Young jazz percussionist, Ed Dunlop, from Belfast, will perform with the Ulster Orchestra alongside local jazz greats, Linley Hamilton, Scott Flanagan and vocalist, Dana Masters, this Saturday 30th April, at what is set to be one of the major highlights of this year’s City of Derry Jazz & Blues Festival.
The performance, which will be broadcast live on Radio Ulster from 8pm form the Guildhall, forms part of the Northern Ireland Young Musicians’ Platform Award received by Ed from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and BBC Northern Ireland in 2014.
Ed is one of five current recipients of the Young Musicians’ Platform Award, a biennial artist development awards scheme, run by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland in collaboration with BBC Northern Ireland, which aims to showcase and support the development of exceptional young musicians from the region. The other four current awardees include soprano, Sinéad O’Kelly, cellist, David Sloan, and Mezzo Soprano, Dawn Burns and uilleann piper, Conor Mallon.
The awards recognise the talents of high quality musicians through the provision of five individual awards of £5,000 to enable the recipients to spend time learning from a master musician, mentor, teacher or composer, either in Northern Ireland or abroad. As well as this training opportunity, the recipients receive two professional radio broadcast engagements, including one with the Ulster Orchestra. Performances at this level raise not only the professional profile of the young musicians but also give a boost to their performance experience.
Speaking ahead of Saturday’s performance Ed said: “Exposure is key for anyone wanting to make it in the music scene, and this award has been an huge asset in helping me put my name and my playing out as many people as possible: promoters, venues and other musicians. This kind of support is invaluable to anyone looking to follow this risky career path, especially in today’s economic climate. I’m really looking forward to performing alongside the wonderful Ulster Orchestra at the City of Derry Jazz Festival.”
Ciaran Scullion, Head of Music, Arts Council Northern Ireland, commented: “The Arts Council is committed to supporting our emerging artists and musicians as they develop their professional careers. The Northern Ireland Young Musicians’ Platform Award is a unique opportunity for our most outstanding young musicians to develop their musical skills, learn from the best in their genre and receive professional experience of performing with a live orchestra. We wish Ed every success in his performance with the Ulster Orchestra – a special experience I’m sure will stay with him for a long time to come.”
Fergus Keeling, Head of Radio, BBC Northern Ireland, says: “At BBC Radio Ulster/Foyle we are dedicated to providing our listeners with the best in specialist music and nurturing new talent is something we are extremely passionate about. We are delighted to be involved in finding new classical, jazz and traditional artists and to have our listeners engage in their journey as they grow and develop through concerts such as this with the Ulster Orchestra.”
As part of the award, the artists are mentored by a BBC expert in their field. John Toal, a classical pianist and presenter of Sounds Classical, is mentoring the three classical musicians Sinéad O’Kelly, David Sloan and Dawn Burns; while BBC Radio Ulster Folk Club presenter, musician and singer-songwriter, Colum Sands, is mentoring Conor Mallon, the traditional musician; and jazz musician, educator and presenter Linley Hamilton mentors Edward Dunlop, the young jazz percussionist.