Young musician captures national award

Voted as the nation’s most promising young flautist, 15-year-old Alanagh Bohan, from Eccleshall, is pictured with the new Atlus flute she won.

An Eccleshall musician’s noteworthy performance won the thumbs up from experts who voted her as the nation’s most promising young flautist of the year.

Fifteen-year-old Alanagh Bohan captivated a panel of judges with her flute playing when she auditioned at the Awards for Young Musicians (AYM) in London.   

The Stafford Grammar School student was among nearly 500 talented musicians across the country who applied to the programme. Alanagh made it through to the last 15 and at the final audition she struck the right note with adjudicators and picked up the Ashford Flute Award and a cheque for £1,250 to buy a new instrument. She also earned an opportunity to spend a day working with the BBC Symphony Orchestra in December.

“It’s a pretty big deal. I was up against very talented flautists so I’m really happy. And getting a new flute is brilliant because I can now explore a massive amount of repertoire as it’s given me so much more flexibility,” said Alanagh.

The award was created five years ago by the daughter and granddaughter of John Ashford, a gifted flautist who gave up his place at the Royal College of Music for health reasons. The aim of the AYM is to help musicians under the age of 18 with exceptional potential to develop their talent.

Alanagh began playing the flute when she was seven years old and was a member of the CBSO Youth Orchestra and National Children’s Orchestra of Great Britain. She is now principle flute of both symphony orchestra and wind orchestra at the Royal Birmingham Junior Conservatoire. The Eccleshall teenager is also a key figure in several Stafford Grammar music bands.

“It’s involved loads of work over the years.  I practise an hour and a half every day and I spend a full day each week at the Conservatoire. In the future I’m hoping to go down a music career route and want to get into a specialist music college when I leave school,” she said.

Having already impressed with her performance of Edward McGuire’s Prelude 3 and Prokofiev’s sonata for flute, Alanagh will travel to London for an extra audition in July for further performance opportunities with the AYM.