Julian Lloyd Webber will chair the panel of judges who will award a £1250 prize to one of six finalists selected to compete for the Ogston Music Prize.
The prize is awarded annually to an undergraduate studying at the University of Aberdeen. This is the 8th year that the competition has run, and previous winners have featured as a prominent part of the musical life of the University, performing at graduations and concerts as well as at the Ogston Music Prize concert in 2016. As part of the prize, the winner also gets to perform at the Aberdeen International Youth Festival, the University’s May Festival and in Aberdeen Performing Arts’ Culture Café series.
The 2015 Ogston Music Prize finalists are:
- Niall Anderson, a third year BMus student studying the bass voice. He has sung with the University’s Choral Society, Chamber Choir, Opera Society and Chapel Choir, recently performing the bass solo in Mozart’s Requiem with the Choral Society.
- Alison Ewan, a final year BMus student playing the Scottish fiddle. She performed, at the pre-selection stage, a beautiful set of pieces from Shetland, a style in which she has specialized as part of her studies. She also played recently at the funeral of former University rector Maitland Mackie.
- Lucy Hole, a final year soprano who specializes in opera. She has sung many roles with the University Opera Society and, earlier this month, she conducted the group in performances of Janáček’s The Cunning Little Vixen.
- Ben Light, a final year BMus Music and Communities student, who plays alto saxophone and is a stalwart member of many of the University’s music ensembles. He has won many awards, both at school and since coming to Aberdeen to study, and recently performed at the Aberdeen Jazz Festival.
- Carly Mills, a third year BMus student who plays the piano and who has enjoyed success in music competitions in both Aberdeen and her home town of Edinburgh.
- Ellen Smith, a final year BMus student specialising in percussion. She has performed with all of the orchestras at the University and will continue her studies at Masters level next year.
Julian Lloyd Webber will be joined on the judging panel by two eminent musicians from Aberdeen: Sonia Scaife, Director of the Aberdeen City Music School, and Alistair MacDonald, who retires from his post at the University of Aberdeen this year. As the judges deliberate over their decision, last year’s Ogston Music Prize winner, pianist Maria Vilberg, will play Chopin’s Andante Spinato, op.22.
It is the first time Lloyd Webber has featured on the Ogston Music Prize judging panel, which always includes an eminent external professional musician. He has premiered more than sixty works for cello and has inspired new compositions from a diverse range of composers, but a neck injury forced him to retire from performing last year. He vowed instead to “use the knowledge gained through life as a musician to give back as much to the music profession which has given me so much over the years.”
Professor Pete Stollery, Head of Music at the University of Aberdeen, said it was an honour to have a musician of Lloyd Webber’s standing on the judging panel. “Julian Lloyd Webber is one of the finest musicians of his generation, a world-class cellist, conductor and passionate advocate for music education. It is fitting that someone of such high calibre, not only in performance but also in education, should be chairing the judging panel in this hugely important event in the musical lives of these six music students. We are privileged to be able to benefit from his experience and his wisdom.”