An 18-year-old from Stony Stratford was chosen as the winner of this year’s Young Musician of the Year awards for his talent with the flute.
James Westlake was presented the award by Mayor Catriona Morris in a recent ceremony at the Chrysalis Theatre in Willen.
Five talented young musicians had been nominated for the annual ceremony, organised by Milton Keynes Council’s Music Service and supported by the Milton Keynes Rotary Club.
The nominees were made to impress an esteemed panel of judges, including retired Head of the Buckinghamshire Music Service, Helen Blakeman, Head of the Brent Music Service, Paul Fensom, and Ian Smith, a Trustee of The Stables in Wavendon.
The judges said that they were amazed at the high standard of performances at the ceremony, but chose James as their top man.
There was also a performance from last year’s winner, Hannah Slavin, who performed a Chopin Scherzo whilst the judging panel deliberated the five finalists. Following her win last year, Hannah is now part of the Birmingham Conservatoire.
Winner James, who has been involved with the music service for more than three years, said: “The Young Musician of the Year is a great opportunity to get helpful feedback from professional musicians, and a chance to perform in a theatre in front of a large audience.
“I’m thrilled I won it this year as I worked very hard for it, but I’d also like to congratulate everyone else on their performances as well. I very much look forward to coming back next year to perform, listen to the talented competitors and pass on the trophy to the new winner.”
David Rose, who is the Head of Milton Keynes Council’s Music Service, said: “Each year it is incredible to see the talent that the young musicians bring to the event. Many of the participants will have learnt to play their very first notes with Milton Keynes Music Service tutors, and we are thrilled that the Milton Keynes Rotary Club continues to recognise their determination and hard work by supporting the Young Musician of the Year.”