Cross Trust Artists of the Year

The Cross Trust presents the finest in classical and jazz performance.
Please note that this event has been cancelled. 

Featuring Scotland’s outstanding new generation of musicians and following on from last year’s highly successful inaugural concert, The Cross Trust presents the finest in classical and jazz performance.

Founded by Sir Alexander Cross of Battleby, Perthshire, The Cross Trust has been helping young Scots to fulfil their aspiration and potential for 75 years. 

Our jazz performers are Matthew Kilner (saxophone), Neil Birse (piano), Ewan Hastie (bass) and Richard Glassby (drums). Classical artists Lauren McQuistin (soprano voice) and Hugh Mackay (‘cello) will be joined by pianist Junyan Chen.

Featuring songs by Rachmaninov and Strauss and Quando M'en Vo from Puccini's La Bohème. The Jazz Quartet will perform a mix of original compositions and classic jazz standards.


HUGH MACKAY is a Scottish cellist whose musical life comprises many different areas of performance including chamber music, orchestral playing and historically-informed performance. He is currently studying modern cello with Hannah Roberts and historical cello with Jonathan Manson at the Royal Academy of Music in London, where he holds the Yadegar-Hall Scholarship.

Last year, Hugh was selected for The Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment’s Experience Scheme. He has worked with many leading conductors, including Trevor Pinnock, Thomas Adès, Edward Gardner, John Wilson, Masaako Suzuki, Nicholas Collon, and Ryan Wigglesworth.

As cellist of the Clova Quartet, a new and exciting London-based string quartet, Hugh has performed at the Kinnordy Chamber Music Festival (Scotland), and are quickly adding dates in 2020 and 2021 including a series of concerts in Spain. A quartet of diverse musical interests, the Clova Quartet use innovative programming to explore known and unfamiliar works.

Top Image: Hugh Mackay

1 Junyan Chen

Junyan Chen was Born in Shanghai in 2000 and began her piano studies at the age of six with William Chen at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music’s Middle School. She is currently Studying for a Bachelor’s degree with Joanna MacGregor at the Royal Academy of Music, supported by a full scholarship from the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music (ABRSM) and a generous anonymous donor.

Junyan worked with the Shanghai Philharmonic Orchestra in 2017, Academy Symphony Orchestra conducted by Edward Gardner in 2019 and she has subsequently performed in many concert halls in China, including the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra Hall, Shanghai Hall, Guangzhou Grand Theatre and Xiamen Concert Hall.

Competition success includes at the 2018 City of Vigo International Piano Competition in Spain, where she was the winner of the Silver Medal, People’s Choice Award, Best Spanish Composition Performance Award and City Award. In 2016, she was the winner of all of the piano categories at the Osaka International Music Competition in Japan. She also won the prestigious Osaka Prefecture Governor’s Award and the University of Music and Performing Arts in Vienna Award.

1 Lauren McQuistin

Scottish soprano, LAUREN MCQUISTIN, studied at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland before moving to America to pursue a Master of Music with Carol Vaness at Indiana University. She made her Scottish Opera/McOpera Collective debut as Marfa in Shostakovich’s Rotschild's Violin. She made her IU principal debut in 2016 as the title role in Florencia en el Amazonas. She then went on to perform Countess Almaviva in Le nozze di Figaro with Bloomingvoce.

She performed Donna Elvira (Don Giovanni) with COSI, in Sulmona Italy. At the Yale School of Music she performed as title role of Lucrezia Borgia and the Prima Donna in Ariadne Auf Naxos in their scenes production, as well as First Lady in The Magic Flute; a role she performed in full that spring, and covered with Central City Opera, where she was a studio artist. Her most recent performance was as Tatyana in Eugene Onegin and this year she is a Metropolitan Opera Council Audition Regional Finalist. 

EWAN HASTIE from Kirkcaldy took up the bass guitar at the age of 12. The sound and look of the instrument appealed and he soon joined the Fife Youth Jazz Orchestra, led by Richard Michael. During this time, the young left-handed bassist became fascinated with the double bass and after struggling with a right-handed instrument he was advised by Andy Hamill to “…just change the strings around”. He hasn’t looked back and has furthered his skills playing with the Inverkeithing Community Big Band.

Thanks to a generous donation from The Cross Trust, Ewan attended the Junior Royal Conservatoire in Glasgow and recently became a full-time student at the RCS. Last year he played with National Youth Jazz Orchestra of Scotland featuring the trumpet player Yazz Ahmed, touring the Isle of Skye, Birnam, Glasgow, Belfast and the Sligo Jazz festival. He continues to enjoy learning and playing with great Jazz names such as Gordon McNeil, Malcolm MacFarlane, Tom Gordon, Mario Caribe and Richard Ingham.

 1 Ewan Hastie

MATTHEW KILNER is a recent graduate from the University of Aberdeen and now studying a Masters in Jazz Performance at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire. Matthew is an active musician performing regularly with a variety of ensembles. A busy 2019 saw the release of an album with the band Hamlet, the prize of joint first place in the Ogston Performance Prize and the award a First Class Honours in Community Music, as well as many performances across the country. Now studying under Mike Williams and Soweto Kinch, Matthew continues to develop his own sound and approach to improvisation, as well as being an active musician on the Aberdeen and Birmingham scene.  

1 Matthew Kilner

RICHARD GLASSBY has recently graduated from the University of Aberdeen with a first-class honours in music education and is now studying a MA in Jazz at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. Richard is studying under Alyn Cosker and developing his own sound. Richard plays a variety of music, as well as jazz. He plays in the ceilidh band The Houlies and Hamlet, a jazz fusion band, who in 2019 released their debut album. He has played in amateur musical theatre productions and has also played in Latin bands as well the Aberdeen and the Aberdeen University Big Band. Richard is also currently working on his own music and hopes to release his own original music in the near future.

1 Richard Glassby

Aberdeen-born NEIL BIRSE is a classically trained jazz pianist. A recent graduate of the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, he is passionate about performance and education. Teachers whilst at Guildhall include Nikki Isles, Malcolm Edmonstone, Jason Rebello, Gareth Williams and Steve Watts. Prior to Guildhall, Neil was pianist for the National Youth Jazz Orchestra of Scotland, touring for several years around the UK. Artists he toured with during this time included; Liane Carrol, Tim Garland, Mike Walker, Ian Dixon and Chris Batchelor. Whilst at Guildhall, Neil was pianist and assistant MD to the Guildhall Jazz Singers who performed regularly throughout London. During his final year, Neil also appeared on an EP by Crawford Mack. 

Post Guildhall, Neil has continued working regularly with various singers and musicians, live and in studio, including showcases in Switzerland, and co-producing a big band album by Giles Thornton. Often working with with jazz, folk, classical and rock musicians, he also enjoys leading group workshops in schools and privately. Recent projects have included a piano and pipe organ duet in Aberdeen’s Sound Festival, and arranging for the University of Aberdeen Chamber Choir’s performances in ‘Nae Ordinary Burns Supper’. 

1 Neil Birse