The Western Isles Young Musician of the Year competition last night (Saturday 17th February) made a comeback after a five-year break with a grand finale at Lews Castle.

And the new competition was accompanied by a brand new contest – the Young Western Isles Singer of the Year - also open to young people from primary age and up.

The Young Musician of the Year competition was first held in 1992 – but last night was able to enjoy the newly renovated Lews Castle with its fine acoustics.

The event was run in association with and supported by Stornoway Rotary Club and CnES Department of Education.


Calum Watt, compère for the event, thanked Markus Carrington, general manager for Natural Retreats at Lews Castle, for his great support for the event, while Markus welcomed the addition of the contest to the growing range of musical events available at the venue.

Calum also paid tribute to the support of staff and leadership at Stornoway Primary School where all the preliminary contests were held, and to the work of many volunteers and supporters involved in the event, as well as the competitors themselves.

Young Musician and Young Singer competitions both have three age groups: Primary (any child in primary school), Junior (S1 – S3) and Senior (S4 – S6). Solo heats in a range of instruments are held for each age group including brass, piano, singing and woodwind – which includes chanter and bagpipes. There is also a young composer of the year section and Ensemble playing with groups of 2-6 performers on the same instrument.

All entrants prepare one piece of their own choice to play in the preliminary rounds. The winner of each of the classes competes against the other winners in their section at the evening concert for the Primary/Junior/Senior Western Isles Musician of the Year Trophies.

In addition to the solo Young Musician competition there is also a Primary School Music Group – open to any school, any number of children, any combination of instruments, with or without voice. They are asked to perform one piece lasting no more than 10 minutes. There is also a Composition class – open to anyone of school age.