2008 Competition Winners
Brian O’Kane on winning the Windsor Festival International String Competition in 2008:
"Winning the competition has had much more of an effect than I could possibly have imagined. Not only has it raised my profile as a solo cellist but it has given me both enormous encouragement and confidence to pursue such a career."
Born in 1985, Irish cellist Brian O’Kane is quickly emerging as a musician of outstanding promise. In June 2007 he graduated from the Royal Academy of Music with first class honours and was awarded the Jacqueline De Pre Scholarship to continue his studies in the class of Louise Hopkins at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, where he has since taken up a Junior Fellowship. He has performed throughout the UK and Ireland at festivals such as the Edinburgh Fringe, Norfolk & Norwich and West Cork Chamber Music Festivals and at venues such as the Wigmore Hall and the Barbican. He took first prize at the first Windsor Festival International String Competition and as a result performed with the Philharmonia and Vladimir Ashkenazy in the 2009 Festival. An avid chamber musician, Brian has collaborated with artists such as Anthony Marwood and Barry Douglas, alongside his regular work with pianist Alasdair Beatson and the Cappa Ensemble. Recent performances include a recital for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Trinidad and Tobago. Brian is grateful for the support of the Musicians Benevolent Fund, the Martin Musical Scholarship Fund, the Worshipful Company of Musicians and the Guildhall for the loan of a J.B. Vuillaume 'cello c.1840.
Joo Yeon Sir
South Korean violinist Joo Yeon Sir has been studying at the Purcell School with Felix Andrievsky. She was overall Grand Prix Laureate at the Nedjalka Simenova International Violin Competition and winner of the Royal Philharmonic Society’s Emily Anderson Award 2007. She has performed as a soloist with orchestras and as a recitalist throughout the UK, in venues such as the Wigmore Hall and St James’ Palace in the presence of HRH Prince of Wales. She was BBC/Guardian Young Composer of the Year 2005 and other Young Musician titles across the UK. Her works have been performed at the Wigmore Hall, Cadogan Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall and on BBC Radio 3.
Adam began his musical studies aged seven, learning a variety of instruments including the violin and piano before focusing on the viola, aged fourteen. He proceeded to study at the Junior Royal Northern College of Music with Louise Lansowne.
In 2008, Adam graduated with a first class honours from the Royal Academy of Music, where he studied with Matthew Souter and Philip Dukes. He is now continuing his studies in the class of Tatjana Masurenko at the Hochschule fur Music in Leipzig. During his time at the Academy, he had considerable success in both competitions and recitals. They included a Sir John Barbirolli Foundation Award towards the purchase of a new bow and the Duchess of Cornwall / English Chamber Music Award. He was also a recent finalist at the Windsor International String Competition, where he was awarded the Bishop Instruments and Bows Prize for the most deserving semi-finalist.
Adam enjoys working with the London Steve Reich Ensemble, who recently recorded for the CPO label in Zurich, Switzerland, The European Union Chamber Orchestra and the English Chamber Orchestra. He is also a founding member of the Cappa Quartet and Ensemble, with whom he performs regularly. Adam plays on a Ceruti viola c.1800 which is kindly on loan from the Royal Academy of Music.
David was born in Santa Rosa, California in 1986 and grew up on his family's Sonoma County farm. He began studying the violin with Helen Payne Sloat at the age of 4. At 8, he attended the Crowden School of Music in Berkeley studying with the Scottish violinist Anne Crowden. When David was 13, he received an invitation to join an international group of 60 young music students at The Yehudi Menuhin School where he studied for five years with Simon Fischer. In 2004, David received a full scholarship to join violinist Donald Weilerstein's studio at the New England Conservatory where he received a Bachelors of Music in May, 2008 and is know in the final year of his Masters program. He is the recipient of the Presser Foundation Scholarship Award and the Vernon Scholarship.
He has performed as a soloist with the London Mozart Players, Longwood Symphony Orchestra, Marin Symphony, Santa Rosa Symphony, North State Symphony, Symphony of the Redwoods, Yehudi Menuhin School Orchestra and has given performances in Switzerland, Tunisia, Thailand, England, Wales, Scotland, New Zealand, and the United States. David has received prizes at Klein International Competition (USA-2007), Windsor Festival Competition (UK-2008), and Michael Hill International Violin Competition (New Zealand-2009).
David plays a 1761 violin made by A & J Gagliano.