Hannah’s performance strikes right note with youth orchestra

Talented violinist Hannah Foy. INPT29-001
Talented violinist Hannah Foy. INPT29-001

A Portadown violin player has beaten dozens of young musicians to win a place in the Ulster Youth Orchestra (UYO).

Hannah Foy (19), who began playing the violin when she was 11 and has been “hooked” ever since, will take part in the orchestra’s annual summer course, followed by two public concerts next week in Belfast and Londonderry

The former Banbridge Academy student is one of 90 talented young musicians selected from across Northern Ireland after giving an impressive performance at a rigorous audition process.

She and her fellow musicians will be coached by a team of internationally acclaimed tutors, and the concerts will be held in the Guildhall on Friday, July 25 and in the Ulster Hall, Belfast, on July 26.

Hannah, who is studying music at the University of Ulster, said she was thrilled to have been selected. “It is going to be an amazing experience in which I

will learn some invaluable tips to help enhance my musical ability,” she said,

“I am hoping to use this experience as an insight into the orchestral field as I have not yet decided which area of music I would like to work in, once I finish university.”

The teenager, who also plays the piano, said her interest in the violin blossomed over the years into a “passion and thriving ambition to choose music as my lifelong career”.

She was the leader of the school orchestra at Banbridge Academy where she was awarded the Nigel Duke Memorial Trophy and Prize for Orchestral Music. For eight years she was a member of a variety of orchestral groups within the SELB Music Service and a member of South Ulster Youth Orchestra for three years.

“In recent years I have also become a member of the South Ulster Celtic Ensemble, which has given me an insight into another musical genre,” she said.

Hannah concentrates mainly on classical music, by composers such as Beethoven, Bach, Brahms and Mozart, but also enjoys playing some contemporary pieces.

She added, “I am delighted that UYO will be under the direction of Garry Walker, a renowned and highly acclaimed conductor, and am extremely excited about the repertoire for the concerts.”

Scottish-born Mr Walker, who is musical director, first worked with the orchestra in 2009 in what turned out to be a highly successful collaboration.

Ciaran Scullion, head of music, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, congratulated all the young musicians who had won a “coveted place” and said the experience would develop their skills and confidence as orchestral musicians.