A TALENTED music student has landed his most impressive gig so far with the National Youth Guitar Ensemble (NYGE), playing alongside 23 of the UK’s finest young guitarists.

Following a successful audition for the prestigious national ensemble, Mark Leighton, 16, from Selby, is looking forward to the first of two residential trips with the NYGE to the Yehudi Menuhin School in Surrey, founded by the famous violinist to provide specialist musical education for gifted young musicians.

He said he is excited to have the opportunity to play alongside other talented players and looks forward to future opportunities with the NYGE.

Mark is passionate about music. At eight he started playing the guitar and recently passed Grade 8, scoring full marks on one of the pieces.

He is also working towards Grade 6 in piano after just three years studying the instrument – and last year he took up the viola.

At York College Mark studies A-levels in music, music technology, computing and maths.

He said: “The college is definitely the right place for me as I am able to study both A-level music and music technology.

“I am also in the college’s music development centre, where I play with other like-minded musicians and receive really excellent teaching.

“I enjoy all of my music courses and the facilities in college are great, especially the computers for music technology.

“Highlights include playing in college concerts and working on a musical connections project which involved visiting a nursing home in York to work with the residents, helping them to re-engage, enjoy and become involved in music.”

Mark, a former pupil at Selby High School, employs his musical talent outside college as part of local ensembles, most notably with Stephen Caswell’s guitar group where he meets musicians of mixed ages every week.

He also plays contemporary guitar with various bands in Goole.

Next year he hopes to audition for conservatoires and music colleges.