13 year old Benjamin has had a fantastic four years as a London Music Fund Scholar. As a Scholar he has had consistently excellent reports from his music teacher who says that he is "a very dedicated violinist who works very hard outside of lessons and always puts maximum effort in to all tasks". Due to his hard work and dedication Benjamin has been granted a Guildhall Young Artists Scholarship at London's Centre for Young Musicians where he will be continuing his violin studies and eventually start learning the viola too. Alongside this Benjamin will also be studying flute at school. We are so proud of Benjamin and all that he has achieved as a London Music Fund Scholar. We very much look forward to keeping in touch with him and seeing how he progresses with his music in the years to come, best of luck Benjamin!
Read our Q&A with Benjamin below...
Why did you decide to play the violin?
When I was 4, my big brother was 8 and was playing the clarinet at school; my mother says that when she used to tell me that I might play the clarinet one day, I always said 'no, when I am big, I will play the violin'. I got the chance to try it out at school when I was 9, and I never looked back!
Has your music taken you to some cool places? If so, where?
I have learnt immensely from many workshops with prestigious orchestras such as the London Symphony Orchestra, the London Philharmonic Orchestra, Chamber Players, Lewisham Junior Orchestra, the Multistorey Orchestra, Animate Orchestra, and the Dulwich Youth Orchestra. I recently attended a five-day course at Junior Guildhall. I play with the Advanced Chamber Ensemble at Lewisham Music, and at school with Kingsdale School Orchestra, the Junior String Ensemble (which I now lead), the Senior Strings Ensemble, and I also play in a string trio. I have been privileged to play in amazing places like St Luke's, the Barbican, the Royal Festival Hall, the Royal Albert Hall, Blackheath Halls, Cadogan Halls, Goldsmiths College and the Tate Modern. I am looking forward to playing with the LSO in Trafalgar Square, at St Martin's-in-the-Field, in July.
What music do you like playing the most?
My absolute favourite music is definitely classical music, but I also enjoy jazz and folk.
If you could perform alongside someone famous who would it be? Or what musician do you look up to?
If I could perform alongside any musician, I would choose Itzhak Perlman or Niccolo Paganini; Yehudi Menuhin is a great inspiration, as is Fritz Kreisler.
Has the Scholarship enabled you to have new opportunities?
My scholarship has given me so many opportunities to learn, to play and to grow musically. In addition to what I have already said, it has enabled me to get in to get in to my first choice of secondary schools, by successfully auditioning for a music scholarship. I have also loved being in the orchestra of the opera Noye's Fludde two years ago. I was lucky enough to get a singing and acting part in another opera last year, and, this year, I successfully auditioned for a principal part in Noye's Fludde. I have been very lucky to have the chance to listen to many amazing concerts all over London. I was excited when I was invited at a reception at City Hall, played a few pieces and met interesting people like YolanDa Brown, and I even got to meet Mayor Sadiq Khan at the May Fair Hotel where I gave a speech about what my Music Scholarship means to me. I also play regularly with our church worship team.
What advice would you give Scholars who have just started their Scholarship?
To all London Music Fund Scholars, I would say go for every opportunity you get, whether it is a workshop, a course, or going to a concert. When I received my Scholarship in September 2014, I was so happy, but I really had no idea of the impact it would have on my life. I am now moving from Lewisham Music to CYM in September, and after auditioning, I have recently been selected to receive a Guildhall Young Artist scholarship. And last, but not least, challenge yourself and practice, practice, practice!