapidly emerging as one of Wales’s foremost young instrumentalists.

She is increasingly in demand as an accompanist and duo partner, having performed with Bryn Terfel, Michael Chance and Alfie Boe.

Recent appearances have taken her to Wigmore Hall, St John’s, Smith Square, The Sage, Gateshead, to France, Denmark and Cyprus. She has performed concertos by Mozart, Liszt and Gershwin, and future plans include recitals in the Chelsea Schubert Festival, the Eaton Recital Series, and recording her debut CD.

She is a Samling Scholar and studied at the Royal Academy of Music, receiving first or second prize in all the accompaniment competitions.

 

Third Prize

Dorottya Lang & Mehrdokht Manavi

Dorottya Lang mezzo-soprano

bio dorottya langDorottya Lang was born in Budapest in 1986. She started her official studies at the University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna in 2008, studying with Claudia Visca.

Simultaneously, she works Lied-interpretation with Carolyn Hague. Dorottya has participated in masterclasses with Christa Ludwig, Susan Manoff and Stephen Delaney.

She was a finalist in the Hilde Zadek Competition (2011). Her highly acclaimed interpretation of Hänsel and Cherubino performed in Schlosstheater Schönbrunn has brought her future engagements including solo recitals in Germany and Hungary with Matthias Lademann and a joint recital with Mark Padmore and Julius Drake next season in the Wiener Konzerthaus.

Watch Dorottya's recital at the Final

 

Mehrdokht Manavi piano

bio mehrdokht  manaviMehrdokht Manavi was born in Tehran in 1988. In 2005, she commenced her studies in Austria with Stanislaw Tichonow in Eisenstadt and with Natasa Veljkovic at the University for Music and Performing Arts Vienna.

Since 2010 she has been studying at the Vienna Conservatory under Carolyn Hague in the Masters Program for pianists for Lied and Oratorio.

Mehrdokht has participated in masterclasses with Helmut Deutsch, Elisabeth Leonskaja, Pavel Gililov and Peter Schreier. She has won First prize at the Piano Monterosa 2007, the Ernesto Falla 2008, the 24th International “Fadjr Music Festival”, Tehran and the Bösendorfer Scholarship Competitions.

 

Pianist's Prize

Timothy End joint winner

Timothy End piano

bio tiimothy endTimothy End was awarded the MBF Accompanist’s Prize at this year’s Kathleen Ferrier Singing Competition held at Wigmore Hall.

Last year he won the Gerald Moore Award for Piano Accompaniment and prior to this was awarded the Parnell Award for an Accompanist at the Royal Over-Seas League Music Competition Finals held at the Queen Elizabeth Hall in June.

Recent engagements include recitals in London with Sir John Tomlinson, a lunchtime recital with Jonathan McGovern at St James Piccadilly and his Park Lane Group debut with the trumpeter Huw Morgan at the Purcell Room.

Forthcoming engagements include recitals with bass-baritone Abraham Singer in London and Edinburgh and at Wigmore Hall with Jonathan McGovern.

Watch Timothy's recital at the Final with Jonathan McGovern, for which they were awarded the Jean Meikle Prize for a Duo.

 

Jonathan Ware joint winner

Jonathan Ware piano

bio jonathan wareJonathan Ware has performed in venues including Alice Tully Hall, The Ravinia Festival and Carnegie’s Weill Hall.

Grand Prize winner of the 2005 Kingsville International Young Performer's Competition, Jonathan has been heard on radio stations across the U.S. including WQXR (New York), WFMT (Chicago) and WRR (Dallas), as well as on public television in the documentary Speaking with Music.

Recent engagements include Liederabende at Lincoln Center, La Roche, Switzerland, and at the inaugural Internationale Meistersinger Akademie in Neumarkt, Germany, as well as the completion of a third residency on the accompanying staff of The Steans Institute at Chicago’s Ravinia Festival.

Jean Meikle Prize for a Duo

Jonathan McGovern & Timothy End

Jonathan McGovern baritone

bio jonathan macgovernWinner of the 2nd Prize at this year's Kathleen Ferrier Awards, Jonathan McGovern read Music at King’s College London and continued his studies with Philip Doghan and Audrey Hyland.

He was winner of the gold medal and 1st Prize at the Royal Over-Seas League Music Competition 2010.

Recent highlights include recitals at Chester Music Festival, St James’ Piccadilly, the Forge Camden, Kings Place and the National Portrait Gallery.

He was a member of the prestigious Royal Academy of Music Song Circle, and will join the Britten–Pears Young Artists in September for a new production of Albert Herring. He made his ENO debut this summer as Jake in the world-première of Nico Muhly’s opera Two Boys.

 

Timothy End piano

bio tiimothy endTimothy End was awarded the MBF Accompanist’s Prize at this year’s Kathleen Ferrier Singing Competition held at Wigmore Hall.

Last year he won the Gerald Moore Award for Piano Accompaniment and prior to this was awarded the Parnell Award for an Accompanist at the Royal Over-Seas League Music Competition Finals held at the Queen Elizabeth Hall in June.

Recent engagements include recitals in London with Sir John Tomlinson, a lunchtime recital with Jonathan McGovern at St James Piccadilly and his Park Lane Group debut with the trumpeter Huw Morgan at the Purcell Room.

Forthcoming engagements include recitals with bass-baritone Abraham Singer in London and Edinburgh and at Wigmore Hall with Jonathan McGovern.

Watch Jonathan and Timothy's Recital at The Final

 

Reviews

Köninger is blessed with by far the most impressive natural voice: a warm, lustrous baritone, well-groomed, and with great depths and reserves of resonance. But that crucial verbal intelligence — in four languages — is there, too. And, in this competition, the jury also looks for an imaginatively and sensitively shaped programme: Köninger, together with his fine accompanist Volker Krafft, followed the dream visions of love, from Beethoven's Adelaide, through a tiny lullaby by Falla, and on to that elusive scent of linden blossom in Mahler's Ich atmet' einen linden Duft. A ringing yet lyrical high register shone out of Köninger's performance of Liszt's Oh! quand je dors; and his impeccable English — even in Dante Gabriel Rossetti's word-spinning — impressed this audience in Vaughan Williams's Love-sight

The Times

See also this review of the Final from musicOHM

Jury

  • John Gilhooly OBE HonFRAM, HonRCM Chairman
    Director, Wigmore Hall
  • Bernarda Fink
    mezzo-soprano
  • Jeremy Geffen
    Director of Artistic Planning, Carnegie Hall
  • Graham Johnson
    pianist and Professor of Accompaniment, London's Guildhall School of Music
  • Sir Ralph Kohn FRS (non-voting)
  • William Lyne CBE
    Director Emeritus, Wigmore Hall
  • Malcolm Martineau
    pianist
  • Thomas Quasthoff
    bass-baritone
  • Richard Stokes
    Professor of Lieder, The Royal Academy of Music
  • Sarah Walker CBE
    mezzo-soprano