2018 Oundle Young Musician 

The first 10 years of the award were made possible by a generous bequest from the late Tony Hounsome's estate in 2007. Tony was associated with the Festival as teacher and bandmaster, committee member and most recently vice chairman. He taught many of the young instrumentalists who were our past competitors and it seems fitting that this award was made in his memory.

We are delighted that the Arts Society Oundle are sponsoring the £100 prize for Festival 100.


18 years and under  Own Choice  -- Entry Fee £13

Qualifying Classes

  M8 Brass   M18 Guitar      M38 Piano  M58 Recorder   M63 Percussion     M78 Strings    M88 Woodwind 

Competitors will qualify by winning with a mark of at least 87.

Entrants for these qualifying classes are strongly advised to bring their own accompanist. If this is not possible a rehearsal with the Official Accompanist can be arranged through the Festival, charged at the current BIFF rates for Accompanists.

Depending on the number of piano entries the competition will take place after the piano classes on Sunday March 25th or at the Festival Concert on Saturday, April 28th. 

A competitor may only perform once in the final competition.

 Competitors must perform their qualifying programme. Exceeding the time limit of 8 minutes will lead to disqualification.

In any event the winner will be asked to perform at the Festival Concert.


 2017 Young Musician of the Year

Raffaella Watson is 18, lives in Oundle, and is in her final year at Oundle School where she is studying History of Art, Italian and Latin. She started playing the violin aged 6 at Laxton Junior School, and has performed many times in lunchtime recitals at St Peter’s. For the past five years she has studied with Katherine Gittings in Birmingham and passed her DipABRSM with Distinction last October. This year she leads the Oundle School Symphony Orchestra, was awarded the Tatum Cup for her performance in the Hepburn Music Competition, and performed Vaughan Williams’ The Lark Ascending at the school Easter concert. She spent four years with the National Children’s Orchestra and has given two recitals with her cellist brother Nathaniel at Fotheringhay Church. Her second instrument is the tuba.

In her gap year before studying History of Art at university she will be working with the stringsdepartment of Wycombe Abbey International School in Changzhou, China. This is her first time entering the Oundle Festival of Music and Drama and she is thrilled to have won the Young Musician of the Year award.

“I love playing at St Peter’s and really enjoyed performing in the Final. I’m very excited to have the chance to do a recital in next year’s International Festival.”

Oundle Young Musician 2016 
Robert Burton is 16 years old and lives in Cambridgeshire, where his parents are farmers. He is taking A Levels in Music, Music Technology and Fine Art at Hinchingbrooke School, Huntingdon. He started playing the recorder at age 5, then piano and moved to saxophone at age 9. He has grade 8 distinction in all three. Rob spends all of his free time doing art or music.
In 2012 Rob joined Junior Guildhall School of Music in London, where he is taught classical saxophone by Paul Stevens. For the past two years Rob has been a member of the National Youth Wind Orchestra of Great Britain. Recently he has performed a concerto with the Huntingdon Philharmonic.
He enjoys competing in competitions. This year he has won the Wellingborough Young Musician of the Year, was a National Finalist in the Rotary Young Musician of the Year, came second in the Junior Guildhall ‘Lutine Prize’ and, to top it all, has now won the Oundle Young Musician of the Year. Rob said that performing in the wonderful settings of Oundle Church and School was a pleasure and that he was looking forward to  playing a recital at the Oundle International Festival next year. Rob had only entered the Oundle Festival once before, in 2012, where he reached the final on recorder.
He hopes to study music at a conservatoire as he’d like to be a professional musician when he is older.


Reuben Goldmark



Reuben is 15 years old and studies piano with Helen Krizos at Chetham’s School of Music. 

He has a wide range of musical interests; he spent two summer seasons singing with Opera Bauge as a boy soprano and is a keen chamber musician playing in a number of ensembles at school. He is also passionate about jazz and improvisation which he studies with Les Chisnall; he hopes to be part of the National Youth Jazz Collective this summer. Reuben is fortunate to be given many performing opportunities with Chetham’s and most recently has been invited to take part in the Hellen’s Manor series of masterclasses with Christian Blackshaw. 

Reuben has competed at Oundle Festival for several years. 

Oundle Young Musician 2014 

Ellen Porter is 15 years old, and comes from Thrapston, Northamptonshire. She attends Prince William School in Oundle, where she is hoping to continue with her A levels next year.

Ellen has been playing the cello since the age of seven. Last summer she began studying with David Smith at the Royal Academy of Music in London, as a private pupil. Since then Ellen has won many awards and competitions, one of which has lead to a solo recital in the Harpenden Music Festival this summer. Ellen has played with the CBSO Youth Orchestra for the past 12 months, and also enjoys chamber music and compositional work with the Britten Sinfonia Academy.

Ellen has performed at the Oundle Festival for the last 9 years with her school ensembles and in the last few years as a soloist, so winning the Young Musician of the Year was a great personal achievement for her.

Ellen hopes to go to Music College to become a professional cellist.

“I have taken part in the Oundle Festival for many years, so winning the Young Musician of the Year has always been a goal for me and I was even more pleased to have won it in the encouraging and enjoyable atmosphere of the Oundle Festival.”

Irena Radić is studying with Niel Immelman at the Royal College of Music, London, where she was a Junior Department Tsukanov Scholar and recipient of the Wolfson Music Award. Since winning Oundle Young Musician of the Year 2013, she has won awards including the Teresa Carreño Piano Prize 2014, and prizes at international music festivals in Portugal and Estonia.


Irena has performed in venues such as Bolivar Hall, West Road Concert Hall and Wigmore Hall, as well as appearances as an orchestral pianist at the Royal Festival Hall, Cadogan Hall and St John's Smith Square. Last year featured performances of Franck's Sonata for Violin and Piano, a world premiere of Tantrum by Nino Russell, and Bartok's Sonata for 2 Pianos and Percussion. Her Guitar and Piano duo with Jonatan Bougt won second prize at the Twents Guitar Festival 2016, and regularly performs their own arrangements of Ravel's Mother Goose Suite and Shostakovich's 24 Preludes Op.34.


More info at www.irenaradicpiano.com


Becky Taylor is 15 years old and lives in Morton nr. Bourne. She played Kreisler's Praeludium and Allegro in the final competition.

As well as winning the 18 years & under String Solo class to qualify for the Young Musician Competition, Becky was awarded the Prabhu Singh Memorial Prize in the 15 years & under for Piano Solo Class.
Becky is a music scholar at Stamford High School, and attends The Royal College of Music Junior Department in London on Saturdays, where she is taught by Hilary Sturt. Becky has paticipated in many national music courses and when time allows, she enjoys playing in local orchestras.
"Becky had a great time at the festival. She has some made some really good friends... and surely that is what music is about!"



Chloe Stowers-Veitch, Chesterton. 

 Chloe was a music scholar at Oundle School before studying the violin at The Yehudi Menuhin School, and The Guildhall School where she learnt with Simon Fischer.

During her studies she attended masterclasses from world renowned musicians including Zvi Zeitlin, Zakhar Bron, the Endellion, Chilingirian and Belcea Quartets. She has played under the baton of Sir Simon Rattle, Pietari Inkinen and Valery Gergiev. She received sectional coaching from LSO members and also played with LSO members in the LSO Discovery days and in their Open Air Concert in Trafalgar Square. She has also played in many festivals throughout the UK and Europe as a soloist and chamber musician.

During her last year of Guildhall she undertook an internship with Hazard Chase which led to her receiving a full time position starting July 2017. She graduated from The Guildhall School with a BMus(Hons) degrein July 2017.

Chloe teaches the violin in her spare time and gives concerts with her trio which were formed at The Guildhall School.



Charlotte McAuliffe, Peterborough, played the first movement of Haydn's Cello Concerto in C in the 2010 Final.


"I look back at the Oundle Festival with great fondness and I am very grateful for the performance opportunities it gave me. Following becoming the 2010 Oundle Young Musician of the Year, I went on to study ‘cello performance at the Royal Northern College of Music. I now enjoy a busy teaching career at The King’s School Peterborough and spending time at home with my two children."

Young Musician 2009

Elizabeth Bass, Ringstead, played Impromptu Caprice by Pierne in the 2009 Final. She began studying the harp with her mother Rowena when she was 7 years old.

Elizabeth performed at the 2010 Oundle International Festival with Eleanor Turner, then her teacher.  

In August 2017 Elizabeth wrote 

‘I have recently graduated from the Royal Academy of Music with a first class degree and the ‘Lady Theodore Holland Prize’. Since winning the Oundle Young Musician of the year in 2009, I have taken part in many competitions and festivals and last year became the first British person to ever reach the final of the USA International Harp Competition in Bloomington, Indiana and was awarded the Silver Medal. Other International and National awards include first prize in the 2014 Camac Harp Competition and an international Lyon&Healy Award in 2013.

I have performed recitals for the Hagley Music Festival, Proms at St. Judes, as a representative for the Royal Opera House and at the David Josefovitz Recital Hall at the RAM. I have performed chamber music at the Holywell Music Room, Oxford, the Royal Overseas League and St. Martin’s in the Fields and orchestral work includes playing with the Britten-Pears Orchestra under Marin Alsop, the London Concert Orchestra, the London Sinfonietta Academy and for sessions at Abbey Road and Air Studios. I am grateful to the Countess of Munster Musical Trust for choosing to support me through my private studies over the coming year and hope to embark on a varied, demanding and exciting career as a freelance harpist.’


Oundle Young Musician 2008 

The second winner of the Tony Hounsome award was Katy Smith from Peterborough. She performed the last movement of Mendelssohn's Concerto for violin in E minor in the competition.

In February 2009 she wrote " Since becoming Young Musician of the year 2008, many things have happened for me. At the time, I was studying at Yehudi Menuhin School; I have now left to continue my violin studies at the Royal College of Music in London. I have recently been to Sydney, for master classes, concerts and lessons, which were all very inspiring.".

We were delighted that Katy has been invited to perform at Oundle International Festival 2009 and congratulate her on reaching the strings final of the BBC Young Musician of the Year 2010.


Jo Stephenson from Rothwell became “Oundle Young Musician of the Year” at her first appearance at the Festival in 2007. Jo’s first steps in music were on clarinet, which she stills plays today in the Northants County Youth Concert band. She started playing brass on cornet, but quickly moved onto baritone,playing at that time with Gretton Silver Band. She quickly became very adept on baritone, and is now principal baritone with the youth band Youth Brass 2000, principal baritone in the 1st Section Band Foresters Brass and with the Northants County Youth Band.

Last year, Jo was invited to join the National Youth Brass Band of Great Britain. She will be studying geology at the University of Leicester this September, although she fully intends to continue playing as much as possible.              April 2009










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