Hester Dickson Duo Prize

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In memory of Hester Dickson, Malcolm Martineau’s mother and founding staff pianist on the course, this prize covers majority course fees for a singer and pianist to develop their special ensemble relationship.

2019 recipients of the Hester Dickson Duo Prize will be soprano Rose Stachniewska and pianist Marianna Abrahamyan, currently studying at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.

Current recipients of the prize:

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British Soprano Rose Stachniewska recently graduated from the Alexander Gibson Opera school in the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland where she studied with Wilma MacDougall. She graduated with distinction in her masters from the Royal College of Music where she studied with Rosa Mannion and John Blakely and she was a member of the ENO operaworks programme 2016.  She is a Britten Pears Young artist through which she has studied on both the Strauss and Britten courses 2017 with Malcolm Martineau, Angelika Kirchschlager and Dame Ann Murray. She recently won 1st prize in the Ye Cronies Opera Competition at the RCS and will be a Samling artist in 2019.

Operatic roles include Adele Die Fledermaus at RCS, Soprano 1 Le Vin Herbe at RCS, Pamina Westminster Opera Co, Adina Westminster Opera Co. Virtu L’incorinazione di Poppea Rydale Festival opera, Dorinda, Servillia, Susanna (scenes) ENO operaworks, Euridice, Zerlina, Helena, Gretel (scenes) for RCM. An enthusiast for contemporary repertoire, Rose premiered the role of Alice in Now by Lewis Murphy and the role of Harlequin in Black Sand by Na’ama Zisser, both for Tete a Tete festival in London. She recently performed a recital of Knussen songs with REDNOTE ensemble. Earlier this year she made her debut with Scottish Opera performing as Nun in Prokofiev’s The Fiery Angel. Future performances include Greta Fiorentino in the RCS spring production of Kurt Weill’s Street Scene and covering Anne Trulove The Rake’s Progress with British Youth Opera.

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Armenian pianist Marianna Abrahamyan is the second prize and five special award winner at the Orléans Concours International 2016.  Currently on her doctoral studies (Doctor of Performance) at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Marianna is a graduate from the University of Agder in Norway and the Yerevan State Conservatoire in Armenia, she began piano study at the age of 5, taught by her mother, followed by a specialised education at the Tchaikovsky Professional Music School for talented children in Armenia.

As a concert soloist, Ms. Abrahamyan has performed with the Volgograd State Symphony Orchestra in Russia, the Agder Symphony Orchestra in Norway, with the Court Circuit Ensemble in France.  In recital, Marianna appeared at the Concert des lauréats d’OCI making her debut at the Théâtre des Bouffes du Nord in Paris.  Additionally, she has been engaged at the Piano City Festival in Milan, Salle de L’institut in Orléans, Columbia Global Centre in Paris, Festival Musica Da Casa Menotti in Spoleto, Chiostro dei Teatini in Lecce, CRR Paris, Festival Internacional Encuentros in Buenos Aires, Festival Pro Arte in Córdoba, Cafesjian Center for the Arts in Yerevan,  Oslo Cathedral and Kilden Performing Art Centre in Norway and performed live in La Matinale de France Musique for Radio France.

A multiple prizewinner at the Orléans Concours International, Ms. Abrahamyan’s awards include the Prix Sacem, Prix Albert Roussel, Prix Samson François, Prix des Etudiants du conservatoire d’Orléans and the Artist in Residence scholarship award by the Foundation Geneviève Joy-Henry Dutilleux at L’Abbaye de Fontevraud in France. Recently, she has also won the first prize at the Bamber Galloway piano competition in the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. 

An in-demand collaborative pianist, Marianna studied and worked with the Opera School of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.  In line with her work with singers, Ms. Abrahamyan appeared at the Kathleen Ferrier Society Bursary Competition 2016, winning the Dennis Horner Accompanist’s Prize. Marianna was a Samling Artist for 2018, and recently performed for His Royal Highness,The Prince of Wales at Dumfries House. She appeared also at the Berlin Song Festival.

 A proactive exponent of contemporary music, Marianna has collaborated with living composers such as Philip Hersant, Hèctor Parra, Konrad Mikal Ørhn, Rolf Gupta, Pierre Jodlowski and Alicia Terzian. Marianna’s teachers have included  Armen Babakhanian, Sveinung Bjelland and Sinae Lee.

Previous recipients of the prize:

2018 Ted Black, Tenor and Rachel Fright, Accompanist

2017 Sinead O’Kelly, Mezzo-Soprano and Fionnuala Ward, Accompanist

2016 Andrew Randall, Baritone and Bernard Tan, Accompanist

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