Last month, we revealed the four winners of our prestigious Two Moors Festival Young Musicians Platform competition, all of whom took home a £250 cash prize and the opportunity to play alongside professional musicians in our main two-week event taking place in October.
We’ve caught up with each of the successful young musicians – 10-year-old violinist Hannah Brooks-Hughes, cellist Willard Carter, cellist Rebecca McNaught and cornet player Andrew Wingham – and will be featuring interviews with each of them on the blog in the coming weeks.
We’ve already posted our interview with Hannah (our youngest-ever winner!) and now we’re chatting with 12-year-old cellist Willard Carter, who’s been playing the cello for seven years and hopes one day to become a professional musician.
WC: My brother and sister played the violin and the viola, so just before I turned five, I was given a choice of which instrument I would like to play. I loved the sound and the depth of the cello.
2MF: How much time do you dedicate to practising?
WC: I practice the cello for about three hours a day. I divide up my practice into exercises, studies and pieces. I love practising, so I never get tired of it.
2MF: What did you do first when you found out you’d won the Two Moors competition?
WC: I was at school when my mum called to tell me about winning and it was the best feeling I have ever had, I couldn’t actually believe it.
2MF: How did you prepare for the final round?
WC: With lots of patience and hard work, practising slowly and then building up, especially for the Haydn, which was a big step up.
2MF: Do you get nervous before you play in concert?
WC: I do get nervous before I perform but I just have to think about what I’m playing and when I start the music takes over.
2MF: How excited are you to be performing alongside professional musicians in this year’s Two Moors Festival?
WC: Very! As a chorister at Wells Cathedral we sang alongside wonderful professional singers and worked with contemporary composers. There is nothing more exciting than being guided and flanked by experienced musicians.
2MF: How will you be preparing for the concert?
WC: Although I am playing many different pieces of music at the moment I am waiting for my teacher to confirm what I will be playing at the Two Moors. It will be wonderful to have the summer to start exploring what I will be playing.
2MF: Which cellists do you most admire?
WC: I admire Mitslav Rostropovich because he sends warmth and expression to whoever is listening. Also he worked with so many composers and inspired a lot of cello repertoire. I also admire Pablo Casals, particularly for his playing of the Bach Cello Suites, which I love.
2MF: What pieces are your favourites to play?
WC: I like playing Prokofiev, which is very fun and lively, and as I have a Russian teacher he gives me a lot of Russian repertoire. I also love all the Bach suites because they’re a long journey of exploration.
2MF: What do you do when you’re not playing the cello?
WC: When I’m not practising the cello my mum makes me do exercise, either walking the dog or swimming, I also like playing with my brother (if he’s in a good mood) and I am also a collector of Lego mini figures.
Head to our website to find out more about our Young Musicians Platform Competition and how you can enter next year’s event.