Fiddler chosen as University Scottish Traditional Musician of the Year

Fiddler chosen as University Scottish Traditional Musician of the Year

Talented fiddler Raemond Jappy has been crowned as the University’s Scottish Traditional Musician of the Year 2005.

The competition, organised by Dr Roger Williams, Director of University Music, premiered to a full-house in the Mitchell Hall, Marischal College, on Sunday night (May 8).

Raemond, who is a third year Accountancy with Music student, from Findochty, was hailed as the winner on the night picking up a £500 prize. He was one of four finalists who performed at the event, which was held in conjunction with the Music for a Summer Evening concert.

The University Musician of the Year competition made its debut last year attracting almost 50 entries. The task of judging the final event went to well-known fiddler Paul Anderson, Dr Williams, and Dr Ian Russell, Director of the Elphinstone Institute.

Dr Williams said the standard of this year’s competition was very high. He said: “It was a great thrill to hear so many accomplished musicians play traditional Scottish music.

“Raemond Jappy was a most worthy winner with a varied and exciting programme.”

Raemond Jappy was born in the coastal town of Buckie and moved to neighbouring Findochty at an early age, where he received his first few violin lessons with the highly regarded fiddler James Alexander at the village school. Part of the way through secondary school at Buckie High, Raemond returned to James to study Grade 8 violin and advance his fiddle playing.

Raemond is heavily involved with music in the University not only as a fiddler but also as a chapel choir scholar. Recently he has joined forces with a clarsach player and together they perform regularly at chapel services, weddings, receptions and concerts. Of late, successes have included playing at the launch of the University’s Sixth Century Campaign.

The aim of this year’s competition was to discover the finest performer of Scottish music in the University. The competition was open to all students who were able to choose their own piece of traditional Scottish music to perform.

Raemond said he was delighted to be hailed as the winner. He said: “I have heard Paul Anderson play many times before, and from hearing him adjudicate at other festivals in the past, I know that he is a very hard man to please.

“I played a set of four tunes, in the traditional format – Slow Air, March, Strathspey and Reel. I wasn’t particularly happy about the way I played the Slow Air so by the time it came to the third and fourth tunes, I decided to let go and try to put as much character into my playing as possible, and I think, by Paul’s comments at the end, this came across.

“Above all, I tried to make my set a performance!”

Paul Anderson is a notable North-east musical figure who is recognised as one of the most exciting fiddle players to come out of Scotland in recent years. He plays solo and in groups, teaches the fiddle and composes new tunes for the instrument. He is the winner of most junior and senior Scottish competitions, and won the prestigious Glennfiddich championship in 1995.

He said: "Judging the University Scottish Musician of the Year competition was a great pleasure and honour. To perform Scottish traditional music well requires style, passion and character, and I'm pleased to say that all four competitors did themselves and our national music proud.

"I felt Raemond's performance was sufficiently demanding and well executed to win him the title. His last couple of tunes were especially impressive and I would have to single out his Strathspey, "Earl Gray" for special praise.

"Raemond, and indeed the other three finalists, could have a bright future within the traditional music world."

The other three finalists who competed for the title of University Scottish Musician of the Year were: Nicholas Cowling (piano); Cameron Shepherd (bagpipes); and Emma Swinnerton (fiddle).

Sunday night’s concert also featured the University Concert Band and the Edinburgh Quartet playing with the University String Ensemble. The recorder group, Cantores ad portam, played during the interval.

The University has a long tradition of music and the recently re-established BMus (Bachelor of Music) is proving to be very popular. Recent honorary graduates include Dame Gillian Weir, Lisa Milne, Sir Richard Armstrong, Fiona Kennedy and Raimund Herincx.

There are regular concerts held at the University throughout the academic year in the Mitchell Hall at Marischal College, King’s College Chapel, and the Elphinstone Hall.

The University recently launched its new music programme for the spring season, which features some of the world’s greatest composers and celebrated soloists who will join a line-up of talented University musicians over the coming months. Many of the high profile events include performances by the University’s own Symphony Orchestra, Choral Society, Chapel Choir, String Ensemble, and Concert Band.

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