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The Somerset Song Prize is a biennial national singing competition for young people aged 18 to 26. It is a competition for art song and judges place a special importance on the collaborative relationship between the singer and their pianist. See The Art of the Collaborative Pianist. The definition of art song is reasonably wide although competitors must include in their programme a song which is not in their native language. Arias from oratorios and operas are not permitted.
The winning singer will receive a cash prize of £1000 and, decided separately, the winning pianist will also receive a cash prize of £1000. There are other generous cash prizes too.
The Somerset Song Prize was inaugurated in 2013 and operates under the aegis of the Taunton Festival of the Arts - a registered charity (Charity No.1179098).
The competition has quickly developed an excellent reputation in part due to some great adjudicators - including Iain Burnside, Elizabeth Watts, Jonathan Lemalu, Neal Davies, Joan Rogers, Lorna Anderson, Catherine Wyn Rogers, James Gilchrist, Roger Vignoles and Malcolm Martineau. The soprano Elizabeth Watts and the pianist Roger Vignoles are the competition’s Patrons.
To contact the competition organisers e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
What People Think…
Lucy Colquhoun (https://lucycolquhoun.info/) pianist & winner of the SSP pianist prize 2015 comments: “The SSP is a hugely fond memory out of all the competitions I have participated in. The encouragement from winning such a thing was for me a huge thing at the time and something I am extremely grateful for. The competition places a considerable emphasis on the concept of the duo which I think is largely underestimated by other outfits of a similar nature. People still do not realise the full importance of partnership in these situations and it is something that I strongly believe can make or break a singer, performance and even career. It is wonderful to nurture this for both singers and pianists right at the beginning. The SSP also plays a valuable role in bringing song and classical music to the local area, Taunton and hopefully beyond. It seems a wonderful thing that the local community is heavily involved in which I believe is what making music is all about. It brings people together.”
Hugo Herman-Wilson (https://www.hugohermanwilson.com/) baritone and winner of the SSP audience prize 2017 comments: "The SSP was the first singing competition I entered as a young postgraduate. I was treated incredibly well by the organisers, staying in beautiful surroundings creating a comforting environment in which to prepare for the competition. Winning the Audience Prize in this competition gave me confidence which I have translated to my ongoing singing career and also lead to other engagements in Somerset. My career would definitely be in a less fortunate place if it weren't for the opportunities the SSP gave me at a pivotal stage of my career.”
Penny Adie MBE, Former Artistic Director of the Two Moors Festival attended the SSP final in 2019 and commented as follows: “What you have set up with the Somerset Song Prize is really very special and I am quite sure it will grow into an award that will be recognised not only nationally, but internationally.”