The audience proved that talented violinist Isaac Williams was a real winner by voting for him for the second year running at the Gloucestershire Young Musician of the Year 2023 contest on Sunday.
Last year, they endorsed the 18-year-old Sir Thomas Rich’s School student’s outstanding abilities – while the panel of judges chose another winner.
But on Sunday, both judges and audience agreed that Isaac, from Gloucester, was truly worthy of the title Gloucestershire Young Musician of the Year 2023. And his grandparents, who came to watch the finals at Pittville Pump Room with his family, said they were absolutely over the moon!
Since leaving school last summer, Isaac has won a scholarship to Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, where he is now studying.
“It was so cool to be competing against a whole range of different instruments – from French horns to saxophones and oboes,” said Isaac, who has an exciting summer and autumn of concert engagements on the back of his win, which netted him £700 in prize money.
The first prize of £500 was presented to him by Brimpsfield Music Society’s Sara Harris and he received the Hewitt-Jones Trophy from Caroline Lumsden, founder of Gloucestershire Academy of Music.
Presenting the special audience prize of £200 to Isaac was Edward Derbyshire from the Carducci Trust, who praised all the finalists for their superb performances.
The runners-up prizes of £100 were presented by concert pianist Ashok Gupta, who was one of the panel of three judges chaired by Professor Derek Aviss of Trinity Laban Conservatoire and included Jo Hensel, of the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.
Among the finalists were cousins Elizabeth Nunn(18) playing violin, from Stroud High School and Bertie McVittie (16) playing French horn, who studied at The King’s School before winning a music scholarship to Dean Close. Also competing were oboist Grace Tushingham (21) from Cheltenham, who is studying at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, and saxophonist Billy Keenan, 18, who studied at Balcarras School before moving to The King’s School.
What made the contest unusual was the range of instrumentalists, which included a second French horn player in former King’s School pupil Sebastien Barley (18), who recently won a scholarship to Well’s Cathedral School.
And there was a welcome return by 2016 winner concert pianist Adam Heron, who entertained the audience during the judging process.
Praising the exceptional talent of the finalists and acting as master of ceremonies was Glyn Oxley, musical director of Gloucestershire Symphony Orchestra, which has been running the contest since 2014.