Bronze sculpture by Gloria Loring, 2013
Photo by Robert Piwko
In 2014, when the Richard Tauber Prize competition ceased to exist, the German YMCA and the London Song Festival to join forces for a new Singer Prize. The connection had been established even before the Song Festival had started. Nigel Foster, its founder and pianist, had played for the Society on a number of occasions and had been adjudicator for our 2010 Schubert Society Lieder Duo Competition. In 2014 the first Singer Prize was won by Rowan Pierce (soprano) at the London Song Festival master class adjudicated by Ian Partridge. It is now an annual event.
The masterclass is open to voice and piano duos age 32 and under, who will be selected by audition. Each duo is asked to present two Lieder, sung in German, at least one of which must be by Schubert. At the end of the session, the artist in residence will select the best duo, who will win the Schubert Song Prize.
This is the only singing competition in which the winner is selected as a result of a ‘working session’ rather than the traditional competitive set-up. The aim is to have a competition that avoids the negative ‘competitive’ element of every other competition.
The winners will receive a cash prize kindly donated by the Schubert Society of Britain, and be invited to give a recital as part of the London Song Festival in the fololowing year as well as a recital for the Schubert Society.
In the 1960s the co-founder and then Secretary of the Society, Alan Tabelin, approached the sculptor and painter Gloria Loring with the idea to commission a trophy to be used for the encouragement of artists serving the Society with their talents. At the time the sculptor could not take on such a project.
But when, in 2012, she was presented with the opportunity to create a new sculpture, she approached the Schubert Society with the offer to fulfil Alan Tabelin’s wish posthumously.
Both the Society and our Association were happy to accept such a generous donation of an original sculpture, and Gloria Loring’s bronze “The Singer” arrived towards the end of 2013. Her idea to create “The Singer” was inspired by the American mezzo-soprano Jamie Barton, after hearing her at the famous BBC Cardiff Singer of the World Competition in June 2013, where she won the Song Prize and the Cardiff Singer of the World; she is only the second person in the history of the competition to win both prizes.
The sculpture will be dedicated to the memory of Gloria’s husband, Francis Loring a baritone, translator, and gifted interpreter of Schubert’s Song Cycles, and Alan Tabelin, an enthusiastic and dedicated voluntary organiser of concerts for artists of his day.
In the tradition of the Schubert Society and the German YMCA, the trophy has been given out over many years now for the encouragement of young artists and the promotion of classical live music performances.