Two local musicians selected for Youth Orchestra

Northern Ireland’s award winning and dynamic national youth orchestra is set to perform showcase concerts Derry-Londonderry and Belfast - with two local musicians in the ranks.

The Ulster Youth Orchestra (UYO) is regarded as one of the jewels in the crown of the local arts scene, with a reputation for excellence in all its performances. Established in 1993, the Ulster Youth Orchestra continues to flourish as the premier showcase youth orchestra in Northern Ireland.

Following rigorous competitive auditions, 90 talented young musicians have been selected to attend the annual summer course. Two talented local musicians were selected - Maria Conn and Jasmine Morris, who is orchestra leader.

Jasmine has been playing the violin since the age of six. “As I began to progress and enjoy playing, I joined the North Eastern Education Board junior orchestra - eventually graduating to the senior orchestra as leader. I joined the Ulster Youth Orchestra in 2017, and am now looking forward to my fifth year playing with the orchestra.

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    Coleraine's Jasmine Morris, leader of the orchestra, Jasmine is supported by JKC BMW Coleraine. Image courtesy of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland

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    “Ever since I joined the orchestra, I have always dreamt of leading with the Milton violin. The violin is a very special instrument, and as Professor Milton lived in Coleraine, I am thrilled to be bringing it back with me to its home. Towards the end of my school education, I became deputy head girl of Coleraine Grammar School where I also led the school orchestra.

    “I am now studying in my third year at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, under the tutelage of former Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra leader, James Clark. I have had many amazing playing opportunities over the last few years, including playing at major venues with renowned ensembles and conductors all over the world.”

    The precious violin, which is 242 years old, was 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 treasured instrument to the Ulster Youth Orchestra to be used by exceptionally gifted musicians in their role as Leader.

    Public concerts will be given at the Guildhall, Derry-Londonderry on Friday, August 19 and at the Ulster Hall, Belfast on Saturday, August 20.