Dunfermline-born Jemma got her start as a singer as a chorister at Dunfermline Abbey. She was subsequently awarded a music scholarship to St Leonard’s School in St Andrews where she continued her singing and piano playing and took up the bassoon.
Through her early life Jemma’s greatest inspiration and biggest source of encouragement was her paternal grandmother who was a musician of potential but who had to forgo her place at the Royal Academy of Music because of family circumstances. She spotted the musical talent in Jemma and encouraged her to sing and make music.
Jemma moved to Glasgow to study music at Glasgow University with Pat MacMahon, where she held a Lanfine Choral Scholarship and a Currie organ studentship. She won the Hague Prize for performance on graduating. Jemma then moved to the RSAMD for postgraduate study in singing and completed a Master of Music performance the following year studying with Kathleen McKellar Ferguson.
Jemma has now gained a coveted place on the Master of Music Opera course at RSAMD continuing her studies with McKellar Ferguson.
Jemma possesses a warm mezzo soprano voice, well suited to the larger roles in opera. Her tutors believe that there are exciting times ahead of her.
How the Awards Helped
The Dewar Arts Award will help towards the costs of studying towards an MMus Opera.
After a successful first year on the RSAMD opera course, during which she won the John Ireland Prize for voice and piano and made her debut at the BBC Proms with the BBC SSO, Jemma's funding has been continued into the second and final year of her studies.