2013 - Eva Richards

Eva Richards, a 17-year-old cellist from Ballymena, is the Northern Ireland Young Musician of the Year 2013.

Adjudicator Edwin Gray complimented all the contestants on their excellent performances. He said it had been a real pleasure to listen to so many young people of different ages performing such a wide and challenging range of music. He had been impressed and moved. “I would like to award everyone a prize,” he commented. “You all have proved that you have a gift for music, which is much more valuable than any prize.” The key elements he looked for were technique, interpretation and communication. Every player had demonstrated all of these but, for him, Eva’s confident, lyrical performance of Mark Summer’s Julie-O stood out as the clear winner.
Runner-up was violinist Iryna Glyebova from Lisburn (17), playing Monti’s Czardas “in an exciting and dynamic performance”. Soprano Alice Cartmill (18) from Rathfriland was third, performing Vilia from Lehar’s The Merry Widow “with sensitivity and at a beautifully measured pace”. Edwin remarked on the confidence of these two young musicians, each communicating her chosen piece with conviction and style.
Two additional prizes were awarded to the best under-15 entrants. Winners were Sam Brodison, 14, from Larne, on cornet, and Rebecca Doherty, 13, from L/Derry on descant recorder.

Jim Torney, president of the event’s organisers, the Rotary Club of Comber, commented: “As well as providing a valuable platform for young musicians to gain competition experience, this well-established contest, now in its 21st year, is an opportunity for the club to raise some much-needed funds for two local charities – the Northern Ireland Music Therapy Trust and the Northern Ireland Cancer Fund for Children.”


Since winning the competition in 2013, Eva was awarded a place at the Royal Northern College of Music where she studies with Nicholas Trygstad.  Eva has been a member of the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain, the Ulster Youth Orchestra and the National Youth Orchestra of Ireland, and has performed as a soloist with the NEELB Youth Orchestra. In 2014 Eva was awarded a ‘Playing for Peace’ Scholarship to the Apple Hill Centre for Chamber Music, New Hampshire, USA, which she also attended in 2015, and in 2013 she attended ‘Cello: An American Experience’ in St Olaf College, Minnesota, where she performed a duet with Mark Summer, a founding member of the Turtle Island String Quartet.
“Winning the Northern Ireland Young Musician of the Year competition really increased my confidence in performance and inspired me to pursue a career in music”