BBC Young Musician finalists step forward

The 25 finalists for BBC Young Musician 2016 have been announced, whittled down from an initial 125 selected for auditions. Five musicians have been picked for each of the five categories: keyboard, woodwind, percussion, brass and strings. Competitors were aged 18 or under on 1 January, 2015.

Ranging from 13-year old Harvey Lin to 19-year-old Yuanfan Yang, to reach the final competitors first have to negotiate category finals on 6-10 March and then a semi-final on 13 March. Three players will take part in the final itself at London’s Barbican on 15 May. It is the 38th instalment of the competition, which first ran in 1978.

The competition has a rich pedigree with past winners including Alison Balsom, Nicola Benedetti, Benjamin Grosvenor, Stephen Hough and 2014 winner Martin James Bartlett. Bartlett went on to star at BBC Proms 2015 and played on 2014 charity single God Only Knows.

‘Winning the title has launched my solo performing career and for that I am immensely grateful,’ commented Bartlett.

BBC Symphony Orchestra will accompany the finalists under the baton of Mark Wigglesworth, music director at English National Opera. Both BBC Radio 3 and BBC Radio 4 will broadcast competition highlights.

‘I am delighted to be part of the BBC’s celebration of this country’s exceptional young musical talent,’ said Wigglesworth. ‘It is a privilege to be able to try and help a young musician enjoy the thrilling experience of playing with a wonderful professional orchestra for the first time.’

BBC Young Musician Jazz Award also returns in 2016, following a successful first run in 2014. The final takes place on 12 March at Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama, with the finalists yet to be announced.