SIX of the county’s best musical talents have made it to the finals of the Gloucestershire Young Musician 2015 competition.
A record entry of 22 competed in the first round on Sunday at the Gloucester Academy of Music headquarters – with contestants ranging in age from 14 to 21 and coming from every corner of the county.
Adjudicating was Director of the Cheltenham Music Festival Meurig Bowen, who played a key role in the judging of the BBC Young Musician 2014 on BBC4 TV.
He said: “With 22 entrants between 9.15am and 5.30pm, there was a strong possibility that I’d be exhausted by the end of the day. But I wasn’t; not at all!
“Instead, I was hugely energised by the commitment shown in all the entrants’ music-making, by the sheer range of the music I heard, and by the high standard overall.
“Inevitably, it was really hard to narrow things down to the choice of finalists, because a good number could have been put through to the next stage. It’s fantastic that the Gloucestershire Young Musician competition has been so vigorously re-launched this year by Gloucestershire Symphony Orchestra with the generous sponsorship of Parkers Estate Agents.”
He selected six finalists:
- Santos Hau, 17, from Gloucester (piano) who attends Sir Thomas Rich’s Grammar School and studies at the Birmingham Junior Conservatoire;
- Sophie Haynes, 20, from Gloucester (cello) who is studying at London’s Guildhall School of Music and Drama;
- Rebecca McNaught, 19, from Cheltenham (cello) a former Pate’s Grammar School pupil, who is reading music at Oxford University;
- Nicola Rouse, 18, from Badminton (trumpet) studying at the Royal Academy of Music;
- Jennifer Statham, 18, from Cheltenham (violin) currently on a gap year;
- Abigail Waterman, 18, from Cheltenham (flute) a pupil at Pate’s Grammar School.
They will all perform in the finals which take place on Tuesday, February 24 at Cheltenham’s Pittville Pump Room.
In addition, Forest of Dean jazz player Oliver Stanton, who gave an impressive performance, will be given the opportunity of playing with his band Twice William during judging at Pittville and he will be recommended as a performer for the fringe or free stage events at Cheltenham Jazz Festival.
The Young Musician 2015 winner will receive a cash prize of £500, the Hewitt-Jones Trophy and will be given the opportunity to perform a recital at the Cheltenham Music Festival as well as two concerto performances with the Gloucestershire Youth Orchestra and Gloucestershire Symphony Orchestra.
The runners-up will receive a cash prize of £100 and there will also be an Audience Prize for the very first time of £200 sponsored by the Carducci Trust – the charitable trust initiated by the prestigious Carducci String Quartet.
Among those joining Meurig Bowen on the judging panel will be Jo Hensel Deputy Head of the Wind, Brass and Percussion Department at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.
Gloucestershire Symphony Orchestra took over the running of the contest this autumn with sponsorship from estate agents Parkers of Gloucester. They are working in partnership with Cheltenham Music Festival, the Carducci String Quartet, Gloucestershire Music Service and the Gloucester Academy of Music.
Tickets for the finals on February 24 are now available priced £15 online at Cheltenham Town Hall.