Glasgow & West Scotland

Fiddle player wins young traditional musician award

Benedict Morris
Image caption Benedict Morris has been named Young Traditional Musician of the year

A 20-year-old fiddle player has been named Young Traditional Musician of the year.

Judges were unanimous in awarding Benedict Morris, from Glasgow, the honour in the city on Sunday night.

The award is seen as the premier accolade for young musicians in their field. Mr Morris, who studies at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, beat five other finalists.

The competition was part of the Celtic Connections festival.

Stepping stone

The musician hopes the win will be the "perfect stepping stone" to help him towards his "dream" career in traditional music, and praised the competition - organised by and broadcast live on BBC Radio Scotland - for giving young people an "amazing" platform.

He said: "It was mental, it was brilliant. Obviously, you don't expect to win.

"To have your name called out at the end as the winner was something else."

"Every one of the finalists gave a fantastic performance tonight so I'm absolutely thrilled to have won.

"Everyone on the trad scene holds this competition in such high regard. This is a fantastic start to 2019."

Mr Morris has spoken previously about how his love for traditional music has grown since he was introduced to it when he was five years old.

He said: "I grew fond of the fiddle and as years went by my interest in Scottish and Irish music grew.

"I then started coming to sessions in Glasgow at 16 or 17, the Flying Duck and the Ben Nevis being regulars on a Sunday and ever since then it's the session scene in Glasgow and all of the great musicians and friends that we have here that lets my interest and love for traditional music continue to grow."

Bright future

Sharon Mair, of BBC Radio Scotland, said: "It was an exceptionally difficult decision for our judges - all of our finalists this year were simply superb. Benedict, however, particularly stood out.

"His stage presence was magnificent and absolutely captivated the audience from the second he stepped on the stage at the City Halls.

"Every year we are amazed at the high standard of young musicians who reach the finals.

"Benedict's performance showed exactly the kind of skill and flair we were looking for. He has a very bright future ahead."

Previous winners of the BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician 2019 have enjoyed success after winning, including last year's winner, Hannah Rarity.

Mr Morris recently brought out an album - Wavelength - with guitarist Cormac Crummey.

He added: "After a very successful launch tour, we would love to gig our music together for a while and see where that project takes us."

Who were the other finalists?

  • Luc McNally, 24, Dipton, Co Durham (now Glasgow) - guitar and voice
  • Cameron Ross, 24, Stonehaven - fiddle
  • Ross Miller, 23, Linlithgow - bagpipes
  • Catherine Tinney, 27, Skye - voice
  • Sarah Markey, 24, Coatbridge - flute

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