Sixteen year-old pianist Lauren Zhang wins BBC Young Musician
Lauren’s performance left us all breathless! Her exceptional level of technical skill and intelligent musicality shone through in a beast of a piece.Kerry Andrew, Chair of the Judging Panel
On winning BBC Young Musician 2018, Lauren said: "It’s astonishing - I can’t quite believe it! It’s been a fantastic opportunity to play with the CBSO and the journey right from the start of the competition has been incredible."
Kerry Andrew, Chair of the Judging Panel said: "Lauren’s performance left us all breathless! Her exceptional level of technical skill and intelligent musicality shone through in a beast of a piece. We see great things in her future."
Lauren, who is studying for her GCSEs in Birmingham, has been attending the Birmingham Junior Conservatoire since 2009. She began taking piano lessons at the age of four and also plays the violin. Lauren is interested in history, biology and physics. In her spare time she enjoys reading, fencing and chamber music. See full biography below.
The 2018 BBC Young Musician finalists were 18 year-old saxophonist Robert Burton, 18 year-old cellist Maxim Calver and 16 year-old pianist Lauren Zhang.
The finalists performed with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra conducted by Mark Wigglesworth in front of a live audience, and were judged by a distinguished panel of experts: conductor Alpesh Chauhan, cellist Natalie Clein, saxophonist John Harle and pianist Sunwook Kim.
The panel of judges was chaired by Kerry Andrew, who sat across all five category finals and the semi-final. The 2016 winner of BBC Young Musician, cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason, returned to perform the 4th movement of the Elgar Cello Concerto.
For the final Lauren performed Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto no.2 in G minor, op.16. Forthcoming appearances for Lauren following BBC Young Musician will include a performance on the BBC Radio 3 stage at BBC Music’s The Biggest Weekend in Coventry on Monday 28 May, and also at a special BBC Young Musician 40th anniversary concert at the BBC Proms on Sunday 15 July at the Royal Albert Hall.
The Grand Final was broadcast at 7pm on BBC Four, presented by Clemency Burton Hill and Josie D’Arby with Alison Balsom and Dobrinka Tabakova, and also on BBC Radio 3 at 7.30pm, presented by Kate Molleson with contribution from 2016 BBC Young Musician Finalist Jess Gillam.
BBC Young Musician, the UK’s leading contest for young classical musicians celebrates its 40th anniversary in 2018 with a host of special activity including a special BBC Four documentary, a new series of podcasts, an exciting line-up of presenters and the first ever BBC Young Musician Prom.
Since the competition was first held in 1978, it has come to be regarded as the benchmark for outstanding young talent, with a reputation for discovering and championing the stars of the future.
Since winning BBC Young Musician 2016, cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason, has gone on to perform at a range of high-profile events including at the BBC Proms and the Baftas, and his recent debut album made history by crashing into the top twenty in the Official Album Charts and topping the Classical Charts.
Following the success of the first two competitions in 2014 and 2016, BBC Young Jazz Musician will return in 2018.
BBC Young Musician and BBC Young Jazz Musician are run and produced by BBC Studios Music and Entertainment Wales and are broadcast on BBC Four television and BBC Radio 3.
Lauren Zhang - biography
Lauren is currently in Year 11 and is studying for her GCSEs at King Edward VI High School for Girls. She started learning the piano with Madeline Ignazito at the age of four. In 2010, Lauren joined the Junior Department at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, initially studying with Rebeca Omordia, and since 2011 with Robert Markham.
In 2015, she achieved her fellowship diploma in piano performance, having previously completed her licentiate diploma the year before. In addition, Lauren has received advice and participated in masterclasseses with Kenneth Hamilton, Fabio Bidini, Peter Donohoe, Kalman Drafi, Philip Martin, Pascal Nemirovski, and John Thwaites. Lauren also receives guidance from Christopher Elton.
In 2016, Lauren won first prize at the 15th Ettlingen International Piano Competition in Germany. Among other achievements, she was a prize-winner at the Young Pianist of the North International Competition (2015) and the Wales International Piano Festival (2016), first prize winner in the EPTA-UK (18 and under) competition (2016), and first prize in the Emanuel Piano Trophy competition (2015).
Lauren also plays the violin, studying with Sam Mason. She achieved her licentiate diploma in 2015 and enjoys playing in ensembles and orchestras.
Lauren has participated in and organised various charity concerts and actively takes part in chamber music. Outside of music, she enjoys fencing, sketching and reading, and also likes physics, biology and history.
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