“I really love performing. I see it as giving a gift to the audience who have come to see us play.”

Music means everything to 16 year old Hugo, from Belfast.

“I’ve been playing the violin since I was seven years old. I’ll never forget the date of my first lesson – 17 January 2013! Belinda Larmour, my teacher then, was so warm and patient with me!

“I love music. I don’t think I could do without it. For me it’s a source of enjoyment and a place where I can express myself and my feelings. Playing is a release from the stresses that life can bring and it’s a chance to experience the feelings that the composer wants me to feel. I’m always inspired by it and the wave of different emotions I experience.”

Hugo has faced some challenges in his musical journey, from the pressures of exams to the financial impact of the national lockdowns.

“There was also a big impact on my instrumental lessons which for several months didn’t happen at all, or had to take place online, which I found really difficult. This was partly due to not being allowed to meet up with my teacher for lessons, and partly for financial reasons as my parents are both self-employed and have had a lot of their work reduced or cancelled.

“Last year was also a bit difficult for me musically. I had so much work to do for my GCSE exams that I struggled to give it the time I wanted to. Thankfully the results are in and I did well – and I now feel that I can get back to playing my violin and studying music with renewed focus and passion!”

And that’s exactly what Hugo has been doing!

“I really enjoy learning with my current teacher, Alan McClure. His humour and enthusiasm for music really inspires me to practice! Right now I’m studying ‘The Lark Ascending’ by Vaughan Williams and ‘Nigun’ by Bloch with him.

“At the moment, I am leading the City of Belfast Youth Orchestra. I really love performing and I see it as giving a gift to the audience who have come to see us play. I want to become the best leader and musician I can be by listening to others and learning from professionals. I definitely see music as a potential career.”

“AYM have been great! They’ve helped me with lessons and with essential violin equipment. I’m really grateful to them for this and for all the opportunities that they make possible.”

As well as vital funding, we’re also able to offer young musicians like Hugo musical opportunities.

This Sunday, Hugo will be travelling to London for our Awards Day at Maida Vale Studios with the BBC Symphony Orchestra. Here, Hugo will join a hundred young musicians on our Awards programme for a day of side by side rehearsals with members of the BBCSO, led by our Patron and conductor Alpesh Chauhan.

Next year, we want to help at least 300 young musicians through our Awards programme.

If you would like to, please donate to our Big Give Christmas Challenge. Donations made to our appeal until 12 noon on Tuesday 6 December will be doubled until we raise £80,000.

One donation, twice the impact!

Will you help us and give talent a chance?

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