BBC Young Musician opens entries for 2020 competition

It’s fantastic to be announcing BBC Young Musician 2020, and continuing this crucial platform in supporting and nurturing the next generation of talented young performers.Jan Younghusband
Date: 11.06.2019     Last updated: 11.06.2019 at 15.11
BBC Young Musician, the biennial search for the UK’s most talented young classical performers has officially launched, opening the call-out for entries for the 2020 competition.

Applications are now open for the Brass, Keyboard, Percussion, Strings and Woodwind categories, with musicians aged 18 and under invited to apply. Auditions begin in September 2019, with Category Finals and the Semi-Final held in March 2020 at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama. The Grand Final will be held in May 2020 at the Bridgewater Hall, Manchester, where finalists will have the opportunity to perform a concerto of their choice with the BBC Philharmonic.

The competition will be broadcast on BBC Four, with complimentary coverage on BBC Radio 3.

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 championing and discovering the stars of the future.

Lauren Zhang, BBC Young Musician Winner 2018, says: “It’s a fantastic opportunity to gain performance experience, and the feedback from the jury is also extremely useful. There was also something to learn from listening to everyone else’s playing - that was an integral part of the competition for me.”

Other recent BBC Young Musician winners and finalists are already making their mark. In addition to signing a prestigious recording contract, cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason, the competition’s 2016 winner, has gone on to perform as a soloist at the BBC Proms and at iconic events including the Baftas. He became a household name when he performed at the Royal Wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex in May 2018.

2016 finalist Jess Gillam has gone on to achieve similar meteoric success; In addition to touring and performing internationally, Jess also performed at the Last Night of the BBC Proms in 2018. Most recently, her debut album reached number in the classical charts, and she became BBC Radio 3’s youngest-ever permanent presenter, fronting her own weekly show, This Classical Life.

Previous winners of the BBC Young Musician title read like a who’s who of some of today’s most well-respected classical musicians, including cellist Natalie Clein, clarinettist Mark Simpson and violinist Nicola Benedetti. Former finalists include pianist Stephen Hough, Stephen Osborne and Barry Douglas, violinist Tasmin Little, pianist, conductor and composer Thomas Adès, flautist Juliette Bausor and trumpeter Alison Balsom, to name just a few.

Jan Younghusband, Head of Commissioning, BBC Music, says: “It’s fantastic to be announcing BBC Young Musician 2020, and continuing this crucial platform in supporting and nurturing the next generation of talented young performers.”

Paul Bullock, Executive Editor, BBC Young Musician 2020, says: “In 2018 we marked the 40th anniversary of BBC Young Musician in a series of events culminating in a celebratory concert at the BBC Proms. Featuring many illustrious past winners and finalists, it was a vivid reminder of the unique and important place BBC Young Musician has in the musical life of the UK. With the launch of the 2020 competition, we’re all really looking forward to hearing the next generation of talented musicians.”

BBC Young Musician is managed and produced by BBC Studios, Entertainment and Music Wales.

The series Executive Editor is Paul Bullock, the Competition Manager is Kerry Clark. The series was ordered by Jan Younghusband, Head of Commissioning for BBC Music Television.