A TEENAGE percussionist from Barmulloch is in the running to be crowned Scotland’s first ever Solo Performer of the Year this weekend.

Marimba player Akshar Abdullah, 16, who is in fifth year at All Saints RC Secondary School in the north-east of the city, is one of 22 talented performers taking part in the Scottish Young Musicians competition, organised by The Music Education Partnership Group.

Akshar said: “I feel absolutely exhilarated. I have been playing percussion for three years now and I feel very proud of myself for winning the Glasgow heat.

"It was nerve-wracking but competing was a great experience and I’m really excited to represent Glasgow at the national final.”

Other local talent performing include Ben Dickinson, 17, a French horn player from Williamwood High who is representing East Renfrewshire; Zuzanna Kujawa, 14, a flautist from Holy Cross High, who won the South Lanarkshire heat; singer Avril McLaughlin, 17, from St Columba’s High, representing Inverclyde; Yuan Wong, 16, an accordion player from Castlehead High, representing Renfrewshire; and pianist Thomas Heaney, of Bearsden Academy, who will represent East Dunbartonshire.

The teenagers will now play in front of an audience of hundreds at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland Sunday.

Host for the day is singer and broadcaster Jamie MacDougall, and judges include Christopher Bell, artistic director of NYCOS and violinist Jennifer Pike, who made her concerto debut with the Hallé Orchestra aged eleven and won BBC Young Musician of the Year in 2002.

The event will feature a special welcome by international classical violinist Nicola Benedetti.

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The winner will receive £1000 and the Maid of Morven trophy made by the Queen’s Sculptor in Ordinary in Scotland, Alexander Stoddart. They will also receive a coaching session, participation in a masterclass and a studio recording session with an accompanist, all provided at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.

Two runners up will receive £250 and a coaching session and masterclass at the RCS.

Mr Bell said: “What an honour to be asked to lead a distinguished panel of judges and to get the chance to listen to 22 young stars of the future.

"Post pandemic, Scotland's musicians need every opportunity and MPEG is to be congratulated for this superb initiative. All 22 are already winners of their own regional competitions; the stage is set to find the winners’ winner. Can’t wait.”