“I am feeling really lucky,” said young conductor Thomas Hawkes. The twenty-two year-old has become the first Chorus Master Scholar with Leeds Festival Chorus.
This involves regular attendance at the Chorus’s rehearsals and concerts, and personal guidance and tuition for a full twelve months. “I am sure he will make a significant contribution,” said the Chorus’s artistic adviser – and conductor – Simon Wright.
“About three years ago, we decided to establish a scholarship to encourage students who were interested in learning how to conduct a major choir,” said Chorus committee member Caroline Hedges. “We are very grateful to the Hobson Charity for offering to cover the cost over the next three years.
“The scheme was well advertised in university and college music departments, and four candidates from amongst the applicants were invited to audition in front of the choir at one of our weekly rehearsals. Thomas was chosen.”
Thomas grew up in Germany where he studied the organ, piano and violin. After arriving at the University of York in 2013, he studied conducting with John Stringer and organ with Roger Tebbet. As a conductor, he has performed in Austria, Germany and England with the University of York Concert Band and Concert Orchestra. He was also the conductor of Mozart’s Così fan tutte for the University of York’s Opera Society.