The John Kerr Award for English Song

2018 Competition - Rules, Requirements and Application Form

Entry Requirements for 2018

Participants must be aged between 21 and 32 at the date of the Final. They may be of any nationality, resident in the UK or elsewhere and of any voice range. The Entry form is to be submitted with your CD recording for the first round.

Musical Requirements

First Round
Candidates are expected to supply a recording of 20 minutes of contrasting music based around the repertoire requirements below. It is to be submitted on a CD with your application form. The programme submitted must be as contrasted as possible and must contain at least one song from the 18th,19th and 20th/21st centuries. The recording should be of as high a quality as possible. Candidates will be penalized for poor quality recordings.

A shortlist from the first round will be selected by the Committee and 6 (six) candidates will be invited to perform at the final in 2018 at St. Lawrence Church, West Wycombe, Buckinghamshire in front of an audience and the judges. Finalists will be notified in early early January 2018 that they have been selected and MUST respond within 14 days, confirming that they will perform in the final. Two further competitors will be nominated as ‘reserve finalists’ in the event that any of the chosen finalists are unable to confirm their place or are taken ill. If you confirm your place at the final, this will be regarded as a firm commitment, except in the case that you are too ill to perform. The prizewinners will be announced after the last performance.

The finalists will be asked to perform a 25 minute contrasting programme based around the repertoire requirements below. Music from the preliminary recording may be presented in the final but may not make up more than half the programme. Rehearsal time at St. Lawrence Church will be on the morning of the competition final and will be at a set time and duration. The following criteria will form the basis of the adjudication (as appropriate) for both the first round and final :

  • Historical awareness in vocal matters
  • Performance style and manner
  • Audience engagement
  • Sympathy with and understanding of the words
  • Evidence of personal involvement and veracity
  • Ability to introduce the songs in a stylish manner

Vocalists are strongly encouraged to provide their own accompanists for the final. On the application form you MUST indicate whether you wish to use the house accompanist or your own accompanist. The name of your own accompanist MUST be included on the application form. Your own accompanist will automatically be entered into the accompanists prize if 35 years of age or younger. A reproduction spinet tuned to 438Hz (Baroque pitch) will be a available to any accompanist who would like to use it.

Lute Part of the programme MUST contain a lute song and this song must be accompanied by the official JKA lutenist. You may perform more than one lute song, but the JKA lutenist must be used to accompany all lute songs.

Repertoire Requirements
For the 2018 competition songs from the 16th - 21st centuries may be included.
For the Final the programme must include at least one song from the 17th, 18th, 19th and 20th/21st centuries. A well balanced, themed programme and interesting or less well known repertoire will gain credit. The finalists will be expected to say something about their programme during the performance, but this should be kept to a maximum of 3 minutes. This time is not to be deducted from the programme length.

Below is some suggested repertoire :

  • Any song by John Dowland, Henry Purcell and/or Thomas Campion.
  • Any song by William and/or Henry Lawes.
  • Any song by Thomas Arne and/or Thomas Linley.
  • Any song originally written in English for the English market by a foreign composer, e.g. Haydn, Handel or Beethoven.
  • A Victorian song – by e.g. Henry Bishop, Charles Villiers Stanford, Maude Valerie White, Hubert Parry and/or Arthur Sullivan.

The location is five (5) miles from High Wycombe Station and just off the A40. For those com-petitors and their accompanists travelling by train or bus, the JKA will organise transport from High Wycombe Station to the venue. This facility will ONLY be available to those com-petitors who inform us at the time they accept their entry to the final. There are also taxis available from the station.

Entry Fees

£25 (Full Time Student)

Closing Date for Entry

30th November 2017

Entry Form

Download HERE.

The John Kerr Award for English Song