A Christ’s Hospital student, Gabriel Jacobson (Year 13), has been offered a full scholarship to study for an undergraduate degree in Vocal Studies at the Royal Academy of Music in London. Over the four-year course, Gabriel will study under the tutelage of a faculty that includes international opera singers such as Sir Thomas Allen and Susan Bullock CBE. Amazingly, he has also received an offer of a scholarship to the Royal Northern College of Music.
Although Gabriel has always enjoyed singing and has sung in choirs since childhood, he only started having singing lessons about two years ago. His teacher and Head of Singing at CH, Verity Bramson, has helped with vocal health and technique, guiding him towards suitable repertoire choices, improved performance skills and greater confidence.
‘I quickly realised that Gabriel could reach extraordinarily low notes for such a young singer,’ said Miss Bramson. ‘Operatic voices of this type take years to mature, but it was clear to me there was much potential.’
With Miss Bramson’s guidance, Gabriel entered the New Talent Festival 2023 and ended up winning in his age group as well as the overall Virtuoso Prize in the vocal category. He was also a runner-up in the English Music Society Prize with his rendition of Vaughan Williams ‘The Vagabond’.
‘It has been wonderful teaching Gabriel and watching his progress and growing self-confidence; his competition success and scholarship offers are the icing on the cake!’ enthuses Miss Bramson.
Gabriel has had many opportunities to sing and perform at Christ’s Hospital: he is a regular soloist in the various large-scale school concerts and is a member of the Chapel Choir, the Schola Cantorum – the school’s auditioned chamber choir – a Barbershop group, and other student-led choirs. It was only recently, in December 2023, when he performed the title role in the Christ’s Hospital senior drama production of Sweeney Todd, that Gabriel got the opera ‘bug’.
Gabriel, who is studying for A levels in English, philosophy, and history, joined Christ’s Hospital in Year 7 as a full boarder. ‘I am lucky enough to have a bursary to study at CH, where music and singing lessons are subsidised’ says Gabriel. ‘This has given me a gateway into musical education that I would not have had otherwise. It’s only through the encouragement of my teachers at CH and taking part in the New Talent Festival that I’ve gained the confidence to pursue singing as a career. It isn’t a career path pursued by many young men, but I can’t imagine doing anything else with as much enjoyment.’
‘Full scholarships to the Royal Academy of Music are extremely rare, not least at Gabriel’s young age’ says Head Teacher of Christ’s Hospital, Simon Reid. ‘This really is a prestigious accolade and one that is richly deserved. We look forward to following Gabriel’s career and have no doubt he will flourish.’