The Downe House Young Musician of the Year Competition was a rousing success
The Music Department received over 185 entries from girls of every ability for this year’s Young Musician of the Year competition and last Sunday’s Prize Winners’ Concert was an occasion to remember with the School’s most accomplished young musicians taking to the stage.
The various categories made for an inclusive and open competition with Music Maker designed for musicians working at Grades 1 to 3, Maestro for girls of Grades 4 to 6 and Virtuoso for those from Grade7 to Diploma level. In addition there were categories for Wind, Brass and Percussion, Strings, Rock ‘n’ Pop, Vocal and Keyboard.
The rounds were judged by visiting adjudicators who brought with them their musical expertise and performance knowledge, helping girls to grow musically during the process. From each class a number of girls went through to the semi-final on Sunday 19 March. One girl from each class and category then went through to the final to compete for the title of Downe House Young Musician of the Year. They performed to a packed Concert Room as staff, visiting music teachers, accompanists, parents and fellow girls supported them. The visiting adjudicator for the day was Mr Alun Jones, Head of Chetham’s School of Music; the largest specialist music school in the UK.
The finals were spectacular, and Mr Jones praised the musicianship on display. He notably commented on Melissa Chang’s organ playing, saying she would be “worthy of any Cathedral organ scholarship in the country”, a credit to her teacher Mr Brayne. Antonia Holloway’s performance was professional, displaying outstanding musicality and maturity. In addition, Remove girl Alice Demeester’s Chopin piano performance was more advanced than her ten years of age. At the end of the evening winners were announced; Toluwase Agusto (violin) won Music Maker, Jiwon Moon (violin) and Alice Demeester (piano) won the Maestro, Faith Norman (voice and guitar) won Rock ‘n’ Pop and Antonia Holloway (oboe) took the trophy for Virtuoso for the second year in a row.
Dr Charlotte Exon, Director of Music, commented, “This was a sensational competition! I’m incredibly proud of all the girls who took part, making this such a vibrant competition. I was particularly impressed by the sense of musical integrity shining through all the performances. Congratulations to our winners, Antonia, Jiwon, Alice, Toluwase and Faith. Bravo to all the girls who took part.”