19 October 2019 - 2 November 2019


Young Kentish Talent Reaches the High Notes

2016 Bursary Competition winner announced


On Tuesday 1 November, Canterbury Festival’s annual Bursary Competition concert was held at St Gregory’s Centre for Music, on Canterbury Christ Church University campus.


The competition, which is generously supported by The Festival Foundation and the Beerling Foundation, exists to support excellence in talented young musicians across Kent, over two categories. The Junior category offers professional performance experience for musicians aged 12-14, with the Senior musicians aged 15-18 competing for the £2000 cash bursary.


Out of all the hopeful participants who applied and auditioned, six senior finalists and four junior finalists were chosen to perform during the final concert. Whilst the junior finalists had already won their prize of a professional performance at St Gregory’s, the evening was a tense affair for the senior finalists who were in competition for the generous crash prize to supplement their musical training. The finalists were looking to impress three highly esteemed judges from local university music departments with their technical ability and performing talent. This year standard was higher than ever which gave the judges a very difficult job of deciding who should win the highly coveted prize.


In the end, the judges were won over by Ellen Pearson’s incredible singing talent. Ellen, who has been taking singing lessons since she was six, is a student at Queen Elizabeth Grammar School in Faversham and is 17 years old. The judges admired her ability to embody every character she was playing and her vocal range stood her apart from the other contestants. Ellen will go on to be the next ambassador for arts with the Festival in 2016/17, and will complete an Arts Award Silver qualification, with each of the other finalists having the opportunity to work towards their Arts Award Bronze.


The Bursary Competition will run again next year, so if you are a musician aged 12-18 and interested in applying for the scheme please click here. 


Top image:

Judges (left to right): David Burridge, Susan Wanless and David Allinson

Performers (left to right): Orla Garner, Niamh O'Shea, Megan Rutherford, Emmanuel Webb, Ellen Person (winner) and Alexandra McLanaghan

Images below:

Judges David Burridge, David Allinson and Susan Wanless with winner Orla Garner

Junior Finalists (left to right): George Titterton, Timon Staehler, Alexandre Aroutiounian and Olivia Harris-Harding. 

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