2009 - Stephen Rankin

14 year-old flautist Stephen Rankin from Ballymena and a student at Cambridge House Grammar School won the 2009 competition. He played The Great Train Race by Ian Clarke with panache and impressive technical skill, beating 15 other finalists to the title.

Commenting on Stephen’s win, the adjudicator, BBC’s music producer Richard Yarr, said: 
"At the age of 14, flautist Stephen Rankin is a talent we are sure to hear more of in the future. “

In his 70th birthday year Sir James Galway will be very happy to hear that the quality of flute playing in Northern Ireland remains as high as ever."
Runner-up was 15-year-old violinist, Natasha Kirk from Ballygowan, who played a Kreisler piece with great style and personality, in third place was Aimeé Consiglia, a 15-year-old flautist from Castlewellan, who goes to Regent House GS in Newtownards. The adjudicator praised her performance of a difficult sonata by Taktakashvili for its maturity and style.
Fourth was 18-year-old countertenor Conor Madden, a drama student at QUB, who sang a Gluck piece.

Richard Yarr’s choices in the ‘highly commended’ category were Craig Lutton (14) from Randalstown, playing xylophone, “a real entertainer”, and Andrew Douglas (13), a stylish young flautist from Comber.

Adjudicator Richard Yarr commented: 
"The talent on display is so encouraging. It speaks not only of the competitors’ commitment, but also that of their teachers and parents. 
“These young performers are a credit to Northern Ireland and I'm proud to have been able to hear them and to offer them some practical tips." 

He congratulated all 16 finalists on getting to the final and creating a wonderful evening of music-making. He thanked the Rotary Club of Comber for organising “this important event in the musical calendar”. 

Comber Rotary Club’s President Howard Beattie said: 
“This annual flagship event provides a platform for young musicians to gain essential competition experience. It is also an opportunity for us to show our commitment to local charities, particularly those supporting young people and their families.”


Following the Northern Ireland competition in 2009 Stephen Rankin travelled to Chelmsford, in England to compete in the Rotary Club of Great Britain and Ireland Young Musician of the Year where I gained third place.  His orchestral experience extends to the professional field, having played with the Ulster Orchestra for NI Opera’s production of Der Fliegende Hollander in the Grand Opera House. Being a member of the Ulster Youth Orchestra for five years including participation in the BBC Proms at the Royal Albert Hall, London was another notable highlight.  
Having completed ATCL, LTCL and FTCL performance Diplomas he is now furthering his music education at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in Glasgow under the guidance of Ruth Morley and Katherine Bryan.

“Northern Ireland Young Musician of the Year is a wonderful platform to gain invaluable performance experience whilst competing against the best young musicians in the province.”