Breanna Wilson from Glasgow is a finalist in the BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician 2022. The finals will be held at Celtic Connections Festival on 6th February 2022 at 5pm. Buy a ticket here or listen live on BBC Radio Scotland.
We asked Breanna the following questions:
How did you get involved in traditional music?
I began playing traditional music when my Mum took me to classes at St Roch’s secondary school at the age of six. These classes are run by Frank McArdle and it’s where my mum also first learned traditional music. I’ve always grown up in a very musical family with both of my parents playing a variety of instruments.
Why did you enter BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician Award?
Over the last few years I’ve always loved watching the BBC Young Trad Musician competition and particularly when I was younger I used to say I’d love to enter one day. It’s always been a goal of mine. I’d heard from friends who have entered previously that it was a fantastic experience and a great chance to work with some fabulous musicians. I’m so excited to have the chance to compete myself now!
Who has been the biggest inspiration/influence on your music-making and why?
I was raised in a very musical family with my Mum playing the fiddle and my Dad playing guitar and lots of other instruments and styles. Music has always been a huge part of my life, especially traditional music. My parents definitely encouraged me from a very early age to pursue my passion for music.
I’ve also been massively inspired by my teachers over the years. I was taught by Louise Hunter who runs the Southside Fiddlers for most of my teenage years and she was extremely supportive and encouraging and the main reason that I even decided to pursue a career in music in the first place. I wouldn’t be where I am now without her. I’ve also received amazing tuition from Marie Fielding at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and I’m so grateful for all her help and guidance over the last few years.
Are there any moments in your career so far that you particularly cherish and why?
I’ve been so fortunate to have been able to travel lots already in my career and it’s something I can’t wait to do more of in the future. I’ve been to France, Italy, Ireland and Canada for various gigs and festivals and I love being able to meet new people and make new connections.
I did a particularly exciting gig right before the pandemic struck with Four Men and a Dog and the Imbolc Orchestra, lead by the fantastic Michael Rooney. The atmosphere and the energy was amazing and reminded me of why I love performing so much.
A couple of years ago I was also fortunate to win the Molloy Award with my duo partner and fellow contestant Sophie Joint at Birmingham TradFest. This was definitely a highlight of my career!
What are your plans and aspirations for the future?
I’m coming towards the end of my degree at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland so that’ll be the main focus for the next few months. After that however I would absolutely love to travel doing music and see more of the world while performing and doing what I love. I also love composing and I’m currently in the middle of the Emerging Composers project with the National Youth Pipe Band of Scotland so I’m looking forward to finishing the writing process and start putting a performance together. It would be great to be involved in more projects like that in the future.
When you are not playing music what else do you enjoy doing?
In my free time I love being outdoors and I developed a love for running over lockdown – I guess it was good for some things! I’d also love to get more into photography but I’m starting completely from scratch so that might take a while. When I’m not playing music I really enjoy teaching music. I also love cooking and I enjoy doing a bit of baking too!
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