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Success for former Berkshire Maestros musician in BBC competition

Tilehurst oboist Ewan Millar through to semi-final of Young Musician of the Year

Trish Lee

Trish Lee


01635 886663

Ewan Millar

Ewan Millar is through to the semi-finals of BBC Young Musician of the Year

Tilehurst music student Ewan Millar, a Berkshire Maestros musician for many years, has won the Woodwind Final of the prestigious BBC Young Musician of the Year competition. The oboist will now go on to the semi-final with the other category winners to compete for a place in the grand final later this year.

Competing with Ewan in the Woodwind Final was another former West Berkshire Maestros student Alice Gore, who plays the bassoon. She first took up the instrument through the government-funded First Access project in her primary school and for several years was a student of Maestros head of woodwind Catherine Millar – Ewan’s mother.

Berkshire Maestros CEO Dawn Wren said: “We are immensely proud of Ewan for having won the Woodwind Final of this leading national competition. Through playing in ensembles at Reading Music Centre and our county orchestra and choir, we have supported his musical progression as we do for all students and we are delighted that he has achieved this recognition. Best of luck Ewan for the semi-final.

“For there to be two former Maestros’ students competing at such a high level is wonderful. We are so pleased to see how Alice has succeeded with the bassoon. She is a testament to the potential that students have when introduced to musical instruments at an early age and how far students can progress from those first early shoots of musical education.”

Ewan began playing the oboe aged eight and later attended Reading School. Now studying music at Oxford University, he was a student with Berkshire Maestros for many years, also learning piano and singing in Berkshire County Youth Choirs. He passed his Grade 8 exam with distinction aged just 10 and has since achieved two Diplomas (also with distinction). He has won numerous prizes in local and national competitions, including concerto competitions with Reading Symphony Orchestra and Windsor & Maidenhead Symphony Orchestra. He has been a member of Berkshire Youth Symphony Orchestra and playing with them provided him with a rare opportunity to perform a solo at London’s Royal Albert Hall.

Maestros’ involvement with the Woodwind Final went even further – Ewan Millar’s double bass accompanist was Maestros teacher Sean Law.

The BBC Young Musician of the Year competition has run every two years since 1978 and has long history of launching the careers of many exceptional British classical musicians. Amongst a host of others are cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason (who performed at the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex and at Newbury Spring Festival) who won the competition in 2016, and violinist Nicola Benedetti who won in 2004. Success in this competition is a marker of extraordinary talent and great potential for the future.

The semi-final and final will take place later this year once social distancing restrictions have been lifted. The category finals are being broadcast on Sunday evenings on BBC4, and afterwards are available on BBC iPlayer.

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