Matilda Lloyd made her mark on the brass world in 2014 when she won the Brass Final of BBC Young Musician of the Year, as well as the BBC Radio 2 Young Brass Award - where she was the first female winner for a decade!
Graduating with a First from Trinity College, Cambridge last year, she is now studying for a Masters degree at the Royal Academy of Music in London.
As part of our celebrations of International Women's Day on 8th March 2018, we spoke to Matilda about her musical journey so far as a young female brass player.
- What made you want to learn to play a musical instrument?
My mum first introduced me to music. As a piano teacher and accompanist, she taught me the basics on the piano when I was about 5 and taught me to read music and rhythms and gave me a musical foundation.
- What made you choose the trumpet in particular?
I actually discovered the trumpet by accident! My dad had played the trumpet at school and, as a curious 8 year old, one day I discovered his old trumpet in a cupboard in our house. Naturally it looked very exciting and I wanted to have a go. I could make a decent sound on the instrument and wanted to get some lessons – and that’s where the story starts.
- What age did you realise you wanted to pursue a career in music?
Surprisingly, I wasn’t completely sure that I wanted to pursue a career in music until I was about 17. When applying to university, I couldn’t decide between choosing to study foreign languages, history or music, until I realised that by studying music I could do all three! There was also an aspect of performance in the university course and an amazing extra-curricular musical environment at Cambridge, so I knew that I would have opportunities for practice and performance alongside my academic degree. I think the turning point for me when I realised that I wanted to pursue a career as a trumpet soloist, was when I was aged 18. Winning both the BBC Young Musician of the Year Brass Final and the BBC Radio 2 Young Brass Award opened up so many opportunities for me and made my dream to be a soloist start to seem like a reality.
- As a female trumpeter in a male dominated environment, who inspired you?
I have had many amazing female inspirations throughout my life. My mother’s support, love and encouragement has been hugely inspiring to me – she has encouraged me to pursue my dreams and try not let anything stand in the way of them! Obviously, as any female trumpeter does I’m sure, I look up to Alison Balsom and Tine Thing Helseth as the spearheads of female trumpet playing and very much hope to continue in their footsteps. Another inspiration has been my peers. There are so many females playing brass instruments now, to the point that the Trumpet Department at the Royal Academy of Music, where I am now studying for my Masters, is 50% female! It is amazing to have that support and know that there are so many more women playing brass instruments now that it feels like the trend is shifting towards a more balanced environment, which is amazing.
- What advice would you give someone who wanted to learn to play a musical instrument?
My main piece of advice would be to go for it! Don’t let anybody stop you and follow your heart as to which instrument you choose. So often, people end up learning an instrument that their parents want them to learn, or an instrument that is offered to them by a school or music service, but I think it is important to play a musical instrument that you will love and enjoy.
- What are your musical aspirations for the future?
I would love to become an international trumpet soloist. As well as premiering new works for the trumpet and thereby expanding the limited repertoire that we have, I am also keen to re-discover forgotten works. There have been many great pieces written for the trumpet that have been performed at a premiere and then forgotten, and I hope to bring these lost works back to the forefront of trumpet playing! I hope to inspire many people, especially young people and especially young females, to take up a brass instrument and see where it takes them.
Find out more about Matilda from her website www.matildalloyd.com