Léonie Sonning Talent Prize 2019

Clara Cecilie Thomsen

An entire school life of singing - now on her own two feet

Ever since Clara Cecilie Thomsen started third grade at Sankt Annæ Gymnasium’s primary school, her days have been filled with organised singing. At the singing school in Valby, the pupils have many singing and choir lessons each week, and when she was later admitted to the MGK linen, the way was prepared for a bachelor i classical singing at the Royal Danish Academy of Music and opera studies at the Opera Academy in Copenhagen.

In the summer of 2018, Clara graduated as an opera singer, and, for the first time in many years, she had a life where singing was not on the school timetable, but a way of living where she had to take responsibility and “learn discipline and how to rehearse even though nobody is telling you to.”

The freelance life as a singer is uncertain, and you have to prove all the time that you are talented so that you can get to work at the places you dream about. If you are without a job for some time, you cannot lie on the couch waiting for the next job to come along. Your voice is a muscle and, like an athlete, you must rehearse every day. That’s Clara’s life now, after many years in school.

Luckily, her calendar is full for the next couple of years, so Clara’s couch will not be worn out for now. At the beginning of 2020, she is going to sing Constanze’s role in Mozart’s The Abduction from the Seraglio. Her permanent employment as cantor at Trinitatis Kirke also gives her a fixed point in life.

Hooked on opera

Clara grew up in Valby, so the admission to Sankt Annæ Gymnasium’s singing school, which is nearby, was not a big change. It also helped that her older brother, Lauritz Jakob Thomsen, who is also a professional singer today, went there. So she really wanted the change of school. She also experienced that singing was something she was good at. It gave her self-confidence and helped her learn the subjects on the timetable of which she was less confident.

Altogether, music came into Clara’s life from childhood. Her father played the clarinet with the Danish National Symphony Orchestra, and her mother was a singer with the Danish National Choir/DR. She cannot remember when she first noticed the music around her. Music was always there.

On the other hand, it is very clear to Clara when she decided that singing was something she wanted to do for a living - and that opera was the genre catching her attention: Clara became hooked on opera when her mother sang an aria from The Magic Flute. And a television transmission of Verdi’s La Traviata made Clara certain that she wanted to be an opera singer!

Clara Cecilie Thomsen in brief

Born in 1991. Raised in Valby.
Admitted to Sankt Annæ Gymnasium’s singing school 3rd to 9th grade.
Studied at the MGK line from 2008-2010.
Bachelor in classical singing from the Royal Danish Academy of Music under Marianne Rørholm, 2015.
Graduated as an opera singer from the Opera Academy in Copenhagen under Susanna Eken, 2018.

The scholarship from the Léonie Sonning Music Foundation

Clara will spend the scholarship from the Léonie Sonning Music Foundation on continued private lessons with her singing teacher Susanna Eken.