Hailing from Connel, a small village near Oban, Andrew is a prodigious musical talent. He started learning piano at the age of 8 with Geoffrey Heald-Smith. He studied harp and composition with Savourna Stevenson, whom she describes as one of her most talented students.
Andrew is an energetic and charismatic young performer with an impressive CV including BBC radio and TV performances, Celtic Connections Festival and the winner of many music prizes. He has an interest in a broad range of musical genres, which embraces both his commitment to his Scottish musical roots and a passion for the challenge of the piano concert repertoire.
He won the Mòd Piano Competition five years in a row and was then politely asked not to enter again in order to give others a chance! He has represented Scotland at the Pan Celtic Festival in Ireland, winning First Prizes in the Group and New Song Competition and Second Prize in the International Harp Competition. Also a talented clàrsach player, Andrew performed at the prestigious World Harp Congress in 2002.
More recent competition successes includes reaching the final of the RNCM Concerto Competition, the Manager’s Discretionary Award for outstanding performance at the Jacques Samuels Intercollegiate Piano Competition, and an award by the John Ireland Society of his complete solo piano works. In 2006 Andrew won the RNCM Ravel Competition, giving him the chance to perform Ravel's G Major Piano Concerto as soloist with the RNCM Symphony Orchestra.
In 2005, he received a full scholarship to attend the Gold Country Piano Institute’s ‘Mastercourse in Interpretation’ in California. Subsequently, he was selected to perform in several concerts around California. 2006 performances include Mozart's Concerto in A Major K488 with the Nottingham Youth Orchestra and Bartok's Piano Concerto No. 3 with the RNCM Concert Orchestra.
Andrew is studying piano at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, where he is considered to be an intelligent and talented pianist with enormous potential. He plans to continue at RNCM on the Master's programme for which he has been awarded a Major Entrance Scholarship.
How the Award Helped
Andrew received a Daughter of Dewar Award towards the purchase of a grand piano.
Since the Award
Since buying a grand piano, Andrew graduated from RNCM with first-class honours, the Alfred Class Pianoforte Scholarship for the highest Final Recital mark and the Hilda Anderson Den Award for highest academic marks. He was also the first student to perform two concertos with the college orchestra in the same year. Not to mention being the first student to perform in a kilt. Andrew attributes a lot of this success to being able to practise on a professional-quality piano.
Andrew is now pursuing an MMus at RNCM. He has also won a Fulbright Scholarship to continue his studies at Eastman College, Rochester, towards a DMA.