A 16-YEAR-old clarinettist who attends St Columba’s School, Kilmacolm has been named Scottish Young Musicians Solo Performer of the Year 2023.
Emily Barron competed against 30 of the best young musicians from across Scotland at the contest, which is run by The Music Education Partnership Group who work with every school and local authority to support music education and opportunities.
The final was held in front of an audience of hundreds at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland (RCS) in Glasgow and started with a special welcome from international classical violinist Nicola Benedetti.
Emily started playing clarinet when she was eight-years-old and is a member of the National Youth Orchestra of Scotland and the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland Junior Symphony Orchestra.
She said: “It’s been a really incredible opportunity to take part in Scottish Young Musicians and I never would have expected to win out of all of these wonderful musicians.
“There’s a lot you can learn by hearing other musicians play and I’ve taken away a lot today from hearing all the other musicians who are all around my age. I’ve been really inspired to continue playing music and can’t wait to see what lies in the future.”
Emily receives £1,000 to spend on furthering her musical career and the Maid of Morven trophy made by the Kings’s Sculptor in Ordinary in Scotland Alexander Stoddart.
She also receives a package of opportunities provided by the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland including a coaching session, participation in a masterclass and a studio recording session.
The panel of judges was led by John Logan, head of brass at RCS. He said: “Many people wonder how we can actually pick a winner from so many talented young people, and not only that, so many diverse instruments. Today we enjoyed everything from rock drums to guitar to classical guitar to baritone horn, to voice.
“At the end of the day, we’re in the entertainment business. We look for sound technique, but we also look for emotion and storytelling. They say that technique is the passport to storytelling in this language that we call music. And Emily Barron was the person who used it to really engage with the audience today.”
The other judges were Sarah Ayoub of the multi-instrumental composing and performing duo the Ayoub Sisters, internationally renowned soprano Judith Howarth, Heather Nicol, head of woodwind at Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, and Ross Leighton from the band Fatherson.
Alan Kerr, chair of Scottish Young Musicians, said: “The 31 amazing finalists playing today represent only the top of the tree of talent that Scottish Young Musicians has encouraged.
“Our goal is to achieve the broadest possible participation and to be as inclusive as possible.”