Northern Ireland news

Precious violin presented to new Ulster Youth Orchestra leader

Samuel Kane from Co Armagh has been presented with the exquisite 239-year-old Milton Violin

A CO Armagh musician has been presented with a 239-year-old violin after being announced as the newest leader of the Ulster Youth Orchestra (UYO).

Samuel Kane (19) from Loughgall will play the instrument, made by renowned Neapolitan violin maker, Joseph Gagliano, throughout his tenure as leader.

He received the precious Milton violin from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, after it was donated by Professor Alan Milton in 1980. In the past it has been used by the leader and principle players of the Ulster Orchestra.

In 2013, the Arts Council decided to loan it to the Ulster Youth Orchestra to be used by exceptionally gifted musicians in their role as leader.

Samuel, who is in his first year at the Royal Northern College of Music, faced a rigorous audition to become leader of the UYO.

Ciaran Scullion from thee Arts Council said: "The orchestra has become a vibrant and creative force in the musical life of Northern Ireland, bringing top quality orchestral playing to a wide audience, and providing gifted young musicians with access to the very best professional players, tutors and conductors.

"Thanks to the generosity of Professor Milton, we are able to provide this exceptional instrument to generations of our best young violinists.

"We are delighted by the appointment of Samuel and have no doubt he will put this very special opportunity to great use."

Paula Klein of the Ulster Youth Orchestra said: "We heard Sam recently playing one of his own pieces on the Milton violin and both the delicacy and the power of this beautiful instrument will be such a great help to him in his developing career.

"The directors of the Ulster Youth Orchestra are extremely grateful to the Arts Council for providing the leader of the Ulster Youth Orchestra with the opportunity of playing such a fine instrument."

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