Peter Hulsen Song Award | Southbank Sinfonia

Peter Hulsen Orchestral Song Award

In the closing days of 2015, all of us at Southbank Sinfonia were saddened by the news that our beloved friend and supporter Peter Hulsen had passed away. Peter was a passionate champion of the orchestra since its conception back in 2001, and a friendly face at so many of our concerts. All our lives were touched for the better by his radiant example: his love of music, his belief in supporting young artists, his wonderful style, sensibility, his verve and impeccable taste.

A native of Breslau, Peter came to England as a boy on one of the last Kindertransport trains out of Germany. In the face of such stark origins in life, he often spoke of the tremendous consolation he found in music, as was evident in the way cultivated such a remarkable passion for opera, lieder and orchestral repertoire. For the rest of his life he was a devoted concert-goer, regularly and enthusiastically attending several performances every week.

Established in 2008, the Peter Hulsen Orchestral Song Award is a biennial award offering the opportunity for outstanding young singers to perform a concert of solo song accompanied by full orchestra. It also represents a fruitful collaboration between Southbank Sinfonia and Help Musicians UK, two organisations dedicated to nurturing emerging talent.

The most recent winners of the award are soprano Soraya Mafi and bass-baritone Bozidar Smiljanic, both of whom performed alongside Southbank Sinfonia at London’s St Martin-in-the-Fields in 2015.

The opportunity to audition is offered to recipients of Help Musician UK’s top postgraduate vocal scholarships. The 2015 panel was chaired by Southbank Sinfonia’s Music Director Simon Over who was joined by eminent singers Della Jones, Susan Gritton and Paul Nilon.

Commenting on the award, soprano Susan Gritton said: “listening to these wondeful young singers specifically for orchestral song is a fantastic way to find our great artists of the future. Orchestral song demands both great artistry and great singing.”

The next award will be presented in 2017.

Past Winners

Gerard Collett baritone (2009)
Susanna Hurrell soprano (2011)
Gavan Ring baritone (2013)
Soraya Mafi soprano and Bozidar Smiljanic bass-baritone (2015)