Hailing from Denver, Colorado, Lea Shaw is an award-winning Mezzo Soprano. Recently graduated from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland with a Bachelor of Music I. Vocal Performance with honours of the 1st Class, and a Masters in Music, Lea will be studying at the Alexander Gibson Opera School in the autumn of 2019. Lea was accepted at the age of sixteen with Scholarship, where she was the youngest to be studying the BMus Vocal Performance course (Hons) when she began the program at 17. Now 22, Lea is undertaking her Masters of Music at the RCS under the tutelage of Helen Lawson. Lea has received many accolades, including being Commended at the 2014 Jean Highgate Competition; receiving the Winnie Busfield Prize for Singing 2014; representing the RCS at the Kathleen Ferrier Bursary Competition in 2014, the Governor’s Recital Prize for Chamber music in February of 2017, winning First Place in the Leonie Kayser Prize for Singing, as well as the Norma Grieg French Song Prize and Ramsay Calder Debussy Prize in May 2017, and winning second prize in the Hugh S. Robertson Prize for Scots Song in November 2017. She is the proud recipient of the 2018 Musicians Company Silver Medal.
In her time undertaking her studies, Lea has sung in several operas as a member of the chorus within and without RCS: MMus Opera scenes (RCS 2015); Vaughan Williams’ Sir John In Love (RCS 2015); Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress (Edinburgh International Festival 2015); Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel (St. Magnus International Festival 2016); Strauss’ Die Fledermaus (RCS 2017). Individual roles include Fidalma in Cimarosa's Il Marito Segredo (2017) Third Maiden in Strauss' Elektra (2017), Dorabella (Cosi fan Tutti), Idiamante (Idomeneo), Olga (Eugene Onegin), and Thisbe (La Cenerentola ) in RCS Opera Scenes (2018 - 2019) chorus and covering the role of Emma Jones in Kurt Weill’s Street Scene (RCS, May 2018) the Page and Slave in Strauss’ Salome (EPOG, August 2018), and simultaneously playing the role of Second Witch and covering Dido in Purcell's Dido and Aneas (RCS, March 2019).
Lea has appeared as a masterclass participant under Roger Vignoles, Susan Bullock, Susan McCulloch, and soloist in Vaugan Williams' Serenade To Music at the 2017 Leeds Lieder Festival. She has also performing works by Graham Haire at the 2017 ANIMUSIC Congress in Porto, Portugal. She is a recurring soloist in concert and oratorio, both in classical and baroque and in more contemporary works, having performed as soloist in the English premier of Erwin Schulloff's lost oratorio of the Communist Manifesto with the University of Glasgow in April 2018, soloist in Duke Ellington's Sacred Service as part of the 2017 West End Festival, the Chichester Psalms under Marin Alsop at the Edinburgh International Festival 2016, and as featured soloist in Handel’s Messiah, the Bach Magnificat, and Haydn’s Nelson Mass across the UK. She has also performed in solo capacity in a recurring relationship with the Ye Cronies Opera Society, the St. Magnus Festival, the Westbourne Music Series, Amnesty International, and the En Blanc Et Noir Festival, and has performed concerts with the Head of Opera, as well as the Principal, of the RCS. She has premiered works by Sir James Macmillan in close collaboration, and performed for HRH Prince Charles.
In her solo pursuits, Lea is passionate about the way in which music, and the arts, can catalyze social change and bring light to issues in today's society, including but not limited to exoticism in the arts, and the current dialogues on mental health, which culminated in a performance of Schoenberg's Pierrot Lunaire in June 2018, and a highly acclaimed performance of Peter Maxwell Davies’ monodrama The Medium in June 2019, focused on the perception of trauma and madness in the performing arts. Lea has been supported in her masters studies by the RCS Trust, Help Musicians UK, and is the recipient of the Musicians' Company Goldman Award. She is gratefully supported in her education at the Alexander Gibson Opera School by the RCS Trust, The Drake Calleja Trust, and is the recipient of a Sybil Tutton Opera Award from Help Musicians UK.