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Eighteen year Spanish student wins prestigious music prize

Scotland’s national music school’s highly prestigious Directors’ Recital Prize 2018 has been won by an eighteen year old student pianist from Alicante, Spain.

Salvador Sanchez, an S6 pupil, was declared the winner of the 18th annual competition following a closely contested final with three other senior soloists from St Mary’s Music School, Edinburgh, Scotland’s national music school.

The finalists were (L to R William Fielding (piano) aged 18 from Blackburn in England, Emma Baird (violin) aged 17 who hails from Prestwick, Fraser Mason (piano) aged 15 from Stow in the Scottish Borders and Salvador.

The four senior finalist soloists competed before a distinguished panel of judges for the award which took place at St Mary’s Episcopal Cathedral, Edinburgh.

This year’s judges were James Cook, Director of St Mary’s School, Bill Chandler, Director of Artistic Planning and Engagement and Duncan Ferguson, Lecturer in Strings and Chamber Music Co-ordinator, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.

Salvador played Scarletti Sonata in D Minor K141, Britten ‘Night Piece’ and Chopin Ballade No.1 in G Minor Op.23.

Salvador said: “It has been such an honour wining the Director’s Recital Prize. I could not believe it when I heard my name being announced, especially after hearing such a high standard of performances from my fellow competitors.”

Dr Kenneth Taylor, Headteacher at St Mary’s Music School, said: “This year we had 25 entries for the Directors’ Recital Prize and I would like to congratulate all pupils on their performances. The very high standard we witnessed is a tribute to the hard work, enthusiasm and musicianship of our pupils, their teachers and accompanists.

“I congratulate Salvador on his well-deserved win which is a reflection of his talent and dedication to music.

“The prize is donated annually by the school’s board of directors and provides pupils with experience of public solo performance in a competition situation. For aspiring professional musicians, audiences are vital and I thank everyone who attended to listen and support the four young finalists”.

Salvador has been at St Mary’s Music School since September 2016 and started playing piano at the age of nine. He had lessons from well-known pianists in Valencia and Barcelona and in 2014, Salvador was awarded the second prize at the ‘XXV11 National Piano Competition’ in Toledo.

In 2017, Salvador was awarded the first prize in the Isobel Dunlop Composition competition for his string quartet ‘Black Rhapsody’ and he has performed recitals as a soloist around Spain. He is currently studying piano with Margaret Wakeford and composition with Tom David Wilson.

Emma Baird studies violin at St Mary’s Music School and Junior Conservatoire, RCS. She plays in several chamber ensembles, symphony orchestras and enjoys giving regular solo and group performances across the UK. Emma has appeared as concerto soloist with numerous orchestras and ensembles and has won many top prizes at the Glasgow, Edinburgh and Ayrshire music festivals, most notably the Ailie Cullen award for ‘the most outstanding performance of the Glasgow Festival’ and the Edinburgh Competition Festival Concerto Competition.

Fraser Mason is from Stow in the Scottish Borders. He began to play piano at the age of seven and came to St Mary’s Music School when he was ten. He has participated in some masterclasses and was fortunate enough to get a lesson with Yuja Wang after a concert and lessons with Steven Osborne (a former pupil at St Mary’s Music School). In the future Fraser hopes to continue to study the piano abroad or study maths at Oxford or Cambridge.

William Fielding has been studying at St Mary’s Music School since he was sixteen. During this time, he has explored solo repertoire and chamber music as a member of the Strathearn Piano Trio with fellow pupils, Brìona and Finn Mannion. He has received masterclasses from Martin Roscoe, Joanna MacGregor and Mohammed Shams and has performed in venues such as The Queen’s Hall (Edinburgh), St Mary’s Cathedral, Blackburn Cathedral, Leeds Town Hall and The Barbican.