Graham Mackenzie

ARTFORMS: Violin , Music




Graham started to play the violin at six and won his first trophy at the age of nine. He has gone on to win many prizes and accolades, the most notable to date being in 2004 as the youngest ever winner at the Danny Kyle Open Stage.

Graham, from Inverness, is considered to be one of Scotland’s finest up-and-coming musicians who will become a leading player of his generation. Already he is an accomplished and exciting performer full of style and grace. In 2004 he was part of the band selected to support Blazin’ Fiddles on their Scottish tour. In 2005 he performed on the BBC Hogmanay Live show. He has performed on a number of occasions with fellow Dewar Arts Award winner, Aidan O’Rourke.

Graham has been a member of the National Children’s Orchestra of Scotland and is currently part of NYOS Strings. His ambition is to study classical music at one of the leading conservatoires in the country and to become a professional musician.

How the Award Helped

The Dewar Arts Award enabled Graham to buy a Ewen Thomson fiddle. He says of it: “it is already a great instrument but will be even better once it has been fully played in.”

Since the Award

Graham writes that the violin he had made by Ewen Thomson is one which "I would have dreamt of playing when I began playing the fiddle at 6 years of age." Since getting his new violin, Graham has won numerous prestigious prizes, including the inaugural Highland Young Musician of the Year in 2007.  

In 2012 Graham was a finalist of the BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Musician of the Year, and in 2013 he graduated with a BMus (Hons) from the Royal Northern College of Music. He went on to study a Masters in Scottish Traditional Music at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. He attended Cape Breton University, Canada, as an exchange student, and in 2015 performed at the Celtic Connections festival with a New Voices commission.

My Ewen Thomson violin, which I purchased with my Dewar Arts Award, has been fundamental in my development and success. I am extremely grateful for the support I received from the Trust.


2012: BBC Young Folk Musician of the Year Award finalist