Tag Archives: music competition

An interview with: cellist Willard Carter, Two Moors Festival Competition winner

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.


Willard Carter, cellist2MF: What attracted you to the cello?

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.




Jayson Gillham in Montreal music competition semi-finals!

As followers of the Two Moors Festival blog will know, we had brilliant pianist Jayson Gillham down here with us on a residency a few weeks ago, rehearsing for the Montreal International Music Competition – and it would seem that the peaceful week he spent in the idyllic Devonshire countryside paid off, as it’s just been revealed that he has made it through to the competition’s semi-finals!

But that’s not all – Jayson also won the $5,000 prize for the Best Performance of the Compulsory Canadian Work, so congratulations to go to him for that as well. ” There’s also the exciting news that I won the prize for the best performance of the set piece – due in no small part I’m sure to the extra performance practice I had at Barkham,” Jayson said.

If you want to see Jayson in action in the semi-finals, make sure you tune in on Friday at 21.20 UK time.

And if you’d like to find out more about the Two Moors Festival residency scheme and how it can help you as a musician, head to our website for further information.

An interview with: violinist Hannah Brooks-Hughes, Two Moors Festival competition winner

Earlier this month, we held the final round of the Two Moors Festival Young Musicians Platform competition, a very prestigious contest open to singers and instrumentalists either living or going to school in the south-west at grade seven or above.

It was hard work picking four winners (who each claim a £250 prize and the chance to play alongside professional musicians in our main two-week event in October), but we eventually came to a decision, with violinist Hannah Brooks-Hughes, cellist Willard Carter, cornet player Andrew Wingham and cellist Rebecca McNaught all taking the top spots.

In the coming weeks, we will be featuring interviews with each of our four winners so you can find out a bit more about them, their playing and their love for classical music, and we’re starting off with violinist Hannah Brooks-Hughes, our youngest-ever winner at the age of 10.

Q&AHBH2MF: What did you do first when you found out you were one of our winners?

HBH: I was at school and my dad had texted the head of music when the letter arrived at home, so it was Mr McVittie who came and found me in my history lesson. Of course inside myself I was thrilled, but as I was at school I had to remain calm! I couldn’t stop smiling for the rest of the day though!
2MF: Did you ever expect to win?

HBH: As it was my first attempt, and as I was so young compared to most of the other entrants, I didn’t expect to win. I had set myself the target of making it through to the second round though. On the way down for the final audition my dad got lost, so we arrived late, and it was all very rushed, but I felt I played well, and I really enjoyed the performance with Alison Farr playing piano for me – she’s an amazing pianist!
2MF: How does it feel to be our youngest-ever winner?

HBH: I’m very proud, and I’m even more excited because I am younger than the other competitors. I’m used to playing in competitions where I’m competing against older musicians, but to win such a prestigious competition, and to be the youngest, feels quite special I have to admit.
2MF: How will you be preparing for the concert in October?

HBH: I’m going to give the repertoire I choose a lot of thought because I want the performance to be special. Then it will be lots of practise and I would hope to be able to perform the pieces I choose at other ‘practice’ concerts beforehand. And of course I will need to go shopping to buy a new dress!
2MF: Has winning given your confidence as a violinist a boost?

HBH: Most definitely – yes! Competing against much older competitors, and winning, has given me confidence, and since this competition in fact I have won an ‘Under 18 Recital’ class at the Cheltenham Festival of Performing Arts.
2MF: What are your future ambitions as a violinist?

HBH: I’d like to enter more regional and national competitions, and hopefully in a few years time the BBC Young Musician Competition. For the far off future I want to travel around the world performing.
2MF: Which violinist do you most look up to?

HBH: There are so many great violinists that I love listening to, but there are two that are special to me right now. Nicola Benedetti makes such a beautiful sound, and I admire the fact that she works so hard and always seems so happy. And my teacher, Matthew Denton of the Carducci Quartet, is a fantastic violinist who also works so hard for me.
2MF: What piece of music do you most love playing?

HBH: At the moment it is The Lark Ascending by Vaughan Williams. It is such a beautiful work and yet it also has such sadness about it. I love trying to create those emotions.

Want more? Check out our video of Hannah playing Brahms’ Hungarian Dance No 5.



Congratulations to the Two Moors Festival Young Musicians Competition winners

We are pleased to announce the winners of this year’s Two Moors Festival Young Musicians Competition winners, each of whom will receive a cash prize and the opportunity to perform alongside some renowned professional musicians at the festival’s main two-week event in October.

The winners this year are violinist Hannah Brook-Hughes – our youngest-ever winner at the age of 10 – cellist Willard Carter (aged 12), cornet player Andrew Wingham (aged 15) and cellist Rebecca McNaught (aged 18).

The Two Moors Festival Young Musicians Platform competition takes place each year and is open to talented instrumentalists and singers aged 18 or under who live or go to school in the south-west of the UK.

To find out more about the competition and how to enter next year’s event, visit our website.

10 days till our Young Musicians Competition 2nd round!

UK classical music festival fans will be pleased to hear we’re gearing up down here at the Two Moors HQ in the heart of the Devon countryside for the second round of our Young Musicians Platform Competition and can’t wait to hear what the 16 instrumentalists have prepared for us this time.

Taking place on May 3rd, the musicians have to play or sing a 12 minute programme of different pieces, with at least two works included that are (preferably) different to those we heard in the first round earlier this year.

There are some very talented youngsters coming to Barkham to take part, including violinist Hannah Brooks-Hughes, violinist Joel Munday, cellist Felix Stephens, guitarist Lara Taylor and singer Kerenza Hurr. The four winners will each win a cash prize and the chance to perform alongside professional musicians in this year’s Two Moors Festival main two-week event in October.

Our adjudicating panel this time around is Judith Bingham (whom we’ve commissioned to write a song cycle for famous singer Sarah Connolly for next year’s festival!), founder of the Southbank Sinfonia Katharine Berman and acclaimed bassoonist Jo Stark.

Good luck to everyone taking part – and if you’re part of the audience, don’t forget to let us know who your favourites are!

Penny Adie writes…

Each week, Two Moors Festival artistic director Penny Adie will be here on the blog, letting you all know just what’s been going on down at Festival HQ in Devon.

What a weekend we have had! It was taken up with the first round of the Festival’s Young Musicians Platform Auditions. There were 54 candidates at Grade 7 standard and above, offering a wide range of classical music instruments – from guitar, flute and cello to harp and voice, we heard them all!

Each entrant was asked to perform two contrasting pieces to which an experienced team of adjudicators listened with critical but kindly ears. After each performance the panel would chat in a hugely friendly way offering advice, making encouraging ‘noises and guaranteeing that each player left the studio armed with a gooey chocolate from the Quality Street tin or lollipops and purple hearts from a vast box of sweets (all rather sickly, I might add)!

Inevitably the standard was variable but overall, high. The expectation of the competition is nothing but the best, for which the Festival is well known. From this round, a maximum of 20 candidates are accepted into the final round that takes place in May. The auditions may be nerve-wracking for the eager players, but for the judges, they are exhausting! Every member of the team deserved their glasses of wine to let off steam at the end!

The final round of the Two Moors Festival Young Musicians Competition takes place on Sunday, 3rd May.