Australian-British soprano Samantha Clarke has won the Guildhall School of Music & Drama’s Gold Medal. The UK school’s premiere prize for soloists, it has been awarded to singers and instrumentalists in alternate years since 1950. Clarke joins an impressive list of Gold Medal recipients, among them cellist Jacqueline du Pré, violinist Tasmin Little and bass-baritone Bryn Terfel.

The Gold Medal Final took place at Barbican Hall before the public and a panel of judges that included Terfel, Irish mezzo-soprano Ann Murray, Director of Coaching and Music Administration for Indiana University Opera Theater Kevin Murphy, and Vice-Principal and Director of Music at Guildhall School Jonathan Vaughan.

Clarke secured her win with a program that included songs and arias by Strauss, Poulenc, Copland, Rachmaninov, Mozart, Puccini and Stravinsky. She was accompanied by the Guildhall Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Richard Farnes.

Clarke with the judges. Photo © Clive Totman 

“I was in total disbelief when I heard my name read out, but I am completely buzzing and over the moon to have won the Gold Medal,” said Clarke. “I felt very privileged to be performing on the Barbican stage...