'You jump-started me at the very beginning of my career, helping me through college... not only me, there were at least a dozen other singers of my generation who... as a result of your generosity had the privilege to study with this or that maestro in Europe and the USA.'
Dame Janet Baker
'A singer who's won your backing carries a sort of Good Housekeeping seal of approval... They (the singers) are able to have the truth and an honest opinion from someone... which is very rare in our profession.'
The Peter Moores Foundation Scholarships were launched at the London Opera Centre in 1971 and subsequently were based at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester. PMF Scholarships were awarded annually through audition to promising students and postgraduates and were intended to support them during their college studies and at the threshold of their careers.
Scholars were judged on potential and then continue to be assessed on their progress and achievement according to their age and experience. The young singers selected were encouraged to keep the Foundation informed of their progress and some received additional assistance as their careers developed.
Project Awards were also granted to singers to assist them in furthering their knowledge and experience during the early stages of their careers. The awards supported, for example, language tuition in the appropriate country, attendance at masterclasses or summer courses, specialised repertoire study with an acknowledged expert in the field, or post-graduate performance training.
PMF Scholarships' Adviser
The Scholarships' Adviser provided guidance and advice to recipients of PMF Scholarships and Awards and was an invaluable link between the Foundation and the young singers it supported. The first incumbent in this vital role was the distinguished soprano Adele Leigh. She was succeeded in 2000 by the international mezzo-soprano and vocal coach, Sarah Walker.
Dame Joan Sutherland
'I cannot ever forget the help that I received when it was very important to bridge the gap between my happy and very fruitful time as a member of the Royal Opera company and managing to sustain the international career which opened up for me after Lucia.'
'He's always been available to talk about or help a young singer.'
Andrew Sritheran, a PMF scholar, was recommended to Peter Moores Foundation by Marilyn Horne.
Rodney Milnes. opera critic, musicologist and translator
'Barry Banks, Alice Coote, Colin Davis, Jane Eaglen, Geraint Evans, Simon Keenlyside, Mary Plazas, Rosalind Plowright, Joan Rodgers, Amanda Roocroft, Joan Sutherland. In tactful alphabetical order, those are just some of the 200-plus artists who have benefited from Peter's help, and whose subsequent work has benefited us, the audience, quite incalculably.
You will have noticed that some of those names pre-date the Peter Moores Foundation: he's been at it, personally, since his early twenties. But neither he nor the Foundation just hand out cheques. He takes deep personal interest in each recipient, and having worked in every department of the operatic store, from assistant producer upwards, he's professionally qualified to do so.
He senses, more than that, knows, what is needed at any particular moment, whether it's an allergy test, a comfortable pair of shoes, which as Birgit Nilsson has taught us, is the main essential for singing Isolde, or new concert attire or, as in the case of Sutherland, enabling an artist to afford to say "no".'
from a speech at Mansion House, September, 2002
Sir Peter Moores
'It's very useful for artists not to have to take the next job that comes along just to pay the bills. Kirsten Flagstad said that she was able to develop artistically because she had support from her well-to-do husband.
At first I just did it as I could – I helped Joan Sutherland before she became famous, and Colin Davis, when he was a clarinettist and wanted to be a conductor.
I got more systematic later on, and started the Foundation. I went to the London Opera Centre and offered to hear singers and later to organize some prizes through the Royal Northern College of Music.
To be really helpful in anything, you must offer what's needed – you can't just throw money at something or someone. So the Foundation does not offer a prize of a fixed amount, nor is there a fixed number of awards. We identify very gifted, promising people and then we try to determine what they actually need.
And the artists we help don't just get singing lessons; they get fencing lessons and enunciation lessons and acting lessons, and they get very impolite notes from me saying "You're singing flat," and so forth.
We expect results; we expect progress from the people we're supporting, and they have to show us that. They don't get anything for standing still. It's a bit like raising children; you don't give them sweets for not doing their homework.'
20 December 2014