A winner's story
"Every young musician should give it a go, just the experience is worth it."
We caught up with the current holder of the title, cellist Laura van der Heijden, and asked her what the whole BBC Young Musician experience was like for her ..
Winner of BBC Young Musician 2012 announced
BBC Young Musician: a music prize like no other
Read the blog post by Clemency Burton-Hill
BBC Young Musician Final 2012 to be held at The Sage Gateshead
Category finalists announced for BBC Young Musician 2012
The 2012 competition
2012 will mark 34 years since BBC Young Musician introduced the UK to its first winner, trombonist Michael Hext. Since that 1978 final, BBC Young Musician has continued to shine a spotlight on the UK's wealth of exciting, young musical talent.
At the BBC Young Musician 2010 Final which took place at Cardiff's Wales Millennium Centre, 16 year old pianist Lara Melda, thrilled us with her performance of Saint-Saëns' Piano Concerto No. 2 and she was awarded the coveted title by a distinguished jury.
Since then she has been inundated with concert requests including making her professional debut with the English Chamber Orchestra with Mozart's Piano Concerto K414 and performances of Mozart and Grieg concerti with the English Sinfonia and Borusan Philharmonic, Istanbul as well as solo performances at the Istanbul Recital Series and Sommets Musicaux de Gstaad in Switzerland.
2010 Finalists Callum Smart, violin, and Emma Halnan, flute, provided fierce competition for Lara and are now also in demand across the UK. Callum's engagements since the Final have included the Glazunov Violin Concerto in a series of Christmas concerts with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, the Bruch Violin Concerto with the Nottingham Philharmonic and the Dvorák Violin Concerto with the Warwickshire Symphony and Charnwood Orchestras. Emma has given several solo recitals along with performances of Mozart's Flute and Harp Concerto with the European Union Chamber Orchestra and Mozart's Flute Concerto with the Watford Symphony Orchestra.
The 2010 competition also welcomed back past-finalists and winners in a professional role, as adjudicators. Michael Collins, Lucy Parham and Anna Markland all sat on panels at the Category Finals where, as well as adjudicating, they were able to share their memories and personal experiences of competing in BBC Young Musician.
Previous winners and finalists have gone on to major international careers, among them Barry Douglas, Tasmin Little, Freddy Kempf and Natalie Clein. More recent winners such as Jennifer Pike, Guy Johnston and Nicola Benedetti are now enjoying great success, not only as soloists but also as recording artists.
For our TV and Radio audiences, one of the most exciting aspects of BBC Young Musician is watching these young performers as they progress through each of the performance rounds and beyond.
As we launch BBC Young Musician 2012, we look forward to welcoming a new wave of outstanding young talent as competitors, all of whom will no doubt have their sights firmly set on performing in the Final on 13 May, 2012.
BBC Young Musician is managed and produced by BBC Cymru Wales.