Guildhall School of Music & Drama has announced soprano, Samantha Clarke, as the winner of the school’s 2019 Gold Medal, outstanding soloist.
Since 1950, Guildhall has been awarding the prize to singers and instrumentalists in alternate years, with previous winners such as Nathan Berg, William Primrose and Jacqueline du Pré. The other Gold Medal finalists, mezzo-soprano Ema Nikolovska, bass William Thomas and baritone James Newby, also performed programmes at Barbican Hall to an audience as well as a panel of judges that featured bass-baritone Bryn Terfel, who also won the Gold Medal in 1989.
Clarke’s performance included Strauss’ Das Rosenband, Schlechtes Wetter, Poulenc’s Fleurs, and Violon from Fiançailles pour rire accompanied by pianist Michael Pandya. Clarke commented: “I feel very privileged to be performing on the Barbican stage and the support from the audience was so encouraging.”
Clarke is currently studying with Yvonne Kenny in her second year on the Opera course at Guildhall School as a Baroness de Turckheim, Help Musicians, Tait Memorial and Countess of Munster Trust Scholar. Clarke has also previously won the Leverhulme Royal Northern College of Music Award, Dame Eva Turner Award and the Michael and Joyce Kennedy Award for the singing of Strauss.
Recent Gold Medal award winners have gone on to perform with Glyndebourne Festival Opera, Royal Opera House and with the award-winning Pelléas Ensemble.