Caitlin Shaughnessy was the inaugural Festival Foundation Young Musician's Bursary Competition winner and her instrument is the violin.
Last year’s winner, violinist Caitlin Shaughnessy, has been a fantastic ambassador for music and for the work of the Festival Foundation and we are thrilled that she will join the judging panel for this year’s winner. Caitlin is a pupil of Berent Korfker, violin professor at the Royal College of Music. She was a music scholar at Kent College, Canterbury, and starts studying music at Oxford this autumn. Clearly we chose an appropriate recipient – as Caitlin is destined for a fabulous musical career. Everyone at the Festival Foundation is very proud of her achievements and delighted to have played a tiny part in her success.
Here are Caitlin's initial thoughts about becoming the first Festival Foundation Young Musician 2011:
One of the questions I have been asked a lot is what I will do with my award. I have already spent some of it on improving my violin which now has a new chin rest and repairing a small crack. My bow is on loan from the Benslow Music Trust, but eventually I will need to buy my own and they are very expensive. My teacher at the Royal College of Music is developing a new shoulder rest; whilst these will be expensive they are designed not to interfere with the sound of the violin and improve your posture so I also intend to get one of these when they come available. Last summer I went to Italy to do an intensive masterclass course with my teacher. This was a brilliant experience, sharing a flat with 3 of his other pupils who were already studying at the RCM and having lessons and practicing at Palazzo Ricci in the heart of the small Tuscan town of Montepulciano really allowed me to develop as a musician (especially the 6 hours practice a day!). I intend to use some of my bursary to allow me to go for two weeks this year.
I spend most of my time juggling school work and practice and making a decision about whether to apply to university to study Music or conservatoire was really difficult. I spent much of my summer switching between the two. I was advised by my teacher to take a gap year before applying to conservatoire to develop my playing further. After a visit to the Oxford open day and a visit from an admissions tutor I decided to apply there as well, however I was reluctant to apply for deferred entry as this could lower my chances. I finally decided to apply for university, and in December I spent 4 days in Oxford for my interview. The experience is one that I will never forget. Knowing nothing about what to expect, my first interview went quite well. Next was the audition in which I played the Bach Gavotte en Rondeau that I had played for the bursary competition. Knowing the piece very well and having performed it before meant that I was less nervous for this than I thought I was going to be (I have discovered that playing your repertoire to a small audience before a big recital/competition is fantastic preparation!) My second interview however was very tough and I came out very worried and bewildered, but on December 21st I found out I had a conditional offer of 3 A's which was a brilliant Christmas present! The course at Oxford can comprise of up to 25% performing which I think will really suit me, and after my degree I hope to take a gap year and then go for postgraduate at RCM so still sticking with the performing plan!
At the moment I am just through my January exams which meant my violin became a bit neglected however I am now starting to get my teeth into some Beethoven and Weniawski as well as working on developing my technique further. At school we have the house music competition coming up, in which I am helping to organise, including playing and arranging a version of Schindler's List for violin, cello and harp which I hope will be really beautiful, and singing in an a cappella arrangement of Coldplay's Paradise which is proving to be a real experience! We also have the Kent College Prom Concert coming up which always proves to be a really fun evening and playing some prom classics like Walton's Crown Imperial and Elgar's Pomp and Circumstance.
In May and June I am performing at "Friends of the Festival" events which will allow me to display some of my new repertoire as well as allowing me to give something back to the wonderful organization which has allowed me to develop my playing and enhance my future so much!