Solo turn; Violinist returns to her roots.
BEVERLEY Westcott can recall, as a schoolgirl, sitting on the balcony of a Bangor concert hall listening to the orchestra below and being in awe of musicians' skills - little knowing that one day she'd be taking her place as a solo violinist.
She returns to North Wales, where she grew up, in March with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales. Her family moved to Bangor from Zambia when she was nine so her dad Len Smith could take up a teaching job at Ysgol Friars.
She said: "I started to have lessons with Eric Morris, who was at the time the violinist with the resident piano trio at Bangor University, and later his successor, Edward Davies.
"During my years at school, from about the age of 12, I was allowed to play with the University Orchestra and the Student Union Orchestra which led, a year later, to my first "paid gig" for which I received pounds 5! Handel''s Messiah I think.
"I remember being introduced to live symphonic concerts in the Prichard Jones Hall with the BBC Welsh Symphony Orchestra, as they were then known, on their North Wales Tour, I have hazy memories of soloists such as Paul Tortelier and Jack Brimer.
"My dad, a keen musician, provided endless opportunity for chamber music concerts, usually with other family members, school friends and college friends. They were mainly for charities and raised thousands for youth music in the area and for the Heart Scanner at Ysbyty Gwynedd."
Beverley also played with Gwynedd and North Wales Youth Orchestras plus the National Youth Orchestra of Wales. She picked up the Muriel Lewis Award from Rhyl Music Club and the Anglesey Rotarians Award for young musicians - the next recipient was Aled Jones.
After her A levels she ditched plans to train as a doctor and instead studied music at the Royal Northern College of Music, followed by a year in London at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. She later played the BBC Concert Orchestra and then BBC National Orchestra of Wales - next April marks her 20th year in the profession.
She's married to NOW double bassist Chris Westcott and they have five-year-old twins Charlie and Oliver. "Childcare is difficult when you both play in the same orchestra, because you are both working weekends and evenings," she said.
She's looking forward to meeting up with family and friends during the North Wales dates, plus starting rehearsals on the programme. In Wrexham and Bangor there will be Tchaikovsky, Bruch and Dvorak, while for Llandudno and Aberystwyth it is Schumann, Tchaikovsky, Prokofiev and Haydn.
TICKETS BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Aberystwyth March 22, Bangor Prichard Jones Hall 23, Wrexham William Aston Hall, 24, Llandudno Venue Cymru 25.
Details bbc.co.uk/orchestras/events, 0800 052 1812