BBC Young Musician 2016 announce line-up of presenters and judges

BBC Young Musician today announces the line-up of music-industry professionals that will form the judging and presenting panels for BBC Young Musician 2016 and the BBC Young Musician 2016 Jazz Award.

Published: 8 March 2016
BBC Young Musician is without doubt the most important accolade for a young musician in the UK, a launch pad for a life in music
— Dobrinka Tabakova, Chair, BBC Young Musician jury

Presenters Clemency Burton-Hill and Josie D’Arby, alongside former BBC Young Musician finalist, trumpeter Alison Balsom, will present the BBC Young Musician 2016 Final for BBC Four. The final will take place at the Barbican, London, on Sunday 15 May and will see the three finalists perform with the BBC Symphony Orchestra conducted by Mark Wigglesworth.

Clemency and Alison will also present the category finals and semi-final, which will all take place at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, recorded for broadcast on BBC Four.

Violinist and former BBC Young Musician Nicola Benedetti continues in her role as Ambassador, mentoring the three finalists in the run-up to the final.

The Chair of the BBC Young Musician jury will be Dobrinka Tabakova, who will sit across all five categories and the semi-final, alongside her fellow judges, below.

BBC Young Musician 2016 - Judges
Keyboard Category Final: Leon McCawley and Llŷr Williams
Woodwind Category Final: Pamela Thorby and Adam Walker
Percussion Category Final: Joby Burgess and Simone Rebello
Brass Category Final: Philippe Schartz and Sarah Willis
Strings Category Final: Thomas Gould and Julian Lloyd Webber
Semi-Final: Meurig Bowen, Alpesh Chauhan and Huw Humphreys

The BBC Young Musician 2016 Jazz Award Final will be presented for BBC Four by Josie D’Arby and jazz musician Joe Stilgoe, and will be recorded for broadcast on BBC Four on Friday 13 May. The Final will take place on Saturday 12 March at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama.

The Chair of the BBC Young Musician Jazz Award jury will be Julian Joseph, alongside his fellow judges, below.

BBC Young Musician Jazz Award 2016 - Judges
Final: Tim Garland, Julian Joseph, Zoe Rahman, Clare Teal and Byron Wallen

BBC Young Musician 2016 on BBC Four
Friday 8 April – Keyboard category final
Friday 15 April – Woodwind category final
Friday 22 April – Percussion category final
Friday 29 April – Brass category final
Friday 6 May – Strings category final
Saturday 7 May – semi-final
Friday 13 May – Jazz Award final
Sunday 15 May – final

BBC Young Musician 2016 on BBC Radio 3
Presented by Clemency Burton-Hill, BBC Radio 3 will broadcast complete performances of all the music in the BBC Young Musician Category Finals, focusing on one category per week (from 4 April) in the intervals of Radio 3 in Concert. The BBC Young Musician Final will be broadcast on Sunday 15 May.

Jazz Now showcases the BBC Young Musician Jazz Award in two programmes (18 and 25 April) including an interview with Alexander Bone, winner of the inaugural BBC Young Musician Jazz Award in 2014, before Jazz Line-Up broadcast a special programme dedicated to the BBC Young Musician Jazz Award (26 March), featuring music from the final and profiles of the five finalists.

Nicola Benedetti, Ambassador, BBC Young Musician 2016, says: "I am delighted to have been asked to continue as Ambassador of BBC Young Musician and I’m looking forward to following the competition again this year. It was such a pleasure to attend the Grand Final at Usher Hall in Edinburgh two years ago and to have the opportunity to spend some time with the three finalists. What a memorable evening it proved to be, crowned by a very special performance of Rachmaninov’s Variations on a Theme of Paganini by Martin James Bartlett. Martin has clearly enjoyed a very busy couple of years since winning the title and I wish him continued success.

"After nearly four decades, BBC Young Musician continues to do so much to develop and support young musical talent, bringing it to the attention of audiences and the classical music industry alike. Indeed, it’s a competition like no other; a competition that is open to all instruments which takes place over a several months, allowing for a more friendly and supportive atmosphere than many others. With an ever-increasing focus given to mentoring and developmental support for the participants, BBC Young Musician more than ever has the ability to stand for something we shy away from - equally celebrating excellence and inclusivity."

Alison Balsom, Presenter, BBC Young Musician 2016: "I'm thrilled to once again to have the privilege of being up close to the extraordinary young musicians that will take part in the BBC Young Musician competition this year. It is an immense achievement for these teenagers to have come this far and be part of what has really become a British institution. Their accomplishments demonstrate that hard work, dedication, courage, flair and imagination continue to be something to really celebrate and be proud of, whilst the rest of us get to share the joy of listening to their performances, and trying to understand how they do what they do at such a mind-bogglingly young age, and often from non-musical backgrounds. I can't wait to hear every one of our next generation of artists over the next few weeks."

Joe Stilgoe, Presenter, BBC Young Musician 2016 Jazz Award: "I’m thrilled to be involved with the BBC Young Musician Jazz Award this year. As a fledgling young jazzer my path was often blocked due to a mix of lack of focus on and recognition for the music, but with competitions like this the future generation of jazz talent has a platform to show the world what they can do. And this lot will undoubtedly do just that, while probably making me feel wholly inadequate as a musician. I can't wait."

Martin James-Bartlett, 2014 BBC Young Musician: "BBC Young Musician has been the most exhilarating and inspirational musical experience of my life! Winning the title has launched my solo performing career and for that I am immensely grateful. I would like to wish every category finalist the best of luck for their upcoming performances!"

Alexander Bone, Winner of BBC Young Musician Jazz Award 2014: "The whole BBC Young Musician experience was incredibly inspiring and exciting. Winning was a big unexpected bonus, but getting through to the final was huge in itself for me. Since the competition I’ve continued pursuing my jazz studies and career and have thankfully had some opportunities I'm very grateful for. These include performing as a soloist on the BBC Proms in the Park, performing in jazz festivals and venues across the UK, and working with a wide range of artists including Nile Rodgers, Liane Carrol, Rudimental and Kylie Minogue. To this year’s finalists, I would say just go for it - be creative, be yourself and enjoy the experience!"

Dobrinka Tabakova, Chair of the BBC Young Musician jury: "BBC Young Musician is without doubt the most important accolade for a young musician in the UK, a launch pad for a life in music. Each year I am uplifted by the dedication of the young musicians, wishing to give their best and I am excited about experiencing more extraordinary and unforgettable moments throughout this year’s competition. Above all it will be the performances which create a connection between the stage and the audience, which I will be looking out for, the ability to communicate without words and to paint sonic pictures."