Tempest Wins ROSL Ensemble Award

The Tempest Flute Trio has won the Royal Over-Seas League ARTS (ROSL ARTS) Ensemble Award, incorporating £10,000 and a performance opportunity at Queen Elizabeth Hall.

The Trio, comprising RNCM Gold Medal winners Sarah Bennett, Holly Melia and Helen Wilson, were one of four wind, brass and percussion ensembles competing in the Ensemble B category at Princess Alexandra Hall on Tuesday 12 March.

Commenting on behalf of the Trio, Helen said: ‘I can't even explain how ecstatic we are to have won such a major competition as the ROSL. It is so brilliant with something like this to have confirmation that the hard work really pays off and that we are heading in the right direction.

‘We would also like to thank the RNCM and in particular Paul Goodey and our teachers Richard Davis, Wissam Boustany, Anders Ljungar-Chapelon and Katherine Baker for their continuous support and encouragement. We are a very happy Tempest!’

The Trio’s win is even more exciting as it comes just 12 months after the College’s Aurora Percussion Duo (comprising students Le Yu and Delia Stevens) won the same category. This achievement marked the first time a percussion ensemble had walked away with the prize since Simone Rebello (RNCM Head of Percussion) and Backbeat 15 years earlier.

Melinda Maxwell, an RNCM woodwind consultant who coached the Trio when they initially formed, added: ‘This news is really fabulous. To have two in as many years is excellent and so good for our department. ROSL is one of the best competitions because you get such good exposure from it so it’s fantastic that Tempest have been heard. It should do a lot of good for their career as a trio.

Renowned for their innovative performances of classical and contemporary music, Tempest performed their own arrangement of Debussy’s Syrinx, Mark Simpson’s Flute Trio (a Tempest commission), a movement from a Bach sonata and Salt of the Earth by Andy Stott, arranged by Helen, during the Final and were judged by RNCM alumni Carol Jarvis (trombone) and Les Neish (tuba), and Chris de Souza and Stuart King.

Melinda continued: ‘When I coached them in the early stages I did say to them that they should commission new works and arrange their own pieces. Because they were so enthusiastic as a group it encouraged me to ask them to think outside the box. I think this has really made them expand the repertoire. A lot is from memory so they are great performers as well. I’m so excited and proud for them.’

Celebrating its 61st anniversary, the ROSL ARTS, the arts division of the Royal Over-Seas League, has developed a diverse portfolio of arts activities in music, visual arts and literature. It is devoted to the career development of talented young professional artists and musicians from the UK and the Commonwealth, and also presents readings and literary events at its central London Headquarters.

13 March 2013