Royal Conservatoire of Scotland celebrates Cardiff Singer of the World star as newest Honorary Professor

Published: October 3, 2017


A Scottish mezzo soprano and one of the world’s finest emerging opera performers is to receive an Honorary Professorship from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland at its winter graduation ceremony.

BBC Cardiff Singer of the World winner and Royal Conservatoire alumna Catriona Morison will receive the accolade from her alma mater, ranked in the world’s top three for performing arts education and number one in Scotland for graduate employability, at its ceremony on Thursday 26 October. The ceremony will also include the conferment of a Fellowship upon Scott Mitchell, a Keyboard and Collaborative Piano Lecturer and accompanist at Scotland’s national conservatoire.

Catriona, who represented Scotland, is the first singer from the British Isles to win the prestigious main prize at the BBC Cardiff competition in its 34 year history after impressing a judging panel of Welsh National Opera director David Pountney, mezzo soprano Grace Bumbry, soprano Sumi Jo, baritone Wolfgang Holzmair and conductor Anu Tali. She was one of 400 international entrants to BBC Cardiff Singer of the World, a globally recognised showcase for the finest young international opera and concert singers at the start of their careers. Catriona was selected for the final 20 alongside fellow Royal Conservatoire of Scotland graduates Anush Hovhannisyan and Dominic Barberi, representing Armenia and England respectively, going on to win the competition’s main and song prizes.

Originally from Edinburgh, Catriona’s early studies were as a member of the RCS Junior Conservatoire as a joint first study singer and violist. She went on to study for her BMus (Hons) and PGDip Opera Studies at the Royal Conservatoire and graduated from the institution’s Alexander Gibson Opera School in 2013 with an MMus Opera with Distinction. She became a Samling Artist in her final year at the Alexander Gibson Opera School, is a member of the ensemble at Wuppertal Opera in Germany and a BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artist.

Scott Mitchell has performed extensively as a chamber music pianist and accompanist throughout Great Britain, Europe, South America and the Middle East. As a recording artist he has released CDs for Chandos Records, ASV, Collins Classics, Black Box and Tosca Records. He recorded Dave Heath’s Piano Concerto, The Passionate, with the BBC Concert Orchestra, on the Freestyle classics label. He is a regular performer on BBC Radio 3 and Classic FM and has also appeared on Channel 4 and the satellite Arts Channel.

Scott has performed with John Wallace (trumpet), Michael Collins and Emma Johnson (clarinets), Raphael Wallfisch (cello), Andrew Watkinson (violin), Richard Watkins (French horn), James Bowman (counter-tenor) and Andrew Kennedy (tenor), also with the Duke Quartet. He performs regularly in a duo capacity with flautists Wissam Boustany, Katherine Bryan, Ruth Morley and Yvonne Paterson, also clarinettists John Cushing and Maximiliano Martin and saxophonists Simon Haram and Carole Sutherland. In competitions he has been awarded the Lisa Fuchsova Prize for outstanding chamber music pianist and the Eric Rice Memorial Prize for outstanding accompanist, both at the Royal Overseas League Music Competition in London.

Professor Jeffrey Sharkey, Principal of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, said: “It is with great delight that Scotland’s national conservatoire will celebrate the wonderful successes of Catriona and Scott.

“Catriona is one of the leading performers of her generation, already enjoying a busy international career, and Scott is a world-renowned pianist and accompanist. We are very proud to recognise and mark their achievements.”

Professor Sharkey will confer the Honorary Professorship and Fellowship at the graduation ceremony on 26 October at the Royal Conservatoire in Glasgow. Catriona and Scott will be joined by around 70 students who are graduating from across the disciplines of MA (Classical and Contemporary Text), MA Learning and Teaching (Gaelic Arts), MA Musical Theatre (Performance and Musical Directing), Master of Arts (Music) and Med Learning and Teaching in the Performing Arts.

Image courtesy of Claudia Scheer van Erp