Bath Young Musician of the Year 2017
2017 Performers: Wesley Downing – brass, Martha Meager – voice, Nicole Micheli – woodwind, Rachel Stonham – violin, Freya Hyde – cello
Adjudicators: Helen Deakin, Katy Hamilton, James Slater
This was another marvellous concert at the Pump Room, emphasising how the high standard of musicianship is continuing to increase. There were 5 different musicians – ‘cello, soprano, saxophone, trumpet and violin, and the adjudicator said how the audience had been almost transported around the world with the wide variety of music performed. The judges were looking for consummate musicianship, different ‘colours’ and nuances in the music, with confidence and good communication.
Janet Read, Music Chairman of the Mid-Somerset Festival, welcomed Ian Gilchrist, Mayor of Bath, Cherry Beath, Hon Patron of the Mid-Somerset Festival, and Paul Roper of the Roper Family Charitable Trust, principal sponsors of the Mid-Somerset Festival, who presented prizes to all contestants.
Nicole Micheli (saxophone) played Heiden: “Sonata” and Milhaud: “Scaramouche”. She is a member of the Wiltshire Youth Jazz Orchestra and also the National Youth Jazz Orchestra. Her variety or music was very well controlled, with lots of contrast of volume and ‘smoothness’ and staccato.
12 year old Freya Hyde (‘cello) played Romberg: “Sonata in E minor”, Saint-Saens: “The Swan” and Squire: “Tarantella”. Freya enjoys participating at music festivals, concerts, charitable events and National Children’s Orchestra and her control of the vibrato and tuning of the lower string instrument was excellent.
Martha Meager (soprano), sang “I could have danced all night”, “Pulled”, “With You” and “Some People”. Martha attended Bristol School of Performing Arts from 2010-2015. Her recent productions have included Les Miserables, Annie and Aladdin. She also sang a wide range of different songs and acted well to engage with the appreciative audience.
Wesley Downing (trumpet) also competed in this concert last year. This year he played Rimsky-Korsakov: “Flight of the Bumblebee”, JGB Neruda: “Trumpet Concerto” and Zequinha Abreu: “Tico Tico” The first and last were incredibly fast and exciting, and the concerto was thoughtful and lyrically played.
He has played in BANES’ ‘Brass Tacks’ for nine years, and, as a member of many groups, he has had the opportunity to perform in the Royal Albert Hall for the Schools Proms.
While the judges were discussing the winner, last year’s winner, Katherine Stonham (piano), returned and gave a thoughtful performance of a Sonata by Antonio Soler and ‘Pagodes’ by Claude Debussy.
The unanimous winner, Rachel Stonham, 16-year-old violinist from Trowbridge, played Beethoven: “Sonata 1”, Paganini: “Sonata 12” and Arnold: “Five pieces-Moto perpetuo”.
Rachel enjoys solo and orchestral music, playing with National Youth Orchestra, local Youth Orchestras and Trowbridge Symphony Orchestra. Even while having to control the sensitive violin, with her double-stopped music from Paganini, and the rapport with her accompanist, her eyes were acting out the music and she communicated superbly with the audience.
It was a wonderful evening, and all music lovers are strongly recommended to come to the future Mid-Somerset Festival concerts.
History of the Bath Young Musician of the Year event
In November 2017 it will be thirty years since the first Bath Young Musician of the Year contest when Liam Gribbin (flute) won the event. Since then it has been held every year, except 1988.
Finalists for this event are selected from those who have done very well in their vocal or instrumental classes in the previous March Mid-Somerset Festival. Competitors must be under 21 and live or study in Bath or within a 15 mile radius of the city.
Liam Gribbin has recently written:
“Winning the Bath Young Musician in 1987 meant a great deal. It galvanized me, a somewhat haphazard 18 year old, as Mary King may recall, and left me with no doubts about following a musical path as a flautist for the foreseeable future. I was extremely lucky that, for its first year, the final was a grand concert in the Guildhall and the prize was a wonderful trip to Australia as part of the bicentenary celebrations with the Mayor of Bath. I performed a number of concerts in Sydney and explained to countless Australians the link between Sydney and Bath. I went on to Music College later that year in London and then remained in the classical profession for a number of years afterwards. While I have not pursued music as my long-term career, winning that prize was a springboard not only into more flute performance, but also into an adulthood filled with classical music.”
Past Winners of Bath Young Musician of the Year
||Liam Gribbin (flute)
||Danielle Jalowiecka (Recorder)
||Nicholas Ridley (oboe)
||Ollie Parsons (baritone)
||Kerry Griffin (violin)
||Emil Huckle-Kleve (violin)
||Anthony Bailey (clarinet)
||Christine Pinkard (clarinet)
||Hannah Conway (flute)
||Beatrice Newman (cello)
||Harry Hall (violin)
||Rebecca Smith (violin)
||Rowan Carolan (guitar)
||Clare Williams (piano)
||Ruth Knight (flute)
||Louise Hunt (piano)
||Lana Trimmer (violin)
||Sophie Wall (piano)
||Oliver Sourbut (tenor horn)
||Yang Bo (piano)
||Kirsty Chaplin (piano)
||James Bateman ( saxophone)
||Lizzie Daniels (violin)
||Anne Marie Cullum ( soprano)
||Sebrina Lambert-Rose (cello)
||Liv-Marie Fletcher (violin)
||Katherine Stonham (piano)
||Christopher Avison (trumpet)
|| Rachel Stonham (violin)
See syllabus and Festival calendar for details