Thursday, 29 November 2007

Aberdeen International Youth Festival and our staff and participants have been racking up the awards

Congratulations to everyone!

Arts and Business Award
Aberdeen International Youth Festival and Balmoral Group were awarded a commendation in the Arts, Business & Young People category, at the Arts & Business Scottish Awards 2007.The commendation was for establishing Grampian Youth Orchestra - a thriving youth orchestra for the North-East supported by local authorities, schools, universities and colleges, linking schools music with the National Youth Orchestra, playing a vital role in music-making for local young people and achieving international recognition.

This is the second award AIYF has received from Arts & Business. In 2006 we were awarded a commendation in the Arts & Kids category for our long partnership with Shell.

BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician 2008
James Duncan MacKenzie from the Isle of Lewis and Amy Lord from Dunblane are amongst the 6 finalists in the BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician 2008.James is a member of Ceol Mor, the AIYF's Traditional Music Big Band, who played at the Woodend Barn and Aberdeen Music Hall at the 2007 Festival. Amy took part in the Splore, Traditional Music Summer School in 2002 and 2003.The finals will be held during Celtic Connections in Glasgow in January, and previous winners include Gillian Frame, Emily Smith and Anna Massie. Good Luck James and Amy!

Ian Watt, Classical Star
Congratulations to Ian Watt who beat hundreds of contestants to make it to the final three at the BBC's new Classical Star. Ian played at the Blue Lamp with David Buckingham during Festival 2007 and also gave outstanding solo performances at the Music Hall and with Grampian Youth Orchestra.Eighteen candidates were shortlisted from hundreds of young hopefuls, all of whom were aged between 12 and 19 and had reached at least grade eight in their chosen instrument. The best nine candidates were then selected to attend the Music Academy and each week the contestants had to convince the panel of expert judges that they have the commitment and charisma to become a star.Ian, along with fellow Scot, Karen Geoghegan, made it all the way to the live finals on 24 October at LSO St Luke's. Well done!

and finally..
Stephen Stenning, former Chief Executive of AIYF, won the Evening Express Aberdeen's Champion Award for Tourism Ambassador, for his work at the Festival , bringing up to 1000 young people every year to Aberdeen. He was presented with his award by fellow Festival alumni Cameron Stout, in a star-studded ceremony at the AECC.

Thursday, 8 November 2007

More Staff news!

Ross Brechin, Marketing Intern for the 2007 Festival, has been made the Marketing Co-ordinator for Aberdeen Universtiy Student's Union.

Ben Torrie, who was the Festival's Box Office and Front of House Manager for Festival 2004, 2005 and 2006 is now Sales Manager at Aberdeen Performing Arts, and Andrew Youngson, who was the Festival's Marketing Intern in 2006, is now Sponsorship & Promotions Executive at Northsound Radio.

The Festival internships are a great way to gain valuable work experience. We offer internships in marketing, arts administration and Box Office liaison. For more information about these or other summer vacancies at AIYF please visit our website or contact General Manager, Jennifer Phillips on

Thursday, 1 November 2007

AIYF announces new Chief Executive

Aberdeen International Youth Festival today announces it's new Chief Executive, Stewart Aitken, who will join the organisation in mid November.

Stewart joins the Festival from Wigan Pier Theatre Company where he was the Artistic Director. He was born and brought up in Dunfermline, where he developed his love of acting as The Carnegie Youth Theatre and Burntisland Youth Theatre, before going on to study at Queen Margaret College in Edinburgh.

Stewart has worked for a number of arts organisations, including Purves Puppets and First Base Theatre Company, as well as acting with Wildcat, Paisley Arts Centre and Clyde Unity Theatre. He was Associate Director at the Netherbow Arts Centre in Edinburgh and Artistic Director of Borders Youth Theatre before moving south to Wigan, where he spent the last six years running the Wigan Pier Theatre Company.

Stewart says of his move to Aberdeen:"It's a major challenge to continue the success of the Aberdeen International Youth Festival with its very impressive history and important position in the Intrenational cultural scene. My family share my excitement at the move and my two girls are looking forward to exploring their new surroundings."

Stewart Aitken replaces Stephen Stenning, who has joined Glasgow based events company UZ.