Hannah’s young musician drive

Flautist Hannah Foster
Flautist Hannah Foster
Have your say

A talented young flautist is backing a campaign to find the next generation of classical musicians.

Hannah Foster, a former pupil at the city’s St Mary’s Music School and is urging young people with talent to follow in her footsteps.

The 21-year-old, who is currently in her third year at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in Glasgow, has had a passion for the flute since the age of seven and joined St Mary’s in Primary 7.

She said: “Despite initially being nervous, I found the setting of St Mary’s was quite informal and welcoming. The purpose of the advisory audition was to see if I was ready for a formal instrumental audition. After successfully completing this second audition, I was offered a place at the school.

“The primary department at St Mary’s consisted of 18 pupils, between Primary 5 and Primary 7. It was a positive and friendly environment, where staff worked very hard to ensure pupils received support. Even during academic lessons, however, I knew music was never far away.

“The sounds of strings, wind, piano and voice constantly flowed and echoed through the corridors. Each day was broken into periods of academic lessons and music, allowing me to commit far more time to practising flute each day. The experience also afforded new opportunities, such as chamber music and jazz ensembles.

“When it came to sitting Standard Grades and Highers, I loved being able to take my mind off exams by practising flute. My favourite practice room in the school was the Music Library. It was full of books and looked out onto the grassy school grounds. It was great to have peace and quiet to practise during the day.

“It was important to me to focus on music during my time at school and I was given many performance opportunities at the school that I wouldn’t have had anywhere else.”

Hannah, from Edinburgh, left St Mary’s Music School with four A Grade Highers and two Advanced A Grade Highers and was a woodwind category finalist in BBC Young Musician 2014 before taking up her place at RCS.

Earlier this year, she won the RCS Classical Concerto Competition, reached the semi-final of the Stockport International music competition and was awarded second prize at the British Flute Society Young Artist competition in London.

She has now been accepted onto both the Royal Scottish National Orchestra and the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra apprenticeship schemes.

St Mary’s – the alma mater of the likes of pianist Steven Osborne, conductor Garry Walker and comedian and baritone Alexander Armstrong – is auditioning for the next class of young musical talent.

Head teacher Dr Kenneth Taylor said: “We are looking for students of all ages who show exceptional ability and have the real desire to make music their focus. The school offers them the opportunity of an excellent academic education alongside a dedicated music programme structured around their individual talents and preferences and can be an incredibly fulfilling experience.”