Darcy Beck was always fascinated by the sounds of instruments coming from the back of the orchestra and so began her career as a percussionist.
Last night, the 18-year-old gap year student from Prestbury, became the county’s Young Musician of the Year 2020 – and the first percussionist to do so.
Her spell-binding performance on a marimba, loaned by the Nicholas Branston Foundation, opened the finals at Pittville Pump Room. She wowed the judges – complete with one piece on timbales involving light sticks in a darkened auditorium.
The former Cheltenham Ladies’ College student will be setting off to read Music at Cardiff University in September. But, just as with last year’s contest, the audience had a different idea about who should have won. Their choice was 16-year-old pianist Edwin Ward, from Cirencester, whose superb ‘smoking-jacket’ inspired performance of Erroll Garner’s ‘Misty’ persuaded the audience he should receive the Carducci Music Trust Audience Prize.
The county’s musical youth shone with superb performances from 15-year-old cellist Souny Park from Cheltenham Ladies’ College, 17-year-old pianist Aaron Le Maistre from Sir Thomas Rich’s School and 18-year-old flautist Bethany Loader, from Denmark Road High School.
And to top off the evening, while the judges Professors Derek Aviss and Christine Hankin, and Meurig Bowen considered their verdict, the audience was treated to a performance by 2016 winner Adam Heron, who played Sonata No 3 by Chopin.
Glyn Oxley, musical director of organisers Gloucestershire Symphony Orchestra, compered the evening with great humour.
Watch a video of Darcy’s winning performance.