The search for the best young Brass Ensemble of the Year and Solo Performer of the Year in Scotland is over.
Anticipated as being the next big development in music in Scotland, the very best young musicians in each local authority and from independent schools in Scotland came together to compete against each other.
After an online competition which attracted entries from across the country, Stranraer Brass Ensemble from Stranraer Brass have been announced as the first ever Scottish Young Musicians Brass Ensemble of the Year. The runners-up were East Lothian Schools Brass Ensemble and Perth High School Brass Ensemble.
The competition was open to ensembles of up to 10 players aged 18 and under who play together regularly in school or in their local youth brass band. One entry was allowed from each local authority, independent school group and youth brass band, and each of these groups were encouraged to have their own competition to select their final entry.
Judges John Wallace, convenor of MEPG, Arlene Macfarlane, director of Scottish Schools Orchestra Trust, and John Miller, ex-head of Wind and Percussion at Royal Northern College of Music, agreed that their entry was a hugely enjoyable performance full of colour.
Stranraer Brass Ensemble will receive a stunning sculpture by Alexander Stoddart of the Maid of Morven playing the clarsach, and get an all-expenses paid trip to play a prime slot at the Solo Performer of the Year final on Sunday 29 May at The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.
They will also receive a prize of £750 to be spent on ensemble music related activities, generously donated by Ursula Jones OBE on behalf of her late husband, the virtuoso trumpeter, Philip Jones CBE. The prizes will be presented at The Scottish Young Musicians Solo Performer of the Year final.
The majority of local authorities across Scotland are also taking part in Scottish Young Musicians Solo Performer of the Year, a new Scotland-wide music competition launched by The Music Education Partnership Group, and Scotland’s only music competition where funding and expertise is offered to every school and local authority.
With local finals taking place across Scotland, the pupils who make it to the national final will be competing for a plethora of prestigious prizes, including opportunities with The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Cumnock Tryst and RSNO. The final will be hosted by Jamie MacDougall and feature a special welcome by international classical violinist Nicola Benedetti.
Angela Miller, conductor of Stranraer Brass, said: ‘I am so proud of these talented young musicians and am so happy to see their hard work being rewarded. They are a credit to themselves; their families and Stranraer Brass and the future looks very bright for them indeed.’
John Wallace, convenor of the Music Education Partnership Group and one of the judges for Brass Ensemble of the Year, said: ‘I want to thank our young Scottish brass players and their teachers directly for an amazingly positive musical experience. Collectively your performances were brimming with a wonderful sense of enthusiasm, and you all make really beautiful healthy sounds. With young players so full of potential as this, the future is bright!’
For more information, visit www.scottishyoungmusicians.com