Each year the Two Moors Festival hosts a Young Musicians Platform, giving youngsters under the age of 18 from the south-west – covering Cornwall, Devon, Somerset, Dorset, Gloucestershire, Bristol and Wiltshire – the opportunity to audition for a much-coveted spot in a concert of their own at the festival’s main two-week event in October.
2012 saw a record number of talented classical musicians from schools in the area apply – a total of 41! – and 20 were ultimately selected to go through to the second round, which was held at the pastoral haven that is Barkham over the weekend (May 5th).
Trumpets, trombones, flutes, guitars, violins, voices – even, perhaps most unlikely of all, a recorder – were all put through their paces throughout the day, with the musicians playing a wide variety of pieces, from Bach’s St Matthew Passion and Monti’s Czardas to Elgar’s Chanson de Matin and Linde’s Music for a Bird. One plucky contestant even strummed his way through one of his own compositions – a rather brave move by all accounts (and one that the Simon Cowells of this world would no doubt shoot down in flames).
This year’s judges – festival artistic director Penny Adie, bassoon player Jo Stark, singer Caroline Luard and violinist Tamsin Waley-Cohen – really had their work cut out for them, whittling the 20 hopefuls down to just four but tough decisions had to be made and after an hour of intense discussion and a couple of fiery debates (including one on musicianship versus entertainment), the cuts were made and the October concert began to take shape.
An exhausted Penny said at the end of the very long day: “What an exciting and exhilarating competition! It’s very encouraging to know that young people are still getting so much out of playing and performing. How wonderful to see so much enthusiasm and determination to enjoy music-making. The standard of the competition has risen enormously in the last three years and this year is no exception. It was so encouraging to see so many youngsters coming from a wide range of schools and backgrounds, particularly from the state sector.”
The concert the lucky four (not yet revealed) will be performing in is to be held in Ashburton on October 13th, so put a note in your diary if you want to see some of the best emerging talent in the south-west.
Here are a few more pictures of the day, including a couple of behind-the-scenes shots.