Matthew Firkins

Award: Postgraduate Award

Year: 2016

Genre: Classical

Instrument/voice type: Percussion

Location: Birmingham Conservatoire

Matt began playing piano, saxophone and clarinet at a young age before finding his niche in Drum Kit and Percussion during his time on the specialist music programme at Aldridge School. During this time Matt performed with Walsall and Sandwell music services at venues across the West Midlands including Birmingham Symphony Hall and the National Exhibition Centre. He also performed in the Birmingham International Jazz Festival in 2008.

In 2011 Matt accepted a place to study percussion at Birmingham Conservatoire, graduating with First Class Honours in 2015. Whilst at the Conservatoire Matt was selected to participate in the CBSO Orchestral training programme as well as taking part in schemes with the Royal Shakespeare Company and Birmingham Royal Ballet Professional development programme.

Matt won the Birmingham Conservatoire Percussion prize and then went on to win the Conservatoire's Doris Newton Music Club prize in 2015. Matt also won the Aldridge School Young Musician of the year competition in 2009 and reached the finals day of the Chandos Young Musicians competition in 2013.

In 2012 Matt was appointed principal percussionist with the CBSO Youth orchestra and CBSO Academy which he enjoyed taking part in until 2014, performing a wide range of music with professional conductors.

Matt's professional experience includes extra work with the CBSO and deputising with Birmingham Royal Ballet and performing in the BBC Chamber Proms. He is currently on Orchestral trial with the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland. He continues to work with local orchestras around the Midlands and performs in pit bands for numerous local musical theatre productions.

In 2015 Matt was offered a scholarship to continue his studies on the Masters Course at Birmingham Conservatoire. Matt has gained much more musical experience during his first year and is looking forward to completing the second year of the course which is generously supported by Help Musicians UK.