Thrilling 2018 Final

The final of the 2018 Northern Ireland Young Musician Competition took place in the Great Hall in Campbell College, Belfast on Saturday evening 17th March, and it was a concert to behold. The standards reached by this year’s contestants were truly inspiring, and a great tribute is owed to the young people, their families and to their tutors.

This year’s winner was Ross Houston from Lisburn, who attends the Royal Irish Academy Music. Ross played the Concertino by Chaminade on concert flute. Runner-up was pianist Jamie Howie from Friends School, Lisburn, and violinist Rory Masterson from St. Colman’s College, Newry was placed third. Fourteen year-old singer Aoife Downey from Sacred Heart Grammar School, Newry was declared the most promising under-sixteen year-old.

The adjudicator was Donal McCrisken who is a Belfast based pianist, accompanist, conductor, examiner and adjudicator. He holds a BMus degree from Queens University and a Masters in Music Theory and Analysis from University of Ulster. Before announcing the names of the prize winners, he said it had been a pleasure and a thrill to be in the company of musicians. He added that there is no mystery - practice and effort pay off. He congratulated all the musicians, referring to their technical command, their depth and security, communication skills, and to moments of inspiration.

The audience was treated to 18 performances from a wide range of instruments – cornet, piano, concertina, clarinet, percussion, tenor horn, cello, French horn, harp, recorder and voice.

There was also prize money to the value of £500, £200 and £150 for the winner, runner-up and third resp. All contestants received a certificate with their adjudication, and all will have the opportunity to avail of a master class at a future date.

Pictured from left are Donal McCrisken (adjudicator), Michael Kerr (Kerr Henderson – main sponsor), Ross Houston, Jamie Howe, Rory Masterson, Aoife Downey and TV Presenter Noel Thompson (MC)