Young musician reaches finals of prestigious BBC Competition

A talented former pupil at Archbishop Temple School has made it to the top five in the BBC’s search for the best percussionist.

Marimba player Andrew Woolcock is one of five percussion finalists for the BBC Young Musician 2016, which is the UK’s leading contest for young classical musicians.

Other categories in the competition include keyboard, woodwind, brass and strings.

Now in its 38th year, BBC Young Musician is a part of the BBC’s ongoing commitment to supporting and providing a platform for new and emerging talent. Since its first outing in 1978, the competition has established an enviable reputation for finding outstanding new talent.

Paul Bullock, editor of BBC Young Musician 2016, says: “BBC Young Musician provides a platform like no other and it’s always exciting to see the breadth and level of talent of the young musicians who enter. This year is no exception and we’re hugely looking forward to supporting all our finalists over the coming months and watching their progress through the contest.”

Sixteen year old Andrew only started playing the marimba two years ago, when the school introduced him to the instrument. Already familiar with the drums and piano, Andrew found he had a natural rhythm and flair for the marimba.

Marimba player Andrew Woolcock is one of five percussion finalists for the BBC Young Musician 2016

The Church of England Specialist College in Preston has a rich music curriculum, with more than 10% of the school actively involved with music lessons, choirs, bands and concerts.

Led by the head of music, Cate Gardner, the school boasts a varied and dynamic music department ranging from chamber choirs, jazz bands, orchestras to trips to other countries to explore different music traditions.

Cate says the department has many ‘up-and-coming’ musicians who have a bright future ahead of them.

Although not set on his future career path, Andrew is certain he wants to continue performing, either as a solo performer, with an orchestra or in an ensemble. He is currently training at the Junior Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, which provides expert tuition for children and young people with exceptional musical ability.

Andrew regularly performs at events and wowed guests at last year’s Educate Awards, performing ‘Land’ by Takatsuga Maramatsu. It was a great evening for the school as it picked up an award for Outstanding Teaching of Life Skills.

Andrew will perform at the category finals on 6-10 March 2016 at the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama, and if successful will then take part in the semi-final followed by the grand finale at the Barbican, London in May.

BBC Young Musician will be broadcast extensively on BBC Four with complementary programming on BBC Radio 3.

Watch Andrew’s Educate Awards performance below.

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