Search is on for Northern Ireland’s top young musicians
The Arts Council and BBC Northern Ireland are teaming up to offer financial awards and performance opportunities on radio to help launch the professional careers of exceptionally talented young musicians.
The Arts Council’s Young Musicians’ Platform Scheme will provide three individual awards of £5,000, enabling recipients to spend some time abroad, learning from a master musician, teacher or composer. The BBC offers each recipient two professional radio broadcast engagements with the Ulster Orchestra, raising their professional profile and boosting their performance experience.
Soprano Rebekah Coffey, previous winner of the Young Musicians’ Platform Scheme, spoke about the benefits of her award.
“I was really excited about my Ulster Orchestra Debut in the Ulster Hall a few weeks back, I had dreamed of it for years. The reality did not disappoint. I have been using the funding to have regular singing lessons with top UK vocal coaches. My voice is really improving as a result, which in turn is opening up more performance opportunities for me.
Now concentrating on my professional development, I have set up a website to promote my career and make information about my performances more accessible. The award is highly regarded in the industry, so I believe it helps me stand out amongst the hundreds of talented young sopranos with whom I compete for roles.”
Chairman of the Arts Council, Rosemary Kelly, spoke enthusiastically about the scheme. “The Young Musicains’ Platform Scheme was designed to help young performers from Northern Ireland develop their work and practice. The financial assistance and performance opportunities can kick start their professional careers. Rebekah’s experience and her performance at the Ulster Hall is testament to that. We very much look forward to hearing this year’s candidates perform.”
The age limit for the Young Musicians’ Platform Scheme is 26 for instrumental players and 29 for singers. Applicants must have a background and training in classical music, and have completed their first academic, graduate level qualification.