Can you believe it? There were 60 candidates for this year’s Two Moors Festival Young Musicians competition! Never before have we had so many entrants and what’s more, they’ve come from all over the south-west. Truly so – Warminster, Bournemouth, Hampshire, Truro, Exeter, North Somerset and the list goes on.
Apart from bassoon, every other instrument was represented, which was most encouraging. So much of the time one hears about the lack of interest to play some of the more obscure wind and brass instruments, let alone double bass that we are very heartened to know that there are keen youngsters out there – and maybe even more supportive parents who have to drive their offspring miles with a large bass or harp in the back of the car!
So it’s dedicated parents who have toiled up the long four mile hill from the A361 to the wilds of Exmoor National Park, ferrying their eager sons and daughters to the competition location and also where the headquarters of the Festival are situated. There is a splendid studio complete with extra large Boesendorfer grand piano.
For each round of the competition there are three adjudicators. This year, we welcomed celebrated singer Richard Suart whose appearances with English National Opera’s Gilbert & Sullivan operas are now legendary, aspiring conductor Mark Austen and cellist Sophie Rivlin. The first round, to put it crudely, sorts sheep from goats with the aim of taking 20 successful players through to the final in May.
The aim of the competition is to give performing experience to talented musicians aged 18 and under who live or who go to school in the south-west. Four outstanding instrumentalists are selected to share a recital in the main festival, in addition to a £250 prize each. This formula has proved to be most successful as the rising number of entries testifies.
This year’s 20 finalists happen to represent a broad span of instruments, which is guaranteed to produce a varied and exciting concert in October.
Watch this space for the results of the competition in May!