Talented young Ayrshire musicians are being given the chance to hear their original compositions performed by a professional ensemble in a public concert.

Pupils in the Higher and Advanced Higher music classes at St. Joseph’s Academy in Kilmarnock have been taking part in a ten-week composition course led by Gillian Walker, from Ayr, and Sir James MacMillan as part of The Cumnock Tryst’s community engagement programme.

Their work will be performed at St Joseph's Church in Kilmarnock later this month.

Around 20 pupils and their class teacher are penning new pieces for a trio of professional musicians, who will premiere the works at the event.

Sir James launched his home town of Cumnock as a Centre of Excellence in the Learning and Teaching of Composition in 2020.

Since then, the work that he and the Cumnock Tryst have carried out in primary and secondary schools has been replicated around the world as an example of good practice.

The project at St Joseph’s Academy will benefit both pupils and teachers: supporting the pupils in composing work that will be recorded and submitted as part of their SQA qualifications.

Gillian Walker, who is leading the project alongside Sir James, has strong ties to The Cumnock Tryst.

She first worked with the festival on a work experience placement while a student at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in 2018.

Since then, she has twice been commissioned by the Tryst to write music for their annual festival, however, this is the first time she has led a Tryst project herself.

Sir James, the founder and artistic director of The Cumnock Tryst, said: “I’m extremely proud of the work the Cumnock Tryst carries out in the Ayrshire community, especially when it comes to sparking the love I have for composition in the young musicians of the area.

"It will be a real treat to hear the music the students at St Joseph’s Academy have been creating in these workshops, professionally performed live in front of an audience of their friends and family.”

Gillian added: “It’s been a real pleasure to lead my first project with the Tryst and to support the students and teachers of St Joseph’s with their own compositions.

"To see how far everyone has come across the ten weeks of workshops and how confident they are in finding their own musical voice has been really gratifying, and I can’t wait to hear the final products of all their hard work at the performance at the end of November.”

Free tickets for the concert on Tuesday, February 20 at 7.30pm at St Joseph’s Academy are available to the public at www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/the-cumnock-tryst-east-ayrshire-young-composers-concert-tickets-809066829667.