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Debut BBC Radio Scotland Young Classical Musician of the Year winner announced

BBC Radio Scotland has announced Melia Simonot as the winner of the inaugural Young Classical Musician of the Year competition, held in association with the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.

The grand final took place in Glasgow’s City Halls on Saturday 8 June, hosted by broadcaster and musician Jamie MacDougall. Four talented young musicians joined the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and conductor Martyn Brabbins to compete in front of a live audience for the prestigious title. The finalists included harpist Gina Gallacher, pianist Vita Hofinger Mihelič, and oboist Chris Vettraino.

Ultimately, only one musician could claim the title, which was awarded to the 21-year-old after a stunning live performance.

Simonot said: “To win the inaugural BBC Radio Scotland Young Classical Musician of the Year award is truly amazing and I would like to thank everyone involved as well my friends and family for their support over the years. Having the opportunity to perform with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra at the City Halls is a dream come true in itself. Classical music is my passion and to have my work recognised by the BBC in this way is fantastic.”

In addition to the title of BBC Radio Scotland Young Classical Musician 2024 and a bespoke trophy designed by Simon Baker, Simonot will receive a recording session with BBC Scotland and a special feature on the station’s Classical Now programme.

Heather Kane-Darling, BBC Radio Scotland commissioning editor, said: “Melia is a worthy winner of the first ever BBC Radio Scotland Young Classical Musician of the Year award, and we look forward to showcasing more of her performances in the future.

“The level of the entrants generally and of course the four finalists was outstanding and we could not be more delighted with the event and indeed this competition, through which we hope more young people in Scotland will engage with classical music.”

Professor Jeffrey Sharkey, Principal of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, added: “The BBC Scotland Young Classical Musician of the Year creates a wonderful opportunity to recognise and celebrate the quality of emerging musicians here in Scotland. Our warmest congratulations to Melia for winning this inaugural competition and to all the shortlisted finalists. This is an important new platform which champions classical music in Scotland through highlighting talented young musicians and the power of their music and we are delighted to be part of this important initiative.”

The Young Classical Musician of the Year competition aims to encourage and highlight the wealth of talent in Scotland’s vibrant classical scene. It joins the ranks of Radio Scotland’s existing music competitions, including the Young Traditional Musician of the Year, the Young Jazz Musician of the Year, and BBC Introducing Scottish Act of the Year.

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