Born and brought up in rural Dumfries and Galloway, Nicky Spence showed early musical promise, which was nurtured both at school and in the community. From an early age, his goal was to sing professionally on the operatic stage.
Thanks to scholarship support he studied music at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, completing a BMus, MMus and MMP with distinction. Nicky became a bit of a star in his own right at an early stage while he was at the Guildhall after he made a well-received CD. But this did not deflect him from pursuing seriously his opera studies. He has recently gained entry to the highly-competitive and prestigious National Opera Studio.
Already Nicky has performed in some of the coolest venues in Europe and has sung with well-known singers as diverse as Dame Kiri te Kanawa, Dame Shirley Bassey and Bryn Terfel. He is a Britten-Pears Young Artist and Samling Scholar and his awards include the Kathleen Ferrier Young Singer’s Bursary Award, the Young Classical Performer of the Year nomination at the Classical Brit Awards and a place in the final of the Gold Medal at the Guildhall School.
Nicky’s teachers consider him to be one of the most gifted singers of his generation who is developing into a professionally exciting operatic tenor. British Youth Opera cast him as Tom Rakewell in the 2009 production of Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress. For more information about Nicky, see www.nickyspence.com.
How the Award Helped
The Dewar Arts Award will help with Nicky’s studies at the National Opera Studio.
Since the Award
During the year, Nicky was selected to represent the Studio in the annual Bruce Millar Opera Prize and repaid their confidence by bringing the prize back after many years absence. He writes that "one of the most useful elements of the Studio is its ready connection with outside entities who are working in the operatic arena." As a result he had the opportunity during the year of working with renowned singers, directors and conductors as well as auditioning for many of the major opera companies. Nicky has won principal roles in 2010-2011 at Scottish Opera (debut), ENO, Opera North, Opera Holland Park and in Paris and America.