John Fussell Award

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John Fussell Award

Sunday, 05 July 2015

On Tuesday evening I took part in the final of the John Fussell Award in the Taliesin Arts Centre in Swansea. After a stressful few weeks running the summer exams at the Royal Academy of Music, I really wasn’t sure how the competition would go, but with a £2,000 prize up for grabs to support my studies next year, I knew I had to go for it. I performed Sue Rothstein’s Flying with the Birds Dream Study and Carlos Salzedo’s Ballade, two pieces that Ive performed a lot over the past year and have come to love more and more. With the extremely dry acoustic to contend with, it was hard to know exactly how my playing would project, particularly with the bird calls in Flying with the Birds. However, I was confident in the way I performed, and the judges must have enjoyed as they eventually decided to award the John Fussell Award jointly to Jams Coleman and myself.

I have to thank the Royal Academy of Music, who nominated me for this award. The trust received 17 applications this year, the highest number ever, so it was even more of an honour to be chosen as co-winner of the Award. The trust were extremely supportive during the entire process, both in terms of organisation and financially. As well as organising (and paying for) an accompanist for those who needed one, and paying travel expenses for all finalists to attend the competition, they also upped the prize pot a little, to give both Jams and I a little more support for the next year, which will really make a difference to my studies.

It was wonderful to be back in Swansea on such a beautifully sunny day, as well as meeting some new musicians and having an opportunity to perform these wonderful pieces. The whole process really gave me food for thought about my whole preparation process, and the incredible challenges I have overcome over the last two years trying to balance career and life aspirations. Maybe a topic for another blog some day soon…

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