Philip Bates Trust

The Trust was set up to honour the life of Philip Bates, a young man from Castle Bromwich, Birmingham, who was tragically killed shortly after his 19th birthday in March 2000

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A Touch of Basil

A Touch Of Basil is the Philip Bates Trust’s annual concert featuring a wide range of performers representing a panoply of musical styles.

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Philip Bates Prize for Composers and Songwriters

The Philip Bates Trust and Birmingham Conservatoire  jointly run the annual Philip Bates Prize for Composers and Songwriters.

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About the Trust

Philip was a keen musician who appreciated a wide variety of styles; he should have gone on to study Music and English at Lancaster University.

Objectives of the Trust

The Philip Bates Trust aims to advance the education of young people under the age of 25 in the arts by:

The provision of awards to encourage and support their pursuit of creative and artistic achievement.

The provision of financial support to projects or workshops, which aim to develop creative and artistic interests and skills in young people.

Forthcoming Events

A Touch of Basil 2018

29th September 2018, Bishop Vesey’s Grammar School

Philip Bates Prize for Composers and Songwriters

6th November 2018, Royal Birmingham Conservatoire

Ashleyan Opera Prize

April 2019, Royal Birmingham Conservatoire

Games and Quiz Night

March 2019, Arden Hall, Castle Bromwich

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A Touch of Basil 2018









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Ashleyan Opera Prize 2015

What a fantastic evening’s entertainment we experienced with ten post-graduate singers hotly contesting this year’s Ashleyan Opera Prize. Phillippa Lay has a very promising powerful soprano voice but needs to work on opening up her high notes. Zulkifi bin Zainul, countertenor, showed some improvement since last year. Victoria Adams and Elizabeth Adams, both sopranos and we think unrelated, had also performed in last year’s competition. Both gave a good account of themselves, Victoria with Handel and Verdi and Elizabeth with Mozart and an interesting aria by Morrison, from ‘The Chinese Bridge’. Eleanor Moore, soprano, followed Elizabeth and needed a more varied programme as she sang two Mozart arias. Wesley Biggs’s light pleasant baritone ideally suited ‘O Ruddier than the Cherry’ from Acis and Galatea by Handel. He followed this with ‘Come Paride vezzoso’ from L’Elisir d’Amore by Donizetti. Bass baritone Tom Considine showed a great deal of promise but the aria from Verdi’s Macbeth was a little too big for his voice at the moment. Claudia Wood impressed with her full tone, singing arias by Handel and Offenbach; we felt she was a contender for the prize. Coloratura soprano Ying Min Lin also greatly impressed and dazzled us with her vocal dexterity and high notes in Handel and Massenet; she may like to work on her diction a little, however. The final offering of the evening came from Deirdre McCabe, soprano (Pictured). She was worth waiting for and gave us a superbly acted and sung ‘Jewel Song’ from Gounod’s ‘Faust’, followed by Donizetti’s ‘Quel guardo il cavaliere’ from Don Pasquale. After giving well-considered and encouraging feed-back to all the... read more

Our Last Concert at the ABH

Our first Touch of Basil was held in the Adrian Boult Hall of Birmingham Conservatoire in September 2000. We were told at that time that we were unlikely to be able to use ABH for too long in the future because it was to be replaced. The concert on September 26th 2015 will be the last concert in Paradise Square for certain. We have to say an enormous thank you to Birmingham Conservatoire for allowing us to use such a prestigious venue over the years. Over 1700 performers have taken part since 2000. They will have been inspired by Birmingham’s old Conservatoire; let us hope that further generations of young performers will similarly be inspired at the new venue in Eastside near Curzon Street Station, due to be completed in the summer of 2017. This year we have a wonderful line-up of performers to suit all tastes from rock through to newly composed pieces from the 21st century. Regular performers like Heart of England Singers and the Tom Walker Trio will be joined by winners of the Philip Bates performance prizes at John Willmott and Bishop Vesey’s schools and winners of the Ashleyan Opera and Philip Bates composing prizes at Birmingham Conservatoire. We are delighted that Ex Cathedra Academies of Vocal Music are able to join us again and particularly welcome for the first time the Coventry Corps of Drums directed by Myles Nottingham. So please join us for the last concert at Paradise Circus. Martin... read more

Newsletter Mailout 2015

Have you ever wondered how your newsletter gets produced and sent to you? Well here’s where it all happens – the Action Committee and friends spend a busy few hours folding and stuffing the newsletters and any flyers into envelopes which then have to have an address sticker and stamp applied by hand. The newsletter stuffing evening is now a feature of the Trust calender, and saves us an enormous amount of money compared with using a commercial service. It’s also a great excuse to eat lots of cake and have a good... read more

Composition Prize 2014

On 14th November 2014 Tony and I enjoyed an evening of varied music when we attended the Philip Bates Prize for Composers and Songwriters at Birmingham Conservatoire. The first piece was “Me faytz trobar” by William Cole. Unfortunately, because the date for the event was set quite late by the Conservatoire, the performers, The Hermes Experiment, already had a prior engagement so a high quality video recording was used instead, although William himself did attend. The title means, ‘You make me write songs’. The opening was very striking – making me jump! The soprano soloist had an amazing voice and began the piece very powerfully. The tune moved very smoothly between the performers, consisting of a soprano, clarinet, harp and double bass and each section contrasted the others. The composition was extremely well performed – I enjoyed it very much and it did win the Philip Bates Trust Prize. The next piece “Little secret” was a complete contrast. It was beautifully performed by the composer, Ami Opranova, accompanied by an accomplished jazz pianist, with bass and drums. Because it was extremely well improvised it was difficult to know how much was actually written down. Nevertheless it was a very enjoyable piece. This was followed by “Things are not the same” by Patrick Ellis, written for bass voice and a saxophone quartet. It was a very melancholy piece and although it was extremely well performed I felt that, contrary to the title, it was ‘very much the same!’ It did win the audience prize indicating that a number of people thought differently. The final piece, “Sop two, twice – cool... read more

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Newsletter 2018