Bianca Andrew

Bianca Sings at London's Guildhall

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My name is Bianca Andrew and I've been given the opportunity to study opera at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama in London. I need to raise a total of $160,000 to cover my tuition and living costs for the duration of my two-year Artist Masters programme. The Guildhall School has awarded me a part-scholarship. In May of this year I had the opportunity to sing for Dame Kiri Te Kanawa and I am incredibly grateful to her Foundation for awarding me a grant to help cover a further portion of my tuition fees. By donating to my Boosted campaign, you will be helping me to raise the remaining $16,000 I need to cover my tuition fees for my first year at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama.

 About Me

I discovered opera by accident when I was sixteen years old, not in an opera house, but at The Warehouse. In one of the red bargain bins I spied a CD with the title: '100 Best Classical Hits - $5'. I had exactly five dollars pocket money, so I bought the album on a whim and took it home. That afternoon, exquisite voices singing the love duet from Puccini's opera Madama Butterfly sailed out of the little stereo in my bedroom, and struck my sixteen-year old heart right to its core. I was so affected by this music that I decided, from that day forth, opera had to be my life and my world.

I graduated from the New Zealand School of Music in 2011, with a Bachelor and Postgraduate Diploma of Music (Distinction) under the tutelage of soprano Margaret Medlyn, one of our country's great dramatic singers. Following my graduation, I was appointed as a Freemasons Dame Malvina Major Emerging Artist with New Zealand Opera, with whom I made my mainstage début in the role of Kate Pinkerton in Madame Butterfly - the very opera that got me hooked all those years ago! Now I work as a freelance singer throughout New Zealand, and this July I am a Finalist in the Lexus Song Quest - New Zealand's biggest opera competition.

London calling!

After six years studying and working as a young singer in New Zealand, it's time for me to spread my wings. I've been given the chance of a lifetime - the chance to move to one of the most cultured capitals in the world, to study at one of the most prestigious music schools in the world - The Guildhall School of Music & Drama in London.

The programme I will be studying at the Guildhall is designed to prepare singers for the demands of a professional career, with classes in foreign language studies and diction, opera and theatre coaching, stagecraft, oratorio and wide opportunities for performing in the UK and Europe.

I will be studying with Australian-born Yvonne Kenny, regarded as one of the most distinguished sopranos of her generation. When I spent hours listening to her recordings as a student at university, I never could have imagined that one day she would be my teacher.

Join me! 

Since I discovered opera all those years ago, I have been on many beautiful journeys with music. Now, I'm about to embark on my biggest journey yet.

Thank-you for helping me to make my dream of studying in London come true. It is a privilege to be able to take you with me.

Bianca

www.biancaandrew.com | www.songquest.co.nz

UPDATES

  • Thank-You & Off We Go!

    39 MONTHS AGO

    What an amazing final few days of our campaign here on Boosted! It has been tremendously humbling and exciting to see so many familiar and even not-so familiar names donating generously towards my project. My gratitude also to Simon, Bryna & Mitch at the Arts Foundation and Dan Monaghan for helping me to set up and run this page.

    Together, you have all helped me to pay the remainder of my first year tuition fees at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama in London - fees that I would never have been able to tackle on my own!

    I fly out to London on the 10th of September - so I have just a month to get the last bits and pieces together before I embark on my operatic adventure.

    Before I go, I'll be performing the role of Octavian in a Days Bay Opera production of Strauss' Der Rosenkavalier. This beautiful opera will be presented at Wellesley College in Wellington, and if you would like to come along you can order your tickets at www.daysbayyopera.org.nz for our shows on the 21, 23 & 24 August. Directed by Sara Brodie, conducted (and arranged for chamber orchestra) by Michael Vinten, this will be a spectacular production to see. Octavian will be my last performance in Wellington for some time, so it would be lovely to see you there!

    I would really like to keep in touch with everyone who has helped me on my journey. If you would be happy for me to send you little updates every now and then, please email me at bianca@biancaandrew.com with 'subscribe' in the subject line.

    Remember that Boosted, hosted by the Arts Foundation, provides an essential platform for many artists like myself to continue to produce our work. If you have enjoyed helping me here, you can keep an eye out for more projects from other Kiwi artists on Boosted and support them as well. It's a pretty cool feeling knowing that with as little as $5 (or much more if you like!) you can be a part of helping something beautiful come into being.

    Once again, I extend my sincere and heartfelt thanks to you all for helping me to make my dream of studying in London come true. I look forward to returning home (hopefully in the not-too-distant future) and performing for you again!

    With love and gratitude,

    Bianca x

    Thank-You & Off We Go!
  • The Lexus Song Quest 2014

    39 MONTHS AGO

    What a fantastic night we had at the Lexus Song Quest with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra last weekend! This competition is the most prestigious of its kind in New Zealand, having launched the careers of singers such as Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, Dame Malvina Major, Jonathan Lemalu, Anna Leese and Madeleine Pierard. This year I was privileged to be one of six finalists in the competition, and we performed in the grand final in Auckland on the 26th July.

    We each had to sing two arias and one art song, accompanied by the NZSO and pinaist Terence Dennis. The attached photograph is of me singing Ben Moore's song 'Sexy Lady' - a very funny piece about a mezzo who is tired of wearing 'damnable pants' and tries to pursuade her audience that she can be 'a sexy lady'.

    Helen Medlyn was a divine MC, and Emmanuel Joel Hornak an attentive and supportive maestro to us young singers. The guest judge presented with the unenviable task of choosing a winner was Kathryn Harries - a spectacular soprano and now also the director of the National Opera Studio in London.

    Huge congratulations to my friends Isabella Moore (soprano), Benson Wilson (baritone) and Christian Thurston (baritone) who came away with first, second and third place respectively - three stars in the firmament headed for amazing things.

    Despite an initial and brief pang of disappointment at not being placed, I felt on cloud nine after having been a part of such a magnificent night of music, love and theatre.As Kathryn told us, there are many paths to 'success', and we are all going forth on our own journeys in the pursuit of a life dedicated to the richness of classical music. What a privilege, and what an adventure. I had such an enriching time being a part of the competition - the experience was truly a priceless award in itself.

    It was therefore a wonderful and unexpected surprise for me when last night I received the news that Kathryn had awarded me the Kiri Te Kanawa Scholarship for Advanced Studies at the close of the national Lexus Song Quest masterclass series. This prize, awarded to a promising singer in the Song Quest, is a significant boost for my study fund and helps me get closer to reaching my dream of studying and working as a singer in Europe. Thank-you very much to the Lexus Song Quest, the Kiri Te Kanawa Foundation and Kathryn Harries for their support and vote of confidence.

    I have been so overwhelmed by the kind, encouraging messages and donations I have received from friends and even strangers over the past weeks. Thank-you all so much for supporting me - as I stepped out onto the stage last weekend to compete I gathered all your positive energy around me and had, quite simply, one of the most enjoyable performance experiences of my career. 

    Now with only six days left until my Boosted campaign closes, I am sure we can make it to 100% of my target. It is very humbling to see how generous Boosted sponsors have been, and I sincerely thank you all for joining me. 

    Bianca x

     

    The Lexus Song Quest 2014
  • Mahler Resurrection with Wings

    40 MONTHS AGO

    'With wings that I have gained
    in a fervent striving for love
    I shall rise to a light
    which no eye has ever seen!'

    This weekend I travelled to Christchurch to perform a very special symphonic work with the Christchurch Symphony and Melbourne Youth Orchestras. Conducted by Tom Woods, these two orchestras made up a total of 117 players, and joined forces with a massed choir of about 100 voices along with soprano Amanda Winfield-Atlas and myself as soloists. We were performing Gustav Mahler's achingly beautiful and terrifying 'Resurrection' symphony.

    As you can imagine, with over 200 people and instruments to squeeze onto a stage, and with poor Christchurch having lost many of its performance venues, the CSO had to think a little outside the square when finding the right place to host this concert. And what a venue they found!

    The Air Force Museum in Wigram, Christchurch is a magnificent building, and home to some 32 military aircraft, including the Lockheed Hudson MKIII in this picture. This amazing aircraft had a funny story - it had been bought by an Oamaru farmer (goodness knows why) and used as a chicken coop after its service in the war, before being purchased and restored by the museum!

    The Museum kindly moved some of the planes around for us to make room for our audience seating and orchestra, and we performed to a full house. The acoustics were surprisingly good, too!

    The Symphony, with its themes of the never-ending cycle of life and death made for an evening of contemplation and wonder. I felt like the presence of all this military material and all the gleaming silver wings were a fitting foil for this music, which was at times warm like a lullaby, and at others terrifying, as if we were looking into hell itself.

    A friend of mine was in the audience, and told me how a gentleman took his seat next to him at the beginning of the concert, reclined right back and closed his eyes and didn't move during entire eighty-minute symphony. At the end he got up, wiped tears from his eyes and said 'Crikey, that was good'.

    And it was. I felt very lucky to have had the chance to sing this work at such a young age, and to share the experience with Amanda Winfield-Atlas, a stunning soprano who moved me to tears with her singing. Our audience was moved, too - we received a standing ovation and everyone was buzzing after the performance.

    Next up for me is the Lexus Song Quest Grand Final in Auckland on the 26th of July. I'll be posting some more updates about that next week.

    My sincere thanks to everyone who has donated to my campaign already - I am very touched by your generosity and it is fantastic to have you alongside me.

    Bianca x

     

    Mahler Resurrection with Wings