ABOUT THE AWARDS

As we enter our second year of the Ashburnham English Song Awards, I would like to reflect on where it all started. This journey began after lockdown in 2021, when I wanted to find a way to instil an interest amongst young singers and pianists in the rich variety of English Song repertoire. It was initially propelled by the death of a much-loved member of our musical community, Molly Townson, and the wealth of music, much of it English Song, which her family kindly entrusted to my care. The combination of Molly’s legacy, and my own interest in re-engaging our young singers in English song, planted the seed of a project nearer to home.

French song tradition has chanson; Italian song tradition has canzone/canzonette; German song tradition has Lieder. English Song, for the Ashburnham English Song Awards, is a concise composition of melody and words in the English language by composers of the British Isles and Ireland, performed by singers and pianists up to the age of thirty-two. In establishing the Awards, with this firmer definition of English Song, we hope to given performers the opportunity to achieve excellence in this genre. With absolutely no funds, we were, and still are entirely dependent on the kindness of supporters. We have received incredible support to bring us this far, but we need more. Details of how you might support us can be found on the Support Us page above.

The programme for the Final featured the excellence not only of English Song but also of the promising singers and pianists of today, who devised thoughtful, creative selections, drawing from a wide range of repertoire. Everyone present enjoyed the unique and special performances and, we hope, left with an appreciation and enjoyment of English Song.

Louise Winter, Artistic Director

Ellen Pearson and Archie Bonham (left), winners of the 2024 Molly Townson Award for the Best Singer and the Hope Gosse Award for the Best Pianist, as well as the Prize for the Best Duo. With them is Molly Townson’s son, Wesley Stace.