Five gifted young musicians awarded the BBC NI & Arts Council Young Musicians’ Platform Award
Five exceptionally talented young musicians from Northern Ireland have been awarded the Young Musicians’ Platform Award by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and BBC Northern Ireland. The five winners include classical awardees, William Curran (clarinet), Andrew Douglas (flute) and Brian McAlea (baritone), traditional music awardee, Martha Guiney (traditional flute) and jazz awardee, Katharine Timoney (singer).
The biennial awards which are run by the Arts Council in collaboration with BBC NI, aim to showcase and support the development of young musicians from the region by providing individual funding awards of £5,000. This funding enables the recipients to spend a sizeable amount of time learning from a master musician, mentor, teacher or composer either in Northern Ireland or abroad. For the third time, the awards have been extended beyond the classical music arena, reaching out to musicians from traditional folk and jazz music backgrounds.
As well as this training opportunity, the awardees will receive two professional radio broadcast engagements, including one with the Ulster Orchestra, between January and December 2019. Performances at this level raise not only the professional profile of the young musicians but also give a boost to their performance experience.
Highlighting BBC Radio Ulster’s continuing commitment to specialist music and to developing new musical talent, two presenters from the station will mentor the new awardees in helping them prepare for their upcoming performances with the Ulster Orchestra which will be broadcast on BBC Radio Ulster/Foyle. John Toal, a classical pianist and presenter of Classical Connections will mentor the three classical musicians while Folk Club presenter, Lynette Fay, will mentor the folk musician and jazz musician, Linley Hamilton, will mentor the jazz awardee.
Ciaran Scullion, Head of Music, at the Arts Council, commented:
“The Arts Council is committed to providing valuable, meaningful development for our artists. Congratulations to all five musicians on receiving this award which offers a unique opportunity for outstanding musicians to develop their musical skills, learn from the best and perform live with a professional orchestra. All of the previous recipients of this award have gone on to have successful careers in music and I’ve every confidence that the new recipients will benefit greatly from this experience.”
Emma Dunseith, Executive Editor Arts, Music and Learning, BBC Northern Ireland, says: “At BBC Radio Ulster we are dedicated to providing our listeners with the best in specialist music and nurturing new talent is something we are extremely passionate about. We are delighted to be involved in finding new classical, jazz and traditional artists and to be able to have our listeners engage in their journey as they grow and develop with some help from John, Lynette and Linley, each of whom are extremely talented musicians with a deep love of music.”
Previous recipients of the Young Musicians’ Platform Award include acclaimed classical pianist, Michael McHale, soprano, Laura Sheerin, harpist, Richard Allen, violinist, Michael Trainor, folk artists, Conor Mallon and Niall Hanna and jazz drummer, Ed Dunlop, among others.
John Toal presents a special live edition of BBC Radio Ulster’s Classical Connections from the Ulster Hall on Sunday 13th January, featuring the 2018/19 classical winners of the BBC NI and Arts Council Northern Ireland Young Musicians' Platform Award. For tickets visit www.ulsterorchestra.com