The Joaninha Trust was established in 1993 by Sir Edwin and Lady Nixon to give support through an annual competitive award to an outstanding young professional singer.
Sir Edwin and Lady Nixon were both hugely interested in music and in particular opera. The original concept for the trust came about when Lady Nixon was as at dinner sitting next to Dame Kiri te Kanawa in the early 1990s. They spoke about young singers and Lady Nixon asked how she could help. Dame Kiri said that financial help was crucial particularly at an early stage of professional education.
Taking this advice, Lady Nixon’s wish was to select each year from among the leading musical conservatoires one highly talented singer at such a key point in his or her development that the award ideally would make a major contribution to sustaining the artist at the inevitably tentative start of a major career.
Sir Edwin and Lady Nixon then set up a Trust to do this and in 1994 The Joaninha Trust (‘joaninha’ is Portuguese for ladybird) began with the first auditions being held in 1994.
The Joaninha Trust was set up by Lady Nixon (who died in 1995) and then run by Sir Edwin until he died in 2008.
The Joaninha Trust carries on in their name.