Let’s hear it for the Two Moors Festival Young Musicians

Katie Roberts, flautist

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.

In pictures

Here are a few more pictures of the day, including a couple of behind-the-scenes shots.

This year’s judging panel
Caroline Adie, cooking for the audience
Jacob Warn, recorder player
Caroline Adie, 1950s house wife
Katie Roberts
Feeding the 5000!
Proving recorders ain’t just for schoolkids
Pimms o’clock!
First BBQ of the year
John Adie, BBQing at the end of the weekend
Judge Jo Stark, enjoying some well-earned Pimms


Welcome, classical music fans!

Hello and welcome to the official blog for the Two Moors Festival, Classic FM’s festival of the south-west.

Those of you already familiar with the Two Moors (and its dapper mascot Schubert the Sheep, who can be spotted out and about enjoying the Devon air and excellent music at many a festival event) will know that the communication hub of the company – an old farm in the middle of a charming Exmoor valley – has had its issues with 21st-century technology over the years.

It was only connected to the mains electricity grid in 2001 – the year the festival was launched, in fact – and has only just managed to get broadband in the last month. Barkham is no longer a communication black hole, gone are the days of dial-up, and – although mobile phone signal remains very much a pipe dream for anyone within a two-mile radius of the farm – it seemed only fitting that the arrival of a super-fast internet connection be celebrated in style.

To that end, the festival is now working on modernising its website and will be running this blog to help keep you Two Moors fans up to date with what’s going on down in deepest, darkest Devon throughout the year. So if you want to keep your finger on the pulse of festival and country life, as well as the classical music world, make the Two Moors Festival Official Blog your first port of call.

Hope to see you here again soon.

– Sarah

Blog editor

Find out about the latest news from the Two Moors Festival here!