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Exquisite 240 year old Italian violin is presented to new Ulster Youth Orchestra Leader, Jamie Howe

Friday 3rd July 2020 at 10am 0 Comments

Ulster Youth Orchestra Leader, Jamie Howe Image: Ulster Youth Orchestra Leader, Jamie Howe

Exceptional young violinist, Jamie Howe, aged 18, from Lisburn, has been announced as the new Leader of the Ulster Youth Orchestra (UYO), and has been presented by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland with the Milton Violin, an exquisite 240 year-old instrument made by renowned Neapolitan violin maker, Joseph Gagliano, to be played throughout his tenure as leader.

The precious violin, which is 239 years old, was generously donated to the Arts Council by Professor Alan Milton in 1980 and in the past has been used by the Leader and principal players of the Ulster Orchestra.  In 2013 the Arts Council decided to loan the precious instrument to the Ulster Youth Orchestra to be used by exceptionally gifted musicians in their role as Leader.

Jamie, who faced rigorous auditions to become the Leader of the Ulster Youth Orchestra, is also a member of the viola section of the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain and is a current student at Chetham’s School of Music in Manchester, having been offered a place in its sixth form to take his ‘A’ levels alongside his musical studies in violin, viola and piano.  From September, Jamie plans to continue his studies at the Royal Academy of Music in London. 

Established in 1993, The UYO is the National Youth Orchestra of Northern Ireland and is supported by public funding and National Lottery funding through the Arts Council and offers the highest level of orchestral training in the region.  Through its annual summer residential courses and concerts and outreach projects, it provides young gifted musicians with the opportunity to develop their musical skills further.

Ciaran Scullion, Head of Music, Arts Council of Northern Ireland said,

“Congratulations to Jamie in becoming Leader of the Ulster Youth Orchestra.  The Orchestra has become a vibrant and creative force in the musical life of Northern Ireland, bringing top quality orchestral playing to a wide audience, and providing gifted young musicians with access to the very best professional players, tutors and conductors.  Thanks to the generosity of Professor Milton, we are able to provide this exceptional instrument to generations of our best young violinists.  We are delighted by the appointment of Jamie Howe as Leader and have no doubt he will put this very special opportunity to great use.”

Paula Klein, General Manager of the Ulster Youth Orchestra said,

“We are delighted that Jamie has been awarded the position of leader in 2020.  He is a very talented and hard-working young musician and to be awarded such a beautiful instrument as he transitions to the Royal College of Music is a fantastic boost to his new studies. The directors of the Ulster Youth Orchestra are extremely grateful to the Arts Council for providing the leader of the Ulster Youth Orchestra with the opportunity of playing such a fine instrument.”

Membership to the Ulster Youth Orchestra is gained through a highly competitive audition process. All members value the opportunity to come together to perform with the very best young musicians from all over Northern Ireland.  Its members work together harmoniously in the pursuit of artistic excellence.  The Orchestra’s artistic programmes encourage individuals to develop practical and social skills, boost their confidence, enhance their well-being and empower them to achieve excellence.


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