International Conference on the History of Freemasonry

25th May – 27th May 2007

The Grand Lodge of Scotland (the home of Scottish Freemasonry) had been delighted to sponsor the NYOS Staffa awards and which, by a happy coincidence, was to be held in Freemasons’ Hall on the evening before the ICHF. So what is the NYOS Staffa award?

The NYOS Staffa Award competition has evolved from the LASMO Staffa Music Award. The LASMO Arts Trust was formed in 1992 with the intention of creating a major annual competition for advanced music students from Conservatoires in the United Kingdom.  Its aim was to identify outstanding performers in all principal music disciplines and assist them towards a professional career.  From it’s inception the LASMO Staffa Music Award and Arts Trust was administered by The National Youth Orchestras of Scotland.

Following the end of LASMO’s nine successful years of support, The National Youth Orchestras of Scotland (NYOS) felt it very important that such a valuable Award should continue.  Therefore in October 2001 NYOS announced the launch of a new music Award, to be known as the NYOS Staffa Award to succeed the LASMO Staffa Music Award, presented for the last time in May 2001.

Like it’s predecessor, the NYOS Staffa Award is open to students from eight music Conservatoires in the UK.  The principals of the Conservatoires are invited to nominate three students for audition in London before a panel of musicians.  Three candidates are selected to attend a final Award performance.  A £3000 prize is awarded to the most outstanding student to assist in furthering their career in music performance.

On Thursday, 24th May 2007, at 7.00 pm in Freemasons’ Hall, 267 people awaited expectantly for the three finalists to perform their selected choice of music and what wonderful performances they were:

Giovanni Guzzo – Volin (Royal Academy of Music)

1)    Brahams: Sonata No.3 in D minor, Op.108 for Violin and Piano

(1st movement – Allegro)

2)    Ginastera: Pampeana No.1, Rhapsody for Violin and Piano

Eugene Nakamura – Violin (Royal Northern College of Music)

1)    Beethoven: Sonata for Piano and Violin in G, Op.30 No.3

(1st Movement – Allegro assai)

2)    Waxman: Carmen Fantasie

Dimitry Rasul-Kareyev – Clarinet (Royal Academy of Music)

1)    Baermann: Adagio from Clarinet Quintet

2)    Lovreglio: Fantasy on themes of La Traviata by Verdi

After the interval (when complimentary refreshments were served) Midori Sugiyama, who was the second prize winner of the 2006 NYOS Staffa award, performed, on violin:

1)    Bach: Sonata No.2 (Andante and Allegro)

2)    Saint-Saens Yasye: Caprice study in the form of a Waltz Op.52, No.6.

Meantime the adjudicators deliberated and announced their decision as follows:

1)    Giovanni Guzzo (centre)

2)    Dimitry Rasul-Kareyev (left of centre)

3)    Eugene Nakamura (right of centre)

The prizes were presented by:

The Grand Master Mason of the Grand Lodge of Scotland, Sir Archibald D. Orr Ewing,

The Pro-Grand Master of the United Grand Lodge of England, the Marquis of Northampton and

The Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Ireland, George Dunlop.

Many of the audience, NYOS members and Freemasons, joined the prize winners for a meal in the Lower Hall following the completion of the award ceremony.

Some of the audience who attended the post awards dinner

It is a fact that Freemasons’ Hall has not been used for concerts (and similar events) for many years and so re-establishing the connection with the world of music in this way is especially satisfying. As NYOS themselves put it:

‘Some of you may recall the days when Freemasons’ Hall, George Street, Edinburgh was used as an excellent performance venue, particularly during the Edinburgh International Festival. NYOS is delighted, not only to be one of the first to be welcomed back to the Grand Hall for the NYOS Staffa Award on Thursday 24 May 2007, but to receive valuable sponsorship of £10,000 from The Grand Lodge of Antient Free and Accepted Masons of Scotland (the home of Scottish Freemasonry) for this important annual competition. Furthermore, the Award performances provide the opening social event of a major international conference on the History of Freemasonry which is open to everyone, so book early to be sure of your tickets as conference delegates are keenly reserving their seats’.

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