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Penwith musician one of the youngest stars in leading European orchestra

By CMJoshBarrie  |  Posted: August 06, 2013

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A PENWITH teenager has been given a seat in one of the world’s leading young people’s orchestras.

Edward Francis-Smith, from Nancledra and who just turned 17, is one of the youngest musicians in the current European Youth Orchestra (EUYO) and is performing on his first tour with the band this summer.

Having started the double bass at the age of eight, Edward quickly established himself as a notable talent and is now seen as one of the most promising of his generation.

Edward was excited to be a part of such a distinguished group, and said he was pleased to be around fellow acts with a passion for performance.

“Playing in the EUYO is not like being in any other youth orchestra in the world - this is because it is truly multinational in every way,” he said.

The young double bassist said bringing so many different nationalities to play under the same roof is fantastic.

“It really is a miracle that we can all come together with the same common aim - to perform fantastic concerts in the best halls Europe has to offer,” he said.

“It's hugely exciting to be part of this tour. We will visit six countries as diverse as Macedonia and Holland - no doubt it's going to be a long trip!”

The west Cornwall musician said he hopes to be part of the EUYO for the coming years, and added that he feels his career lies in music.

Tim Boulton, who has ties with the International Musician’s Seminar at Prussia Cove and directs the Penzance Youth Orchestra, was given the job of mentoring Edward.

Mr Boulton, who started working with him at 10, describes the musician as “exceptional” and believes he has a big future ahead of him.

“He has one of these rare talents,” he said.

“Something happened when he was about 12 or 13 and I remember turning around to him in rehearsal and saying, ‘if you carry on playing like that I will have to introduce you to Tom Martin’.”

The mentor did just that, giving the young musician the opportunity to have lessons with Mr Martin - one of the country’s leading double bassists, based in Oxford.

Since then, and with advice from many others in the business, he has gone onto gain widespread recognition, performing for a number of assembles and receiving much acclaim.

Mr Boulton believes Edward could already have a career as a successful musician, adding it is “very unusual for somebody of his age to be working at that level.”

According to the violinist, most in the European collection are about 21 and will be undertaking further study at universities.

“He has the potential to play at a top senior orchestra,” said Mr Boulton. “He really is an wonderfully gifted young player.

“I think he will get to the top.”

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