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Photo by Angus Forbes

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2017 was a very exciting year for the Tait Trust. To celebrate our 25th Anniversary we were delighted to produce a gala concert starring Australian heldentenor, Stuart Skelton. It was a bold undertaking that kept us busy for most of the year. Thanks to the generous support of our Sponsors, Donors, and Friends we enjoyed a night of sublime music. The funds raised have been added to our awards fund. Thank you Stuart! Our Friends scheme goes from strength to strength, the annual Tait Friends at Stoke Lodge event (now in its 4th year) has become an important fixture in our calendar. Held in the home of HE The Hon Alexander Downer AC, the Australian High Commissioner, and his wife Nicola, we thank them both for their hospitality. Our Tait Friends have helped us enormously with our awards. The continued success and growth of the Adopt a Performer scheme has been a pivotal part of our success.

Katrina Sheppeard and Stuart Skelton Die Walküre Act 1 duet. ‘Stuart Skelton sings Wagner’

“The continued success and growth of the Adopt a Performer scheme has been a pivotal part of our success.” The Tait Endowment Fund is steadily growing too. Now at £30,000 thanks to generous donations from the Australian Charity Art Auction, The Hon Sarah Joiner, Earl Cadogan KBE DL and our much loved Trustee, Anne Longden. In 2017 the Leanne Benjamin Awards supported 5 young dancers personally selected by Leanne Benjamin AM OBE, recently retired after 21 years as a principal with The Royal Ballet; we are thrilled that she is helping us in our support of young Australian and New Zealand dancers in the UK, and has become a Tait Patron. Leanne is the Chair of our newly formed Ballet Board with myself, and Meredith Daneman. Ballet judging for our 2018 awards begins in April.

Jayson Gillham Liszt Liebestod transcription ‘Stuart Skelton sings Wagner’

We continue to be indebted to the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, who have been our Principal Partner for the past four years. We hope, as they see the important work we do for the young Australians and New Zealanders in this highly competitive arts marketplace here, that their support will continue. It means so much to us.



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Chevalier Richard Gunter continues to generously sponsor our venues, recently St Paul’s Knightsbridge, and our next concert at Leighton House, our fifth concert in the Salon directed once more by Ross Alley. To our many individual sponsors and loyal supporters, we are so pleased to see your sponsorship growing year-on-year – we can’t go on without you.

Samanatha Crawford,soprano with event sponsor Paul Orchart, Gen. Mgr. Head of Europe Commonwealth Bank of Australia

Isla Baring OAM with event donor Chevalier Richard Gunter

Our awards are at their highest level, a 30% increase from last year at a milestone figure of £50,000. In 2017/18 we are supporting 22 gifted young Australians to enable them to follow their dreams…a full list of our awardees can be found on our website. And you, our treasured Friends, are the lifeblood of our Tait Family - thank you so much for your support. Please continue to help us in any way you can. 2018 is another year, and our work goes on!

Isla Baring OAM with Rebecca Blenkinsop, Royal Ballet School I NSIDE THIS ISSUE :




Isla Baring OAM Chairman Tait Memorial Trust
















Performers „Stuart Skelton sings Wagner‟: Catherine Carby, Deborah Humble, Jayson Gillham, Liane Keegan, Samantha Crawford, Kirstin Sharpin, Katrina Sheppeard, Stuart Skelton, Ashlyn Tymms, Valda Wilson, Eleanor Greenwood, Vivien Conacher,















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Chloe Keneally English National Ballet School LBA recipient 2017

Leanne Benjamin awards 2018 Ballet has been an important part of our mission to support young artists since our foundation in 1992. The Leanne Benjamin Awards, created in 2014, bring our ballet awards under the direction of the Australian ballerina, ex Royal Ballet principal, Leanne Benjamin AM OBE. In 2017 we funded 5 LBA recipients, the selection process for 2018 is due to close April 15th 2018. Our new Ballet Board is ably led by Leanne Benjamin, as Chair of the panel, with Meredith Daneman (ex Royal Ballet School, Australian Ballet, and author of the biography of Dame Margot Fonteyn), and Isla Baring OAM, assisting her with the difficult task to decide who we should support in the coming year. In 2018 a new initiative is our support of a summer school training programme for young dancers at the Royal Ballet School’s, junior school, White Lodge. The Trust will fund two places for young dancers from Australia or New Zealand. The recipients will be personally selected by Leanne Benjamin at the 2018 Asian Grand Prix, Hong Kong. Ballet is added to our Adopt a Performer scheme. Join the Tait today as a Borovansky Partner to directly support a young dancer. If you would like to learn more about the scheme and you wish to play an active role in the career development of a young dancer from Australia or New Zealand please contact James Hancock



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Friends at Stoke Lodge

Nicola Downer AM with Roses presented to her courtesy of our sponsor, Roses Only UK

A collection of photos from our 4th Annual Tait Friends event at Stoke Lodge, March 20 2018. A highlight was the presentation of a specially commissioned portrait of Nicola Downer AM by our Patron, internationally acclaimed portrait artist, June Mendoza AO OBE. ARIA winner, Joseph Tawadros AM gave us a thrilling performance on the Oud, as did Awardees Bronte Zemlic and Lisa Bucknell. Joanna McCallum’s stirring reading of Dorothy Mckellar’s Joseph Tawadros AM with Tait donors Nicholas and Wendy Heesom with our host, HE The Hon Maestro Richard Bonynge AC and Isla Baring OAM ‘My Country’ was a fitting way to say Alexander Downer AC farewell to the Downers.

Isla Baring OAM with our Leanne Benjamin Award recipients from the Royal Ballet School and the English National Ballet School with Leanne Benjamin AM OBE and Steven McRae (principal dancer Royal Ballet)


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Madeleine Randall, oboe Loewenthal Award, Tait Trust Guildhall School of Music & Drama

Tait Friends has enjoyed another exciting year. We now have more than seventy active members who all help us to help young performing artists from Australia and New Zealand studying in the UK. Without doubt our Friends generosity is the reason we awarded £28,000 in 2015, £40,000 in 2016, £50,000 in 2017, and we plan to award £50,000+ in 2018. This is an incredible achievement. The Adopt a Performer scheme has been a great success, enabling us to offer larger scholarships to young artists for the duration of their course which is typically 3-4 years. Madeleine Randall (oboe), supported by the late Andrew Loewenthal for the last 3 years is due to graduate later this year from the Guildhall School of Music & Drama with a Masters of Music. “The Tait Memorial Trust has played an integral part in allowing me to pursue all the opportunities presented to myself over the past three years.” Madeleine Randall, March 2018

E NDOWMENT F UND “A N “E NDOWMENT Thanks to a generous donation from the Australian Charity Art Auction we decided to create a P ATRON ” COULD BE new Endowment Fund with an initial deposit of £10,000. With further generous donations ANYONE WHO GIVES OR BEQUEATHS MORE THAN ,


Endowment Patrons Earl Cadogan KBE DL Karen Goldie-Morrison The Hon Sarah Joiner

from The Hon Sarah Joiner and Earl Cadogan KBE DL the Endowment fund is now £30,000. Establish your legacy by ensuring The Tait Memorial Trust can meet the needs for young performing artists for generations to come. Your gift to the Endowment Fund will enhance the income that the Fund generates, income that helps us to fund studies, pay for instruments and generally support our awardees well into the future. We have created a new class of patron or supporter whose donations can be directed to building our new endowment fund. An “Endowment Patron” could be anyone who gives or bequeaths more than, £5,000, and their names will be recorded against the endowment fund .

Anne Longden

If you would like to add your name to our roll call of Endowment Patrons by contributing to the fund, or would like to know how a bequest can be used to support it, please email James at:

Michael Whalley


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S TUART SKELTON SINGS WAGNER - S EPTEMBER 2017 The Tait presented Australian tenor, Stuart Skelton supported by current and former Tait Awardees, at a gala fundraising concert to celebrate our 25th Anniversary at St Paul’s Church Knightsbridge, on the 13th September 2017. The concert, presented by Richard Wagner’s great-great grandson, Antoine Wagner, was accompanied by Richard Peirson. The concert was sponsored by our Principal Partner, the Commonwealth Bank of Australia.

Photo by Hannan Images


The goal of the concert was to raise a substantial sum to fund future awards for young performing artists. Thanks to Stuart’s generosity we are thrilled to confirm that our Anniversary concert was not only an artistic but was also a great financial success. The programme included Stuart performing excerpts from Tristan und Isolde (with Katrina Sheppheard & Catherine Carby), Die Walküre (Samantha Crawford), Lohengrin, Parsifal, and piano arrangements by Liszt played by Jayson Gillham.The Valkyries reprised the famous battle cry entrance to the great delight of the audience. We were thrilled that our first awardee Liane Keegan flew to London specially to sing a selection from Wagner’s, Wesendonck Lieder. The concert highlights video is now online on our YouTube channel.

SUPPORTING ARTISTS Catherine Carby, mezzo-soprano Deborah Humble, mezzo-soprano Jayson Gillham, piano Liane Keegan, dramatic contralto Samantha Crawford, soprano Kirstin Sharpin, soprano Katrina Sheppeard, soprano Ashlyn Tymms, mezzo-soprano Valda Wilson, soprano Eleanor Greenwood, mezzo-soprano Vivien Conacher, mezzo-soprano


The Tait Trust has been honoured with such generous and continuing support and friendship from the High Commissioner for Australia, HE The Hon. Alexander Downer AC, and his wife Nicola, who were our guests of honour at our 2017 fundraising concert, ‘Stuart Skelton sings Wagner’, and many other Tait events over the past 4 years. To honour them we are delighted to appoint Alexander and Nicola as Life Time Members of the Trust and wish them bonne chance, and thank them profusely for their support and generally ‘being there’ for us whenever we needed any assistance for our important work with young artists. We are very sad to say goodbye to them both, and hope that we will see them at our events in the future. Photo by Hannan Images


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JOHN AMIS award - Dartington international summer school Since 2016 the Tait funds a bursary at the Dartington International Summer School. We sponsor an award entitled the John Amis Award that funds one or two weeks of intensive musical training. John’s role in the Summer School goes back to 1948, when as William Glock’s right hand man, he helped set up the Summer School at Bryanston, a relationship that continued when the Summer School moved to Dartington in 1951, where John was closely involved in both its artistic direction and administration. The list of DISS alumni is littered with the names of the great musicians of the past 70 years. It is a terrific opportunity for a young artist. The first Tait awardee was Matthew Thomson, tenor. Matthew completed the Advanced Opera Course. “These two weeks at Dartington provided one of the most intensive and rewarding learning and performance experiences of my career. I am thrilled too to be the first recipient of this award.” Being a bursary student at Dartington is a unique experience; fantastic music-making in the beautiful setting of the medieval Dartington estate in rural South Devon, and access to an amazing series of concerts across the whole summer. If you would like to learn more about the John Amis Award, or any other Tait award please contact James Hancock

New - Tait Borovansky Partner to support Ballet In 1943 Borovansky Ballet company received the backing and sponsorship of JCW (the FIRM) which was managed by the The Tait Brothers. The school trained the first wave of Australian-born ballet dancers and the company toured Australia, staging many classical ballets as well as producing the first original Australian ballets, including Terra Australis, Black Swan and The Outlaw. After Borovansky’s death in 1959 the company continued until finally disbanding in 1961, reemerging the following year as the Australian Ballet with much support from Frank Tait. Sir Frank Tait was the first Chairman of The Australian Ballet The Australian dance heritage owes much of its history to the foresight and tenacity of the Tait Brothers, and now produces some of the best classical dancers in the world. The Tait Memorial Trust continues to support Australian dance students to this day, keeping this legacy alive.

Tait Patron - Danielle de niese Born in Australia to parents of Sri Lankan and Dutch heritage, at the age of eighteen Danielle became the youngest ever singer to enter the Metropolitan Opera’s prestigious Lindemann Young Artist Development Program. One year later she made her Metropolitan Opera debut under James Levine, as Barbarina in Jonathan Miller’s acclaimed new production of Le nozze di Figaro. Recent operatic engagements include the title role in Monteverdi's L'incoronazione di Poppea for Teatro Real Madrid, Ariel in The Enchanted Island and Despina in Mozart’s Così fan tutte at the Metropolitan Opera. A prolific recording artist, her debut recording for Decca, Handel Arias, was awarded the prestigious Orphée d'Or from and the much coveted ECHO Klassik award, as well as earning her a Classical Brit Award nomination for Female Artist of the Year. Danielle recently enjoyed a great success singing Hanna Glawari in the new Opera Australia production of the Merry Widow.

Photo by Chris Dunlop

“Her voice is everything that you hope for from an international star…” The Sydney Morning Herald, January 2018 We are honoured to count Danielle as a Patron of the Tait.


Tait Borovansky Partner (Ballet)

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P AGE 10

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T AIT T IMES with GSMD Opera School. In Summer 2018 Samantha is singing Anne Trulove The Rakes Progress (Stravinsky) BYO.

SAMANTHA CLARKE - soprano Samantha is an Australian soprano in her first year of the Opera Course at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama. A graduate of the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts, she completed her undergraduate studies at the RNCM studying with Mary Plazas, and performed Fiordiligi in Cosi fan tutte and the title role in Handel’s opera Theodora.

Samantha is supported by an annual Adopt a Performer scholarship from the Thornton Foundation, Tait Trust for the duration of her GSMD studies. “I am so grateful for the generosity of the Thornton Foundation and The Tait Trust. Due to their incredible support I have been able to live in London whilst studying and fully immersing myself in my development. Studying in London offers so many amazing opportunities that I will continue to pursue eagerly and with full commitment. Thank you for believing in me and making me feel more at home.” Samantha Clarke, March 2018

Samantha has been the recipient of numerous prestigious awards including the Dame Eva Turner Award, and the Leverhulme RNCM Award. In 2017 she made her professional debut with LFO as Pamina The Magic Flute, and sang Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni with British Youth Opera later in the year. With GSMD Opera School she sang Anna Gomez in Menotti’s, The Consul. In 2018 she is singing Fiordiligi Cosi fan tutte, and Helena Midsummer Nights Dream (Britten)

IONA ALLAN - violin Young Australian violinist, Iona Allan, as the daughter of two ballet dancers, grew up in a house that was always filled with classical music. Iona learnt all forms of dance and started to play violin at the age of four. The violin would prove to be her true passion, a passion that would lead her to study at the highest level. Iona completed a Bachelor of Music in Advanced Performance from the Queensland Conservatorium studying with Michele Walsh. Iona then went to ANAM, working with Dr Robin Wilson, they planned her path over the three-year program, and spent much of her final year preparing for international auditions. „I knew I wanted to complete a Masters in London‟ Iona says. Iona auditioned for both the Royal College of Music and the Royal Academy of Music and found it daunting to decide between the two. At the Royal College of Music audition, Iona asked Gabrielle Lester (founding member of the Chamber Orchestra of Europe) if she would take her on as a student. Iona applied for and was awarded the very competitive and prestigious Ena Williams Award offered by the Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University, and left for the UK in September 2017. She was also awarded assistance by the Royal College of Music, starting as an RCM Scholar in September of 2017, and a grant from the Tait Trust to assist her with her fees, which for a young Australian are substantial. “The support of the Tait Trust means I‟m able to develop my musicianship to the highest professional level in the cultural hub that is London. I am able to make the most of unique opportunities that continue to arise from the Royal College of Music and am now well on my way to the musical career I have always aspired to have as an orchestral and chamber musician. I simply would not be here without the Tait Trust and am incredibly thankful for their kind and generous support.” Iona Allan, March 2018

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P AGE 11

Tait Memorial Trust Help us to support young performing artists from Australia and New Zealand in the UK.

Donors to the Tait Memorial Trust join a growing a group of supporters whose collective generosity has provided the means for young performing artists from Australia and New Zealand to study in the UK. The Trust offers awards/grants for postgraduate study, performance opportunities to young musicians and performing artists from Australia and New Zealand, and general help in the furtherance of their careers while resident in the UK. Donor details Name …………………………………………………………………………………………… Address…………………………………………………………………………………………… Postcode………………………………….Country…………………………………… Phone…………………….….Email……………………………………… Signed…………………………………………………….Date …………… I wish to donate £____________ All donations to the Tait Memorial Trust are eligible for Gift Aid (currently 25p for every £1 you give). Donors who make a donation of at least £1,000 will be acknowledged in all future Tait Memorial Trust publications. Please contact us if you wish to discuss your donation

 Please tick this box if you wish your donation to be credited to our Endowment Fund. The Tait Memorial Trust Endowment Fund was established to build capital reserves to ensure the ongoing financial viability of the Tait Memorial Trust and to provide a sound basis for our future awards and scholarships.

Gift Aid declaration  YES, I pay UK income or capital gains tax at least equal to the tax the Tait Memorial Trust will reclaim each tax year. (currently 25p for every £1 you give) and wish all of my donations to the Tait Memorial Trust (UK Charity Nr. 1042797) since 1 April 2014 and all future donations to be treated as Gift Aid donations until I notify you otherwise. SIGNATURE_______________________________________DATE________________________

Donation by post

Please make cheques payable to Tait Memorial Trust and post to: Tait Memorial Trust 4/80 Elm Park Gardens London SW10 9PD United Kingdom

Donation within the UK by bank transfer Please wire/transfer to: CAF Bank Ltd Account name: Tait Memorial Trust Sort Code: 40-52-40 Account Number: 00013441

Donation by International bank transfer Please wire/transfer to: HSBC Banking Corporate Centre Swift BIC number: MIDLGB22XXX Sort code: 40-05-30 Account name: CAF Bank Ltd Account number: 72138549 IBAN number: GB48MIDL40053072138549 You must reference: Tait Memorial Trust Sort Code: 40-52-40 Account Number: 00013441


Proudly supporting young performing artists from Australia & New Zealand in the U.K. Founded 1992 (Charity Reg. 1042797) Principal Partner

4/80 Elm Park Gardens London SW10 9PD Office: +44 (0)20 7351 0561 Email: Facebook:




Postgraduate study in London and across the UK gives one of the very best opportunities for talented young musicians, and dancers to broaden their performance experience; it’s just so important. UK institutions have a very particular set-up whereby instrumentalists, dancers and singers can really focus on developing their technique and musicality to the highest level in lessons, but also broaden their experiences in a professional setting, with unparalleled work experience opportunities, whether performing with one of the world’s top orchestras, singing for a major opera house, or dancing with one of the worlds great ballet companies. The knowledge acquired from these experiences is huge, and the professional contacts gained through the process also a necessary part of helping young performers on their way to a successful career. Music and Ballet education in Australia and New Zealand is world class, but one just cannot beat the performance experience they gain in the UK. For over 25 years the Tait Memorial Trust, in memory of the Tait Family’s huge involvement in the promotion of the performing arts in Australia and New Zealand, has been actively encouraging young talent from Australia and New Zealand to flourish, by offering these young artists financial support, advice and friendship when they reach the UK. Without the Tait Trust, the wonderful legacy of music making , and dance in Australia & New Zealand would be much poorer. Every supporter helps our future cultural leaders. Together, we all become vital agents of change in our communities, in Australia, New Zealand, in the UK, and ultimately across the world.

W HERE ARE THEY NOW ? Lachlan Monaghan (2010,11,12) graduated from the Royal Ballet School in 2012 and immediately joined the Birmingham Royal Ballet. In 2016 Lachlan was promoted to the rank of first artist and performed the role of Neptune in The Tempest, a part that was created for him in a new BRB production. He recently made his debut with BRB as Prince Florimund in The Sleeping Beauty. His most rewarding role is Mercutio Romeo & Juliet. Lachlan is pictured with his BRB co-star Maureya Lebowitz. Jessica Cottis (2000) made her BBC Proms debut at the Royal Albert Hall in 2016, returning in summer 2017 with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. This season, she makes debuts with the LA Philharmonic, the London Symphony Orchestra, and will conduct a new opera by Israeli composer Na'ama Zisser titled 'Mamzer/Bastard' for the Royal Opera House. In April 2018 she will conduct the premiere of Philip Venables's politically charged new work 'The Gender Agenda' with the London Sinfonietta for the reopening of QEH. Jessica is Chair of the TMT Music Board, and conducted the Tait Chamber Orchestra in our 2016 Winter Prom. Li-Wei Qin (1997) has appeared all over the world as a soloist and as a chamber musician. After achieving great success at the 11th Tchaikovsky International Competition where he was awarded the Silver Medal, Li-Wei also won the First Prize in the prestigious 2001 Naumburg Competition in New York. Highlights in 2018 includes his debut with the London Symphony, Russian Philharmonic, and Brussels Chamber Orchestras. Return visits to the China Philharmonic, Guangzhou Symphony and Melbourne Symphony Orchestras. Siobhan Stagg (2012) was a recipient of the Australian International Opera Awards in 2012 and a Dame Nellie Melba Trust Scholar. During her first season as a young artist in Berlin with Deutsche Oper, Siobhan also made her debut at the Hamburg State Opera as Cordelia in Aribert Reimann’s Lear, conducted by Simone Young and now released on DVD. We are thrilled to report that she is to sing with The Lyric Opera of Chicago in its 2018/19 season to make her U.S. debut in the title role of Massenet’s Cendrillon (Cinderella). In September 2017 Siobhan made her highly-anticipated mainstage debut at the Royal Opera House in London, as Pamina in Sir David McVicar’s production of Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte and received glittering reviews for her work.

Tait Newsletter Spring 2018  

The Tait Memorial Trust's Spring 2018 Newsletter

Tait Newsletter Spring 2018  

The Tait Memorial Trust's Spring 2018 Newsletter