Young Belfast Talent Presented with Precious Violin

Susanna Griffin will have the chance to use the centuries-old instrument in her new role as leader of the Ulster Youth Orchestra

Talented Belfast violinist Susanna Griffin has been presented by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland with the 237-year old Milton Violin to mark her appointment as new leader of the Ulster Youth Orchestra (UYO).

Made by renowned Neapolitan violin maker Joseph Gagliano, the precious instrument will be played throughout her tenure. It was donated to the Arts Council by Professor Alan Milton in 1980 and in the past has been used by the leader and principal players of the Ulster Orchestra. In 2013 the Arts Council decided to loan the violin to the Ulster Youth Orchestra to be used by exceptionally gifted musicians in their role as leader.

Griffin, who is in her first year of a BMus(Hons) degree at the Royal Northern College of Music studying with the leader of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, faced a rigorous audition before taking up the head position. The UYO is the National Youth Orchestra of Northern Ireland and is supported by National Lottery funding through the Arts Council. It offers the highest level of orchestral training, not otherwise available here. Through its annual summer residential courses, concerts and outreach projects, it provides young gifted musicians with the opportunity to develop their musical skills further.

Ciaran Scullion, Head of Music at the Arts Council, said: 'Congratulations to Susanna in becoming Leader of the Ulster Youth Orchestra. The Orchestra has become a vibrant and creative force in the musical life of Northern Ireland, bringing top quality orchestral playing to a wide audience, and providing gifted young musicians with access to the very best professional players, tutors and conductors. Thanks to the generosity of Professor Milton, we are able to provide the rare chance to play this exceptional instrument to generations of our best young violinists. We are delighted by the appointment of Susanna and have no doubt she will put this very special opportunity to great use.’

Susanna Griffin, Ulster Youth Orchestra, violin 2

(Left to right) Paula Klein, Susanna Griffin, Ciaran Scullion

Paula Klein, General Manager of the Ulster Youth Orchestra, said: 'Susanna has been a consistently strong member of the Ulster Youth Orchestra over the last four years and we are delighted that she has been awarded the position of leader in 2017. Susanna has a beautifully warm sound which will be further enhanced by the rich tone of the Milton Violin and we are looking forward to hearing her playing at the summer course.

'The directors of the Ulster Youth Orchestra are extremely grateful to the Arts Council for providing the leader of the Ulster Youth Orchestra with the opportunity of playing such a fine instrument. Chances like this are extremely rare and we are proud to be able to give Susanna such a helping hand in her developing career.'

Membership to the Ulster Youth Orchestra is gained through a highly competitive audition process. All members value the opportunity to come together to perform with the very best young musicians from all over Northern Ireland. Its members work together harmoniously in the pursuit of artistic excellence.  The Orchestra’s artistic programmes encourage individuals to develop practical and social skills, boost their confidence, enhance their well-being and empower them to achieve excellence.

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