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Outstanding young musicians awarded Patricia Pratt Scholarships

09 May 2018 | media

Three outstanding young musicians—cellist Matthias Balzat, tenor Filipe Manu and soprano Katherine McIndoe—have been awarded 2018 Patricia Pratt Scholarships in Musical Performance, enabling them to continue their postgraduate development at renowned international music schools.

Three other students (who received scholarships last year) have been awarded a second year of funding as Patricia Pratt Scholars: Madison Nonoa-Horsefield (Guildhall School of Music and Drama [GSMD]), Sam Rich (San Francisco Conservatory) and Bradley Wood (Royal College of Music).

Patricia Pratt scholarships are supported by the Kia Ora Foundation, started in 1997 by philanthropist Annette Campbell-White, who was recently honoured for her life-long commitment to opera and support for artists and the performing arts, with the presentation of the 2018 International Opera Award for Philanthropy at a black-tie ceremony at the London Coliseum.

This year, Matthias Balzat, aged 19 from Auckland, has been awarded a scholarship to support his Master of Music degree at a German music school.

Having started studying at Waikato University when he was only 14 years old, Matthias completed his Bachelor of Music Performance with Honours last year.

Described as one of the finest young cellists this country has ever produced, he is currently deciding between courses at three German music schools, in Dresden, Berlin and Weimar.

Home-schooled until the age of 12, Matthias attended Wentworth College for one year before starting his degree at Waikato University at age 14.

The University’s Soloist Specialisation Programme was created to provide the most comprehensive preparation for only the most talented students who it was deemed by the University’s performance staff to have all the potential tools to make it as an internationally successful soloist or chamber musician. Matthias passed the entrance requirements by winning the New Zealand National Concerto Competition at age 14 and performing the Walton Concerto with the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra in March 2014.

“For such a success by someone so young might seem a little unusual to most. But in Matthias’ case, it was for me the first public demonstration of his extremely precocious talent and his strength of youthful character, discipline and determination to play well that has been the hallmark of his journey to this present moment,” said senior lecturer James Tennant, who taught Matthias from age 12.

After winning his first competition (Tauranga concerto competition for ages 21 and under) in 2008, at age 9, Matthias continued to compete in—and win—competitions in New Zealand, and performed both nationally and overseas. He received Sir Edmund Hillary Scholarships in three consecutive years and the Sir Edmund Hillary Medal in 2017.

As well as solo classical work, Matthias has demonstrated his versatility by performing and competing as part of several different chamber music ensembles, including the cello octet Cellophonics. As the prize for winning the 2016 Royal Over Seas League scholarship competition for tertiary ensembles, Matthias and his piano trio toured for four weeks in the UK, giving both solo and trio concerts in prestigious halls such as St Martin in the Fields and St James, Piccadilly, and took part in the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

In 2017, he returned to Christchurch, winning both the instrumental competition and the grand prize at the National Concerto 50th Anniversary competition.

Tenor Filipe Manu is being funded to carry on to his second year of study at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama (GSMD), as one of only 12 singers in the Master’s in Music Performance: Opera programme. Filipe completed his Bachelor’s of Music in Classical Performance and a Postgraduate diploma in operatic voice at Waikato University before travelling to London to further his studies.

Professor Yvonne Kenny from GSMD describes Filipe an an impressive talent who works hard to support this with sound vocal technique and refined artistry. “He has great potential for a career as an operatic tenor at the highest international level. I think he has one of the best tenor voices to come through GSMD,” she says.

Before leaving New Zealand, Filipe had great success in competitions, winning the 2017 IFAC Handa Australian singing competition, coming runner up in the 2016 Lexus song quest and New Zealand Aria competitions, and wining the Waikato, Dunedin and South Auckland aria competitions as well as the 2014 NZ Young Performer award. He also received Sir Edmund Hillary Scholarships in 4 successive years.

Since beginning at the GSMD, he has been involved in performances with the London Symphony Orchestra conducted by Sir Simon Rattle and made his Barbican debut with the LSSO under Dominic Wheeler.

“I am extremely passionate about studying at the Guildhall, as it is dream come true for me to be here. The discipline required has been instructive and has inspired me to push myself harder and reinforced my love of opera singing,” says Filipe. “I plan to continue to work hard towards achieving my ultimate goal of becoming a professional singer.”

Soprano Katherine McIndoe is also studying at the GSMD, completing her Vocal Studies Master’s.

Katherine holds a Bachelor of Music with First Class Honours in Classical Performance Voice from the New Zealand School of Music, Victoria University of Wellington. She was a Dame Malvina Major Emerging Artist with New Zealand Opera in 2015/16, and a member of the inaugural Dame Kiri Te Kanawa Foundation Singer Development Programme the following year. She won the Dame Malvina Major Foundation Wellington Aria Competition in 2015, has received a Kiwi Music Scholarships and a GSMD scholarship, and last year was the Britten-Pears Young Artist at the Aldeburgh Festival.

Described by her UK vocal coach Linnhe Robertson as a lyric soprano with exciting potential, Katherine is enjoying all the opportunities available at GSMD, participating in masterclasses, projects and performances including her Barbican debut in a small role in Jake Heggie’s Dead Man Walking, with Joyce DiDonato, the BBC Symphony Orchestra, and the BBC Singers.

“This was an extraordinary experience, with two weeks of intensive rehearsals culminating in a one-off, semi-staged performance on the Barbican stage (an emotive performance which affected audience and performers alike),” she said. “It was incredible to be part of such a powerfully moving work, and to experience contemporary opera being performed by some of the world’s leading creatives.”

David Bremner, who convenes the Selection Panel, warmly congratulated the young scholars.  “We will follow their future international careers with great pride and great interest," he said.

“I also wish to acknowledge the Kia Ora Foundation for their support. Their generosity ensures that these talented New Zealand classical performers can continue their study at internationally recognised institutions and are supported to reach their true potential on the world stage.” 

Patricia Pratt Scholarships were established by Annette Campbell-White in memory of her mother, Patricia Pratt, to assist outstanding young New Zealand musicians to continue their musical development at a renowned international music school or Conservatorium for up to two years. The scholarships are awarded for classical music performance, including vocal or instrumental performance or conducting.

Universities New Zealand, also known as New Zealand Vice-Chancellors’ Committee, administers this scholarship in addition to over 40 undergraduate and postgraduate scholarships each year. Applications for the 2019 Patricia Pratt Scholarships close on 1 March next year.

Information about the scholarship is available at