Young Musicians' Platform Awards

Watch video as BBC and the Arts Council of Northern Ireland recognise five solo genre performers

BBC Northern Ireland and the Arts Council of Northern Ireland have recognised the work of five exceptional and talented young Northern Ireland musicians at the biennial NI Young Musicians’ Platform Awards.

The awards showcase and support the development of young Northern Ireland musicians, and this year for the first time were extended beyond the classical music arena to include musicians from jazz and traditional Irish music backgrounds.

The five winners are soprano Sinéad O’Kelly from Belfast, cellist David Sloan from Jordanstown and Belfast-born mezzo soprano Dawn Burns in the classical category; uilleann piper Conor Mallon from Armagh in the folk category; and percussionist Edward Dunlop from Belfast in the jazz category.

Each of the five winners will receive prize money amounting to £5,000. This financial award will enable the recipients to spend a sizeable amount of time learning from a master musician, mentor, teacher or composer either in Northern Ireland or abroad, and is just one valuable strand of funding provided in part by ACNI.

As well as this training opportunity, the recipients will receive two professional radio broadcast engagements, including one with the Ulster Orchestra between January and December 2015.

Highlighting BBC Radio Ulster/Foyle’s commitment to specialist music and developing new musical talent, three presenters from the station will mentor the young musicians as well as follow their progress on their programmes and help them prepare for performances with the Ulster Orchestra for BBC Radio Ulster/Foyle concerts.

John Toal, a classical pianist and presenter of Sounds Classical, will mentor the three classical musicians, while Folk Club presenter, musician and singer-songwriter Colum Sands will mentor Conor Mallon, and jazz musician, educator and presenter Linley Hamilton will mentor Edward Dunlop, the young jazz percussionist.

'This prestigious award is a unique opportunity for our outstanding young musicians to develop their musical skills, learn from the best in their genre and receive professional experience of playing with a live orchestra,' said Ciaran Scullion, head of music at ACNI.

'All of the previous recipients of this award have gone on to have successful, professional careers. I’ve every confidence that their experience received through this award will act as an exceptional platform to shaping their professional, musical development.'

Visit the Arts Council of Northern Ireland website for information on all available funding opportunities, and to support the #13pForTheArts campaign.