There were six shining stars at last night’s (Tuesday) Gloucestershire Young Musician of the Year 2018 contest but the brightest and sparkliest, in her gold sequinned jacket, was 18-year-old saxophonist Lydia Kenny, from Cam – who won both the judges’ vote and the audience prize.
The ex-Stroud High School student was one of five finalists from across the county who performed at Pittville Pump Rooms. She was accompanied by her GP dad Dr Damian Kenny.
The other four in this ground-breaking, all-female line-up were oboist Emily Stephens, 19, from Woodmancote; clarinettist Katie Jenner, 19, from Wotton-under-Edge; and pianists Janice Ng, 18, from Dean Close School, Cheltenham and youngest competitor Kimberley Mok, 14, from Pate’s Grammar School, Cheltenham.
The sixth star of the evening was non-competitor 14-year-old Ashleigh Turley, from Tuffley, who gave a special performance during the judging process as one of the UK’s most gifted blind pianists.
Winner Lydia, who received the Hewitt-Jones Trophy and £700 in prize money, is currently studying acting with the Young Actors’ Studio at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama. The runners-up received cash prizes of £100.
The panel of judges was chaired by Professor Derek Aviss, president of the Gloucestershire Academy of Music, working alongside new artistic director of Cheltenham Music Festival Alison Balsom and outgoing director Meurig Bowen.
Gloucestershire Symphony Orchestra took over the running of the contest four years ago and are delighted to receive sponsorship from Dee & Griffin, solicitors, The Brimpsfield Music Society and The Summerfield Trust. They are working in partnership with Cheltenham Music Festival, the Carducci String Quartet, who sponsor the £200 Audience Prize, Gloucestershire Music Service and the Gloucestershire Academy of Music.