Current Recipients & Alumni

RBS Nadia Nerina Scholarship

Amir Shah


Amir is an Indian national from Mumbai. He is the youngest of seven children, five boys and two girls.  Amir attended a local state school but dropped out in the 10th grade. In 2013 he gained entry to the Going Home Project of the Danceworx Theatre Society, which was set up to help talented young people from socio-economically deprived backgrounds to train and build a professional career in dancing.  Amir then joined the Oregon Ballet Theatre in Portland in December 2016 and although he was initially going to New York to complete his studies Amir has since chosen to attend The Royal Ballet School. Amir’s development as a dancer in just two-and-a-half years is impressive. He has a special natural talent for ballet that lends itself readily to professional training, and extraordinary focus and commitment





©The Royal Ballet School/Emily Dixon.

Yu Hang


Born in Jilin in Northeast China, Yu Hang was accepted into the Dance School of the prestigious Shanghai Theatre Academy for Ballet on a scholarship. She had the honour of being taught by  well-known teacher Lin Meifang who has produced many outstanding dance talents. To study at The Royal Ballet School, however had always been Yu Hang’s dream and the motivation for her hard work and in 2016 she was delighted to be offered a full scholarship to continue her training in London.

Yu Hang was the first Chinese winner of the 2016 Prix de Lausanne in 29 years. In the same year, she won the gold medal in the women’s Senior Division (dancers ages 15-19) of the Youth America Grand Prix (YAGP). Yu Hang is only the third person to win both the Prix de Lausanne and Youth America Grand Prix.

Joonhyuk Jun

South Korean

Having won the top prize at the 2016 Youth America Grand Prix, Joonhyuk Jun graduated from The Royal Ballet School in 2017 and became an Aud Jebsen Young Dancers Programme with The Royal Ballet. Joon becomes the first South Korean to be accepted into the company and only the second Korean to be a member of any of the renowned classical ballet companies in the world.  Joon is an Artist with The Royal Ballet, London.

Hannah Bettes


Hannah won the Gold Medal in the Junior Division at the Youth America Grand Prix in 2011 and received a Silver Medal in the Pre-Professional Division in the World Ballet Competition. The following year she was invited to compete at the Prix de Lausanne and was awarded 2nd prize and “Audience Choice Award”. Also in 2012 she won the Gold Medal in the Senior Division at the Youth American Grand Prix winner. Hannah danced with The Royal Ballet during her time as a Nadia Nerina Scholar. At the end of her second year with The Royal Ballet School, she joined Boston Ballet where she was recently promoted to Second Soloist and is considered to be one of the rising stars.

Esteban Hernandez


Since his graduation from The Royal Ballet School, Esteban has been honoured with the Latino Spirit Award from the California Latino Legislative Caucus for his achievements in the performing arts and he was named one of the Top 100 Most Influential People in Mexico. He received a Jerome Robbins Foundation Award and gold medals at the Youth America Grand Prix. He is a Soloist with San Francisco Ballet.

ENO Mackerras Conducting Fellowship

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Matthew Kofi Waldren


Born in Geneva‚ of Anglo-Ghanaian descent, Matthew studied initially at the Royal College of Music, Cambridge University and at Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Most recent and upcoming engagements include La Rondine, La bohème for Opera Holland Park; Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Texting Heer for Royal Opera House; Lakmé and Il Barbiere di Siviglia for Opera Holland Park.  His debut studio album, Will Todd’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, was released in 2015 and entered the official specialist classical chart at number one. The disc has been critically-acclaimed and has been heard on BBC Radio 3.  He will conduct The Marriage of Figaro for English National Opera in April 2018.  Matthew was ‘Newcomer’ finalist in the prestigious International Opera Awards 2017.

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Toby Purser


Toby is Artistic Director and Founder of the Orion Orchestra, Artistic Director of the Peace and Prosperity Trust, and Principal Guest Conductor of the London International Orchestra.He began his musical studies as a chorister and a music scholar at Winchester College then Oxford University.Toby Purser first came to prominence as a prize winner at the Leeds Conducting Competition in 2002, and was appointed Assistant Conductor of L’Ensemble Orchestral de Paris for 2007 following his participation in the Vendome Academy with Janos Furst and John Nelson.Working with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and the tenor Jesús León, his most recent CD, Bel Canto, has just been released on Opus Arte.His debut CD with the Orion Orchestra was released in 2010, with critical acclaim praising his “passionate but finely nuanced” conducting. For English National Opera, he has conducted The Marriage of Figaro. At Grange Park Opera, he has conducted Madama Butterfly, Eugene Onegin, Rigoletto and Fortunio.  In 2018 he will conduct La traviata and The Turn of the Screw for English National Opera.

Fergus Macleod


While a choral and instrumental scholar at Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge Fergus founded a new music group, Ensemble CB3, with whom he gave numerous world premieres by composers such as David Thorne and Thomas Hewitt-Jones; conducted performances of Handel’s Xerxes with Fitzwilliam Chamber Opera and was appointed Conductor of the Cambridge University Music Society. He became the ENO’s youngest conductor for 60 years, when, at 28, he conducted The Mikado.

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Gergely Madaras


Gergely is Music Director of the Orchestre Dijon Bourgogne and Chief Conductor of the Savaria Symphony Orchestra in his native Hungary. Working widely throughout Europe, this season Gergely makes highly anticipated debuts with the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Orchestre Philharmonique Royal de Liège, The Hallé, Copenhagen Philharmonic, Württembergisches Kammerorchester, Ulster, Hungarian National and Warsaw National Philharmonic Orchestras among others. As a result of immediate re-invitations, he also returns to conduct the Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale della RAI, BBC Symphony and Hungarian Radio Symphony Orchestras, as well as the Hungarian State Opera.  In 2011 Gergely was one of three finalists at the 52nd Besançon International Competition for Young Conductors, and won the ARTE Live Web prize. That same year, he received the Junior Prima Prize, the most prestigious award in Hungary presented annually to outstanding young artists.

RCM Benjamin Britten Piano Fellowship

Nikola Avramovic


Recognised as one of Serbia’s most talented young musicians, Nikola twice won the first prize at the EPTA Competition and second prize in the Joan Chissell Schumann Piano Competition. He has been recognised in several prestigious Serbian competitions, including first prize at the Republic Piano Competition and second prize at the International Competition. He has given recitals throughout Europe and performed at various UK festivals.

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Alexander Ullman


Alexander studied at the Purcell School, the Curtis Institute of and the Royal College of Music. In 2011 Alexander won 1st Prize at the Liszt Competition in Budapest. He was selected for representation by Young Classical Artists Trust (YCAT) in 2014. Alexander has given concerts across Europe, Asia and America, highlights including recitals at the Leipzig Gewandhaus, Festspiele Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Teatro Ghione (Rome), Louisiana Museum of Modern Art (Copenhagen), Archive Nationales (Paris), Auditorio de la Diputación de Alicante, Shanghai Oriental Arts Centre, Beijing NCPA and La Jolla Arts Festival (California). He has collaborated with the Dover Quartet and cellist Michael Petrov. This season Alexander returns to Wigmore Hall, gives recitals in the Nottingham International Piano Series, St John the Evangelist Arts International Piano Series (Oxford) and Perth Concert Hall, and makes his debut with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and Manchester Camerata. Further afield he tours throughout Argentina, Columbia and China and takes part in the Chopin Festival in Majorca. During his studies Alexander has won numerous awards including 1st Prize at the Lagny-sur-Marne International Competition (2013), the Tunbridge Wells International Young Concert Artists Competition (2012), and 2nd Prize at the Isidor Bajic Memorial International Competition (2014).  In October 2017 Alexander won 1st Prize at the prestigious 11th International Liszt Competition.

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Pavel Kolesnikov


Since becoming Prize Laureate of the Honens Prize for Piano in 2012, Pavel has performed around the world.  Significant recital and festival appearances include Zankel Hall at Carnegie Hall, Berlin’s Konzerthaus, the Louvre (Paris), Vancouver Recital Society, La Jolla Music Society, Spoleto Festival USA, Canada’s Ottawa ChamberFest and Banff Summer Festival, Plush Music Festival, and the BBC Proms.  Recent and upcoming orchestral appearances include London Philharmonic, Philharmonia Orchestra, Russia’s National Philharmonic, Orquestra Sinfônica Brasileira and Toronto Symphony Orchestra. Pavel is also a member of BBC Radio 3’s New Generation Artists for 2014 to 2016. A live recording of Pavel’s prize-winning performances was released on the Honens label in March 2013, about which the BBC Music Magazine wrote “tremendous clarity, unfailing musicality and considerable beauty”.  His debut studio recording was released on the Hyperion label to critical acclaim, with The Sunday Times described his playing on this as having “affection and élan”.  His current disc of the Chopin Mazurkas, released on the Hyperion label, has won worldwide critical acclaim, winning a Diapason D’Or Award in November 2016.

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Dinara Klinton


Dinara has won many awards in prestigious international competitions, including Third prize at the Cleveland International Piano Competition in USA, Third prize at the BNDES International Piano Competition in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Second Prize and Special prizes for the best performance of the Semi-final recital, Chopin’s composition and Paderewski works at the 9th International Paderewski Competition in Bydgoszcz, Poland. Dinara has appeared at many international music festivals including the Rheingau Music Festival, International Festival of Piano “La Roque d’Antheron”, Aldeburgh Proms, Cheltenham festival and with many orchestras such as The Philharmonia Orchestra, Lucerne Symphony Orchestra and the St Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra. Dinara made her debut recording at the age of sixteen; Music of Chopin and Liszt. Her second album Liszt: Études d’exécution transcendante, S. 139 was released in 2016 with GENUIN Classics, and in 2017she has recorded as part The Fryderyc Chopin recording series: Chopin.

TA International Ibsen Fellowship

Maren Bjørseth


Maren E. Bjørseth studied Directing at the Theaterschool Amsterdam and presented her own style with her thesis directing of A Doll’s House in 2012: a radical, playful and form-conscious reinterpretation of Ibsen’s classic. For the next four years, she will be one of the permanent directors at Toneelschuur Producties, creating four performances, two of which in collaboration with TA-2/Toneelgroep Amsterdam. The first in the series – Emilia Galotti – premiered in January 2017.