James Lobban Conducting Scholarship

The James Lobban Conducting Scholarship was a ten year project instituted in the 2011-2012 academic session in conjunction with the University of Aberdeen. The scholarship offered a student of the university the opportunity to work with Aberdeen Bach Choir for one academic year as a conducting assistant, with support and mentoring from its Musical Director at the time, Peter Parfitt.

James Lobban, a graduate of the University of Aberdeen, was Conductor of Aberdeen Bach Choir from 1969 until 2005, shortly before his death. He was a keen music scholar and took a great interest in the work of the Music Department of his alma mater. The James Lobban Conducting Scholarship was funded by a legacy left by James to Aberdeen Bach Choir.

The recipients of the Scholarship were as follows:

2019-20 Otto Itgenshorst

Otto Itgenshorts, 2019-20 james Lobban Conducting Scholar

Otto Itgenshorst is a pianist, conductor, and occasionally composer from Cologne, Germany. He started learning Piano at age 5 with Lilia Simtchenkova in Bielefeld, Germany.

After spending several years of high school in France, where he studied with Lilia Boyadjieva, he moved to Aberdeen to study Music, currently pursuing his piano studies with Dr Barbara Payne and studying conducting with Christopher Gray.

In his free time, he likes to sing Barbershop with the University’s Barbershop Quartet The Chapman Dudeguys.

He has mostly operatic and orchestral conducting experience, having been appointed Assistant Musical Director of the University of Aberdeen Opera Society for the second year in a row. He conducted a performance of last year’s production, Kurt Weill’s Threepenny Opera. He has also acted as a stand-in conductor in rehearsal for the UoA Marischal Chamber Orchestra.

Otto is very excited for this new opportunity and hopes it will help him gain experience in the world of choral conducting.

2018-9 Saskia Mucke

Saskia Mucke, 2018-19 james Lobban Conducting ScholarSaskia Mucke is a PGDE student currently studying at the University of Aberdeen. She is involved in the local music scene where she plays with Aberdeen Sinfonietta and Aberdeen Chamber Orchestra.

Saskia has been a member of the Aberdeen Bach Choir since 2017 and also sings with the St Andrew's Cathedral Choir and as a choral scholar with St. Machar’s Cathedral Choir.

Born in Leipzig, Germany, Saskia started her musical education at a young age. She received violin lessons at the Musikschule Johann Sebastian Bach where she later also studied music theory, piano, and voice. She sang with a number of church and school choirs, joined the Jugendsinfonieorchester Leipzig at the age of thirteen and later on the city’s Schola Cantorum and Amici Musicae. Saskia has completed an internship at the Vienna State Opera and was invited to tour China with the Amadeus Orchestra in 2017.

Saskia gained her bachelor's degree in music from the University of Aberdeen (UoA) in 2018. While studying for her undergraduate degree, she joined several University ensembles. She played with the University’s Marischal Chamber Orchestra, the UoA Symphony Orchestra (as leader of the viola section in 2016 and 2017), performed with the new music ensemble Spectrum, and sang with the UoA Chamber Choir.

During her exchange year in 2015/16 at the University of Oklahoma in the United States, she studied viola under Dr Neumann, and started taking organ and conducting lessons. These experiences left her wanting to improve the conducting skills which she had gained under Dr. Shames (orchestral conducting) and Dr. Howard (choral conducting).

Saskia is delighted to have been awarded the James Lobban Conducting Scholarship and hopes to develop her knowledge and skills assisting the Bach Choir under Peter Parfitt this academic year.

2017-8 Tobias Wolf

Tobias Wolf, 2017-18 james Lobban Conducting ScholarThe winner of the 2017-18 James Lobban Conducting Scholarship is Tobias Patrick Wolf, born in Linz am Rhein, Germany, who studied in Cologne and Bonn in Germany before he came to study for a B.Mus. at the University of Aberdeen in 2015.

This will be his first experience of choral conducting but he has considerable experience of conducting orchestral music, from 2010 in his native country. Wolf first appeared as a conductor in Scotland at the Aberdeen and North East of Scotland Music Festival in 2016 with the University of Aberdeen Wind Ensemble which gained a Gold award for an ‘outstanding’ performance. He is Assistant Conductor of the University of Aberdeen Symphony Orchestra, the Marischal Chamber Orchestra and Aberdeen University Choral Society since 2017,  and Music Director of The King’s Philharmonic Wind Orchestra since its foundation in May 2016.

Tobias Wolf was awarded the James Lobban Conducting Scholarship in November 2017 and will be Assistant Conductor of the Aberdeen Bach Choir for the season 2017/2018, performing Bach's Christmas Oratorio in December 2017 and conducting parts of a concert of early music in April 2018.

His musical talents extend to trumpet playing and he will join the tenor line of Aberdeen Bach Choir when not called upon to conduct.


No award was made in 2016-7.

2015-6 Kathleen Cronie

Kathleen Cronie, 2015-6 James Lobban Conducting ScholarScottish conductor Kathleen Cronie first studied for an MA in French and Gaelic Studies at The University of Aberdeen before moving on to graduate from the Bachelor of Music Degree at The Ian Tomlin Academy of Music at Edinburgh Napier University with first class honours, also winning The Harold Gray Prize for Singing. She is currently studying for a Master of Music Degree in Vocal Music at The University of Aberdeen. In addition to the James Lobban Conducting Scholarship, Kathleen has recently been awarded The Carnegie-Cameron Taught Postgraduate Bursary and a King’s College Chapel Scholarship.

Kathleen began her conducting career with Aberdeen Gaelic Choir, leading them on their Canadian tour and in competition at the Vancouver Mod where the choir won every competition in their division and additional prizes for highest marks in music across the whole event. Spurred on by this success, Kathleen began to seek out conducting opportunities and training courses and studied with George Hurst at Canford Summer School of Music, Michael Harris at St Giles’ Cathedral in Edinburgh and later worked with Gary Walker in a series of masterclasses in Edinburgh. She is currently studying conducting full time with Scottish conductor Christopher Gray.

Kathleen’s recent conducting engagements include working as MD for “Voiceworks” on their 2013 and 2014 tours of the North of Scotland, conducting a world premiere of Phillip Cooke’s piece “By Reason of Darkness” at the opening of the 2015 Sound Festival and working as Assistant Conductor on Scottish Opera’s “Encouraging New Opera” project.

2014-5 - Erik Andreas Stensholt

Erik Andreas Stensholt, 2014-5 James Lobban Conducting ScholarErik Andreas Stensholt was a student on the University of Aberdeen Masters Degree in Vocal and Choral Music, with conducting as his main focus. He worked with Chris Gray to develop his conducting skills and during his year in Aberdeen had the opportunity of working with John Butt and the Dunedin Consort, which is associated with the Masters programme as choir in Residence.

Andreas, as he is usually called, was born and grew up at Nøtterøy in Norway. Prior to higher education he played the saxophone and the piano, attending music high school from age 16-19, where he developed his interest in choral music, adding conducting in the second year of his studies. He joined various choirs and has continued to be involved in choral singing ever since. From 2007 to 2011, he took a Bachelor in Musicology degree at the University of Oslo, including one year studying mathematics at Vestfold University College, and went on to take a Masters Degree in Musicology in the same institution, taken half time combined with Practical Pedagogical Education at Vestfold University College.

His first permanent job as a conductor was in 2007, when he started conducting Hof Tensing, a youth choir in Norway. In 2009 he went on to conduct Skibergkoret, an adult choir and also took part in a couple of children's choir projects connected to this choir. In 2011 he added another two choirs, so before he left Norway to come to Aberdeen he was regulary conducting Skibergkoret, Skj�rg�rdskoret and Let Go. He ended his time with these choirs conducting a concert where they all were involved. He also sang as a tenor in T�nsberg Cathedral Choir.

letter of acknowledgement from Professor Sir Ian Diamond, Principal of the University of Aberdeen (PDF, new window)

feedback from Andreas at the end of his Scholarship (PDF, new window)


There was no award made in session 2013-4.

2012-3 - Lucy Hole

Lucy Hole, 2012-3 James Lobban Conducting Scholar

Lucy Hole was a second year student at the University of Aberdeen reading Music. She is a soprano and was currently studying with Jean Webster. Lucy was a University of Aberdeen Chapel Choir Scholar, President of The University of Aberdeen Gilbert and Sullivan Society and a member of the University’s Opera Society.

Lucy was born and raised in Oxfordshire. Prior to university she spent a year in the Yorkshire Dales, setting up and running St.Wilfrid’s Church Choir, Burnsall Village Community Choir and Burnsall VA Primary School Choir, whilst assisting leading St. Michael’s Church Choir, Grassington. Throughout her year in Yorkshire she led the choirs to perform at local concerts and in many events in the region. As choir director at St. Wilfrid’s Church, she was invited with the choir to participate in BBC Songs of Praise at Halifax Minster.

During her time at university, Lucy hopes to specialise in early sacred music, which she particularly enjoys studying and performing. She also enjoys theatrical music and performed as Madame Thérnardier in Radley College’s production of Les Miserables. Following this, she was invited to join Radley College on their music tour of Barcelona where she sang in Barcelona Cathedral. Her other performances include Mrs Potts in Beauty and the Beast, Fruma Sarah in Fiddler on the Roof and a soloist in Hot Mikado at the Oxford Playhouse for Oxfordshire Youth Music Theatre. She sang with Opera Anywhere's Christmas productions of Amahl and the Night Visitors and The Selfish Giant. Whilst in Yorkshire Lucy was a member of Leeds Youth Opera. There she played Annina in Verdi’s La Traviata and Filipevna in Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin. She also sang for the recording of Gareth Malone’s television feature for Children in Need 2011. In addition Lucy was delighted to have been asked to sing in the chorus of Tannhauser with the Northern Wagner Orchestra. In 2010, Lucy was presented with the Frances Kitching Trust Special Award – the first time it had ever been awarded to a singer, having previously been awarded only to instrumentalists.

Lucy’s interest in conducting began during sixth form at secondary school, when she was asked to lead the Junior Choir. Since then, she has attended conducting workshops and courses under tuition of Michael Rose, Prof. Paul Mealor and Ralph Allwood MBE. She currently conducted Robert Gordon University Singers. Lucy was thrilled to have been awarded the James Lobban Conducting Scholarship, and very much looked forward to working with Aberdeen Bach Choir and learning from Peter Parfitt. Lucy graduated from the University of Aberdeen in June 2015.


The first James Lobban Conducting Scholar, in 2011-12, was Cole Bendall.

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