Connor was on song to win young UK musician title

Connor Smith has been named RIBI British Young Musician of the Year. Picture: West Lothian Council
Connor Smith has been named RIBI British Young Musician of the Year. Picture: West Lothian Council
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A SCHOOLBOY from the ­Lothians has become the first person in Scotland to be named RIBI British Young Musician of the Year.

Connor Smith, 17, an S6 pupil at Broxburn Academy, scooped the title at the Rotary International in Great Britain and Ireland (RIBI) competition – seeing off more than 6,500 entrants.

The contest celebrates the talents of young musicians who have progressed from one of 1,850 club competitions, through one of 29 district competitions before representing their district in one of eight regional finals. Connor, a tenor who has been singing for eight years, had to compete against seven vocalists to win the prize.

He sung two pieces – an art song ‘Silent Noon’ by Vaughan-Williams and an aria from the Magic Flute by Mozart – ‘Dies Bildnis’ in its original German.

Conor, who lives in Livingston, said: “It’s something pretty special. When people speak to me about having won I still kind of don’t believe it.

“Singing is what I want to do, I’ve always been one of those people who can’t put energy in to things I don’t feel that ­passionate about, and singing is something that I do.”

Accompanying Connor on the piano throughout the ­contest was his music teacher Lorna Lattimore.

Connor, who said the contest was ‘fantastically hard to win’, said: “Lorna and I worked towards the competition for six months and I would like to thank her for her unfaltering work and support, it’s wonderful that it has ended so well.

“I would also like to thank the Rotary Club of Currie Balerno for being fantastic supporters since I started competing almost three years ago.”

It was third time lucky for Connor who had previously not made it past the regional stage.

Once his exams are over, Connor plans to focus on his studies as a singer and ­musician before applying to study at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.

Head teacher Peter Reid, who described Connor as a “great ambassador for the school”, said: “Broxburn ­Academy is very proud of Connor and his achievements – he is an extremely talented young man who is destined for great things.”

His music teacher Lorna said: “I had no doubt that, whatever the outcome of the competition, Connor would perform well.

“As his teacher I am very proud of the musician Connor has developed into and look ­forward to watching him ­develop further over the ­coming years.”

dawn.morrison@edinburghnews.com