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Madeleine Pierard wins the 2005 Lexus Song Quest

Anne O'Brien and Arne Herrmann - 29/04/05

Madeleine Pierard joined the elite ranks of New Zealand opera singers this evening when she won the 2005 Lexus Song Quest at the competitionís finals concert in the Auckland Town Hall.

Madeleine Pierard
Madeleine Pierard
Photo Soutce: New Zealand International Arts Festival
Click here to view a larger version

The Lexus Song Quest (formerly known as the Mobil Song Quest) was established in 1956 and is a premiere biennial event in the arts calendar, focussed on artistic development for New Zealandís most talented young classical singers. Previous winners include Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, Dame Malvina Major and Jonathan Lemalu.

In a tightly-fought contest in front of legendary American Diva and competition judge Grace Bumbry, mezzo Madeleine Pierard triumphed with performances of Duparcís Chanson triste in the Lieder and Art Song section, and Mozartís Parto, parto (La Clemenza di Tito) and Rossiniís Una voce poco fa (The Barber of Seville) in the Orchestral Section.

The winner said she was stunned by her success.
ďI am absolutely dumbstruck and I find it difficult to breath,Ē said Pierard. She hoped that the win would help her to open many doors.

Competition judge Grace Bumbry said she was impressed by Pierardís professionalism. ďIt is quite unique to see such concentration and focus in such a young lady. That made the difference.Ē said Bumbry.

Twenty-three year old Pierard hails from Napier but is currently resident in Wellington. She has a Bachelor of Music in Composition and in Performance Voice from Victoria University of Wellington and is currently doing an Honours course in Performance Voice. Pierard is a member of TOWER Voices New Zealand, the Tudor Consort and the Chapman Tripp Chorus of the NBR New Zealand Opera and was a member of TOWER New Zealand Youth Choir from 2000 to 2003. In 2004 she won the PACANZ National Young Performer Award as well as a Rotary Scholarship for excellence in the study of music and, in 2005, she is the holder of a Moyra Todd Scholarship.

As winner, Pierard receives a cash prize of $10,000 and a Study Scholarship of $15,000 plus a return economy international airfare. Lesser cash prizes and scholarships were awarded to the runners-up and the other three finalists were each awarded $3,500.

Second and third placegetters were, respectively, Allison Cormack and Jamie Frater. The other finalists were Joanna Heslop, Penelope Muir, and Robert Tucker.

A further chance to hear the winner and finalists is available to members of the public when Grace Bumbry leads masterclasses in Auckland (April 29), Wellington (May 30), Dunedin (May 2) and Christchurch (May 3). Admission is free.

The Lexus Song Quest is an initiative of the New Zealand International Arts Festival.


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