Four finalists chosen for University Scottish Musician of the Year competition

Four finalists chosen for University Scottish Musician of the Year competition

Four talented musicians of traditional Scottish music have been selected for the final of this year’s Scottish Musician of the Year competition which will be held this Sunday (May 8).

Organised by Dr Roger Williams, Director of University Music, the aim of this year’s competition is 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 music to perform, from classical to modern.

The four finalists will perform in front of a full-house at the University concert Music for a Summer Evening on Sunday (May 8) in the Mitchell Hall, Marischal College, at 7.45pm.

The four finalists are pianist Nicholas Cowling, second year politics and international relations student, who is heavily involved with Scottish music at the University; fiddler Raemond Jappy, from Findochty, who is a third year student in Accountancy with Music and has recorded for both BBC television and radio and will be competing in the Highlands and Islands Fiddle Masters in Oban; piper Cameron Shepherd, final year Electrical and Electronic Engineering student who is a member of the Aberdeen University Officer Training Corps (AUOTC); and fiddler Emma Swinnerton, from Kilmuir, north Syke, who is currently in her final year of Psychology and has been playing the fiddle from an early age after much encouragement from her late Grandfaterh, Murdo MacKenzie, a former Scots Guards piper.

The winner, who will receive £500, will be chosen after the concert which includes the University Concert Band and the Edinburgh Quartet playing with the University String Ensemble.

The University Musician of the Year competition made its debut last year attracting almost 50 entries.

Dr Roger Williams, Director of Music at the University of Aberdeen, said he was delighted with the response to this year’s event. He said: “The entries to the competition were numerous and fascintating, revealing what a wealth of music talent there is at the University.

“The four finalists are all excellent in their very different fields, showing just how rich and varied is the tradition of Scottish music.”

This year’s event has secured the expertise of a notable North-east musical figure in its search for talented musicians of traditional Scottish music. Well-known fiddler Paul Anderson, who is recognised as one of the most exciting fiddle players to come out of Scotland in recent years, will take the lead in the judging of this weekend’s competition.

As chief adjudicator, Paul Anderson will select the winner. Paul, who 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.

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.

Tickets for the Music for a Summer Evening concert are priced £7.50/£5.00 concessions and are available by contacting University Music on (01224) 272570 or email: music@abdn.ac.uk.

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