Past winners

Last updated: 07 April 2010

2010: Lara Ömeroğlu - piano

Winning age: 16
Place of study: Purcell School

Lara ÖmeroğluLondon-born Lara was inspired by her sister to start learning the piano. She loves performing and the buzz of competing and is also an accomplished viola player and competitive swimmer!

Lara has received numerous prizes in competitions and holds a scholarship at her school where she studies with Emily Jeffrey. Her dream is to one day record a CD of her own.

2008: Peter Moore - trombone

Winning age: 12
Place of study: Chetham's School of Music

Peter MoorePeter Moore was born in Belfast in 1996 and now lives in Stalybridge. A pupil at Chetham's School of Music, Manchester, he is the youngest winner of the competition to date.

All his family members are brass players and his parents were both French horn players in the Ulster Orchestra. His brother David, a student at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, also entered the competition.

2006: Mark Simpson - clarinet

Winning age: 16
Place of study: Royal Northern College of Music

Born in September 1988, Mark Simpson is a clarinetist form Liverpool. He won the competition in 2006, the same year that he also won the BBC Young Composer of the Year; he was the first person ever to win both titles.

He attended King David High School, Liverpool and the Royal Northern College of Music, and was later Principal Clarinet in the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain. He read music at St Catherine's College, Oxford University.

Mark was commissioned by the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic and National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain to write his first orchestral piece, Threads for Orchestra, which had its première at The Sage, Gateshead on 1 April 2008. He performed Artie Shaw's Concerto for Clarinet at the Last Night of the Proms in 2007, and the following year was the solo clarinetist for the première of Emily Howard's Liverpool, The World in One City along with the Liverpool Youth Orchestra

2004: Nicola Benedetti - violin

Winning age: 16
Places of study: Yehudi Menuhin School

Nicola was born in Scotland in 1987 and began violin lessons at the age of 5. In 1997 she entered the Yehudi Menuhin School, where she studied with Natasha Boyarskaya. She left in 2002 and since has been studying privately with Maciej Rakowski.

While at the school Nicola performed as a soloist in venues including the Royal Festival, Queen Elizabeth and Wigmore Halls. In 1999 Nicola performed in the presence of HRH Prince Edward at the anniversary celebrations of the National Youth Orchestra of Scotland at Holyrood Palace; she played to the Prince again in 2001 when she performed a concerto with the London Mozart Players at St James's Palace. Since then she has performed with the Scottish Opera, City of London Sinfonia, the Royal Scottish National, Scottish Chamber and Royal Philharmonic Orchestras.

In 2005 she made her debut US tour and a tour of UK schools in conjunction with the Sargent Cancer Care for Children Practice-a-thon, plus her BBC Prom in the Park debut with the BBC Concert Orchestra in Hyde Park, London. Nicola was signed to Universal/Deutsche Grammophon at the end of 2004 and in May 2005 released her debut album with Daniel Harding and the London Symphony Orchestra. Nicola plays on a Petrus Guarnerius of Venice made in 1751.

2002: Jennifer Pike - violin

Winning age: 12
Places of study: Chetham's School of Music

In 2002, at the age of 12, Jennifer Pike became the youngest ever winner of BBC Young Musician of the Year following her performance of the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto with the BBC Symphony Orchestra. Earlier the same year she became the youngest major prizewinner in the Yehudi Menuhin International Violin Competition. In 2005, aged just 15, she made her highly acclaimed BBC Proms début in the Royal Albert Hall.

Since making her début with the Hallé playing Saint-Saëns' Havanaise at the age of 11 she has gone on to appear as soloist with the country's major orchestras. Following her success in the celebrated BBC competition she performed with the BBC Philharmonic in the BBC Proms in Hyde Park, and in 2004 she played with the Hallé in the Last Night of the Proms in Manchester, both broadcast on live BBC television.

She has also performed with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales and the BBC Concert Orchestra for broadcast on BBC Radio 3, with the London Symphony Orchestra in the Gramophone Awards Ceremony, with the London Mozart Players, City of London Sinfonia, Academy of St Martin in the Fields, Manchester Camerata, Bournemouth Symphony, Liverpool Philharmonic, London Festival and Royal Philharmonic Orchestras, playing concertos by Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Bruch and Prokofiev in the country's most prestigious concert halls. She has also performed as soloist with the European Union Chamber Orchestra and World Youth Orchestras and recorded Prokofiev's First Violin Concerto with Mark Elder and the Chetham's Symphony Orchestra.

As a recitalist she has worked with distinguished pianists, performing throughout the UK, Europe, the Middle East and the USA. She gave her début recital in the Wigmore Hall in 2005. She has helped raise funds for many charities, including performances in the Royal Albert Hall for the British Red Cross and Classic Response Tsunami Relief, for MacMillan Cancer Relief in the Genius of the Violin Festival, for Save the Children and for the Bouverie Foundation. She plays on a 1708 Matteo Goffriller violin generously loaned by the Saba Young Musicians Trust. She is represented by YCAT.

2000: Guy Johnston - cello

Winning age: 18
Places of study: Chetham's School of Music; Eastman School of Music, Rochester USA

Guy was born in 1981 and began his music-making as a chorister at King's College Cambridge before moving to Chetham's School of Music when he was 13 to study the cello. Guy has just completed studies at Eastman College of Music, Rochester New York. He continues his studies privately with Steven Doan, David Waterman and Steven Isserlis.

Guy won a thrilling Final at the Bridgewater Hall Manchester on 27th May 2000. Viewers of the television programme and those lucky enough to be in the audience will remember the heart-stopping moment when, just a few minutes into his performance, he broke his A string.

Since this final Guy has opened the BBC Symphony Orchestra's 2001/2002 season at the Barbican with a repeat performance of the piece with which he won his title - the Shostakovich Cello Concerto No.1. He was also lucky enough in 2001 to perform the Elgar Concerto at the Royal Albert Hall, becoming the youngest soloist ever to appear on the first night of the BBC Proms. He regularly performs chamber music as part of the King's Piano Trio with two other former Young Musician of the Year finalists, the pianist Tom Poster, and his brother, violinist Magnus. Guy is now represented by IMG Artists.

Guy plays on a rare cello made by Pellizon, dated 1820, which was bought for him anonymously.

1998: Adrian Spillett - percussion

Winning age: 19
Places of study: Royal Northern College of Music

Born in Shrewsbury in 1978, Adrian became the first and only percussionist to win the BBC Young Musician of the Year title in 1998 with a performance of the Schwanter Percussion Concerto with the Ulster orchestra conducted by Barry Wordsworth.

Following his success in the UK competition he went on to claim third prize in the Eurovision Grand Prix in Vienna.

Adrian has since performed extensively in venues up and down the UK and abroad, both as a soloist and with his percussion quartet, 4-MALITY. Adrian has also made his debut as a soloist with many UK orchestras and gave the world premiere of Dinuk Wijeratne's Percussion Concerto. Away from solo work, Adrian has also worked with ensembles including Australian Chamber Orchestra, Birmingham Contemporary Music Group, Opera North, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Hallé Orchestra and Ulster Orchestra.

He also performs with another former BBC Young Musician finalist, the trumpeter Alison Balsam.

1996: Rafal Zambrzycki Payne - violin

Winning age: 18
Places of study: Yehudi Menuhin School; Royal Northern College of Music; Herbert von Karajan Centre Vienna

Rafal was born in Lodz, Poland in 1978 and started to play the violin at the age of 7. In the years 1992-2000 he studied firstly at the Yehudi Menuhin School and subsequently at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester. In 1995 Rafal was awarded the second prize at the Luxemburg International Violin Competition and in the following year won the BBC Young Musicians in a televised final from Symphony Hall, Birmingham. He was also awarded the first prize and the title of BBC Radio 2 Young Musician 2000.

Rafal has performed with many major orchestras in venues across the UK and throughout Europe, as well as the Middle East, the USA, Zimbabwe and South Africa. He has also worked on several occasions with Lord Menuhin as conductor, and performed at Lord Menuhin's 80th Birthday Concert at the Royal Albert Hall. In 2004 Rafal became solo violinist for the Frankfurt-based contemporary music group Ensemble Modern. Rafal is an avid chamber musician, and a member of the trio Dimension, who together with other graduates of the Menuhin school, cellist Thomas Carroll and pianist Richard Joo, were winners of the 2005 Parkhouse Award.

Rafal's first commercial recording was released on the EMI Debut Series in 2000 featuring music by Britten, Grieg and Szymanowski to good reviews.

1994: Natalie Clein - cello

Winning age: 15
Places of study: Royal College of Music; Heinrich Schiff (Vienna)

After winning Young Musician of the Year at the age of 16 Natalie became the first ever British winner of the Eurovision Competition for Young Musicians in Warsaw. She studied at the Royal College of Music where she was awarded the Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother Scholarship, and spent four years studying in Vienna with Heinrich Schiff.

Natalie made her debut at the BBC Proms in August 1997, performing the Haydn Cello Concerto in C major with Roger Norrington and the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain. She has performed as a soloist with most of the UK's major orchestras and abroad her concerto appearances include a tour of Spain with the London Philharmonic playing the Elgar concerto.

She is in great demand as a chamber music player and has appeared at the Wigmore Hall, Cheltenham, Bath and Verbier International Festivals. She plays in regular partnerships with Julius Drake, Itamar Golan, Charles Owen and Paul Lewis, and her chamber music collaborations include the Schumann quintet with Martha Argerich.

Natalie was chosen by BBC Radio 3 to be part of the New Generation scheme. She is now represented by Askonas Holt.

1992: Frederick Kempf - piano

Winning age: 14
Places of study: Royal Academy of Music; London University

Freddy Kempf was born in 1977 and first came to national prominence when he performed Mozart's Piano Concerto K.414 with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra at the age of just 8. He won the first National Mozart Competition in 1987 and in 1992 became the youngest person at that time to win Young Musician of the Year.

He came to international attention when he won third prize in the Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow in 1998: this provoked protests from the audience and an outcry in the Russian press which described him as "The Hero of the Competition". His triumphant return visit to the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatoire the following year for solo and concerto appearances prompted the headline "Young pianist conquers Moscow" in the International Herald Tribune.

He has since become a major international soloist garnering rave reviews. He records for BIS Records, and has released acclaimed recital discs of Beethoven, Chopin, Liszt, Prokofiev, Rachmaninov and Schumann. In 2001, he was voted Best Young British Classical Performer in the Classical Brit Awards.

1990: Nicola Loud - violin

Winning age: 15
Places of study: Royal Academy of Music; Julliard School New York

Nicola Loud became BBC Young Musician of the Year when she was only 15 years old. She continued with serious preparation and study for her future career by spending four years at the Royal Academy of Music where her principal teacher Gyorgy Pauk described her as "very musical, with fantastic flair and presence - one of the most talented British violinists I had ever come across." She then went to New York for a period of further study with Cho-Liang at the Julliard School of Music. Nicola returned to Britain from New York when she was 24 with the foundations firmly in place for her future.

Nicola has subsequently appeared with most of the major orchestras in the UK and several abroad. She is also an accomplished chamber musician with appearances including a Wigmore Hall debut which was broadcast live on BBC Radio 3.

1988: David Pyatt - Horn

Winning age: 14
Places of study: Cambridge University

David Pyatt became the youngest winner to date of the BBC Young Musician of the Year competition at the age of 14. Following this success he has embarked on a solo career which has taken him around the world. He made his BBC Proms debut in 1993 performing Strauss' Second Horn Concerto. In 1996 Gramophone Magazine announced David Pyatt as their Young Artist of the Year. From the beginning of the 1998/9 season he took up the position of Principal Horn of the London Symphony Orchestra.

In 1996 David Pyatt signed an exclusive contract with Erato Disques. He has recorded discs for them including English Music with Anthony Rolfe Johnson, Peter Donohoe and Levon Chilingirian, and a Mozart concerto disc with Sir Neville Marriner. His two earlier recordings for EMI, featuring the Strauss Concertos and the Britten Serenade met with tremendous critical acclaim. More recently he recorded the Michael Berkeley concerto for the Chandos label. In 2007 he will premiere a concerto by John McCabe, commissioned for him by the BBC National Orchestra of Wales.

1986: Alan Brind - violin

Winning age: 17
Places of study: Royal Academy of Music

After winning Young Musician of the Year Alan studied at the Royal Academy of Music but for a short while stopped playing the violin in favour of snooker. He then returned to study with Viktoria Mullova and led the European Union Youth Orchestra. He has made several recordings including the work with which he won Young Musician of the Year, the Sibelius Violin Concerto, and a disc of Stravinsky Chamber works with Vladimir Ashkenazy. He is now an orchestral musician and for a time a member of the Philharmonia Orchestra.

1984: Emma Johnson - clarinet

Winning age: 18
Places of study: Cambridge University

Emma Johnson was born in 1966 and began to study the clarinet at the age of nine. Following her win in the BBC competition Emma went on to win the bronze award in the Eurovision competition, and in 1991 she was a winner of the Young Concert Artists Auditions New York.

Following futher study with Jack Brymer and Sydney Fell she has subsequently become one of the few clarinettists to have established a busy international solo career with a repertoire of over 40 concertos. Recently she has added conducting to her solo and chamber work.

Emma is currently signed to the Universal Classics and Jazz label but was previously signed to the ASV label (from the age of 18) and recorded many successful discs for them. She was made an MBE in the 1996 Queen's Birthday Honours list.

1982: Anna Markland - piano

Winning age: 18
Places of study: Chethams School; Oxford University; Royal Academy of Music

Anna Markland gained national recognition in 1982 when she won the BBC Young Musician of the Year Competition. This success launched her on a performing career which involved a busy schedule of recital and concerto engagements throughout the British Isles. Two years later, she won an instrumental scholarship to Worcester College, Oxford where she read music.

In addition to a busy performing schedule, Anna Markland has earned a considerable reputation as teacher, adjudicator and singer. She now has dual careers as a pianist and also as a soprano. She is a founder member of the award-winning 'I Fagiolini' vocal group who regularly perform and record throughout Europe. She also tours and sings with the Scholars Baroque Ensemble. As a solo singer, her recordings have included performances of works by Bach and Vivaldi for Naxos and of consort songs by William Byrd for Chandos.

1980: Nicholas Daniel - oboe

Winning age: 18
Places of study: Royal Academy of Music

At the age of 18, Nicholas Daniel was the winner of Young Musician of the Year. Since then he has been heard in recital and as a concerto soloist on almost every continent, he also appears regularly at the BBC Proms.

Nicholas is a founding member of the Haffner Wind Ensemble, one of the leading wind ensembles in Britain and, in 2003, celebrated 21 years of collaboration with pianist Julius Drake. He has been an important force in the creation and performance of new repertoire for oboe. He has premièred works by Henri Dutilleux, Sir Harrison Birtwistle, Sir Michael Tippett, and John Woolrich, while many other composers have written pieces especially for him.

Nicholas now has a parallel career as a conductor. He has made numerous CDs as soloist and director for companies including Chandos, Collins, Hyperion, Virgin, Leman Classics, Meridian and BMG. He was the first British oboist to be appointed by an American University serving as Professor of Oboe with special conducting responsibilities from 1997-1999 at Indiana University, Bloomington. Nicholas Daniel was appointed artistic director of the Osnabruck Festival, Germany from March 2002, and Associate Artistic Director of Britten Sinfonia in April 2002, and was later appointed Prince Consort Professor at the Royal College of Music.

1978: Michael Hext - trombone

Winning age: 17
Places of study: Royal College of Music

Since winning the first ever Young Musician of the Year competition Michael has pursued a successful orchestral career, while his solo work has included a European tour with the European Union Youth Orchestra under Claudio Abbado. He studied at the Royal College of Music and freelanced with the Philip Jones Brass Ensemble. In 1983 he joined the Halle Orchestra as Principal Trombone and then held similar positions with the London Philharmonic and currently, the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House.

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