Fylde flautist lands dream place at prestigious music college
She has been hitting the right note on the flute since first picking up the instrument aged just five - and now Fylde teenager Brioni Crowe has achieved a childhood dream after being awarded a place at the Royal College of Music (RCM).
It is the latest in a series of musical milestones for the 17-year-old, who has been a member of the renowned Halle Youth Orchestra for the past five years - and principal for most of that time.
Brioni - who lives in Wharles - was earlier this year also named as one of classical music’s “bright young stars” by the radio station Classic FM.
It was an assessment clearly shared by the RCM, which offered her the chance to study at the prestigious institution after an audition process, which - like so much else in 2020 - was far from the norm.
“In ordinary times, you’d go to the Royal College and audition in person in front of a panel and then have an interview - but this year, both were online.
“You had to record yourself playing the pieces and then send them off - and there are pros and cons to auditioning like that.
“Obviously you can record it again if you’re not happy, but you can end up doing it so many times and still never feel like it’s perfect. Plus, doing it in real life, you get more of an adrenaline rush,” Brioni explains.
That quest for perfection is something she will continue to chase when she starts her four-year degree in London next September - but Brioni remains grounded enough to know that it may forever prove elusive.
“The great thing about music is that there is always something to work on, no matter what level you are at.
“It’s really important to realise that you’re never going to master the flute - there will always be an aspect of your playing which needs improving and that’s why it will be amazing to get feedback from the fantastic tutors at the Royal College,” says Brioni, who joined the Royal Northern College of Music when she was just nine.
That was just four years after she had what mum Rebecca describes as “a bit of a tantrum” when she was told by her primary school that she was too young to start music lessons.
“We ended up getting her this flute that had a curved head, because her little fingers couldn’t reach the whole instrument. She then showed that she could actually play it and the headmaster said he’d make an exception and she could have lessons,” Rebecca recalls.
The tantrums soon stopped, but the hard work was only just beginning - and has continued ever since.
“She has had to be so dedicated to it over the years - it was always a big dream for her to get a place at the Royal College, but I never dared to imagine that it would happen for her.
“Every year she has become stronger and stronger and she has also had some amazing opportunities, for which we are truly thankful.
“We are really proud of her and to see her go to London will be amazing.”
For Brioni herself - who performed at an event at Buckingham Palace last year - it will be the culmination of an ambition formed on a visit to the RCM for a day course six years ago.
“We were given a little tour that day and I just thought, ‘Wow, this is where I want to be’.”