6 minutes with… Kirsty Devaney by Aishah Ali, ‘On The Edge’ Team V

We chat to Kirsty Devaney, one of the musicians who has kindly donated some of her music for the ‘Flash Up!’ competition. She talks about her amazing musical career which she admits she took up ‘by chance’, why she ‘always looks forward and not back’ and what she hopes to set her sights on next…

When did you first realise you had a passion and talent for music?

I wouldn’t say I have a specific talent for music but I loved music so I worked hard at it. I was very lucky because I took up music by chance when my Primary school offered free music lessons for the first time. My parents weren’t musical and I never thought of learning an instrument before. It wasn’t until my GCSE’s that I started to really work hard at my music and my secondary teacher supported and encouraged me. I started to play in lots of different ensembles and loved it. The more I practiced and played with other people, the more I improved.

You have won awards for your composition, in your opinion what has been your biggest achievement so far?

In 2011 I was shortlisted for a British Composer Award. Although I didn’t win in my category, I was amazed that I was shortlisted! It was a huge achievement for me at the beginning of my career. However I am currently composing lots of music for new projects and that is what excites me now. I always look forward not back.

Your music is being used as part of the Flash Up! competition, how does that feel? I am intrigued and excited about what will come out of the competition. It is a very different sort of competition and I am looking forward to seeing what people might do with my piece and all the other pieces.

What would your advice be to young people who have a passion for music and want to progress as a musician or any other music related job?

I would say work hard but also enjoy what you do as well. Try and play with other people in ensembles/bands because you can learn so much from meeting other musicians with different musical backgrounds, and you can make a lot of friends at the same time.

You have experience in playing for orchestra’s, would you ever consider being part of a fusion orchestra? And do you like the idea of a fusion orchestra?

I think the idea of a fusion orchestra is great! I think I would learn a huge amount from being in this kind of orchestra. You would learn a vast range of different styles by playing music which would be a lot of fun! I think it will help move young people out of their comfort zones by exploring and learning about different types of music from all over the world and this will encourage them to have an open mind and appreciation of music and other cultures.

And finally, by this time next year you will have completed your final year at Birmingham Conservatoire, what do you hope to do after that?

I am planning to stay in Birmingham for a while and work as a freelance composer, musician and teacher. I hope to be able to inspire and excite people about music through teaching, organising concerts and playing. I will also keep composing for lots of different ensembles which is what I love to do!


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