The Richard Lewis/Jean Shanks Trust* is one of the UK's largest musical charities for singers and its principal remit is to support the development and training of young artists and help realise their talent.
This Trust was established in 1993 by Richard’s widow Elizabeth Muir-Lewis three years after his death and, following a generous initial endowment from the Jean Shanks Foundation, it was then able to make its first award; an annual £7,000 to fund one of Glyndebourne’s young and promising singers to train at the National Opera School in London. The fruits of this initial award are clear to see among its first recipients – Emma Bell (pictured, right), for example, is now an acclaimed international soprano.
Presently, this funding is now shared with The Worshipful Company of Musicians to support the John Christie Glyndebourne Award, which directly funds a young singer each year to help them develop and improve their singing and stagecraft skills.
Then, in 2005, further funds were left to the Trust from Jean Shank’s estate – following her death – which was used to extend the Trust’s awards to include the Royal Academy of Music in a bid to help young singers at a more vulnerable time in their careers.
The annual (and competitive) Richard Lewis award via the Royal Academy of Music includes a £14,000 singer’s prize plus a Webb accompanist’s prize of £3,500.
Candidates for the competition must be students at the Royal Academy of Music and, following an initial selection process and several days of competition (open to the public) each year at the Royal Academy of Music’s Duke’s Hall, the winners of both prizes are announced on the final night.
Also, a rehearsal space has been established in the Royal Academy of Music, known as the Richard Lewis room. The Royal Academy of Music archives have in depth information, scores, and photographs of Richard Lewis.
*Charity Number 010-02-72