Young Musicians Platform
The Two Moors Festival's Young Musicians Platform Competition began in 2002, when the Festival was still in its infancy, but in the 1200 square miles of Dartmoor and Exmoor it was realised that there were very few performance opportunities for enthusiastic young musicians living in the Southwest. From this realisation came the idea to find four under-nineteen year olds who could share a concert in the main Festival, and who could also receive some prize money. The competition was set up for instrumentalists as well as singers. The only thing not permitted was backing tapes.
The panel has always comprised three or four experienced professional musicians including Philip Fowke, Melanie Ragge, Tamsin Waley-Cohen and Robert St John Wright to name but few.
Over the years the standard has risen enormously. News has spread about the competition and the opportunities that it offers keen young musicians. Entries now come from as far afield as Gloucester, Bournemouth and Truro and usually total around fifty for the first round. Approximately half this number is taken through to the final round, though this depends on their standard. Winners from previous years have gone on to further successes: violinist Anna Im, was a Category Finalist in 2012’s BBC Young Musician of the Year, as was clarinettist, Jordan Black in 2007. Many have studied at specialist music schools or have gained scholarships to the London music colleges.Some very young candidates have been "nurtured" and, though unsuccessful at first, have been encouraged to come back the next year. In one case, a ten year-old violinist came repeatedly until she was a winner in 2009.
The atmosphere has always been relaxed, with a number of "seasoned" competitors saying that these auditions offer an environment that is conducive to giving their best performance. It has even been said that auditioning is fun! The concert in October offers a chance for all four winners to give an individual fifteen minute performance.
Young Musicians Platform Winners 2017
Matilda Wale, aged 16, Voice, from New College, Swindon
Ellen O'Brien, aged 17, French Horn, from The Castle School, Thornbury
Poppy Freya McGhee, aged 12, Violin, Hugh Sexey Middle School, Wedmore
Joseph Pritchard, aged 17, Cello, from Yehudi Menuhin School, Surrey
These four outstanding musicians from the South West will play in their own concert during the Two Moors Festival on 21st October 2017.
The adjudicators in the final round were
These are some comments from the candidates following their auditions:
"I am thrilled to be one of the Young Musician Winners this year! Every year, Two Moors becomes warmer and warmer. The atmosphere is ambitious yet intimate, creating an incredible space for music-making. I have returned for five years now, as the panel have always been so encouraging and their critiques positive and constructive.”
"I found the competition very friendly and an enjoyable experience. The feedback from the first round was very positive and useful and helped me prepare for the next round as well as other performances. It was the first time I had played with a different accompanist and I would not hesitate to do this again. Thank you very much."
"The Two Moors Young Performers Platform, is everything that you could wish for in a competition for young people. The setting is almost magical, and the atmosphere has what I consider to be a 'family feel'. This was Poppy's third year with you, and she was so excited to be back again in Exmoor. For Poppy, It has never been about the winning, but about the experience, and the people that make it all happen. Poppy has always been made to feel really welcome and the performing has never felt scary because the environment is so nurturing. The sweets are a lovely touch too!"
Mother of Poppy McGhee
“The Young Musicians Platform was so beneficial for me. Many competitions for young musicians can now appear quite daunting and scary, but the Two Moors competition was totally the opposite. The adjudicators were very friendly, helpful with their feedback and not intimidating in the slightest. Above all, the performance oppurtunity was hugely appreciated and I can’t wait to perform in the festival later this year!”