Exceptional violinist, Samuel Kane, from Loughgall in County Armagh, has been announced as the new Leader of the Ulster Youth Orchestra (UYO), and has been presented by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland with the Milton Violin, an exquisite instrument made by renowned Neapolitan violin maker, Joseph Gagliano, to be played throughout his tenure as leader.
The precious violin, which is 239 years old, was generously donated to the Arts Council by Professor Alan Milton in 1980 and in the past has been used by the Leader and principal players of the Ulster Orchestra. In 2013 the Arts Council decided to loan the precious instrument to the Ulster Youth Orchestra to be used by exceptionally gifted musicians in their role as Leader.
Samuel, who is in his first year at the Royal Northern College of Music studying with James Clark, faced a rigorous audition to become leader of the UYO. Established in 1993, The UYO is the National Youth Orchestra of Northern Ireland and is supported by public funding and National Lottery funding through the Arts Council and offers the highest level of orchestral training in the region. Through its annual summer residential courses and concerts and outreach projects, it provides young gifted musicians with the opportunity to develop their musical skills further.
Ciaran Scullion, Head of Music, Arts Council of Northern Ireland said, “Congratulations to Samuel in becoming Leader of the Ulster Youth Orchestra. The Orchestra has become a vibrant and creative force in the musical life of Northern Ireland, bringing top quality orchestral playing to a wide audience, and providing gifted young musicians with access to the very best professional players, tutors and conductors. Thanks to the generosity of Professor Milton, we are able to provide this exceptional instrument to generations of our best young violinists. We are delighted by the appointment of Samuel and have no doubt he will put this very special opportunity to great use.”
Paula Klein, General Manager of the Ulster Youth Orchestra said, “We are delighted that Sam has been awarded the position of leader in 2019. We heard Sam recently playing one of his own pieces on the Milton Violin and both the delicacy and the power of this beautiful instrument will be such a great help to him in his developing career. The directors of the Ulster Youth Orchestra are extremely grateful to the Arts Council for providing the leader of the Ulster Youth Orchestra with the opportunity of playing such a fine instrument.”
Membership to the Ulster Youth Orchestra is gained through a highly competitive audition process. All members value the opportunity to come together to perform with the very best young musicians from all over Northern Ireland. Its members work together harmoniously in the pursuit of artistic excellence. The Orchestra’s artistic programmes encourage individuals to develop practical and social skills, boost their confidence, enhance their well-being and empower them to achieve excellence.