Dayna Townsend

Award: Postgraduate Award

Year: 2018

Genre: Classical

Instrument/voice type: Violin

Location: Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama

Dayna began her violin studies at the age of 8 and went on to achieve a distinction in her Grade 8 at the age of 14 and later a distinction in the ABRSM Diploma in Music Performance at the age of 17. Not long after she began playing the violin she started to compete in the Worcester Competitive Arts Festival where she has won the Concerto, Music 47 and Recital Prizes as well as winning her age class numerous times. When she was 18, she also took part in and won the Hereford Police Male Choir Bursary Competition. 
Growing up, Dayna always had a keen interest in orchestral playing. She was a member of the National Children’s Orchestra for three years, the City of Birmingham Symphony Youth Orchestra for four years and the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain for two years. It is from her participation in these orchestras that her desire to become an orchestral player professionally stemmed. 
Since 2014, Dayna has been studying for an undergraduate degree in violin performance at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama where she was awarded an annual scholarship for excellence. She is currently studying with Lesley Hatfield, the Leader of the BBC National Orchestra of Wales. Since beginning her degree she has enjoyed and greatly benefited from masterclasses from Itzhak Rashkovsky, Daniel Phillips and Ben Baker and in orchestral projects she has been lucky enough to work with Maggie Faultless, Rachel Podger, Stephanie Gonley and Henning Kraggerud. Whilst studying at the Royal Welsh College, Dayna has consistently scored 1sts in both her performance and orchestral excerpt exams.
This year Dayna was appointed the Principal Second Violin in the Senior String Ensemble and the Leader of the College Chamber Orchestra. Dayna has also been a member of the College’s elite string group, the Royal Welsh String Soloists, for three years and, as a part of this group, she had the privilege of performing at Buckingham Palace for HRH the Prince of Wales in 2016. Dayna has also successfully auditioned for a full placement with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales for the past two years as well as being selected to take part in side-by-side schemes with the Orchestra of the Welsh National Opera where she played with the orchestra for their Youth Opera production of “Kommilitonen!” at the Memo Arts Centre in Barry in 2016 and in their “Classical Drive” concert in the Dora Stoutzker Hall at the Royal Welsh College in 2017. 
Over the past year Dayna has also been studying Baroque violin with Rachel Podger and has begun to freelance on both modern and Baroque instruments. In 2017 Dayna was hired to play in the Bristol Ensemble for a performance of Elgar's The Dream of Gerontius and has upcoming work with the English Symphony Orchestra in May including a CD recording of David Matthew’s Symphony No.9. In April 2018, Dayna also joined the Pro Youth Philharmonia orchestra for its inaugural tour around the UK.
Alongside orchestral playing, Dayna enjoys playing in chamber ensembles and is a part of the Rosea String Quartet, formed in 2014 and made up of musicians from the Royal Welsh College. They have received masterclasses from the London Haydn Quartet, Allegri Quartet and the Emerson Quartet as well as played at a number of weddings and functions at venues including both Cardiff and Caerphilly Castles. In 2016 they recorded a short segment for BBC's the One Show and in August 2017 they played for the opening of the "Weeping Window" exhibition at the Senedd in Cardiff Bay. As well as her quartet, Dayna is also a member of the Ballare Piano Trio. They have received coaching from musicians including Lucy Gould and Benjamin Frith of the Gould Piano Trio and in 2017 were selected to take part in the McGrenery Chamber Prize at the Royal Welsh College after achieving one of the highest chamber marks in the college. They were also the joint winners of the Cardiff Violins Prize for Chamber Ensembles. That same year the trio also played for the press conferences and announcements of the Russia17 Festival being held in Cardiff at St David's Hall and the London Welsh Centre.
For her postgraduate studies Dayna will be studying on the MMus Orchestral Performance course at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama where she has been awarded an annual scholarship for excellence. The course will provide her with full placements for two years with both the Welsh National Opera and the BBC National Orchestra of Wales which will be an invaluable training experience in preparing Dayna for a career as an orchestral musician. For her Masters Degree Dayna will be studying with Lowri Porter, the Associate Leader of the Welsh National Opera. Dayna is incredibly grateful to be a Help Musicians UK Postgraduate Award holder for the coming year and is looking forward to the training she will receive through further study and how she will develop as a musician over the coming two years.