Jaren Ziegler, a Year 7 pupil at University College School, has been awarded a Scholarship to The Junior Royal Academy of Music.
Jaren first picked up a viola at the age of six but it was not until he was nine years old that he became truly passionate about music. He was inspired by his teacher, Jacky Woods and, having attended a course run by her during the spring of 2015, Jaren decided that he wanted to play professionally. “The viola is so different to other string instruments. I love its tone as it’s so mellow,” said Jaren who practises the instrument for over an hour and a half every day. Jaren has also been inspired by the cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason who won the BBC Young Musician of the Year back in 2016 and will play at the royal wedding later this month.
The award of this scholarship caps a remarkable 12 months for Jaren. Last year he was awarded a music scholarship to University College School and has played in the school’s symphony orchestra and a chamber trio which featured in the final of the South East Schools Chamber Music Competition in the spring. “I’d never played in a symphony orchestra before,” remarked Jaren, “and I have learnt so much from the older students like Sam Woof McColl.”
Sam, incidentally, is a lead in the London Schools Symphony Orchestra. In 2017, Jaren won the Junior Solo section of the Spring Grove Chamber Music Competition, and this year he competed against 18 year olds to win the Open category of the same competition. Jaren also won the viola section of the North London Music Festival in February and was placed joint first in the festival’s recital class. In April, he attended Arpeggione, a residential course for violists. The course contained a concerto competition, which Jaren won, and this gave him the opportunity to play a solo with the Arpeggione orchestra at a recent concert.
Jaren joined University College School as a music scholar in September 2017 and his mother, Lana, commented, “the school have been extremely supportive of Jaren and his music.” Jaren hopes that he will be able to hit the heights that Kanneh-Mason has reached but he knows there is a way to go before this dream becomes a reality.