Williams-Howard Prize

Support our annual singing competition that celebrates and encourages the study and performance of art songs by composers of the African diaspora.

Established by RNCM Professor in Singing, Michael Harper, whose international career as a countertenor has uncovered the distinct and worrying lack of performances of art songs of the African diaspora, we are working to ensure that these songs are known, celebrated, performed, and not lost and forgotten.

It is the first prize of its kind in Europe and celebrates both singers and collaborative pianists. Since its inception in 2021, our supporters have played an integral role in supporting the growth of the prize by:

  • Offering financial support to participants of the Williams-Howard Prize and nurturing the next generation of singers and collaborative pianists.
  • Delivering coaching and workshops to the prize winners through sessions led by internationally-renowned musicians, ensuring this often-neglected repertoire is performed.
  • Establishing a repository of music at the RNCM Library, featuring 130 items spanning the great spirituals to songs by Samual Coleridge Taylor and Florence Price, as well as historical works about music during the Harlem Renaissance and the Civil Rights Movement.
  • Promoting the study and performance of art songs by composers of African heritage, inspiring musicians to incorporate them into their programmes at the RNCM, Buxton International Festival, and beyond.

Our vision is that the new generation of professional singers and pianists embrace this music and that it is not forgotten but embedded firmly into the canon of classical art song. We are beyond proud of the positive steps that have been made so far.

Our aim is to raise £50,000 to endow the prize and secure its future for years to come. Will you help us reach our goal?

Please consider a donation below and help us reach our target and secure the future of this important prize.

For alternative donation methods or further information about the prize, please get in touch with Alexandra Maliphant at [email protected] | 0161 907 5389.

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