Taunton Young Musician Report 2007-08
Taunton Young Musician – Winners 2007-8
Five of Taunton’s most talented young musicians took part in the final round of the Taunton Young Musician of Year Competition, held at Queen’s Hall, Queen’s College on Sunday 27th January. The first round of this annual competition which is promoted by the Taunton & Somerset Music & Drama Festival, took place in November as part of the music section of the Festival.
L-R Asako Onishi pianist (3rd), Alex Wynn mezzo (1st), Laura Hammonds cellist (2nd)
On this occasion everyone’s thoughts were with the Competition Adjudicators, Caroline Diffley, Robert Latham and Angus Watson and how they could possibly select an overall winner from such a range of musical disciplines and talent.
The afternoon opened with a virtuoso performance by Taunton’s Junior Musician of the Year, eleven year old cellist, Christopher Hedges. Then each of the five finalists took to the stage in turn to present 20 minute recitals. Sixteen year old pianist, Asako Onishi, opened the programme, tackling Beethoven and Brahms with professional bravado. She was followed by flautist, Jonty Hedges whose pieces included Ian Clarke’s show piece, The Great Train Race, emulating trains huffing, puffing and whistling to their destination. Jonty was followed by cellist Laura Hammonds who gave a beautifully presented performance which included Dvorak’s Rondo in G minor. Seventeen year mezzo soprano, Alexandra Wynn, thrilled with a varied programme which ranged from Handel’s He Shall Feed His Flock to Madeleine Dring’s setting of Shakespeare’s, Blow, Blow Thou Winter Wind. Sixteen year old violinist, Hakimah Aziz, gave the final performance, beginning with the second movement of Haydn’s Violin Concerto in G Major.
As the Adjudicators withdrew to consider their final verdict, the Hall was buzzing with anticipation. A first prize of £200 awaited the winner along with a beautiful glass trophy, crafted and donated by Shakspeare Glass of Taunton plus the opportunity to perform as a guest with the Taunton Sinfonietta.
Chairman of the Adjudicator’s Robert Latham, who announced the results, congratulated all the contestants and explained the criteria used to determine the results. The questions the Panel had considered were, ‘can the contestants play not just the notes, but the music?’. ‘Had they presented a varied programme’ and ‘how had they presented themselves?’ He then announced the winner was mezzo soprano, Alexandra Wynn and the trophy and prize money was presented to her by Cllr. Ken Hayward, Mayor of Taunton Deane. Second and third prizes went to Laura Hammond and Asako Onishi respectively and they along with runners up Jonathan Hedges, and Hakimah Aziz also received cash prizes and vouchers.
The Mayor & Mayoress congratulated all those who took part in the competition and wished them every success in their future careers.