Tag Archives: Music Performance Scholar

Scholars’ Spotlight: Euan Bonnar

Continuing the series profiling current Music Performance Scholarship and Music Award holders at the University of Kent. This week, first-year Biochemistry student and Music Performance Scholarship brass-player, Euan Bonnar.


My musical journey began very early, aged four, with piano lessons at school. Although it would eventually become a secondary instrument later, I immensely enjoyed being able to learn and perform what were initially very complex pieces for such a small person. Looking back, it is easy to see that my love for the piano sparked my passion for music, with endless hours spent either hammering out scales or a wide variety of pieces. I vividly remember my eccentric piano teacher at the time handing me Bach’s ‘The Well-Tempered Clavier,’ telling me to take a look and play around with some of the pieces. Much of my early musical life was spent pursuing a solo venture, rather than any ensemble playing. The closest I got to playing with other musicians on the piano was performing in the Portsmouth Music Festival with my brother, who ironically is now a much better pianist than I ever was.

I picked up the Baritone as a second instrument halfway through Junior School and began to play in the school’s orchestra. Although the sound produced was crude in retrospect, I enjoyed playing with the type of ensemble and would return to playing in this setting much later in the form of brass ensembles, dectets and concert bands.

Throughout the rest of my school years, I learnt both instruments at the same time. However, there came a point where I had to choose a primary instrument to focus my efforts on as my workload increased. As I had recently achieved Grade 6 in the piano, I decided to put it on the back burner and continue with the Euphonium as my primary instrument. As I was learning outside of the school system, my only ensemble playing was with the school orchestra. However, in the final weeks of secondary school, I spoke to Jock McKenzie about my plans for ensemble playing at Sixth Form, and if I would be interested in joining his ensembles in the new academic year. Having been playing with his student and orbiting his ensembles for the past five years, I couldn’t wait to play in the calibre of the band that he conducted.

During my time at Sixth Form, I joined in on every musical opportunity I could; taking AS Music, joining the Porchester, Gosport and Fareham Youth Band and the Sixth Form’s Dectet. Although I had come very late to the party in terms of ensemble playing, I grabbed every opportunity with both hands and learned a completely new way of playing my instrument. The PFGYB played an amazing variety of pieces which vastly expanded my appreciation for music, and although I missed my solo opportunity in Holst’s ‘Second Suite in F’ in the summer concert as I was on the way back from my Gold DofE expedition in Snowdonia, it still was an extraordinary experience that I will never forget.

A highlight of my time playing the Euphonium was when I was invited to participate in the ‘Low Brass Day’ at the Royal Marines School of Music in Portsmouth, hosted by the British Trombone Society. This day was attended by professional musicians including David Childs, Les Neish, Simon Minshall, Robbie Harvey, as well as many members of the Royal Marines Band School. The day included masterclasses from the invited professionals and was based on a variety of techniques and topics and was truly a one-of-a-kind experience.

As a biochemistry student here at Kent, I enjoy music as an extra-curricular activity as a way to stay in touch with my creative side between lectures and long periods of study. I take part in the University’s Concert Band (pictured in rehearsal, below) and Pops Orchestra but have also formed my own Brass Ensemble to continue to play the type of music that I played in the brass. I am very grateful to be the recipient of the Music Performance Scholarship, which has allowed me to purchase a new euphonium to use at University and continue to fuel my passion for music alongside my studies.

Scholar’s Spotlight: Megan Daniel

Continuing the series profiling new Music Performance Scholars and Award Holders. This week, first-year Law student,  flautist and saxophonist, Megan Daniel.


When I was 8 years old, I found my Auntie’s old flute in the attic and I was determined to be able to make a sound out of it. So, I began lessons and immediately discovered my passion for music. Soon after, I started piano and alto saxophone lessons and, 10 years later, I can say I have achieved grade 8 distinctions in both flute and jazz saxophone.

Throughout my school years, I was an enthusiastic music student, finding myself to be involved in almost every ensemble possible, such as concert bands, big bands and choirs. I was a member of my local student wind ensemble for 9 years and my county-wide ensemble in Hampshire for 5 years, taking on the responsibilities of principle saxophonist in each. In these ensembles, I was able to tour around Europe, playing in Berlin, Prague and the Black Forest, as well as many others! These were amazing opportunities which allowed me to visit places I may not otherwise have been able to see.

When I was 15, my school big band were lucky enough to be invited to play at the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland – we played two shows to an audience of around 600 people, and it was the best experience of my life! Consequently, we were invited back again for two consecutive years. The same year, our big band and wind band won the regional Music for Youth competition and made it through to perform in the finals, held at Birmingham Symphony Hall, one of the country’s most incredible concert halls.

As I got older and joined college, more opportunities arose for me. I began to learn the clarinet, which allowed to me perform in pit bands for various musicals, such as‘Anything Goes and Guys and Dolls. I soon realised my immense love for playing in pit bands for musicals, because the vibe is really exciting and the music itself is so much fun to play! It was here that I truly began to appreciate the community that playing music allows you to be a part of.

Last year, I was a founding member of a student led wind ensemble which was assembled by a close friend of mine. What began as just a wind ensemble grew into an orchestra, big band and string ensemble that still put on concerts today, including a jazz evening this Easter! We play a mixed range of repertoire, from Holst’s First Suite in Eb to Malcom Arnold’s Four Scottish Dances.

In my final year of college, I played alongside the Scots Guard at Buckingham Palace with Hampshire County Youth Wind Ensemble, performing the Lord of the Rings symphony. To play amongst such talented musicians was amazing! Also, in April 2018, the same ensemble was invited to perform at the Royal Albert Hall and participate in the ‘Hampshire at the Hall’ event that had been organised by Hampshire Music Service. Our group played A Jazz Funeral by Christopher Coleman, which features two complicated alto saxophone solos which I was lucky enough to play. This was a truly nerve-wracking but extraordinary experience which I will never forget.


As a law student at Kent, I continue to enjoy music as an extra-curricular activity and as a way to relax after lectures and seminars. I am part of the University’s Concert Band, Big Band, Chorus, Cecilian Choir and Symphony Orchestra and Flute Choir.

I have also met many amazing people through music at Kent and am extremely grateful to be a recipient of the Music Performance Scholarship.


Read about other Music Scholars and Award Holders in the dedicated column here.

Scholar’s Spotlight: Will Morgan

Continuing the series profiling University Music Performance Scholars and Performance Award students. This week, first-year pianist and violinist, Will Morgan.


My parents were keen for me to learn an instrument, so I started piano lessons when I was 5 years old. A year later, seeing how much I was enjoying piano, my parents suggested I start another instrument. After trying out the violin and the cello I enthusiastically decided violin was the one for me. From then on music has always been a significant part of my life both at home and through school.

I was fortunate enough to get into the Cathedral School in Peterborough which had a fantastic musical reputation which during my time there, they certainly lived up to. Over my years there I played with the orchestra, string orchestra and several smaller chamber groups. On the piano, I played hymns in assemblies, accompanied soloists and choirs and was given ample opportunity to perform as a soloist which helped me grow as a performer. In addition, I was introduced to choral music for the first time. The school also ran music tours every other year and I was lucky enough to perform in three of them; in Italy, France and Germany. These tours were some of the most defining experiences of my musical life for instance my first solo as a singer at Bayeux Cathedral, France. The other highlights of my musical ‘career’ to date also happened at school. Winning the Inter-House Music Competition was most certainly my high point. After a month of preparing an orchestra, junior choir, senior choir, band, finale and a host of soloists for the annual competition, all our efforts payed off on the night where my house (St. Oswalds) won overall!

After leaving school, I used my gap year to really focus on my music. I started teaching piano, violin and music theory to students in local schools. I joined local musical groups such as Stamford Chamber Orchestra and the St Peters Singers at Peterborough Cathedral. I also used my new-found time to finish off Grade 8 on the violin!

At the University of Kent, I’ve been looking to continue gaining musical experience. I receive piano lessons from Matthew King, Professor of Composition at the Guildhall, and am planning to get involved in accompany other Music Scholars and playing in chamber music groups. I’m also having a great time as a member of the Symphony Orchestra, the String Sinfonia and the musical theatre band. I’ve particularly enjoyed being able to perform in the Colyer-Ferguson Hall and I’m also excited to be playing violin with the orchestra in a cathedral again soon.

Outstanding contributions recognised at awards ceremony

One of the highlights of Summer Music Week is being able to recognise the outstanding contributions made by several students to music-making over the course of the year at the annual Music Awards ceremony.

Held after the Music Scholars’ Recital on the third day of Summer Music Week, this year the awards were excitingly scattered across the whole of the week-long music festival, as various prize-winners were away through either having the downright audacity to start gainful employment, illness or examinations – suffice to say, it made it much more fun, tracking the recipients down across the days, although it did afford the opportunity to sneak-present some of the prizes on the nominees at moments they hadn’t expected…

The Canterbury Festival Prize, which is awarded to a final-year student who has made an outstanding contribution to music at the University was this year awarded jointly to Music Performance Scholars Cory Adams and Anne Engels. Hispanic Studies student Cory has been principal timpanist with the Symphony Orchestra, one of four players in a performance of Berlioz’s Symphonie fantastique back in March, and has also been kit and percussion player with the Concert and Big Bands. Anne, studying English and American Literature and Philosophy, has played principal flute in the Symphony Orchestra and Concert Band, a member of the Flute Choir and was the featured soloist in a Harry Potter-themed lunchtime concert earlier this year. Both students received their awards from the Director of the Canterbury Festival, Rosie Turner.

Winner takes it all: Anne Engels; Faith Chan; Joe Prescott; Cory Adams;
Winner takes it all: Anne Engels; Faith Chan; Joe Prescott; Cory Adams;

The Colyer-Fergusson Music Prize, awarded to a student who has made a major contribution to organising music at the University, was awarded to India Bottomley, for her exceptional all-round, behind-the-scenes, kitchen-sink skills in administration and organisation as Chorus Manager. Having completed her degree in American Studies, India has already started employment in London, so we were especially delighted to be able to spring her award on her on the final day of Summer Music Week, when she came back to sing with the Cecilian Choir and Chorus.

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Chorus of approval: India Bottomley receives her award

Patron of the Music Scholarship Scheme, Dame Anne Evans, was present to award the John Craven Music Prize, which goes to a returning student who has made a major contribution to music at Kent. The prize was awarded jointly to Music Performance Scholars Charlotte Webb and Ruth Webster. It’s fitting that they should both be receiving this prize – both are Music Performance Singing Scholars and both in their second year, reading Biomedical Science. Both students have this year sung in the University Chorus, Minerva Voices and Cecilian Choir, featuring prominently as soloists throughout this year in major concerts in music by Handel, Lully and Vivaldi. Charlotte also plays trumpet in the Symphony Orchestra and Ruth is a member of the Musical Theatre Society show choir.

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Biosciene brilliance: Charlotte Webb, Ruth Webster and Jonathan Butten with patron Dame Anne Evans

The First-Year Prize went to trombonist and Music Performance Scholar, Jasper Rose, in recognition of someone who has made a significant contribution to music during their first year at the University. Reading Criminal Law on the Medway campus,Jasper has played in the Symphony Orchestra, the Concert Band, and has been the featured trombone-player in the Big Band this year. Jasper was unwell on the day of the ceremony, so again a lighting-strike presentation was unleashed at the rehearsal for the Concert and Big Band gala the following day; Jasper received his prize from the Director of Music, Susan Wanless.

Top brass: Jasper Rose receives his award
Top brass: Jasper Rose receives his award

The remarkably cumbersomely-titled (but no less valuable, for all that!) University Music Awards Committee Prize, for a student who has made a special contribution to music, ended up being a three-way split – the Committee has the unenviable task of allotting the prizes, and it’s often difficult to choose between nominees – between second-year woodwind player, Jonathan Butten, second-year cellist Faith Chan and final-year trumpeter and conductor, Joe Prescott. Each student is a Music Performance Scholar, and has in their way made a particularly valuable contribution – Jonathan (reading Biomedical Science) is principal oboist in the Symphony Orchestra, but the award was given to acknowledge his exceptional cor anglais playing in Symphonie fantastique in the Cathedral Concert, and as oboe soloist in concerts with the String Sinfonia in concerti by Vivaldi. A Law-reading cellist with the Symphony Orchestra and String Sinfonia, Faith’s prize recognises her immense skill as the solo continuo player in major performances of Baroque repertoire this year. Joe’s award is in honour of his contribution across so many areas of music – playing trumpet with the Concert and Big Band, his role as student conductor of Minerva Voices, and as Music Director for Musical Theatre Society showcases and productions. He has also sung with Chorus, Cecilian Choir and Chamber Choir, and is the outgoing President of the Music Society this year. He also played the Last Post for the annual Remembrance Day gathering. The prizes were presented by Chair of the Music Award Committe, Dr Dan Lloyd, and Dame Anne Evans.

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The award-winners together with violinist Lydia Cheng after the recital, together with patron Dame Anne Evans (l) and Canterbury Festival Director, Rosie Turner (r)

As host of the ceremony, Dan Lloyd, remarked, the prospect of yet another committee meeting isn’t necessarily one to lighten the spirit, but the annual convergence of the Music Awards Committee is one that is all about celebrating student success, recognising their achievements and the impact of their music-making throughout the year. This year has been a particularly fine one; many congratulations to the winners.

Images: Dr Wei-Feng Xue / Dan Harding