UK’s Best Vocal Talent to be Crowned in Yorkshire Village

Eight semi-finalists in the nationwide hunt for 2024’s best classical vocal talent will battle it out in the live semi-finals and grand finale, which take place at the Northern Aldborough…

Eight semi-finalists in the nationwide hunt for 2024’s best classical vocal talent will battle it out in the live semi-finals and grand finale, which take place at the Northern Aldborough Festival this June.

With a nationwide search spanning concert halls and conservatories, the New Voices Singing Competition has become a beacon for emerging talent, aged 18-32.

The historic St Andrew’s Church in Aldborough will resonate with the soaring voices of these exceptional artists.

Laura Canning, the new General Director of Opera North, will be presenting the first prize, The Seastock Trust Prize: a prestigious accolade accompanied by a £5,000 cash award and a recital at Northern Aldborough Festival 2025.

The second prize of £1500 has been generously sponsored by The Yorkshire Music Future Fund. The audience will also vote for their favourite for the £500 Matthew Wrigley Memorial Prize.

Robert Ogden, director of the festival, said: “You will be amazed at the quality of the eight young semi-finalists that have been selected to perform in the two semi-finals on Monday 17 June, four of them going onto the Grand Final on Tuesday 18 June. These are among the finest young singers in the country and are just at the beginning of what will surely be highly successful careers.”

The panel of discerning judges for the competition boasts luminaries from the classical music world including Edward Gardner OBE – renowned conductor and sought-after maestro on the global stage and Sir John Tomlinson CBE – the celebrated English bass and President of the Royal Northern College of Music.

New Voices judges with last year’s winner, Lea Shaw

Sir John Tomlinson, judge on the New Voices Singing Competition, said: “I’ve been singing all my life, and started to sing at the age of 21. It’s a career that demands patience, time, and devotion, but it can also be a long hard road for students. I’m honoured to hopefully use my experience to not only judge this important competition, but help shine a light on the new stars of classical music, to help them in their journey.”

Sir John graduated from the Royal Manchester College of Music in 1970. Since then, he has performed leading roles with companies throughout the world and regularly appears at Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, with English National Opera, in Bayreuth and all leading Opera Houses of Europe.

Knighted in 2005, Sir John was a recipient of a 1993 Grammy Award and was honoured with a Special Award at the 2007 Oliviers.

2024 marks the 30th anniversary of the Northern Aldborough Festival, which sees remarkable talent from around the globe gather for ten glorious days, from 13-22 June in the picturesque village, just half an hour from York or Harrogate.

Audiences can experience concerts in a village church normally the preserve of up-scale concert halls in New York, London, and Europe.

Last year’s winner of the New Voices Competition, mezzo soprano Lea Shaw, was picked as a BBC Music Magazine Rising Star on the back of the win; she will also perform her winning recital at this year’s festival.

Last year’s winner, Lea Shaw

Robert added: “We’re proud that the New Voices Singing Competition is the only one of its kind in the North of England. I urge audiences to come listen, and experience these exceptional rising stars on their ascendance, as well as catch the sublime winning recital of last year’s winner, Lea Shaw.”

2024’s New Voices Semi-Finalists

Clara Orif (Soprano) & Jack Redman (Piano)

Clara and Jack have collaborated for over three years since meeting at the Royal Academy of Music. They have performed widely in the UK and France and were Oxford Song Young Artists.

Florian Stoertz (Bass-Baritone) & Aleksandra Myslek (Piano)

Florian and Aleksandra form a captivating piano-voice duo. Florian won the 2023 London Handel Singing Competition. Aleksandra recently gave her Wigmore Hall debut.

Caroline Taylor (Soprano) & George Ireland (Piano)

Caroline made her recital debut at the Royal Opera House in 2023 and was recently a Young Artist with duo partner George Ireland at Oxford Song Festival.

Rebecca Leggett (Mezzo-Soprano) & George Ireland (Piano)

Rebecca and George both met at the Royal College of Music and have worked together for various recitals and competitions since. In 2022 they won the London Song Festival ‘British Art-Song Award’.

Annabel Kennedy (Mezzo-Soprano) & Daniel Peter Silcock (Piano)

Annabel honed her craft at the Royal College of Music and has recently won the Singers’ 1st Prize in the Royal Over-Seas League Competition. Pianist Daniel Peter Silcock has performed at Wigmore Hall and at international music festivals.

Ava Dodd (Soprano) & Firoze Madon (Piano)

Ava, an Irish soprano, was the winner of the Yves Paternot prize at the Verbier Festival 2023. Firoze Madon was a piano finalist in the BBC Young Musician 2022.

Lauren Lodge-Campbell (Soprano) & Collin Shay (Harpsichord)

Lauren’s performances as soloist have been with renowned ensembles including The English Concert. Her accompanist Collin Shay is a French-American harpsichord player. They have performed at the Royal Opera and Wigmore Hall.

Samuel Stopford (Tenor) & Daniel Peter Silcock (Piano)

British tenor Samuel is an Opera Prelude Young Artist who recently made his Wigmore Hall debut. Daniel Peter Silcock is a graduate of the Royal Academy of Music and the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.

Tickets are now on sale to attend the live semi-finals on 17 June, and the grand final on 18 June, at St Andrew’s Church in Aldborough:


To download images of the 2024 New Voices Semi-Finalists and logo, click HERE.

To download images of 2024 Festival artists for press use, click HERE.

To read the press release on the 2024 Festival line-up, click HERE.

For media inquiries, please contact: m: 0753 489 2715

About New Voices Singing Competition

The New Voices Singing Competition, established in 2023, is committed to discovering and nurturing exceptional classical vocalists. It provides a platform for rising stars to shine and connects them with industry professionals, agents, and music lovers worldwide.

Northern Aldborough Festival

The Northern Aldborough Festival was founded in 1994, centred around the picturesque village of Aldborough near York.  It was described by the Times as ‘well on its way to being one of the leading fixtures on the classical music calendar.’ Its core aim is to bring exceptional music to new audiences, in intimate rural locations where it would not normally be heard. With musical talent sourced from all over the world, the festival offers audiences a consistently high standard of music. The patron of the festival is Dame Judi Dench.

Festival Director, Robert Ogden

Artistic Director of the festival is Robert Ogden. Robert runs his family’s flagship jewellery store in Harrogate, which James Robert (JR) Ogden founded in 1893. Before taking on Ogden of Harrogate, Robert sang all over the world. As a boy, he was a chorister at Westminster Cathedral, before training at King’s College, Cambridge, the Royal Northern College of Music and at the Netherlands Opera Studio. An operatic countertenor, he performed to critical acclaim all over the world.