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Young virtuoso plays for royalty at Britain’s largest multi-faith celebration
ABRSM Scholar Courtenay Cleary performed for a distinguished audience, including Her Majesty The Queen and His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh, in central London today (Monday). The violinist, who is currently studying on a full ABRSM scholarship at the Royal Academy of Music in London, played Largo from Sonata No. 3 in C Major (BWV 1005) by J.S. Bach at the Commonwealth Service at Westminster Abbey. Organised by the Royal Commonwealth Society, it is Britain’s largest annual multi-faith celebration, and is comprised of a mixture of testimonies, readings and musical performances. Courtenay, who is 23 and from Brisbane in Australia, has previously performed at the Melbourne International Chamber Music Competition as part of the only Australian quartet to take part. She studied at the Australian National Academy of Music and at the University of Queensland, where she received the Sleath String Scholarship for being an outstanding student. Other performers at the Service included Canadian soprano Measha Brueggergosman and the Choir of Westminster Abbey, and there were also speeches from the Maltase Prime Minister Dr Joseph Muscat and Secretary-General of the Commonwealth Patricia Scotland QC. Courtenay Cleary said: “I feel incredibly honoured to have had the opportunity to play for the Royal Family and other distinguished guests at the Commonwealth Service. It was an awe-inspiring experience to play at such a prestigious venue as Westminster Abbey and to have my performance broadcast live on the BBC is a dream come true. “Without ABRSM, I would not be able to study at the Royal Academy of Music and I'm so grateful for all the wonderful opportunities studying in London has led to. Highlights for me include performing with the Birmingham Royal Ballet Sinfonia and a solo recital at Regent Hall.” Michael Elliott, ABRSM Chief Executive, said: “It was wonderful to hear the Royal Academy of Music’s Courtenay Cleary’s powerful performance. She is a wonderful ambassador for up-and-coming musical talent, and really rose to the challenge of performing in front of Her Majesty The Queen and in the grand splendour of Westminster Abbey. “It’s a privilege to work in partnership with the Royal Academy, the Royal College of Music, the Royal Northern College of Music and the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland to help nurture the next generation of musical talent. This is really important to us, because supporting people to make the most of their musical potential is at the heart of everything we do, and the new generation will go on to inspire the next.”
Every year ABRSM provides more than 70 scholarships for talented British and international musicians to study at the four Royal Schools of Music.