A TALENTED violinist from Tedburn St Mary, who used to busk to pay for his music lessons, has been awarded a highly prestigious scholarship from the London Symphony Orchestra (LSO).

Joel Munday (24), is one of just 10 musicians from across the world to have been awarded the new LSO Conservatoire Scholarship. 

The ground-breaking initiative has been created to ensure that musicians from all backgrounds have access to conservatoire training and to help reduce the financial barriers of those wanting to enter the profession. 

Joel will receive £15,000 to help him focus fully on his postgraduate studies at the Royal College of Music.

He will also benefit from coaching and mentoring from the LSO’s own renowned musicians and ongoing career advice. Joel, who has been playing the violin since he was seven, is part of a deeply musical family lineage. His grandmother, mother, and sisters are all violinists.

He said: "My sister and I were always taking part in concerts and small competitions from quite a young age.

"My sister teaches strings in Germany, whereas I was always more drawn to performing."

Financial constraints meant Joel’s parents were unable to fund his violin lessons which prompted him to start busking in Exeter from the age of 12.

He explained: "Every Saturday, regardless of the weather, I was a fixture in Exeter city centre. The money I earned was funnelled into my violin lessons.

"Busking didn’t require a permit in Exeter, but my dad would always be there to watch over me and ensure my safety."

Aged 15, Joel’s talent secured him a place at the Royal College of Music’s Junior Department, where he has continued his education, progressing from an undergraduate to a postgraduate student.

Although still a student, Joel boasts an impressive professional résumé.

He has frequently performed as a soloist with various symphony and chamber orchestras across the UK.

His musical prowess has also taken him to festivals and masterclasses in Germany, Poland, Ireland, India, and the Philippines.

Anyone watching the recent “Napoleon” movie may have also spotted him as part of the orchestra in the film.

Joel performed in a concert at Crediton Congregational Church in 2018.

Joel said: "The LSO Conservatoire Scholarship is proving to be an invaluable means of setting up new opportunities for artistic and career development as well as supporting my living expenses in London. I am beyond grateful for this truly meaningful support."

Dame Kathryn McDowell, managing director of the LSO said: "Joel is a wonderful talent.  We’re so glad to be able to help him study at one of the leading 10 conservatoires in the world and we are excited to watch him develop in the years ahead."