Friday 31st March 2017 – Cheltenham

The aim of this competition is to discover and encourage new young singers of talent and provide them with an opportunity to perform before an audience and a panel of renowned professional judges. The winner will also have the opportunity to  perform with the Cheltenham Bach Choir and a professional orchestra.


The competition is open to young professional singers from all voice registers who are aged 28 or under on 31st March 2017.

First Prize:

The Cedric Virgin Memorial Prize: £500 and a performance with the Cheltenham Bach Choir and a professional orchestra.

Second Prize: £300
Third Prize: £150


Candidates will be shortlisted using information from the application form and a high quality performance on CD or MP3. David Crown, the Director of Music or the Cheltenham Bach Choir, will shortlist twelve candidates to participate in the competition on 31st March 2017. His decision will be final.

The competition will comprise an initial round during the day. Five candidates will then be selected to go through to the final in the evening. The competition will be open to members of the public.


The first round will comprise a recitative and aria lasting not more than 12 minutes. The final round will comprise a programme not lasting more than 25 minutes. Candidates should present an imaginative, well-balanced, Baroque programme. Presentation and programming will be assessed along with the performance. Works should be sung in the original language and key. There is to be no repeat of repertoire throughout the competition. Candidates are expected to provide their own accompanist, who should be of a high professional standard. There is a Steinway piano at the Prince Michael Hall.


Catherine Bott

Catherine Bott

Catherine Bott spent two years singing everything from Bach to Berio with the Swingles before beginning her solo career. Among her many recordings of baroque music are Bach’s St. John Passion with the choir of King’s College, Cambridge, Monteverdi’s L’Incoronazione di Poppea with Sir John Eliot Gardiner and Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas with the Academy of Ancient Music. She is a Fellow of the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, an Honorary Fellow of Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, and she writes and presents Everything you ever wanted to know about classical music on Classic FM.

Peter Savidge


Peter Savidge has appeared regularly with leading opera companies around the world. Equally important has been his concert and recital work, including performances of baroque repertoire throughout Europe with Frans Bruggen and Ton Koopman, and at many of the top international festivals.

Peter has performed and recorded with Charles Mackerras, Colin Davis, John Eliot Gardiner, Leonard Slatkin, David Willcocks and Richard Armstrong amongst others; he has also made many TV and radio broadcasts.

Peter is a Professor on the Vocal Faculty at the Royal College of Music in London.

David Crown


David Crown is the Music Director of the Cheltenham Bach Choir, the Oxford Bach Choir and the vOx Chamber Choir. A choral scholar at King’s College Cambridge, he then sang as soloist in opera and oratorio, winning several competitions and working with some of the world’s foremost musicians.

As music director of the Reading Phoenix Choir, David took the choir to the finals of both the BBC Choir of the Year and the Cork International Choral Festival. He was also Director of music at Somerville College, Oxford, making two critically acclaimed recordings and gaining many accolades for their performances in the UK and abroad.