Matthew McKinney

Award: Ian Fleming Award

Year: 2020

Genre: Classical

Instrument/voice type: Tenor

Location: Royal Conservatoire of Scotland

Still a young and developing singer, Matthew McKinney is a tenor studying a vocal masters at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, supported by Help Musicians. He has had the privilege of working under and beside musicians such as Harry Christophers, Sir John Eliot Gardiner, Donald Runnicles, Sir Andrew Davies, Ed Gardiner and Malcolm Martineau already in his short musical career. His singing has taken him to the Royal Albert hall, Barbican, Philarmonie de Paris, Grant park arena and Carnegie hall. Last year, Matthew performed a new commission by Sir James Macmillan for his Royal Highness, Prince Charles, in Dumfries house.

In concert, Matthew has recently performed as a soloist in Bach’s St. John Passion (Evangelist) and Magnificat, Haydn’s Creation and (alongside the RCS symphony Orchestra) Nelson Mass, Handel’s Messiah, Mozart’s Requiem and Mass in C Minor, Puccini’s Messa di Gloria (with the orchestra of Scottish opera in Glasgow’s city halls) and Saint-Saëns’ Christmas Oratorio. Matthew appeared as a soloist in the Usher hall last August as part of the Edinburgh Festival’s concert series celebrating Young performers.

Matthew has won the Norma Grieg prize for French, Molly Robb competition for voice, the Edith Brass prize for lieder singing and the Agnus Millar prize for sight singing. He placed second in the A Ramsey Calder Debussy prize for French song and was highly commended in the Elgar Spedding memorial prize for lieder and Glasgow opera society cup for voice.

Matthew is especially grateful to the Robertson Trust, Help Musicians and the ABRSM for supporting him through his studies, and to Robert Dean, his voice tutor.
Thanks to the generosity of Help Musicians, I am in a position to dig deeper into the world of music and opera that I am so passionate as I begin a masters course at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. After weeks filled with the sad news of the pandemic and the cancellation of all live music making, hearing this offer filled me with hope for better days, and also highlighted how lucky I am to be someone with a silver lining amidst everything that has happened. I can't thank Help Musicians enough for this.