Wigmore Hall/Kohn Foundation International Song Competition Jury for 2007
John Gilhooly HonFRAM Chairman
John Gilhooly was born and educated in Ireland. He is a graduate of University College Dublin (UCD) and was, for a year, a tutor in the Combined Departments of History at UCD. His management experience includes the UCD Administration/Services department, and Harrogate International Centre, as well as being part of the initial team during the set up of ExCeL – the £270m venue in the Docklands. John Gilhooly was appointed overall Director of Wigmore Hall in 2005, having previously worked alongside William Lyne and later as joint leader with Paul Kildea, combining artistic administration with his existing role as Executive Director. A tenor, John Gilhooly has studied music from an early age. Whilst at University, he studied singing at the Dublin City College of Music and the Leinster School of Music and Drama. He is a prizewinner at many Irish festivals and has appeared as a soloist on TV and radio. He has also presented a number of programmes for Irish radio introducing chamber and vocal concerts for RTÉ – Lyric FM, and in June 2006 was awarded with an Honorary degree from the Royal Academy of Music in London. John Gilhooly is a member of the Royal Philharmonic Society Council and is a Trustee of the London International String Quartet Competition.
Recognised as amongst the foremost singers of our age, Christine Brewer’s recent engagements have included the BBC Proms (Die Walküre and Gurre-Lieder under Donald Runnicles and Mahler 8 under Sir Simon Rattle), Strauss’s Ariadne auf Naxos in Lyon, Paris and at the Metropolitan Opera, New York and her first Isolde with the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Donald Runnicles. Her engagements include Fidelio for San Francisco Opera, Gloriana for Opera Theatre of St Louis, Ellen Orford in Santa Fe and Isolde in San Francisco. Her concerts include appearances with the London Philharmonic Orchestra under Kurt Masur, the Orchestra of Santa Cecilia, Rome and Antonio Pappano, the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Zubin Mehta, and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and Sir Simon Rattle. She will sing Strauss’s Die Frau ohne Schatten in Paris and Chicago.
Hilary Finch was born in North London, and read English and Music at the universities of Exeter and Cambridge. She started reviewing and feature-writing for The Times in the early 1980s. During that decade she initiated a series of interviews with singers, instrumentalists, conductors and composers; an annual survey of international music festivals; an opera preview column; and also contributed regularly to the travel pages, specialising in reporting from the Far East, Germany and the Nordic countries.
Hilary now also writes for BBC Music Magazine, and broadcasts regularly on Radio 3, contributing to CD Review’s ‘Building a Library’ and new releases slot. In the 1990s she wrote and presented all the programmes on singers for the BBC Legends series.
In addition to her journalistic work, Hilary is a regular juror for awards such as the Maggie Teyte and Royal Philharmonic Society, and she lectures on both Lieder and on the music of the Nordic countries, particularly Iceland and Finland, which she visits frequently.
One of the great Lieder singers of our time Robert Holl has increasingly been in demand on the world’s great opera stages. He now appears regularly in opera houses such as Vienna State Opera, Berlin State Opera Unter den Linden and Zurich Opera. Since 1996 he has appeared regularly at the Bayreuth Festival.
His concert repertoire tends to focus on German and Russian composers and he has become a leading interpreter of the great Wagner roles such as Hans Sachs, Landgraf Herrmann, Daland, König Marke and Gurnemanz.
Born in Rotterdam Robert Holl studied in the Netherlands and later with Hans Hotter in Munich. He won First Prize at the International Music Competition of the German Broadcasting Association (ARD) in Munich. Now resident in Austria he was awarded the prestigious Austrian title of Kammersänger and is a Professor at the University for Music in Vienna.
Graham Johnson OBE
Already acclaimed not only as one of the foremost accompanists of our day but also for his major contribution to the development of the song repertoire, Graham Johnson has most recently completed his major recording project of the complete lieder of Schubert for the Hyperion label and has embarked on a similar project of recording the complete lieder of Schumann. He was made an OBE in the 1994 Queen's Birthday Honours list, and in 2002 he was created Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Arts et Lettres by the French Government. In June 2000 he was elected a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Music in recognition of his achievements.
Dr Ralph Kohn FRS HonFRAM
Dr Ralph Kohn obtained his PhD at Manchester University, specialising in pharmacology. He undertook postdoctoral studies with Professor Sir Ernst Chain and Professor Daniel Bouet, both Nobel Laureates, in Italy, and subsequently in the United States at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York, before returning to the UK for a career in the pharmaceutical industry. In 1970 Dr Kohn founded the first independent medical services company in the UK and 20 years later, was the recipient of the Queen’s Award for Export Achievement. He is an Honorary Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences, and an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Society.
Alongside this distinguished scientific and business career, Ralph Kohn is a professional baritone, with numerous recitals and recordings to his name. He is Chairman of the Wigmore Hall/Kohn Foundation International Song Competition and was Committee Chairman of Sir John Eliot Gardiner’s Bach Cantata Pilgrimage. He is on the Board of Curators of the Bach-archiv and a member of the Chorherr Foundation of St Thomas in Leipzig, and honorary Trustee of the Monteverdi Choir and Orchestra. In 1991, Dr Kohn set up the Kohn Foundation, a registered charity, to provide financial support for scientific/medical research; educational purposes; musicians, musical and other artistic activities.
Sir Brian McMaster
Brian McMaster was born in Hitchin in Hertfordshire. He read Law at Bristol University, Comparative Law at Strasbourg University and qualified as a solicitor, before studying on the first Arts Council of Great Britain’s course in Arts Administration.
He was appointed Director of the Edinburgh International Festival in 1991 and is the longest serving Director since the Festival started in 1947. Prior to this he was Managing Director at Welsh National Opera (1976–91), Controller of Opera Planning, English National Opera (1973–76) and a member of the International Classical Division of EMI Records. He served as Artistic Director of the Vancouver Opera from 1984 to 1989.
He is currently Chairman of the National Opera Studio, a member of the council of Arts Council England, and has served as a judge for the Cardiff Singer of the World Competition since its inception. Brian McMaster was awarded the CBE in 1987 and a Knighthood in 2003.
Ann Murray DBE
Ann Murray has been acclaimed for her performances of the great Handel, Strauss and Mozart roles in the opera houses of Hamburg, Dresden, Brussels, Paris, Berlin, Cologne, Zurich, Amsterdam, the Chicago Lyric Opera, the Metropolitan Opera, New York, La Scala Milan, the Vienna State Opera and the Salzburg Festival. She has particularly strong links with English National Opera, the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden and the Bavarian State Opera. In 1998 Ann Murray was made a Kammersängerin of the Bavarian State Opera and in 2002 was appointed an honorary DBE in the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Birthday Honours.