Chichester Festival for Music, Dance and Speech

The John Warner Memorial Award Competition - a brief history

In 1986, Dorothy Warner gave £5000 to the Festival in memory of her husband John with the wish that the money be used for furthering the career of young singers.


The Festival decided to put this money into a memorial fund, the investment income being used to provide a monetary award for the winner of the  John Warner Memorial Competition.


The standard of entries has been very high over the years and there have been many outstanding singers who have gained international recognition and acclaim.


The following are a few examples :-





Daniela Lehner Winner in 2002

Daniela performed an outstanding recital at the Chichester Festivities.

Prizes include a Georg Solti Scholarship, Kiwanis-Prize for Young Musicians and a Rotary Club Award.
In January 2006, Daniela had her Carnegie Hall debut and her Wigmore Hall recital debut in February 2007.


Jayasinghe Kishani Winner in 2004

The winner of the 2004 competition,  Kishani Jayasinghe was one of four young singers taken on by the Royal Covent Garden Opera in their Young Artists programme.

She made her debut in 2006 with a major role in “The Queen of Spades” , followed by the role of Ines in “Il Trovatore “ in 2007.


Anna Leese Winner in 2006

The 2006 winner was a soloist in the BBC Proms and Covent Garden opera.


Ben Johnson (Tenor) Runner-up in 2006

Ben won the First Prize at the 2008 Kathleen Ferrier awards, the first out-right male winner for 13 years.

Finalist at the Cardiff Singer of the World in 2013 and won the Audience Prize.

Professor of singing at the Royal College of Music.


Helen-Jane Howells (Soprano) Winner in 2008

Winner of the 2010 Patricia Routledge English Song Competition, Helen-Jane has sung Eve in Jonathan Kent’s production of The Fairy Queen for Glyndebourne

Festival Opera and at the Opéra Comique and Brooklyn Academy of Music with Les Arts Florissants and William Christie.





Katerina Karneus took part in 1989

Katarina studied at Trinity College of Music in London. In 1994 she was the recipient of the Christine Nielsen Award.

In 1995 she won the Cardiff Singer of the World


Susan Legg Winner  in 1990

Susan was a Kathleen Ferrier Competition Finalist in 1994.

After her 1995 Wigmore Hall recital debut (recorded by the BBC), she won the Richard Tauber Schubert Society Prize and was finalist in the Belvedere International Singing Competition, Vienna.

Now at the University of Chichester.


Charlotte Page Winner  in 1991

Charlotte has sung over thirty principal operatic roles for the Royal Opera, Covent Garden, the Welsh National Opera and Opera Northern Ireland.

She starred as Christine in Phantom of the Opera at Her Majesty's Theatre London.


Andrew Foster-Williams Winner  in 1995

Andrew studied at Royal Academy of Music in London where he was made an Associate.

Operatic engagements have included the Göttingen Handel Festival, Glyndebourne On Tour, and the Early Opera Company.


Fiona Hammacott Winner  in 2000

Fiona studied at the Royal College of Music in London.

She has since sung the role of Mercedes in Carmen with The Garden Opera Company.