2019 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 now sponsoring the £125 prize.. 

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 should bear in mind that the winner of the overall competition may be invited to give a 45 minute recital at the 2020 Oundle International Festival. Their performance should make full use of the time allowed.

Entrants are, therefore, strongly advised to bring their own accompanist or, if this is not possible, to rehearse with the Official Accompanist. This can be arranged through the Festival and will be charged at the current BIFF rates for Accompanists. 

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.

The final will take place at the Festival Concert on Saturday April 4th.


2019 Young Musician of the Year

Ayana Shah


 2018 Young Musician of the Year

George Garnett is a pupil at Hinchingbrooke School, Huntingdon.

I feel very privileged to have won Oundle Young Musician of the Year 2018 at the age of 14.  It was my first real experience of competing so was a fantastic and surprising way to start!  The competition really boosted my confidence, and I met some very talented musicians. 


I have just completed my first year at the Junior Royal Academy of Music which I have loved.  I am lucky enough to be taught by several talented teachers and I am continually improving.  Being a Percussionist is a great way to express yourself as a musician due to the diversity of the instruments.  I chose to play the marimba as it is my favourite and has so many beautiful tones. 


I have every intention of becoming a professional musician and over the course of the next few years will be trying to juggle this with my GCSEs! I will be focusing on my technique, musicality and expanding my repertoire and I intend to study Music at one of the conservatoires when I'm 18. In the meantime I will be performing whenever I can and hope to enter BBC Young Musician in 2 years time, fingers crossed!



 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 comes from a farming family in Cambridgeshire. He has achieved Grade 8 Distinction on clarinet, piano, recorder and saxophone. He started playing the saxophone at the age of nine and is currently in his first year at the Royal Academy of Music, studying classical saxophone with Simon Haram. Rob spends the rest of his time drawing, walking his two dogs, visiting coffee shops and eating almond croissants.

Rob, then a pupil at Hinchingbrooke School, first reached the final of Oundle Young Musician of the Year playing the recorder in 2012. He won the competition in 2016 playing saxophone. It was wonderful to hear Rob in the Woodwind Final of BBC Oundle Young Musician of the Year 2018, which he won. Stunning playing led to him being selected as one of the three performers who competed in the final.


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, from Thrapston, attended Prince William School and now studies at the Royal Northern College of Music with Eduardo Vassallo. As a passionate orchestral cellist, she has been Principal Cellist of the CBSO Youth Orchestra and has worked with conductors such as Edward Gardner, Jac Van Steen and Mirga Grazinyte-Tyla. Ellen studies baroque cello with Susan Sheppard.

Ellen plays in a string quartet at the RNCM, who have a busy summer planned with concerts in and around Manchester as well as at the Oundle International Festival 2018. As a soloist, Ellen has performed locally as well as in Hertfordshire and frequently in Manchester. Having grown up in the area and taken part in local music making, Ellen was delighted to return to the Oundle Festival to take part in the Festival 100 concert. Ellen would also like to thank The Edna Newill Charitable Trust for their continued support throughout her musical studies.

“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,” said Ellen in 2014.

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."


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.

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.’



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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