Ryan Young

From Cardross Primary to T in the Park: Award winning fiddle player and one of Scotland’s brightest musical talents

Ryan was born on the 27th October 1990 at the Vale of Leven hospital. He became interested in music during his early years at Cardross Primary School, when he would spend much of his spare time singing. He fell in love with the violin after watching Scottish music legend Aly Bain play on television.

During the fourth year of his primary school days Ryan was fortunate enough to be selected by the respected music teacher, Helen Reid-Foster, to play the violin on the strength of his love of song and evident musical ability. It was a choice that would set Ryan off on a musical journey enabling him to become one of Scotland’s brightest creative talents.

Having been bewitched and inspired by the fiddle playing of local musician and composer Eilidh Steel at a Helensburgh and Lomond Fiddlers Group session, Ryan decided that his musical future lay with the fiddle.

Throughout his final primary years and early teens at Hermitage Academy, Ryan received the teaching and training available from inspiring musicians such as Eilidh, Helen Reid-Foster, Kirsty Cotter and Sarah-Jane Summers. Aged just 15, Ryan was awarded two musical scholarship into the senior Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, having previously been awarded the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music scholarship into the junior Academy section. Ryan entered the senior Academy in October 2008.

It is not just Ryan’s musical achievements that mark him out from other musicians of his age group; it is his talent as a performer that sets him apart. Having already secured consecutive Lomond Music Young Folk Musician titles, 2007 was to prove the year that Ryan announced his arrival on the national musical stage.

Ryan began the year by winning the Danny Kyle Open Stage at Glasgow’s Celtic Connections, and was to follow this up later in the year with another major competitive final appearance. Ryan was chosen as one of six finalists in BBC Radio 2’s Young Folk Awards in 2007. The awards selection committee produces the final short list from an initial selection of 70 of the UK’s most promising musicians, with the final six eventually emerging following a rigorous round of workshops, sessions and competitive concerts.

Ryan’s performance in the London final was described as “faultlessly colourful, cheeky and intelligent, and the due audience reaction was massive.”

Not content with appearing in one final, Ryan repeated the feat twelve months later at London’s South Bank Centre in 2008. The BBC reported that: “The third soloist of the evening caused another pin-drop silence with a slow air which evoked great beauty and sadness. Ryan Young exhibited a fiddle style that was anything but run-of-the-mill, his finishing set of three tunes demonstrating fantastic bowing technique, wonderful tone, a great ear for complex and cheeky tune variations.”

Over the past few months, and studies permitting, Ryan has found himself in much demand. He has appeared at the various festivals and concerts including the Edinburgh Fiddle Festival, Celtic Connections and BBC One’s Hogmanay show. Ryan showed that his unique style spans all musical genres by playing with Paulo Nutini on stage at T in the Park in 2009.