2012 - Andrew Douglas

Andrew Douglas from Comber is the 20th winner of Northern Ireland’s Young Musician of the Year.
The final was held in The Harty Room in Queen’s University, Belfast on Saturday 03 March and featured fourteen of the province’s top young musicians selected at the elimination heat on Monday in Comber.
Adjudicator Philip Hammond complimented all the contestants on their hard work and excellent performances, making many helpful comments. He said it had been a pleasure to listen to so many young people of different ages performing such a wide range of music. He also commented that he particularly liked their stage presence and the way they introduced their pieces to the audience. He had been looking primarily for musicality and technical ability and found it in every performance. But for him, Andrew’s performance on flute of Fauré’s Fantaisie stood out as the clear winner.

Runner-up was Sam Brodison from Larne (13), playing Percy Code’s Zelda on cornet. Zak Hassan from Ballymoney (13) came third, playing Vivaldi’s Concerto in A minor on violin. Philip remarked on the confidence of these two young musicians, both of them tackling difficult pieces with great style and technique.
Karen McKeown, President of the Rotary Club of Comber commented: “As well as providing a valuable platform for young musicians to gain competition experience, this well-established contest is an opportunity for the club to raise some much-needed funds for two very deserving charities – the Northern Ireland Music Therapy Trust and the Northern Ireland Cancer Fund for Children.”

In 2012, Andrew Douglas became the first local winner. At the time, he was a pupil at Grosvenor Grammar School, and had been playing the flute from a very tender age, tutored by leading flautist Richard Douglas (yes, there is a family connection!). Andrew is a member of the prize winning Ballygowan Concert Flute Band, and has been their piccolo player for quite some years. He studied music at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, and during his time in Glasgow, he was the musical director of Glasgow Amateur Flute Ensemble; he returned the compliment in prompt fashion by guiding them to first place in the Scottish Amateur Flute Association Championship in November 2014 - their first in the competition for several decades. He later guided them to first place in the 2016 contest. Having successfully completed his studies and returned to Northern Ireland, he accepted the baton for former world flute band champions Ballymena Young Conquerors, and guided them to third place in the 2018 contest.
Andrew studied under the Principal Flautist of the Scottish Opera - Richard Blake. He had been the Principal Flute of the Ulster Youth Orchestra, and appears regularly as an extra with the Ulster Orchestra. He is now a free lance flute player and, in 2018 was one of five gifted young musicians to be awarded the BBC NI and Arts Council Young Musicians' Platform Award.

In an earlier life, Andrew won the under-13, under-16 and open solo in the same year at the Flute Band Association’s Annual Solos & Small Ensemble Contest. This feat has only ever been achieved twice - the other 12-year-old being a certain James Galway.