The Rotary Club of the South Cotswolds
The Rotary Club of the South Cotswolds

Young Musician of the Year 2015

2015 Winner - Lydia Kenny

The Final of the 2015 District 1100 Rotary Young Musician of the Year competition was held at Wycliffe College on Sunday 22nd February, with 10 finalists playing to an almost packed house of over 200.  Now in its 12th year, the competition is designed to give young people with musical talent an opportunity to play solo in front of a live audience under competition conditions. The competition is run by nine Rotary Clubs in the area, chaired by Doug Hughes.


The plaudits from the chairman of the panel of judges, Michael Castle, highlighted that this year’s finalists were an extremely talented group of musicians. His constructive comments on each of the performances should spur the contestants on to further musical successes. Each contestant had to display mastery of technique on his or her chosen instrument(s) as well as feeling for the music and relationship with the audience.


Particular praise was made of Jemima Price, whose programme and level of maturity far exceeded her 11 years of age. Needless to say the audience gave her rousing appreciation of her performance. It was interesting to see how much the finalists who had taken part last year had improved in the intervening period.


The winner of the competition was Lydia Kenny from Rednock School in Dursley. She played Alto Sax and was the runner-up in 2014, and in third place in 2013. Lydia produced a very lively performance which comprised:

Concertino by J B Singelée

‘Jim and Pam and Pam and Jim’ by Graham Fitkin

Tango and Charleston by Trevor Hold


As winner of the competition, Lydia was presented with the Mervyn Norrris Cup by Mrs Joan Norris plus a cheque for £300. In addition, the winner’s school, Rednock, received  the Cappi prize of £500 to encourage participation in music and competitions such as ours by purchasing more instruments.


Lydia went on to win the Rotary District 1100 Competition, held in Cheltenham on 22nd March, and then the Regional Final at Bristol Grammar School on 19th April. She competed in the Rotary National Final on 16th May, but unfortunately was not the winner.


The runner-up this year was Daniel Harding, a Violin Scholar at Wells Cathedral School who came third in this competition last year. He was unique in composing one of his pieces himself, a task he had undertaken for his coming GCSE exam. When he showed the piece to his music teacher he was told that he would have to play the piece as part of his exam and not just submit the musical score! The technical complexity and musicality of the piece received tremendous applause from the audience. Daniel’s programme comprised:

          Violin Concerto No.1 in G Minor, Opus 26, 1st movement, by Bruc

          'Salut d’amour’ by Elgar

          Vicace Capriccioso in A Minor by Daniel Harding


Third place in the competition was awarded to Ella Brown of Farmor’s School in Fairford. Ella plays guitar which is a new category in the competition this year, and we were delighted to welcome to the panel of judges Chris Finch who is a guitar specialist. Ella’s programme comprised:

          ‘En Los Trigales’ by Rodrigo

          Canarios by Gaspar Sanz

          Prelude No.1 by Villa-Lobos


Daniel received £200 for coming second, and Ella Brown received £100 for coming third.  The runners-up and heat winners also received cheques.  In addition there was a special award in memory of Fred Perkins, a founder committee member of South Cotswolds Rotary Young Musician, for a young person from the heats who showed special potential. This was awarded to Rebecca Tearle, who played the oboe. 


While the judges were deliberating, the audience listened to a performance by last year’s winner, Jed Hughes, on his double bass, with his mother as his accompanist. Although we have been treated each year to listen to Jed playing double bass, his principal instrument is the organ. Jed, now aged 15, is the last in a long line of competitors from the same family who have entertained this competition’s audiences over the last 10 years. To mark this watershed, Jed’s mother announced that the family would be presenting a cup next year, to be awarded probably to the winner of the Strings section of the competition.


The finalists, in order of appearance, were:

          Lydia Kenny, Rednock School, Alto Sax

          Andrew Chen, Rendcomb College, Piano

          Isabel Henry, Home educated, Flute

          Jemima Price, Westonbirt School, Violin

          Ella Brown, Farmor’s School, Guitar

          Helen Brown, Cirencester College, Guitar

          Man Ho Hui, Katherine Lady Berkeley’s School, Piano

          Charlie Poole, Katherine Lady Berkeley’s School, Trumpet, Flugelhorn, Cornet

          Katie Jenner, Katherine Lady Berkeley’s School, Alto Sax

          Daniel Harding, Wells Cathedral School, Violin


The panel of judges this year comprised: Michael Castle (piano), Janet Baldwin (woodwind), Derek Barnes (brass), Chris Finch (guitar) and Robina Sabourin (strings).


Doug Hughes and his team organised and ran a most enjoyable competition, and he was a very good and natural master of ceremonies at the Final.  We hope that the success of the competition will encourage more young musicians to enter next year, and we wish the winner and finalists from this year’s competition every success in their musical futures.


The results of this competition were written up in the Stroud News and Journal 

and in the May issue of Tetbury Advertiser