2020 Jake Houston

The 2020 Northern Ireland Young Musician is Jake Houston from Wallace High School. The standard of this year’s competition was amazing – possibly the best ever – making for a wonderful feast of music for the large, appreciative audience.

Runner-up was Jack Myles from Regent House, and Julie Piggott, also from Wallace High School, was awarded third place. The prize for the most promising young player went to Evie Mills who is a student at Methodist College. Flautist Jake played “Bali Moods” by Anne Boyd and “Presto” by Enesco; trombonist Jack played the second movement of Seroki’s Sonatina and “White-knuckle Ride” by Wilby. Julie’s choice was a set of Romanian Folk Dances by Bartók, and cellist Evie played “Allegro Appassionato” by Saint-Saëns and “Prayer”-from “Jewish Life” by Bloch.

The competition was launched by the Rotary Club of Comber in 1993 and has often been marked by different members coming through from the same family. However this year produced the first family double as Jake’s big brother Ross won the title in 2018.

The adjudicator for the heats was clarinettist Gillian McCutcheon who performs as soloist and chamber musician. She is often in demand as a teacher and adjudicator, and as a reviewer for BBC Radio Ulster, Gillian has also travelled the world as an examiner for Trinity College London.

The adjudicator for the final was Richard Yarr who is Senior Producer, Arts and Music with BBC Northern Ireland. He is much in demand as an adjudicator, and presents BBC Radio Ulster’s Sunday evening request programme “Sounds Sacred”. Richard also received the Freedom of the City of London last year, recognising his work with young musicians.

Comber Rotary wish to thank Holywood Parish Church and Campbell College for hosting the heats and final respectively, accompanist Michael Harrison, and principal sponsors The Kerr Henderson Group and Dalriada Trustees.