Emma Durkan

ARTFORMS: Music , Violin


Emma Durkan, from Saltcoats in Ayrshire, started playing Scottish fiddle in primary 6 and quickly showed natural musical ability and the potential to become a great musician. She has the extremely rare ability to learn a complicated tune by ear one week and accurately replay it the next, without the aid of the written music or a recording.

Emma’s ambition is to become a professional musician. She is a member of the North Ayrshire Fiddle Group and has performed with them in Mallorca, France and Sweden.  In 2007 Emma won the North Ayrshire Musician of the Year (Intermediate Award).

Emma’s talent and potential were being severely hampered by lack of regular tuition locally. In 2006 she successfully auditioned to take part in the RSAMD YouthWorks programme. This opportunity will allow her to be stretched musically and play with other talented young musicians who will inspire and motivate her to develop her potential to the full.

How the Award Helped

The Dewar Arts Award has given crucial financial support allowing Emma to take up the place on the RSAMD Youthworks programme. In the second year of support, Emma was able to study both violin and clàrsach.

Since the Award

Emma writes that "going to the RSAMD every Saturday ..greatly improved my playing and musicianship". It also helped and taught her about writing her own compositions, which is something she had always wanted to do. 

In 2008 Emma competed in the senior category of the North Ayrshire Musician of the Year competition, for the first time, in which she was runner-up. Emma begins her undergraduate studies in Folk and Traditional Music at Newcastle University in 2010.

I have learned a lot from attending the RSAMD - I have developed my own style of playing the fiddle and I also understand the style of traditional Scottish better.