After four days of rounds in front of a distinguished panel of jurors and audiences, 25-year-old Russian bass-baritone Mikhail Timoshenko has won the £10,000 first prize in the International Song Competition, organised by London-based Wigmore Hall and sponsored for the first time by Independent Opera.

Founded in 1997, the prestigious award is open to singers and pianists around the world, aged 33 or under, who are keen to embark on recital careers. The 2019 competition was sponsored by Independent Opera at Sadler’s Wells.

The competition provides young performers with an invaluable opportunity for feedback and guidance from a jury consisting of the highest calibre of internationally renowned artists and directors from the world’s elite concert halls and music festivals. It also promotes the exchange of ideas between artists from all over the world and offers a platform for public performance, masterclasses and coaching from some of the world’s foremost performers and experts.

The 2019 International Song Competition took place in September, with the final round on the 11th. Mikhail Timoshenko was awarded the £10,000 first prize. Just 26 years old, he was born in Kameikino, Russland. He studied at the Mednogorsk Conservatoire in Russia before graduating from Germany’s Hochschule für Musik Franz Liszt, Weimar. Previous awards include first prize at the Franz Schubert und die Musik der Moderne Competition in Graz and the Hugo Wolf Competition in Stuttgart.

The £5,000 second prize was awarded to 29-year-old British soprano Harriet Burns. Third place, with a prize of £2,500, went to British mezzo-soprano Beth Taylor and fourth to British tenor Kieran Carrel. Michael Pandya, the 25-year-old British pianist who partnered Harriet Burns, won the £5,000 Pianist’s Prize.

Director of Wigmore Hall and chair of the Jury John Gilhooly OBE commented: “The Wigmore Hall/Independent Opera International Song Competition is all about recognising and encouraging the next generation of great performers and there is no doubt that this thrilling week highlighted many wonderful musical personalities. The quality of the performances has been outstanding, and it is certain that the future of the great art of song is assured. Congratulations to Mikhail Timoshenko and to all our prize winners. We greatly look forward to hearing them again in future.”

The final and semi-final were live streamed to international audiences and can be viewed here.



Mikhail Timoshenko (seen with pianist Elitsa Desseva) wins top prize at Wigmore Hall International Song Competition 2019 (Benjamin Eolovega).