National award for King's Lynn schoolboy cellist Ezra
A local cellist who has played for Julian Lloyd Webber is one of a select few to be awarded a national prize.
Ezra Nwobodo, 16, was awarded a Robert Lewin Scholarship at the Awards for Young Musicians (AYM). The scholarship is named after the man upon whose legacy AYM was founded in 1998.
After winning the award, Ezra will receive financial help for musical costs and will have the opportunity to take part in a day of cross-genre music making with the BBC Symphony Orchestra in December at Maida Vale Studios in London.
AYM’s 2018 cohort of award winners represent a wide range of instruments and genres including classical and rock.
Each year AYM fundraise and are able to grant up to £100,000 in scholarships. Over £430,000 has been funded in total this year.
Ezra said:“I am so honoured to receive the award because I am one of the few to get it and it makes me feel special.
“It is an amazing feeling and the opportunities that come with the award mean I am so pleased.”
Having passed his grade six cello exam with distinction as well as achieving almost full marks for his grade five theory, Ezra is in good shape when it comes to his musical talent.
His mother, Letitia, said: “He was about 10-years-old when he first started playing. He has just the most amazing tutor, Mr Ivan Mcready, who has been a prominent figure in his career and who advised him to take up the scholarship.
“I am over the moon with his commitment and his progression.”
As well as being a supremely talented young musician, Ezra is also head boy at his school.
Ezra was made head boy at Lynn’s Springwood High School in September after 25 pupils applied for the roles of head boy and head girl.
Assistant headteacher, Karen Williams, said: “It was a tough decision but we made Ezra head boy and Phoebe Claxton head girl. They really deserve it having contributed so much already to school life.
“Ezra and Phoebe have started their roles already, representing Springwood at functions and they spoke at the year 11 parents’ evening on October 4.”
Individual donors and patrons of the AYM award include Jess Gillam, Paul Lewis, Duncan Ward and Evelyn Glennie, as well as Julian Lloyd Webber himself.
AYM director Hester Cockcroft said: “It is likely that in the future more and more families will become even more reliant on us as opportunities for funding musical education are becoming harder to find.
“We know from our work that the UK is bursting with musical talent and yet we’ve only been able to support a small fraction of this incredible potential.
“Simply put, we’re not able to reach enough of those young people and to help make a real difference in their lives.
“This fact alone makes us even more determined to pursue our cause that no young person with serious musical potential and a strong commitment to learn and grow should ever go unsupported.”
To support AYM by getting involved in fundraising or to find out about how to apply for a 2019 award, visit their website www.a-y-m.org.uk
Their Facebook page is also available at www.facebook.com/awardsforyoungmusicians