posted on October 1st, 2020

Apply Now For the Northern Ireland Young Musicians’ Platform Award


The Arts Council of Northern Ireland in partnership with BBC Northern Ireland, are calling for young, exceptional musicians from across Northern Ireland to apply for the Northern Ireland Young Musicians’ Platform Award, supported by National Lottery funding and BBC NI.

These prestigious biennial awards, supported by the Arts Council’s National Lottery funds, aim to showcase and support the development of six exceptional musicians from Northern Ireland by providing funding awards, worth £5000 each, to three classical musicians, one jazz musician, one traditional musician and for the first time, one contemporary singer-songwriter.  This financial award enables recipients to develop their musical aspirations by spending a sizeable amount of time learning from a master musician, mentor, teacher or composer either in Northern Ireland or abroad.

In addition to this training opportunity, each recipient receives two professional radio broadcast engagements with BBC Northern Ireland, including one with the Ulster Orchestra.  Performances at this level raise not only the professional profile of the young musician but also give a boost to their performance experience.

Highlighting BBC Radio Ulster/Foyle’s commitment to specialist music and developing new musical talent, four presenters from the station will mentor the young awardees as well, follow their progress on their programmes and help them prepare for performances with the Ulster Orchestra for live broadcast on BBC Radio Ulster.  John Toal, a classical pianist and presenter of Classical Connections will mentor the three classical awardees; Folk Club presenter, Lynette Fay, will mentor the traditional awardee, Linley Hamilton jazz musician and presenter of Jazz World will mentor the jazz awardee and Stephen McCauley, presenter of The Stephen McCauley Show, will mentor the singer-songwriter awardee.

Ciaran Scullion, Head of Music, at the Arts Council, commented: “The Arts Council of Northern Ireland is hugely proud to support the Young Musicians’ Platform Award through our National Lottery funds.  We are committed to providing valuable, meaningful opportunities for our most exceptional young talent to develop and excel.  The Young Musicians’ Platform Award offers a tremendous opportunity for outstanding young musicians to develop their musical skills, learn from the best in their genre and receive experience of playing with a professional orchestra.  All of the previous recipients have gone on to have successful, musical careers and I’ve every confidence that their experience received through this award acted as a powerful catalyst in shaping their development.”

Paul McClean, Executive Editor, Music, Arts and Events, BBC Northern Ireland, says, “We truly believe that BBC Radio Ulster and Foyle is ‘Where Music Matters’ and we are dedicated to providing our listeners with the best in specialist music. Nurturing new talent is something we are extremely passionate about and we are delighted to be involved in finding new classical, alternative, jazz and traditional artists. Being able to have our listeners engage in these young musicians’ journey will be incredible to watch as they grow and develop with some help from John, Lynette, Stephen and Linley, all of whom are music evangelists.”

Previous recipients of the Young Musicians’ Platform Award include acclaimed classical pianist, Michael McHale, soprano, Laura Sheerin, harpist, Richard Allen, violinist, Michael Trainor, baritone, Brian McAlea, folk artists, Conor Mallon, Martha Guiney and Niall Hanna and jazz musicians, Ed Dunlop and Katherine Timoney, among others.

Applications will be assessed by a specialist panel and shortlisted applicants will then be invited to audition between 1-3 December in Belfast, where they will be asked to perform two contrasting pieces in style and period, one of which will be contemporary.

Applications for the Northern Ireland Young Musicians’ Platform Awards are open from Thursday 1 October and will close at 4pm on Thursday 29th October.  For full eligibility and application details visit www.artscouncil-ni.org

Pictured are four past recipients of the Northern Ireland Young Musicians’ Platform Award, traditional music awardee, Martha Guiney, classical awardees, Andrew Douglas and William Curran with jazz awardee, Katharine Timoney.