ERSO’s moment with Michael Collins!

At ERSO we’ve been digging into our history of giving young musicians their early solo opportunities, as we are so proud to continue this with our ERSO Talent Programme.  Today we found that ERSO gave legendary clarinettist Michael Collins a concerto opportunity at the age of only 16!

young musicians finalists 1978
Some of the BBC Young Musician of the Year 1978 finalists. L to R: Rona Murray, Humphrey Burton (presenter), Paul Coker and Michael Collins. Photograph: BBC

Michael had recently won the woodwind category of the first ever BBC Young Musician of the Year competition in April 1978, having just turned 16, and went on to perform Spohr’s fourth clarinet concerto with ERSO in November at St John Smith Square.  The Times called it a “personal triumph” and warmly applauded his “poised manner” and “elegant dexterity”.

As we all know, Michael went on to become the highest profile clarinettist of his generation in Britain and we’re so glad that the Ernest Read Symphony Orchestra played a small part in his very early career!

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