The Royal Over-Seas League awards Gold Medal in 71st year of the Annual Music Competition. The top prize was awarded to Belgian clarinettist Emile Souvagie after wowing the panel and gathered audience with a spectacular performance of Poulenc’s Clarinet Sonata.
Last night, Belgian clarinettist Emile Souvagie became the Gold Medal winner in the competition’s 71st year, becoming the first musician not from a commonwealth country to take home the prestigious gold medal after the competition was opened to EU, EEA, Switzerland and American musicians last year. Emile was joined onstage by fellow Belgian and pianist Alexander Declercq.
The Gold Medal final was held at London’s Wigmore Hall where four soloists competed in the impressive final, Gerard Flotats cello, Bocheng Wang piano, Annabel Kennedy mezzo-soprano and Emile Souvagie clarinet. The adjudicators John Gilhooly CBE (chair), Geoff Parkin, Leon Bosch, James Baillieu, Heather Duncan, Joy Farrall, Lucy Parham, Samir Savant and Sue Spence had the task of choosing the winner and the £15,000 award.
While the judges deliberated, the ROSL 2023 Ensemble Category winners, the Fibonacci Quartet and Lumas Winds performed, following which the panel of adjudicators took to the stage to announce Emile Souvagie as the winner.
Emile Souvagie studied clarinet and early music with Benjamin Dieltjens at the Brussels Royal Conservatory and undertook further studies with Hermann Stefánsson at the Royal College of Music in Stockholm and with Ralph Manno at the Cologne University of Music. He is the principal clarinettist of Opera Ballet Flanders and a member of the Verbier Festival Orchestra and was also an academist the past season with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in Amsterdam.
Photographs by © Frances Marshall Photography