Sing for Pleasure is delighted to announce the four recipients of our Young Conducting Scholarships this year. Congratulations to Oliver, Katie, James and Sarah for your success in the face of such fierce competition.
Meet our new scholars!
Oliver is a 2nd year music student at Leeds University from Northern Ireland. He is a composer, singer, and conductor. He holds an Enhanced Choral Scholarship at Leeds Cathedral, under Tom Leech, allowing him to conduct their various choirs and work in the National School Singing Programme. Oliver also directs the Leeds University Chamber Choir and acts as Concerts Manager for the University Music Society, where he is committed to diversifying repertoire and championing works by living composers.
“I’m extremely excited and honoured to be awarded a Young Conducting Scholarship and can’t wait to get started. I hope to gain more confidence in my conducting and music leadership, and learn how to develop my rehearsal technique while meeting inspirational people from across the UK.”
Katie Santi is a mezzo-soprano and flautist in her second year of undergraduate study reading Music at King’s College London, undertaking flute studies with Laura Jellicoe at the Royal Academy of Music and vocal tuition with Robert Rice as a choral scholar.
Originally from Manchester, Katie played flute, piccolo and saxophone. Alongside her choral scholarship at King’s, Katie is also a member of the National Youth Choir, Guy’s Chapel Choir, and enjoys playing as a member of the King’s College London Symphony Orchestra, Sinfonietta and Wind Orchestra, most recently playing solo piccolo in the Sinfonietta’s performance of Arturo Marquez’s Danzon No. 2.
“I am incredibly excited to be one of the Young Conducting Scholarship recipients this year! The scholarship is a brilliant way to develop my conducting and I’m really looking forward to becoming an effective director. I dream of a world where music education is available to all, so I hope that I’ll be able to take what I learn and begin leading workshops in schools. Choral music brings me so much joy and I want to support others in finding that same happiness.”
James Greechan is a Choral Director working in the Diocese of Motherwell Schools’ Singing Programme. Born and bred in Glasgow, James holds a first class honours degree in music and education from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and a MLitt (Sacred Music) from the University of St Andrew’s. James has worked extensively in all areas of church music, particularly in education. As an organist, James has played in St George’s Chapel, Windsor, Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral, and regularly plays in St Aloysius’ RC Church in Glasgow. In his work as Choral Director, James has been a central figure in the establishment of the Diocese of Motherwell Schools Singing Programme and currently works in seven schools across the Diocese. The programme is particularly focussed on schools in areas of high deprivation and, in this role, James has been a passionate advocate for sharing the joy of choral music with young people of all backgrounds and abilities.
“I am delighted to accept this Sing for Pleasure Young Conducting Scholarship for the coming year. Sing for Pleasure is responsible for the tuition of a great number of wonderful Choral Directors and I am very grateful to be sharing in their highly acclaimed training. As the Diocese of Motherwell Schools’ Singing Programme builds on the many successes of its first year in operation, this training will be crucial in providing us with the skills and understandings that are key to building a culture of high-quality choral music in the heart of Scotland. Being able to access the expertise and experience of the tutors and attendees at the training events will be invaluable to me as a young conductor. I am very grateful to Sing for Pleasure for this rare and exciting opportunity and look forward to getting started!”
Sarah is a singer and workshop leader at the start of her professional career. She graduated with First Class Honours from the University of Sheffield where she read Music, focusing on classical singing performance. She was the student conductor of the Sheffield University Chamber Choir in 2019/20 and won the Julian Payne First Year Prize for my studies. Sarah sang with the National Youth Choir and now sings with Sheffield-based choirs Sonority, Steel City Choristers and Sheffield Cathedral. She works mostly with children and families, facilitating music classes at the Sheffield Music Academy and directing a choir with Sheffield Music Hub. As a creative practitioner with Concerteenies, I deliver workshops and put on family concerts in education and public spaces including schools, theatres, nurseries and playgrounds. We have also taken our Musical Stories Tour across the country to Aldeburgh Festival, Wigmore Hall, Lake District Summer Music Festival and the Leadmill nightclub! Sarah is passionate about creating and teaching high-quality music. Her vision is to increase the access of music for children and young people across the UK and provide opportunities for them to foster their innate creativity.
“I am delighted to hear that I have been offered the Sing for Pleasure Young Conducting Scholarship and can’t wait to get started! I lead a choir at the moment but have not had any formal conducting training so am really excited by this opportunity to learn and develop new skills. I have been in choir rehearsals and fascinated by conductors for over 10 years and often find myself copying them, trying to emulate their gestures! To have been chosen out of the pool of such amazing people is a real honour and privilege. I know this scholarship will really improve my conducting skills, broaden my horizons and develop my communication skills, impacting every setting I work in.”
Sing for Pleasure’s Head of Conductor Training writes:
“I was impressed with the considerable number and quality of candidates for this year’s Young Conducting Scholarship scheme and I am confident that our four selected scholars will do well and achieve their own ambitions as conductors and music leaders. I’m so looking forward to welcoming them to their first event in Manchester. However, we were disappointed that the lack of credible global majority applicants meant that we were unable to fulfil our ambition of allocating at least half of the scholarships to applicants from ethnically diverse backgrounds. We are determined to help rebalance the lack of representation of global majority musicians in positions of leadership in the UK and will reflect with care as to how we may better achieve that ambition next year.”