Young Musician of ther Year 2014
What better antidote could there be to the record-breaking rainy and windy days of January and February than two afternoons and an evening of varied music played by a group of talented young musicians?
A full report will be published in due course, but here are the results of the Final which was held at Wycliffe College on Sunday 23rd February:
Winner - Jed Hughes - double bass
Jed played 'Elegia' by Bottesini, followed by 'Kicho' by Piazzolla
Second Place - Lydia Kenny - Alto Sax
Lydia played 'Dreams of You' by Dave McGarry, 'La plus que lente' by Claude Debussy and finally 'Charleston' (from Tango and Charleston) by Trevor Hold
Third Place - Daniel Harding - Violin
Daniel played 'Remembrances' (from Schindler's List), followed by 'Czardas' by Vittoro Monti
For full details of the Finals please look at our latest March 2014 Newsletter.
The first heat, for wind instruments, was held on January 12th at Katherine Lady Berkeley School, Wotton-under- Edge. There were nine contestants playing a good variety of instruments from the wind section - saxophone, clarinet, oboe, flute, and trombone. In some ways playing a wind instrument solo is even more challenging than strings or piano with all depending on the delicate combination of breath and reed or mouthpiece control. Almost all the contestants had a few unwanted squeaks or squawks. But they all chose challenging pieces that tested their skills.
Although, the only brass section player was Ryan Morgan (Wycliffe College) on the trombone, he more than justified his selection as a competition finalist with two pieces, played authoritatively and brilliantly. It is heartening to know that Ryan will be embarking on a career in the army where his obvious musical talents can be developed and appreciated. Perhaps we will see him Trooping the Colour?
In the woodwind section, Lydia Kenny (Rednock School) played two enchanting pieces on alto saxophone that were well selected to express different moods and demonstrate a wide range of playing skills. The third finalist was Felicity Woolnough who skilfully played two haunting and challenging pieces on the flute.
In this first heat it was encouraging to see both more junior and senior level competitors. The former gained valuable experience in competing and we will look forward to seeing them in future years. The latter all showed the greater confidence that comes from more years of study and practice and the experience of competing in earlier years.
The Victorian magnificence of Westonbirt School was the setting for the second heat, featuring strings and piano. Those that turned out on a cold and wet January afternoon probably did not imagine the musical treat that was in store for them. To say that the standard was high is an understatement and the judges were presented with very difficult choices.
Jed Hughes won the strings section with a compelling performance on double bass. It seemed that he might be able to climb inside his instrument. But in spite of his small stature he artfully controlled his maxi-size instrument to present a thoroughly compelling and skilful performance. A close second in the strings section was Daniel Harding playing violin. He played two difficult pieces that demonstrated the tremendous expressive capacity of the violin with the haunting “Remembrance “ from the musical score of Schindler’s List, followed by a joyous waltz. There were two classical guitarists and both gave wonderful performances. You could almost feel the audience’s feet tapping to the flamenco beat by Jack Evans. But in the end Ella Brown’s more technically difficult and quieter selections won the day.
That left the piano and what a treat was in store for the audience with three incredibly talented young players presenting the judges with an enormously difficult task. After the first two amazing and very accomplished performances by Andrew Chen (Rendcomb College) and Charlotte Corderoy (Stroud High School), it was difficult to imagine that there could be a third challenger. That is until the first few bars of Man Ho Hui’s (Katherine Lady Berkeley School) playing filled the hall. Man Ho chose two technically demanding pieces and played from memory. He was also the youngest of the three pianists. It was a performance that raised the hairs on the back of your neck, played with authority and finesse. Truly amazing from any player and especially one so young, Man Ho demonstrated an incredible mastery. The audience who will be going to the final have a real treat in store listening to both Charlotte Corderoy and Man Ho.
It has been a real pleasure to listen to two afternoons of wonderful music played by an incredibly talented and committed group of young musicians. Every one of them played with intensity, skill and grace. If this is the talent pool from a small rural corner of Britain, the future for music in the nation looks bright indeed. Whether the contestants end up playing for their own pleasure, in local or national quartets, groups or orchestras, they will en-rich their own lives and those of us all. Thanks to all of them and play on.
Chris Tuite, Rotary Club of the South Cotswolds