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.
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.
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 complementary coverage on BBC Radio 3.
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.
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, Gillam 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.