Kay Stephen

ARTFORMS: Music , Violin


Aberdeen born and bred, Kay moved to Glasgow at 17 to study violin at RSAMD, graduating with a first-class degree in music and the top mark in her year. She moved to Manchester to pursue a master of music at RNCM, where she studies with Pavel Fischer.

At RNCM, Kay has enjoyed many performing opportunities and has led every college ensemble, from the tight-knit ‘new ensemble’ to the symphony orchestra. She led the orchestra in the summer of 2010 residency at the Cantiere festival in Montepulciano. Kay has also performed with some big Scottish names, including Donnie Munro, Capercaillie, and Alasdair McCulloch. She was a member of the True North Orchestra when it opened 2009’s Celtic Connections.

Kay was accepted onto the BBC Philharmonic professional access scheme, with whom she had the thrilling experience of playing works such as Mahler’s Sixth and Bartok’s Concerto for Orchestra. She is also part of a quartet which has enjoyed success, winning the Hirsch quartet prize and performing in the prestigious RNCM chamber festival. Flushed with this success the quartet plans to take part in external music competitions in the future.

How the Award Helped

The Dewar Arts Award will help towards the second year costs of the master of music at RNCM.

Since the Award

After graduating with a Master of Music Solo Performance, with Merit, Kay was offered a place as violinist on the Halle's Leadership scheme. Kay says that one of the best things to come out of her final year at the RNCM was forming a new string quartet, the Gildas Quartet. The highlight was to be invited by the RNCM's international chair of chamber music, Gabor Takacs Nagy, to work more intensively with him in Geneva. Kay also helped to create the Cragiebuckler Ensemble, a group of young Scottish musicians who put on chamber music concerts in small venues around Scotland. She writes that it is a great way to bring old friends together who are always thrilled to have an excuse to come back and perform in Scotland.

This generous award will allow me to complete my masters and, more importantly, spend a further year learning with my teacher, Pavel Fischer.