Tag Archives: young musicians

Young Musician Winners Announced!

We are so pleased to announce our four winners for this year’s Two Moors Festival Young Musicians’ Platform:

Matilda Wale, aged 16, Voice, from New College, Swindon

Ellen O’Brien, aged 17, French Horn, from The Castle School, Thornbury

Poppy Freya McGhee, aged 12, Violin, Hugh Sexey Middle School, Wedmore

Joseph Pritchard, aged 17, Cello, from Yehudi Menuhin School, Surrey

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The standard this year was exceptionally high so huge congratulations to everyone who took part. We look forward to seeing these wonderful performers at this year’s festival and for all the upcoming young artists, keep an eye out for the opening of the 2018 competition later this year!


An interview with: cornet player Andy Wingham, Two Moors Festival competition winner

Earlier this year, we held our final round of the Two Moors Festival Young Musicians Platform Competition (with a top prize of £250 for each of the four winners and the opportunity to play alongside professional musicians at our main two-week event in October, with the concert taking place on the 25th at St George’s Church in Dunster).

Ever since then we’ve been featuring interviews with each of the four talented musicians who claimed the coveted top spots on the blog and now it’s time to find out about cornet player Andy Wingham, who seriously impressed us with his fantastic playing… and his equally fantastic sense of humour!


Andrew Wingham
Andrew Wingham

2MF: What made you start playing the cornet?

AW: My older brother joined Helston Town Band first and a year later the band rang and asked my parents if my twin brother Tim and I would also like to join. I always loved watching the band on the world famous Flora Day so I was eager to join in. Since then I have danced and played in every Flora Day, which for Helstonians is a really special event.

2MF: How hard is it to play?

AW: The instrument itself looks really simple as there are just three valves on a long piece of metal tubing. But to gain control and get a nice sound takes years of building up the muscles in the embouchure and diaphragm.

2MF: Got any tips for anyone thinking of taking it up?

AW: Go for it as it’s very versatile in its repertoire and if you’re in a band it’s a great way to meet new people and socialise. If people are interested most bands have youth sections, lend instruments and tuition is generally for free.

2MF: Did you think you’d win the Two Moors Competition?

AW: To be honest,, no, I didn’t! I entered last year and got through to the final round, and found the feedback from both rounds really useful. I decided to have another go this year, picked a really good programme and practised like mad until I could play it by heart. It obviously did the trick but it wasn’t without its ups and downs leading up to the final audition. On the day I thought I did ok but I knew I could have played one of my pieces better.

2MF: What was the first thing you did when you won?

AW: My dad gave me the sealed envelope and I was shaking as I opened it. As I read the letter I thought it was just saying well done and it wasn’t until I read further that it dawned on me. I then ran around the house shouting “I did it, I did it” and the rest of the family thought I had gone mad. They still laugh about it now. I then called my teacher and my granddad as they are big supporters in everything I do.

 2MF: How have you been preparing for the concert?

AW: I have been looking at lots of new pieces, trying to decide on my programme. I want to do something that I haven’t done before as well as one of my favourite pieces. The problem is which to pick!

2MF: Are you looking forward to playing alongside professional musicians?

AW: Yes, and with Tine Thing Helseth in the programme a few days earlier it will be an unforgettable experience. I’m also looking forward to playing with the professional accompanist as it will give my dad a rest and he can sit back and listen!

2MF: Do you hope to be a professional musician when you leave school?

 AW: Yes, I want to go to college to study trumpet and experience different genres. Recently, I was lucky enough to sit alongside a professional trumpeter for a touring show which was out of this world. Obviously I am a keen bandsman so I would like to see how far I can go with the cornet as well as playing my trumpet.

2MF: What are your plans for the summer?

AW: I am going on tour to Barcelona with the Helston School Mini Jazz Orchestra, which is going to be a great experience. We have several gigs arranged which will be fun and we get quite a bit of free time too so I am really looking forward to it.

The rest of my time I expect I’ll be practising for the band’s summer concerts, which include a big proms night in Helston and preparation for the Two Moors events. And, of course, being in Cornwall we’re never far from the beach!

Click through to catch up with our other interviews with winners Rebecca McNaught, Willard Carter and Hannah Brooks-Hughes.

If you want to book tickets to one or more of this year’s concerts, head to our website for further information and to order a brochure.

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.



What about Preloved for second-hand instruments?


Earlier this week, we were chatting on Twitter to a lovely lady (with the handle @wildwellies, who runs Wild Wellies – a group that encourages people to get outside and enjoy their natural environment) and she was telling us all about her five-year-old daughter who was keen to play the violin.

We recommended that she take her to see some professional violinists in concert to see if her daughter really is taken with the idea of playing the fiddle, which she duly did, coming back to us a few days later to say she was so absorbed for the full two hours that she just had to get her a second-hand violin.

If you’ve got a budding performer at home and are keen to nurture this interest but don’t want to spend hundreds of pounds on an instrument in case they lose interest all too quickly, then a second-hand one is definitely the right choice… and luckily, there are lots on offer on classifieds website Preloved, which is often a lot cheaper than eBay and auction sites.

Some instruments seem more popular than others on the site – we saw a lot of clarinets and recorders, but there were also saxophones, French horns and accordions so dedicate a bit of time to perusing the site to see what you can find.

Did you go second-hand with your instrument? Where did you get it from and how much did you spend?

To find out more about the Two Moors Festival and what we do to support classical music in the south-west, have a look at our website today.

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.

The Two Moors Festival Young Musicians competition: In video

Yesterday, we published some snaps of this year’s Two Moors Festival Young Musicians Platform Competition final and thought we’d share a couple of videos of some of the entrants.

The first is Hannah Brooks-Hughes, aged 10, who goes to Dean Close Prep School, playing Brahms’ Hungarian Dance No 5. (You can also read an interview we did with Hannah a few months ago here.)

And the second is 18-year-old Rebecca McNaught, who goes to Pate’s Grammar School, playing Shostakovich’s Sonata in D Minor.

Let us know what you think! If you’d like to apply for next year’s competition, further information can be found on our website.

Two Moors Young Musicians competition final round: In pictures

We had the final round of our Young Musicians Platform competition over the weekend and what a brilliant day it was, with some seriously good music-making indeed.

The overall standard was amazing and the judges – Two Moors artistic director Penny Adie, bassoon player Jo Stark and Katherine Berman – had their work cut out for them choosing the four winners. Each of the successful competitors will receive a cash prize and the chance to play alongside professional musicians at this year’s Two Moors Festival, taking place between 16th and 25th October.

Here are a couple of photographs from the day – and pop back to the blog tomorrow to watch a couple of videos as well.

Announcements regarding the winners to come.


Today’s children ‘more likely’ to learn an instrument

New research has revealed that modern day children are more likely to learn to play a musical instrument than their parents’ generation, UK classical music festivals may be interested to hear.

According to the YouGov study, commissioned by the Philharmonia, 80% of children in the UK today would pick up an instrument compared with 63%, with the most popular choice emerging as the recorder.

Other instruments of choice included guitar and piano, while singing also emerged as a popular choice.

While it may not be surprising that the recorder is the first beginner instrument that children think to play, you might be surprised to hear what a versatile instrument it actually is – at last year’s Two Moors Festival Young Musicians competition, we had a recorder player in the final four who could make some seriously impressive sounds and who performed a truly brilliant piece mimicking the sounds of the forest.

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!

New Centre for Young Musicians opens in Taunton

This month, an exciting new scheme has been set up by the Guildhall School of Music and Drama to help young musicians in the south-west of the UK further their careers. The Centre for Young Musicians at Hestercombe House in Taunton covers a wide variety of instruments, with teaching taking place each Saturday. We caught up with acting head of centre Tomas Yardley to find out more.


2MF: What inspired the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, and the Centre for Young Musicians, to launch a music centre in Taunton?

TY: The Centre for Young Musicians has been an integral division of the Guildhall School of Music and Drama for several years now, and is a hugely successful music centre in its own right, boasting over 450 students and a host of high-quality ensembles, from small-chamber groups to orchestras and jazz-bands. Over the duration of its relationship with the GSMD it became apparent that such a successful wider opportunities model as the CYM should be made possible beyond the city of London, and so two new centres have been opened this year, the NCYM in Norwich, and the HCYM at Hestercombe House, just outside in Taunton.

2MF: Tell us more about the curriculum.

TY: Our curriculum offers a broad range of pursuits including ensemble performance, individual lessons, singing, theory, general musicianship, composition and history.

2MF: What can students expect from it?

TY: Students can expect a full day of musicianship and learning, offered by some of Somerset’s finest musicians and teachers. With this they will have the chance to interact with many other young musicians, all in the grounds of Hestercombe House, a location of stunning beauty and architecture.

2MF: What’s your role at the Guildhall?

TY: My role as Head of Centre at the HCYM has been to oversee the months leading up to its launch on March 1st 2014, and to steer the school through its continuing growth and expansion.

2MF: How did you come to be involved with the Hestercombe Centre for Young musicians?

TY: While studying for my PhD in composition at King’s College, London, I took up a post as a classroom tutor at the CYM in London. Originally from the southwest, I decided at the end of the year that it was time to return to my roots, and to move back to the area, which prompted my interest in the HCYM project. The rest is history…

2MF:  Do you think music education in rural areas needs to be improved?

TY: What you tend to find in more rural areas is that access to high-quality education can be much harder to come by than in say, for example, the south-east, as transport is rarely an issue in and around London, and often the commute is shorter. Further to this, a culture of attending events and regular extracurricular pursuits doesn’t always necessarily exist in rural areas, and so some parents and guardians are forced to show an incredible amount of determination, in order to regularly provide transport and funding for their children’s education.

One solution to these problems is to facilitate the opening of further wider opportunities institutions like the HCYM, to complement the often-incredible efforts being made by music teachers in primary and secondary schools alike. For this to happen, more funding from various sources needs to be made readily available in rural areas.

2MF: What challenges do young people face today when pursuing a career in music?

TY: Once a young musician has decided to pursue a career in music, having already spent large sums of money on purchasing instruments, paying for lessons and studying hard to gain entry to and completing courses in higher education institutions, they have to decide whether to teach or to use their skills to forge a different career path in music.

If a young musician chooses to teach, there is the obvious need to build up a list of students large enough so that they can cope with general absenteeism and travel expenses. This can take time, especially in the period during and after a recession, but it can be incredibly rewarding.

If a young musician chooses to forge a different path, be it in admin work, performing, events management and beyond, they will need to build up a CV strong enough to be considered for the role, which again takes time but can lead to a highly fulfilling career.

2MF: What advice do you have for any young musicians keen to make it big?

TY: Determination and patience are hugely important. If one’s passion for music remains strong then one can overcome any obstacles that they might encounter. Networking is also hugely beneficial. In any career, the larger your list of contacts, the more opportunities you’ll have to establish yourself in the world of music.