Rona Wilkie crowned Young Traditional Musician of the Year

A TALENTED fiddler who played for the Queen at the opening of the Scottish Parliament has been crowned winner of the BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician of the Year.

Rona Wilkie, 22, beat five other finalists to scoop the award after impressing a panel of judges with her performance at the City Halls in Glasgow last night. Miss Wilkie, from Oban, said she was delighted with the results: “It feels fantastic, really amazing, I’m quite shellshocked.”

The competition was part of this year’s Celtic Connections festival which attracted more than 100,000 people. In its 19th year, it has taken more than £1.1 million in ticket sales.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Highlights of the 2012 festival included a poignant tribute to Gerry Rafferty, and a celebration of the centenary of Woody Guthrie.

Music fans attended approximately 300 concerts, ceilidhs, talks, free events, late night sessions and workshops, which have taken place in 20 venues across Glasgow.

The BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician of the Year is just one of the events in the festival schedule.

Winning fiddler, Miss Wilkie, was one of the youngest members of the National Youth Orchestra of Scotland, joining when she was just 15. She was also awarded several scholarships to study under top violinist Angus Ramsay at one of Scotland’s top schools, Fettes College in Edinburgh.

She led the fiddle group Gizzen Briggs at the opening of the Scottish Parliament in 2004 in front of the Queen.

The musician, who is currently studying for a masters degree at Newcastle University, said she was introduced to music from an early age.

“My mother was a music teacher so I grew up with music. I can’t ever remember a time when it wasn’t in my life. There wasn’t ever a time when I didn’t want to play the fiddle,” she said.

She also has played fiddle in a rock band and has been invited to play with Capercaillie’s Donald Shaw. She added: “My ambition is to continue with my music and take it to the highest level possible. I also want to be able to support myself as a musician. That would be a dream.

“Music gives me such a rush. I love playing with other people. It’s a very intimate thing and you get to know people so well because you bare a bit of your soul every time you play.”

The five other finalists were Kirsty Watt, Katie Boyle, Catriona Price, Roisin Anne Hughes and Alistair Ogilvy. Established to encourage young musicians to keep their traditional music alive, the BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician of the Year award will provide Miss Wilkie with various high-profile performance opportunities.

She will be given a recording session with BBC Scotland, a performance at the Scots Trad Music Awards and one year’s membership of the Musicians’ Union.

Jeff Zycinski, head of BBC Radio Scotland, said last night: “The excitement around the event never fades and Rona now becomes the 12th person to hold the title of BBC Radio Scotland Young Musician of the Year.

“All the previous winners have gone on to enjoy great success and I’m certain that will also be true for Rona.”