This month sees the launch of the prestigious Milton Violin Award for young musicians across Northern Ireland.
Donated to the Arts Council by Professor Alan Milton in 1980, the beautiful violin was made by renowned Neapolitan violin maker Joseph Gagliano and has previously been used by the Leader and Principle players of the Ulster Orchestra.
The loan, for a period of up to three years, offers a unique opportunity for the recipient to play and develop their skill on a world class instrument. The musician privileged enough to become the temporary custodian of the Milton Violin, worth £100,000 must be an outstanding young violinist from Northern Ireland who wishes to pursue or continue their personal training.
Previous recipient of the award Michael Trainor said:
‘To have had access to such an instrument has been an immeasurable gift. Having had the privilege to play this outstanding violin for the past three years, I can see the tremendous benefits it has afforded me. With each passing year my skill and in turn my confidence as a performer have grown. I am grateful to the Arts Council of Northern Ireland for giving me this opportunity.’
Head of Music at the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, Rosa Solinas said:
‘The Arts Council of Northern Ireland recognises that violinists with exceptional potential will need an exceptional instrument if they are to stand out in what is a fiercely competitive environment. For most entering the profession this is impossible without a benefactor, and, through the generosity of Professor Milton, that is what we are able to be for the best young Northern Irish violinists of successive generations.’
The age limit for the Milton Violin Award is 26. Applicants must have a background and training in classical music, and have completed their first academic, graduate level qualification.
Initial applications will be assessed by a specialist panel. Applicants then lucky enough to be shortlisted will be invited to an audition in December 2012, where they will be asked to perform two contrasting pieces and take part in an informal interview.
Those interested in applying should do so by 4pm on November 23. Additional information and applications can be found on www.artscouncil-ni.org