Pianist Michael Biggins wins Young Traditional Musician of the Year award

The prize includes a recording session with BBC Scotland.

Pianist Michael Biggins has been named Scotland’s Young Traditional Musician of the year.

The 23-year-old, originally from Newcastle but now living in Glasgow, won the BBC Scotland prize at a scaled-down, socially distanced event due to coronavirus restrictions.

He performed for judges at the BBC’s Pacific Quay HQ in Glasgow, with the event broadcast on radio and TV.

The prize includes a recording session with BBC Scotland, a performance at the Scots Trad Music Awards to be held in December 2021 and a one-year membership to the Musicians’ Union.

Mr Biggins studied at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and performs with bands TRIP, The Canny Band and Northern Company.

Speaking after picking up the prize, he said: “The other finalists and I were delighted that the competition could go ahead this year because so many other events have had to be cancelled.

“It’s been a difficult year to be a performer, so winning this title has given me such a boost and a hope for better things to come.

“I know it’s been a springboard for many past winners, so I’d love to follow in their footsteps.”

Previous winners of the award include piper and whistle player Ali Levack and singer Hannah Rarity.

Gareth Hydes, commissioning editor at BBC Scotland, said: “A lot of extra effort had to be made this year to make sure that the event could go ahead in such challenging circumstances, but we’re delighted we could make it happen to celebrate the 21st anniversary of the competition.

“As ever, we were blown away by the sheer talent on the stage and it’s always very difficult to choose just one winner.

“Michael’s performance was breathtaking, an absolute celebration of the rich and vibrant traditional music scene we’re so lucky to enjoy in Scotland.”

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