Recipient of the Colin MacLean Bursary Award 2023 Announced

Rachel Simmonds


We are delighted to announce, on behalf of the Endowment Trust of the National Youth Orchestras of Scotland, that the recipient of the Colin MacLean Bursary Award for 2023 is Bassoonist Rachel Simmonds.

Rachel first joined the NYOS Senior Orchestra bassoon section in 2017, moving onto Symphony Orchestra in 2018. This year Rachel is part of the NYOS Ambassadors Programme, which provides training and work experience for young musicians at a pre-professional standard.

“The NYOS Orchestras have given me some great memories, from experiencing being in a full Symphony Orchestra for the first time to meeting other young bassoonists and developing our musicianship together. It has been so interesting to return as a NYOS Ambassador this year and to experience the roles being reversed. Receiving this financial support will allow me the freedom to fully concentrate on my postgraduate studies and I am incredibly grateful.” Rachel Simmonds.

The bursary, awarded annually, was set up to celebrate Colin MacLean’s immense contribution to youth music in Scotland over more than four decades. In the mid-seventies he played a vital role in establishing the National Youth Orchestra of Scotland. As part of the steering committee, he diplomatically gathered influential support to bring the idea to fruition. Today, it is thanks to continuing legacies and donations that the Trust is able to help the young musicians of NYOS. Applicants submit a recording of two contrasting pieces of music which are reviewed by our panel of judges, which this year comprised Conductor and Artistic Director of the Hebrides Ensemble, Will Conway, and NYOS Chief Executive, Kirsteen Davidson Kelly.

“Rachel is an outstanding musician who has shown real commitment to developing her musical and professional skills. She has a promising career ahead and we are delighted to support her with a Colin MacLean bursary.” Kirsteen Davidson Kelly, Chief Executive of NYOS.

“In her audition video Rachel displayed passion for the music she was playing, technical assurance, musical sensitivity, characterful interpretation and huge potential. Her written application and presentation were clear and informative. We wish her every success for her future!” Will Conway, Conductor.