Awards for Young Musicians

Giving talent a chance

AYM joins forces with Southwell Music Festival

One of the key aspects of our Awards Programme is connecting our Award winners with partner orchestras and other musical organisations; they can provide access to exciting musical opportunities, such as tickets to rehearsals and concerts, masterclasses, mentoring and the chance to perform at events.

Southwell Music Festival (in Nottinghamshire) is an annual, top-quality classical music festival, taking place each August Bank Holiday. In 2015 and 2016 the festival opened their doors for our Award winners to many rehearsals and concerts throughout the weekend .  In addition we were delighted to strengthen this partnership by devising a collaborative event that took place on Sunday 22 January 2017.   Three lucky East Midlands Award winners, Katharine (cello), Tim (violin) and (Annie), having been selected for the project by AYM’s volunteer events programmer Julia Roth, spent the day being coached by Nathaniel Boyd (cello), Jamie Campbell (violin) and Libby Burgess (piano), on both solo and chamber repertoire, before performing to a packed audience in the beautiful Southwell Minster.

The event took place at Southwell Minster and The Archbishop’s Palace, by kind permission of the Dean and Chapter.  An extensive refurbishment of the Archbishop’s Palace at Southwell was carried out in 2014, supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund. We recommend a visit! We also recommend attending this summer’s festival. Their exciting programme will be announced soon.

The photos and local review below speak for themselves.


At a concert in the Crossing at Southwell Minster on Sunday 22nd January, three highly talented teenage musicians from the East Midlands inspired their audience with performances of the greatest promise.

They were there thanks to an imaginative partnership between the Southwell Music Festival – whose aims include providing a platform for young musicians – and Awards for Young Musicians (AYM) whose motto is ‘Giving Talent a Chance’. AYM achieves its mission, in part, by providing support to children and young people with exceptional potential who are from lower income backgrounds.

The concert was the culmination of an intensive day’s training, during which three beneficiaries of AYM’s support – violinist Hing Tim Fung (15), cellist Katharine Ley (17) and pianist Annie McChrystal (14) – were coached by three of the Music Festival’s leading performers – Associate Artistic Director and violinist Jamie Campbell, cellist Nathaniel Boyd and pianist Libby Burgess.

Many of those present to hear the concert had been equally inspired during the afternoon; they were sitting in on a public masterclass, at which they saw and heard the youngster’s performances taking shape under the professionals’ expert guidance.

The three young musicians each demonstrated why they were worthy of support in a solo item – Tim showing great sensitivity in the first movement of Mozart’s Violin Concerto No 3 and Katharine displaying great intensity and beauty of tone in Rachmaninov’s Danse Orientale, each accompanied by Libby Burgess.  Annie commanded the audience’s attention with an authoritative account of the first movement of Beethoven’s famous Piano Sonata known as the Pathétique.

They then combined very effectively in Three Miniatures for Piano Trio by Frank Bridge. These delightful pieces – hornpipe, waltz and military march – displayed different aspects of their talent and an obvious pleasure in making music. This achievement was particularly remarkable, considering that they had only met once before the day and were playing chamber music for the very first time.

The three professional musicians closed the concert with a memorable performance of Mendelssohn’s Piano Trio in D minor. The virtuosity, emotional intensity and evident delight in this music and in playing it together was totally absorbing; this was the best possible example for the young players watching and listening; it is inevitable that the young people were inspired to consider that in ten or twenty years or so, they could be giving such a performance themselves.