2020 Competition

London Handel Festival - 2020 Competition

Please note the following dates for the competition in 2020, although please note that applications are now closed.

Further details about the Competition can be found below, and by clicking 2020 HSC_NOTES FOR SINGERS.

Congratulations to all the successful candidates who have made it through to the First Round!  You should have been notified of your audition slot by e-mail.  If your name does not appear on the list it may be that you have said that you will submit digital files for the First Round, in which case your files will be heard on the same days as the live rounds but there is no specific time for this.

Key Dates for 2020
  • 6 – 8 February – First Round (Craxton Studios)
  • 6 March – Semi-Final (St.George’s, Hanover Square)
  • 26 March – Final (St.George’s, Hanover Square)

The Handel Singing Competition was inaugurated in 2002 and has grown to become a major international singing event, attracting some 150 applicants from all over the world in recent years. Ian Partridge and James Bowman were the first adjudicators, and past finalists include Iestyn Davies, Ruby Hughes, Lucy Crowe, Tim Mead, Sophie Junker, Anna Starushkevych and Grace Davidson.

The 2020 Competition will comprise a preliminary round of reviewing files sent digitally, and then the first “live” round at Craxton Studios.  Then follows the Semi-Final with approximately 12-15 singers accompanied by harpsichord, and then the Final with 5 or 6 singers who are accompanied by the London Handel Orchestra, conducted by Laurence Cummings.  Both the Semi-Final and Final will be held at St George’s, Hanover Square (Handel’s own church) and are open to the general public as part of the annual London Handel Festival.  These events are well attended, including by many agents and promoters.  All competitors are required to submit all-Handel programmes at each stage.  Further details about repertoire will be available at the time of application.


Ian Partridge
Catherine Denley
Michael George

Clemens Birnbaum (Director, Halle Handel Festival) – Final

Lucy Crowe (soprano, Finalist 2002)

Other names to be announced


First Prize: £5000
Second Prize: £2000
Audience Prize: £300
Finalist Prizes: £300

All Finalists in the Handel Singing Competition are guaranteed recitals in the 2021 London Handel Festival, and many past finalists are also asked to perform solos in other prestigious concerts during the Festival, and in other concerts and recitals both in the UK and abroad.  For example, the 2019 London Handel Festival featured no fewer than 20 past Finalists and there are also recent Finalists performing at the Handel Festivals both in Goettingen and Halle.  The winner of this year’s competition has also been invited to perform the solos in Messiah with the Huddersfield Choral Society, under the direction of Jane Glover, and also a prestigious recital with the City Music Society.

Age Limit

23 to 34 years old as of 1 February 2020 i.e. you must be at least 23 years old and no older than 34 on this date.