The Mozart Singing Competition: Past & Present  

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The Mozart Singing Competition Past & Present


I used to run a music school in Southport with my husband, Alex Abercrombie. One summer's day in 1986 we did a music trip to York with one of our staff, Julie Ann Carr, and we discussed the possibility of running a music festival for our students and of running a competition for aspiring young professionals.
So in 1986 we launched the West Lancashire Music Festival and in 1987 The Mozart Competition for young pianists under 18. We had preliminary auditions in London and Manchester and there were 45 entrants. The semi-final was held at our music school, and the final at Southport's Floral Hall. The joint winners were Freddie Kempf (9) and David Horne. Most piano competitions are considered to be rigged so I was anxious that all should be seen to be fair. At the semi-final, I picked Alex's cousin Judge Dick Hamilton and his daughter Susan to count the jury votes. I reckoned they were the most respectable folks in the audience!
The following year we ran the competition for singers and kept the same format until 1994. Since that time we have had singing competitions nearly every year - mainly because sponsors seem to be more interested in singers.
Well, we have come along way since 1987. This time 115 singers applied from pretty well all over the world, and the Mozart Singing Competition regularly attracts the largest entry for an annual competition in the UK.

Barbara Dix



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