A 14-year-old girl is preparing to have her music heard on a worldwide audience of millions after she won a competition to have her composition played in the Last Night of the Proms.
Julia Barbour, from Sutton Coldfield, a pupil at King Edward VI School in Handsworth, was entered into the BBC Proms Inspire Young Composers Competition by her music teacher after he was impressed with some of her GCSE coursework.
“We had to do a project with the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group and I did some violin and electronic music,” she said.
“My music teacher told me that he was going to send it off, but I didn’t really think anything more about it. I didn’t think I would win at all, it was a total shock when they called me up and told me about it.
“They phoned me up one night and it was someone just telling me that I had won. I’ve never been to the proms before. I’ve only ever watched it on television a couple of times. I never thought it would be something I’d be involved with.”
All six winners will collaborate to write fanfares for the world-famous Last Night of the Proms – which will be heard by millions. They will get to work with world-class musicians and their work will form part of the link up with Proms in the Park.
“It’s going to take a lot of work,” said Julia. “Especially because the instruments that I have to write for are the French horn and percussion, which are instruments I know nothing about. I’m really going to have my work cut out.”
But she will be in a good position to work on her piece as she has been studying music since primary school.
“I play the piano and the guitar and I’ve just taken up the ukelele. I’ve always been playing instruments. In primary school I played the violin but I gave it up. Music’s always been there when I’ve been growing up.
“My dad played piano and all his side of the family is quite musical.”
Despite her runaway success, she said she still wants to keep music as a hobby, rather than a job. “I just play for fun so I’ve never really considered it as a career,” she said.