Alison Balsom to co-host BBC Young Musician 2016

The judges and presenters for the famed BBC Young Musician 2016 award have been announced. Trumpeter Alison Balsom, herself a former finalist, will co-host the career kick-starting prize, alongside Clemency Burton-Hill and Josie D’Arby.

The competition takes place across three rounds with a category final, a semi-final and then the final itself. Finalists will perform with BBC Symphony Orchestra conducted by Mark Wigglesworth, with the performances broadcast on and BBC Four and BBC Radio 3. The category finals and semi-finals will take place at Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, while the final itself is hosted by Barbican, London on 15 May.

It is an immense achievement for these teenagers to have come this far, Alison Balsom

BBC Young Musician Jazz Award jazz final, meanwhile, will tale place on Saturday 12 March at Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama. A special recording for broadcast will be made on 12 May, hosted by Josie D’Arby and jazz musician Joe Stilgoe. Judges include Tim Garland, Julian Joseph, Zoe Rahman, Clare Teal and Byron Wallen.

‘It is an immense achievement for these teenagers to have come this far and be part of what has really become a British institution,’ said Balsom. ‘ Their accomplishments demonstrate that hard work, dedication, courage, flair and imagination continue to be something to really celebrate and be proud of.’

Competition judges include Julian Lloyd Webber, Leon McCawley, Llŷr Williams, Pamela Thorby, Adam Walker, Joby Burgess, Simone Rebello, Philippe Schartz, Sarah Willis, Thomas Gould, Meurig Bowen, Alpesh Chauhan and Huw Humphreys. Chair of the jury composer Dobrinka Tabakova will sit across all five category finals as well as the semi-finals.

Violinist and former BBC Young Musician Nicola Benedetti will reprise her role as ambassador, mentoring the three finalists in the biennial event.

‘I’m looking forward to following the competition again this year,’ said Benedetti. ‘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.’