2006 Awardee: Bethan Newman

Biography

Bethan entered St Mary’s Music School as a violinist, taught by her father, and then became interested in the viola.

Her teacher was immediately struck by the speed with which she took to the viola, experiencing none of the difficulties that players often struggle with when switching from violin to viola, and immediately producing a beautiful, rich viola sound.

Bethan, who was brought up in Orkney, possesses a solid technique and strong sense of musical expression. Her teacher is delighted with the way she is developing an individual way of expressing her innate musicality on the viola. The only thing holding her back is the lack of an instrument to play on.

There are very few violists training currently, and so talented violists like Bethan need to be encouraged and nurtured.

How the Award Helped

The Dewar Arts Awards enabled Bethan to buy a viola for her future career.

2006 Awardee: Emma Durkan

I have learned a lot from attending the RSAMD - I have developed my own style of playing the fiddle and I also understand the style of traditional Scottish better.

Biography

Emma Durkan, from Saltcoats in Ayrshire, started playing Scottish fiddle in primary 6 and quickly showed natural musical ability and the potential to become a great musician. She has the extremely rare ability to learn a complicated tune by ear one week and accurately replay it the next, without the aid of the written music or a recording.

Emma’s ambition is to become a professional musician. She is a member of the North Ayrshire Fiddle Group and has performed with them in Mallorca, France and Sweden.  In 2007 Emma won the North Ayrshire Musician of the Year (Intermediate Award).

Emma’s talent and potential were being severely hampered by lack of regular tuition locally. In 2006 she successfully auditioned to take part in the RSAMD YouthWorks programme. This opportunity will allow her to be stretched musically and play with other talented young musicians who will inspire and motivate her to develop her potential to the full.

How the Award Helped

The Dewar Arts Award has given crucial financial support allowing Emma to take up the place on the RSAMD Youthworks programme. In the second year of support, Emma was able to study both violin and clàrsach.

Since the Award

Emma writes that “going to the RSAMD every Saturday ..greatly improved my playing and musicianship”. It also helped and taught her about writing her own compositions, which is something she had always wanted to do.

In 2008 Emma competed in the senior category of the North Ayrshire Musician of the Year competition, for the first time, in which she was runner-up. Emma begins her undergraduate studies in Folk and Traditional Music at Newcastle University in 2010.

I have learned a lot from attending the RSAMD - I have developed my own style of playing the fiddle and I also understand the style of traditional Scottish better.

2006 Awardee: Holly Lawson

Singing and music is my life, it is a part of who I am and is something which I have a burning desire to do well

Biography

Everyone who hears Holly Lawson sing agrees that they are listening to someone with an extra-special talent. One of her referees heard her sing when she was a secondary school pupil at the National Centre of Excellence in Traditional Music in Plockton and was struck by the power and intensity and maturity of her voice. Her voice tutor at Berklee College of Music, Boston, where she is now studying, was ‘blown away’ from the moment she first her Holly sing.

As a first semester student, Holly won a coveted solo spot in the twice-yearly sold-out Singers Night Concert hosted by Berklee, which is a remarkable achievement in itself. She received a standing ovation for her performance. Holly is considered to be one of the most gifted traditional singers of her generation.

Native of the Isle of Skye, Holly was unsuccessful the first time she was nominated for a Dewar Arts Award. Undaunted, she raised money to get herself to Boston for one semester, believing passionately that this was the place where she could fully develop and train her voice.

How the Award Helped

The Dewar Arts Awards is helping to fund Holly through her studies at Berklee.

Since the Award

Holly writes that “being a student at Berklee has allowed me to learn about all aspects of music so that I am now a confident, enthusiastic and well-rounded musician.” She concludes that “I have a burning desire to succeed in the music industry and the tools I have learned here have enabled me to go out and make it happen.”

Singing and music is my life, it is a part of who I am and is something which I have a burning desire to do well

2006 Awardee: Jonathan Carr

I thank the trustees for this kind and generous award which will help me achieve my dream of becoming a successful jazz vocalist

Biography

Jonathan is the first jazz vocalist from Scotland to win a place at Berklee College of Music, Boston.

From an early age, he has had an ambition to become a jazz singer and musician. He was the first singer to perform with Tommy Smith’s National Youth Jazz Orchestra and has been wowing all the top jazz musicians since, including Fionna Duncan, Sheila Jordan and Sophie Bancroft.

Jonathan, from Wishaw, is considered to be an outstanding and unique talent in Scotland with a voice, musicality and performance abilities that are described as ‘breathtaking’. One of Scotland’s top jazz musicians writes, “his talent is extraordinary, his potential is enormous and he stands out by miles from a very worthy set of peers.” At his age, this is a rare talent which requires expert nurturing and tuition to enable him to achieve the top of his artistic career.

Jonathan joins a growing and enormously talented group of young Scottish jazz and traditional musicians at Berklee.

How the Award Helped

The Dewar Arts Award will help towards Jonathan’s expenses to study at Berklee.

Since the Award

After his first year at Berklee, Jonathan writes, “Before I came to Berklee I was strictly a jazz singer but I have developed both as a jazz singer and as a singer/songwriter. When I went home for the summer I reached the final of the BBC Young Jazz Musician of the Year held with the Glasgow Jazz Festival …… and I think the people who had heard me sing before saw the effect that just a few months at Berklee has had on me.”

Jonathan was offered third year support to continue at Berklee, but wrote to say that ‘it is best for my career that I move on and focus on trying to make a successful career as a recording artist’. He goes on to say that ‘your help changed my life and there is no doubt none of this would have happened if it hadn’t been for your continued generosity’.

I thank the trustees for this kind and generous award which will help me achieve my dream of becoming a successful jazz vocalist

2006 Awardee: Kayley Donnelly

Biography

Kayley started playing the violin when she was 9 years old at her primary school in Springburn where she lives. It was soon apparent that she had a special musical gift which should be nurtured.

At the recommendation of her violin tutor, Kayley auditioned for the music school of Douglas Academy and “against the odds”, as her mother writes, won a coveted place to study music.

Studying at Douglas Academy will mean living away from home for a few nights per week, but Kayley is undaunted as “she loves her music and is excited about the opportunity.”

Kayley’s music teachers say that she has a natural talent for music far beyond any of the other pupils. She is able to capture the mood of the pieces she plays and is quick to pick up any new concepts taught and incorporate them into her playing.

How the Award Helped

It is for young musicians like Kayley that the so-called “Daughter of Dewar” Awards were instituted. The Dewar Arts Award contributed towards the purchase of Kayley’s first violin.

At the moment, who knows how far Kayley’s natural-born talent will take her. But giving her the opportunity to develop it and to discover the joys of making music is also part of the ethos of the Dewar Arts Awards. It is to encourage young people of exceptional ability for their age to become the best that they can be and contribute to the cultural life of Scotland.

Since the Award

Kayley writes, “It has been great having my own violin and I adore playing.  My playing and technique have improved greatly.” Kayley plays in the school Chamber Orchestra and their second orchestra and has been asked to play solo at another school’s event.

2006 Awardee: Laura McKinlay

I am delighted and privileged to accept this Award

Biography

From the age of seven, Laura’s driving ambition has been to become a professional musician.
Currently a student at the RSAMD, Laura has already distinguished herself by playing with two of Scotland’s youth orchestras, the National Youth Orchestra and the National Youth String Orchestra.

She has also been leader of the Repertoire orchestra of NYOS, her Local Council orchestra and School orchestra.
Amongst the prizes and awards she has already won are the Bach class at the Glasgow Music Festival and a bursary to attend the European Youth Summer Music Course in Hertfordshire.

In common with a lot of the young musicians at the RSAMD, Laura has a keen interest in Scottish traditional music and plays in a ceilidh band.

How the Award Helped

The Dewar Arts Awards bought Laura a performance quality violin.

Since the Award

After trying several violins, Laura eventually decided on a Chinese violin made in 2005. As its first owner, she has enjoyed breaking it in and notices that it continues to grow in its capabilities and tone.  She writes, “My new violin is capable of much more advanced techniques than my old one .. and because of this, my musical understanding also progresses further.”

I am delighted and privileged to accept this Award

2006 Awardee: Lorna Geller

Biography

At the age of 18, Lorna Geller left Irvine, where she grew up, first to study for a music degree at Oxford and later to pursue postgraduate study in violin performance at the Guildhall School of Music in London.

Lorna is one of several awardees who started her musical education at St Mary’s Music School in Edinburgh. While she was a student of David Takeno’s in London, he encouraged her passion for solo and chamber music playing. During that time, Lorna was playing on a wonderful Degani violin on long-term loan.

Now 23, Lorna’s musical CV is impressive. Winner of many prizes and awards, including the 2005 Waddell Memorial Prize for Scottish String Players, Lorna has played with several leading chamber orchestras and appeared as soloist with the Ariette Ensemble, the Oxford Sinfionetta and the Edinburgh Festival Concerto Orchestra.

Lorna also took part in a Cultural Exchange Programme in the Gambia studying West African tribal culture and musical traditions which led to a collaborative project and exhibition in both the Gambia and London.

Lorna is both a talented and dedicated musician who is still improving and developing. She has an opportunity to buy the Degani violin she has been playing for many years.

How the Award Helped

The Dewar Arts Award provided the balance of the funds required to purchase the instrument.

Since the Award

After completing her studies at the Guildhall, Lorna went on to pursue a career as a violinist, including work with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, the Yorkshire Baroque Soloists and in 2012 as a trialing sub-principal of the BBC National Orchestra of Wales.

After 10 diverse and busy years in London, she moved back to Scotland in 2013 to work with the Sistema Scotland charity, and holds the post of Senior Musician at Big Noise Govanhill in Glasgow.

2006 Awardee: Roisin Hughes

Biography

Roisin Anne Hughes is an extremely talented multi instrumentalist, who can perform to a very high standard on fiddle/violin, flute, whistle, accordion, mandola and mouth organ. She’s also a cracking singer.

Still only 17, Roisin has enjoyed an almost intimidating level of success in championships, including in fiddle, Scottish Champion eight times and British Champion once, and in mouth organ, British Champion seven times. Not surprisingly, Roisin has performed at Celtic Connections, as well as at many other Scottish and Irish traditional music showcases, with one of the bands she regularly plays with, ‘La’.

Roisin’s interest in both Scottish and Irish traditional music stems from her background. Her mother is Irish, and her father’s family have a long tradition with Clyde shipbuilding, near where Roisin was brought up. As well as being an exponent of traditional music, Roisin started playing classical violin at the age of 9. It shows character and talent to master both techniques well, and by fifth year, Roisin became leader of the Glasgow Schools Symphony Orchestra.

For some time, Roisin has wanted to have a performance standard fiddle. She had her eye on a George Duncan fiddle, but had competition from a fiddle collector who spied it for his show cabinet. George Duncan was a Glasgow fiddle-maker who won gold medals for his fiddle-making – he and Roisin have a lot in common.

How the Award Helped

The Dewar Arts Award provided the money for Roisin to buy the George Duncan fiddle, to release it to be played rather than sit on a shelf and gather dust.

Since the Award

Roisin has had a great deal of success with her new fiddle. In 2007 and 2009 she reached the All-Ireland finals in the Comhaltas competitions. Her band Yuptae has also enjoyed success, playing at the Danny Kyle Open Stage as part of the Celtic Connections and reaching the semi-finals of the Live and Unsigned UK in Newcastle.

2006 Awardee: Rowan Bell

I am absolutely delighted with your offer... this is more generous than I could ever have hoped for and puts a suitable instrument well within my reach

Biography

Rowan is a natural musician who can communicate with his audience and convey his passion for the music he’s playing, says his violin tutor at the Royal College of Music, London, where he’s an undergraduate.

Rowan, from Peebles, is currently leader of the National Youth Orchestra of Scotland and also plays with Camerata Scotland.

In 2005 Rowan won the Kingston-upon-Thames Young Musician of the Year competition as a solo in the concerto class and also as the overall instrumental winner.

He is regularly invited to play solo recitals and to perform with his quartet.

His goal is to become a professional solo performer and for that he needs a good quality violin to match his immense talent and musicality.

How the Award Helped

The Dewar Arts Awards will go towards a performance quality violin for Rowan.

I am absolutely delighted with your offer... this is more generous than I could ever have hoped for and puts a suitable instrument well within my reach

2006 Awardee: Sarah Naylor

This financial award is a huge help, I cannot thank you enough

Biography

Scottish fiddling is in Sarah’s blood. Her grandmother was taught by renowned Highland fiddler, Donald Riddel, and encouraged Sarah to continue the family tradition. When she was nine, her mother made Sarah her first fiddle out of a man-size Kleenex tissue box.

Born and brought up in Uig on the Isle of Skye, Sarah’s ambition is to preserve the style of tune developed in the 17th Century, typified by the Slow Strathspey, and the West Coast style of fiddling and to bring it to an international audience. In 2005 she performed at the opening of the Chicago Celtic Festival, where she also taught and promoted Scottish music and culture.

Sarah won the 2004 Oban Fiddlers Masters, was runner up in both the 2004 Glenfiddich Fiddle Championship and the 2005 Young Scottish Traditional Musician of the Year and won the Celtic Connections Danny Award.

She graduated from Strathclyde with a first in Applied Music. Her final solo performance at Strathclyde won her the David Stow Award for excellence in performance and ranks as one of the best in the last 14 years.

Sarah intends to continue developing her career as a soloist.

How the Award Helped

The Dewar Arts Awards will go towards a performance quality fiddle for Sarah.

This financial award is a huge help, I cannot thank you enough