New Elizabethan Award – The Worshipful Company of Musicians

The biennial New Elizabethan Award for classical guitarists and lutenists is now in its Final Selection Round for the inaugural 2019 Award.

See UPDATE!! below for results.

The Final Selection Round will be on 6 July 2018 at the Royal Academy of Music, London from 10.30am to 4.30pm.

The eight candidates are: the lutenist Sergio Bucheli (with ensemble); and the guitarists Emmanuel Sowicz García (with tenor Hiroshi Amoko), Jesse Flowers, Bradley Johnson, Andrey Lebedev (solo and with mezzo-soprano Lotte Betts-Dean), Laura Snowden, and Michael Butten (with tenor Joel Williams), performing:

any music for lute, either solo or in ensemble, by a British composer who lived during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I (1558–1603); any music for lute or guitar, either solo or in ensemble, by a British or Commonwealth composer who has lived during the reign of Queen Elizabeth II (1952–the present day); or any music involving lute or guitar which has a demonstrably Elizabethan connection, but has been written by a composer from another country or in another age.

It was the coincidence in 2013 of Benjamin Britten’s centenary, Julian Bream’s 80th birthday and the Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee that initiated Michael Lewin’s idea for the award and he was supported by Sir Peter Maxwell Davies who saw the project’s potential and wrote:

This award has a very special significance, in that its focus is on the two great Elizabethan ages, complementing the two main periods of development in Britain of the lute and the classical guitar. This constitutes a most important part of British musical tradition which still needs to be brought more vividly into the public domain. Britain’s position in this repertoire of lute and guitar music is comparable to that of Spain – from John Dowland’s works for lute to Benjamin Britten’s for guitar. In addition to the more obvious solo opportunities, this project offers something of great interest to composers today in the use of lute and guitar in chamber music. Particularly, it will offer great encouragement to a younger generation of artists, and I appreciate its forward vision, with an international dimension.

The New Elizabethan Award is administered by the Worshipful Company of Musicians, one of the City of London’s ancient guilds. The initial sponsorship came from David and Sandra Brierwood and Greensill Capital. Michael Lewin, Head of Guitar at the Royal Academy of Music, and a Warden of the Worshipful Company of Musicians and David Brierwood formed a NEA Steering Group, which also includes the lutenist Elizabeth Kenny and composer/guitarist Stephen Goss.

The inaugural New Elizabethan Award  is open to performers born on or after 1 January 1987, and applications closed on 30 April 2018. The Award offers a cash prize and career-enhancing opportunities – beginning with a Wigmore Hall recital on 9 February 2019 worth £15,000 in total.

The Selection Round Panel Members for 6 July 2018 at the Royal Academy of Music, London will be: composer and Master of the Queen’s Music, Judith Weir CBE; Director of Wigmore Hall and Chairman of the Royal Philharmonic Society, John Gilhooly OBE; soprano Dame Emma Kirkby, lutenist Nigel North, guitarist Craig Ogden, guitarist Fabio Zanon; and Head of Guitar at the Royal Academy of Music, Michael Lewin (Chairman). See


‘Of the eight performances four were by soloists and four by ensembles. The Panel found, without exception, excellent qualities in each performance.

The two that the Panel finally selected to hold the New Elizabethan Award 2019 are:
Jesse Flowers (solo guitar) and the duo of Lotte Betts-Dean (mezzo-soprano) and Andrey Lebedev (guitar)

The Holders of the New Elizabethan Award 2019 will share both the NEA Showcase at Wigmore Hall on Saturday February 9th 2019 and subsequent concerts.’

The New Elizabethan Award: the Worshipful Company of Musicians (‘The Musicians’ Company’), 1 Speed Highwalk, Barbican, London EC2Y 8DX. Tel: 020 7496 8980 Email: Website:

 © Thérèse Wassily Saba 2018

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