Congratulations to Eilidh Simmers: Young Pianist

Congratulations to Eilidh Simmers: Young Pianist – Winner in Robert Burns World Federation National Secondary Schools Competition Finals

Eilidh Simmers, from Keith in Moray, has won the Instrumental class of the Robert Burns World Federation’s National Schools Competition Finals for Secondary Schools in age category S3-4 – and unusually on piano. The event, which took place at St George’s School for Girls, Edinburgh, on Saturday 23rd April 2016, comprised of Recitation, Singing and Instrumental competitions across three age categories: S1-2, S3-4 & S5-6.

15 year old Eilidh, who has been playing piano since she was 6 years old, was up against another 11 musicians in the same age group from all over Scotland including fiddlers and pipers. While she has previously won prizes in other competitions, such as the Traditional Music and Song Association’s piano classes, it’s the first time she has won a national prize for her playing. Out of 30 solo players in the Instrumental categories, there were only 2 pianists.

“I’m over the moon”, said Eilidh, “because the piano would never usually get that much credit and it was much more difficult at national level as the pipes were included this year as well as the fiddlers, which made it even tougher for the piano to succeed!”

As a grade 8 player Eilidh, who is taught piano by Fife-based music professional and teacher, Stuart Watson, learns mainly classical exam repertoire, but she also loves Scottish music and jazz. She chose the two winning arrangements of ‘The Atholl Gathering’ and ‘Mrs McLeod of Raasay’, arranged by Stephen J. Wood, as they are specifically written in a contemporary-classical and jazz style.

Stephen J. Wood commented,“My hope is that these arrangements may serve to enrich both the Gaelic, Scottish and mainstream piano repertoire, by introducing the beauty of these traditional melodies in this new contemporary classical and jazz guise, to audiences from all cultural divides – classical, jazz as well as traditional.”