Continuing the series profiling some of this year’s Music Scholars. This week, soprano Philippa Hardimann.
From a young age it was apparent that I had a particular flare for music, to which my parents invested much time helping me explore various creative avenues. Commencing my musical journey, at Brentwood Pre-Preparatory School I was encouraged to take up piano classes. With a growing interest in musicianship I then went on to play the ‘cello, which opened the door to a spectrum of new and challenging possibilities.
I actively participated in numerous festivals and concerts, exposing me to a vast variety of instruments including the voice. This inspired me to build on the foundations of the vocal skills I possessed and I then began classical vocal training at the age of 9. Excited by the immediate progress in my vocal lessons I entered the Chelmsford Music Festival competing against competitors much older that my primary age and to my surprise I was awarded first place in my first every class by Betty Roe. In addition I have taken part annually in the Havering borough’s Junior and Young Musician of the Year Vocal Masterclasses, with adjudicators such as Tim Travis-Brown and opera singer Lynda Russell. These achievements have showcased my talent and commitment.
In 2005 I received a Music Scholarship to Brentwood Ursuline Convent High School, where I became an ambassador for the school. Later that year I was offered a place in the prestigious School Chamber Choir, a great honor, as this was a choir for older students who had passed though an audition. Consequently I was selected to sing with an orchestra and choir in the performances of Rutter’s Requiem in Brentwood Cathedral where I sung the ‘Pie Jesu’ solo. Although this was a thrilling experience I found it somewhat daunting. Some would perceive the grand scale of the orchestra and choir to be dominating; however my excitement provided the drive to overcome this challenge!
My local church choir funded an opportunity to take my Bishops Chorister exam following this I gained my Bishop’s Chorister Award with Distinction (equivalent of RSCM Silver Award), going on to pass my RSCM Gold award. Thrilled with my ABRSM grade 7 singing distinction result, I auditioned for the Royal Academy of Music – Junior Academy, studying there from 2008-2010 under the head of Vocal faculty, Sara Reynolds. Manifesting a serious approach to my vocal career I advanced my choral singing to the next level with this in hand I passed the audition for Chelmsford Cathedral’s Consorts, intern becoming a Music Scholar.
Astonishing opportunities began to unfold before me. With a career in mind I gladly embraced them, commencing with the Tour of Disney Land Paris as part of the Brentwood Ursuline Singing Sensation. A milestone for me however, was the tour of Venice and Verona; with the Chamber Choir performing in several religious establishments amongst these were St Marks’s Basilica where were we sung mass. This exhilarating experience paved the way for my solo as the cantor at Westminster Cathedral signifying the Days of Peace before the Olympics as part of the Youth Mass of Thanksgiving.
Summer 2012 was a major turning point for me with my success in the Rotary Clubs of Harlow and Bishop’s Stortford Young Musician of the Year Competition, winning 3rd place. This armed me with the confidence and self-belief to embark upon my journey at Kent University. In recent weeks I auditioned for Genesis Sixteen, before Harry Christophers and Eamonn Dougan. It was a phenomenal experience and I am so pleased that I participated in this event.
Read the other profiles in the series here.