Gordon Forum for the Arts


Spring 2012

KDAF Fiddle Competition


Gordon winners in the Kincardine and Deeside Arts Forum Competition

For aspiring young string players in the North-East, the annual Kincardine and Deeside Arts Forum Fiddle Competition is a major event. It began in 2009 and attracts good violinists or Scots fiddle players who are resident in the area and are under 25.

The most recent competition was held in November in Woodend Barn and featured 16 young artists; six were chosen to play in the final event. Both classical and traditional styles of fiddle music were represented, and this ensured that the 80-strong audience heard an interesting range of music. The judges were Paul Anderson (traditional fiddler), Alan John (classical violinist) and Mark Hope (chair of KDAF).

Kirsty Lovie

The winner was Kirsty Lovie who hails from the Huntly area. Kirsty attended the Aberdeen City Music School at Dyce and is now a student at the Royal Academy of Music in London. Her programme was classical — Bach D minor Sarabanda from the Second Partita for Violin, and Mendelssohn Violin Concerto, 1st movement. All the judges considered her to be a worthy winner.

What makes this competition particularly special is that a local violin maker, Ian Grieg, has gifted Kirsty one of his handmade violins. This is a tradition that started in 2009. Ian had received a grant from the Kincardine and Deeside Arts Forum to study the craft of violin making, and thereafter wished to donate one of his special instruments, with a value of £3000, to a young player who may not have the means to acquire such a violin. Indeed it was because of Ian's generous offer that the idea of a Fiddle Competition was established.

That evening an unexpected Second Prize was also awarded by the judges. Kincardine and Deeside Arts Forum decided to offer £100 as a prize to a runner up and it went to another Gordon resident, George Davidson of Tarves. His programme was an interesting mix of classical and traditional styles, ranging from Vivaldi to James Scott Skinner and traditional "Breakdown" music of Canada.

A final accolade was given to all the finalists by Stewart Aitken, director of Aberdeen International Youth Festival. He has offered to give each of these young players a showcase within the Up Close and Musical (chamber music) series of concerts in this year's festival in August.

You can read more about Kirsty and George below.

Margaret Hearne

Kirsty Lovie

Kirsty Lovie writes...

I entered the competition because the chances to compete for such a prestigious prize are indeed few and far between! It was also an opportunity to perform back in my home area, and for my elderly grandparents to hear me play as they could never travel to London, so the performance was a special occasion for me and for them.

The final itself was a great event. All 6 finalists played a wide and varied programme and I'd say it was a great evening of music making. The atmosphere backstage was surprisingly very relaxed and everyone was supportive of each other.

I chose to play the 1st movement of the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto because firstly it is a super piece of music to play and to listen to. It also demonstrated my technical abilities as well as my musical abilities, which is one of the reasons why it is such a popular piece to perform. The other piece I played was the Sarabanda from the D minor Second Partita by J. S. Bach. I chose this because it is a great contrast to the Mendelssohn as it is very relaxing and satisfying to play and hear. It's also a piece that I have been maturing for some time now.

Winning the violin was just amazing! I'm very grateful to the KDAF, and of course to Ian Greig for donating such a fantastic prize. Next year I will perform at 3 concerts to showcase the violin and will be contacting various arts organisations such as KDAF and Gordon Forum for the Arts for guidance and advice on possible venues. In the summer I will be playing it in the Aberdeen International Youth Festival at a lunchtime or evening recital, and also in Autumn will give a recital at the Woodend Barn. This is all very exciting!

I'm now in my second year at the Royal Academy of Music where I study with Richard Deakin.

George Davidson

Carolyn Davidson writes...

George is 15 and been playing since he was 9. He attends Meldrum Academy and he has been getting violin lessons at school since he started. He has progressed to Grade 7 with his teacher Karen Harper and he also gets lessons from Paul Anderson for the traditional style which he enjoys greatly. He regularly competes in all the Junior Fiddle competitions in Scotland and has had numerous wins.

The KDAF competition — George says it was a great experience playing against older, more experienced players with different styles and getting runner up was a pleasant surprise considering the standard and wide range of ages of the competitors.

For more information on Ian Greig's violins see: www.iangreigviolins.com

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