The prodigious talent of 13-year-old violinist Hannah Brooks-Hughes, from Stanway, wowed the judges and the audience in equal measure at the Gloucestershire Young Musician of the Year finals at Pittville Pump Room on Tuesday night (March 7). She took the title for 2017 and was also the audience’s choice – receiving two cash prizes totalling £750, as well as the Hewitt-Jones Trophy. She will also have the opportunity to perform at the Cheltenham Music Festival, The Carducci Festival at Highnam, as well as two concerto performances with the Gloucestershire Symphony Orchestra and county youth orchestra.
Hannah, who began learning the violin at the age of four-and-a-half, was competing against four other superb finalists from all over the county. They were Alex Waterman (flute), Dan Gilchrist (cello), Lydia Kenny (alto saxophone) and Louis Morford (violin). Her delighted parents Barry and Naomi, and younger brother Hugo, shared her triumph at the Pump Room. Hannah is leader of the National Children’s Orchestra, and has played alongside international star Nicola Benedetti at Birmingham Symphony Hall. She was the youngest ever winner of the Two Moors International Festival ‘Young Musician Competition’ in 2014.
Judging the Gloucestershire Young Musician contest were Meurig Bowen, director of Cheltenham Music Festival, Simon Haram, Professor of Saxophone at the Royal College of Music and violinist Lucy Gould of the prestigious Gould Piano Trio. She told the audience that all five finalists were winners in their own right with their superb performances.
Presenting the prizes were Lesley-Anne Gunn, of sponsors Dee & Griffin Solicitors, music educationalist Caroline Lumsden representing the Hewitt Jones family and Eion Schmidt-Martin, member of the Carducci String Quartet, which sponsors the Audience Prize.
This is the third year that the contest has been organised by the Gloucestershire Symphony Orchestra. Chairman Viv Hargreaves said: “There is a wealth of young musical talent in our county and it’s a great privilege to be able to encourage this with the Gloucestershire Young Musician of the Year. Last night’s contest was one of the best we have organised and each contestant should be congratulated for their outstanding performances.”