Top prize for young musician

by Dawn Rennie

A TALENTED Deeside teenager hit the right note in a national competition to celebrate Scotland's most famous bard.

Kirsten Zappert, of Aboyne, received the highest marks in the instrumental section at the World Burns Federation National Schools Festival held in Ayr recently.

Banchory Academy pupil Kirsten, 17, wowed judges with her performance on the clarsach, winning the S5/6 instrumental section and gaining the top mark in Scotland in her class.

Competition convener Helena Anderson says Kirsten is a very talented musician. “She is extremely gifted,” she said. “Kirsten could have a very bright future ahead of her.

“The adjudicators said there was an extremely high standard in the event so this is a brilliant achievement. She beat off stiff competition from musicians from all over Scotland.”

The event is the largest and oldest competition of its kind in Scotland and this year attracted 165,000 entries from all over the country.

Kirsten, who has been playing the clarsach for nine years, said:“This is the first competition I have entered in a while, so I was really surprised to do so well. I don't play in any orchestras or anything with the clarsach, I just practice on my own.

“I also play the piano, viola and violin, and play in string orchestras with them. I also teach the piano and clarsach and am helping with the new Banchory Primary Music Club.”

As Toshiba sponsored the Burns competition, Kirsten won a mobile phone and alarm clock, as well as a cup, medal and certificates.

She fits music in around her school studies – she recently sat five higher exams and started her sixth year last week. Kirsten is now studying advanced highers in music, maths and applied maths and hopes to study music at university.

She comes from a creative family –mum Susan is also an accomplished musician, sister Ailsa studies music at university in York, while dad Mike is an artist. Kirsten's other sister Catriona plays the guitar.

“I think it must come from my mum's side,” she joked, “although my dad does play some instruments. I think his family were musical as well. It's great that my mum plays as well, we have the same harp teacher who lives in Dyce so we both go together. My teacher was delighted when I did well in the competition, it made her day.”