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Belfast musician appointed Ulster Youth Orchestra leader

By Jackie Bell

A Belfast musician has been presented with a 237 year old violin after being appointed the new leader of the Ulster Youth Orchestra.

Susanna Griffin was given the Milton Violin, made by renowned Neapolitan violin maker, Joseph Gagliano, by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland.

The violinist will use the instrument throughout her time as leader of the orchestra.

The Arts Council's Head of Music, Ciaran Scullion, congratulated Susanna on her appointment, adding: "The orchestra has become a vibrant and creative force in the musical life of Northern Ireland, providing gifted young musicians with access to the very best professional players, tutors and conductors.

"We are delighted by the appointment of Susanna and have no doubt she will put this very special opportunity to great use."

Susanna is currently in her first year at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester.

She was appointed leader of the UYO following a 'highly competitive audition process'.

Paula Klein, General Manager of the Ulster Youth Orchestra said: “Susanna has been a consistently strong member of the Ulster Youth Orchestra over the last four years and we are delighted that she has been awarded the position of leader in 2017."

She added: "The directors of the Ulster Youth Orchestra are extremely grateful to the Arts Council for providing the leader of the Ulster Youth Orchestra with the opportunity of playing such a fine instrument.  Chances like this are extremely rare and we are proud to be able to give Susanna such a helping hand in her developing career.”

The Milton violin was donated to the Arts Council by Professor Alan Milton in 1980. It has previously been used by the leader and principal players of the Ulster Orchestra. 

In 2013 the Arts Council decided to loan the instrument to the Ulster Youth Orchestra to be used by 'exceptionally gifted musicians' in their role as leader.

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