Eva Richards, a 17-year-old cellist from Ballymena, is the Northern Ireland Young Musician of the Year 2013.
The final in the Harty Room in Queen’s University, Belfast on Saturday 9 March featured 15 of the province’s top young musicians.
Adjudicator Edwin Gray complimented all the contestants on their excellent performances.
He said it had been a real pleasure to listen to so many young people of different ages performing such a wide and challenging range of music. He had been impressed and moved. “I would like to award everyone a prize,” he commented. “You all have proved that you have a gift for music, which is much more valuable than any prize.” The key elements he looked for were technique, interpretation and communication. Every player had demonstrated all of these but, for him, Eva’s confident, lyrical performance of Mark Summer’s Julie-O stood out as the clear winner.
Runner-up was violinist Iryna Glyebova from Lisburn (17), playing Monti’s Czardas “in an exciting and dynamic performance”. Soprano Alice Cartmill (18) from Rathfriland was third, performing Vilia from Lehar’s The Merry Widow “with sensitivity and at a beautifully measured pace”. Edwin remarked on the confidence of these two young musicians, each communicating her chosen piece with conviction and style.
Two additional prizes were awarded to the best under-15 entrants. Winners were Sam Brodison, 14, from Larne, on cornet, and Rebecca Doherty, 13, from L/Derry on descant recorder.
The other finalists were:
Calum McIntyre, piano, 16, from Belfast; Angus McCall, cello, 16, from Belfast; John Gamble, trombone, 17, from Armagh; Rachel Lutton, violin, 15, from Antrim; Cathryn Lynch, xylophone, 13, from Bangor; Grainne White, violin, 13, from Carrickfergus; Maire Gaffney, voice, 17, from Downpatrick; Andrew Irwin, voice, 17, from Enniskillen; Sarah Tennyson, violin, 17, from Belfast; and David Mitchell, flute, 14, from Belfast.
Jim Torney, president of the event’s organisers, the Rotary Club of Comber, commented: “As well as providing a valuable platform for young musicians to gain competition experience, this well- established contest, now in its 21st year, is an opportunity for the club to raise some much-needed funds for two local charities – the Northern Ireland Music Therapy Trust and the Northern Ireland Cancer Fund for Children.”