Young Musicians Platform

The Arts Council of Northern Ireland and the BBC begin the search for this year's three award recipients

This search is now on for this year’s potential recipients of the Young Musicians Platform award, presented by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland (ACNI) in conjunction with BBC NI.

The Young Musicians’ Platform is awarded bi-annually by the ACNI and recognises the talents of up to three high quality musicians providing three individual awards of £5,000. This financial award enables recipients to learn from a master musician, teacher or composer either in Northern Ireland or abroad.

As well as this training opportunity, the BBC offers each recipient two professional radio broadcast engagements with the Ulster Orchestra. Performances at this level raise not only the professional profile of the young musician, but also give a boost to their performance experience.

The age limit for the Young Musicians’ Platform Scheme is 26 for instrumental players and 29 for singers. Applicants must have a background and training in classical music, and have completed their first academic, graduate level qualification.

Head of Music at the ACNI, Rosa Solinas, spoke enthusiastically about the scheme. ‘The Young Musicians Platform award was designed to help young performers from Northern Ireland develop their work and practice. This significant financial assistance is also designed to fuel their passion for music.

'It offers us an opportunity to truly celebrate and recognise the talents of our young musicians and to uncover new talent. We look forward to hearing this year’s candidates perform and to seeing how the award will further the development of the new recipients talent.’

Previous recipients of the award include Derry~Londonderry's Kim Vaughan, currently cellist and artistic director of The Benyounes Quartet, violinist Michael Trainor and the celebrated soprano, Aoife Miskelly (pictured above), who this year graduated from the Royal Academy of Music in London.

Speaking about the award, Miskelly said: ‘The Young Musician's Platform Award has enabled me to pursue the beginnings of an international operatic career. I am hugely grateful for such an award. I cannot stress how much this opportunity has opened doors for me and would encourage other emerging professional musicians to apply to this wonderful scheme.’

Initial applications will be assessed by a specialist panel. Shortlisted applicants will then be invited to an audition in December 2012, where they will be asked to perform two contrasting pieces and take part in an informal interview. Those interested in applying should do so by 4pm on November 23 via the ACNI website.