The 16-year-old secured the title in the competition final at Birmingham’s Symphony Hall on Sunday 13 May 2018, performing Sergei Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No 2 with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (CBSO) and conductor, Mark Wigglesworth.
Born in New Mexico in the US, Lauren Zhang moved with her family to Illinois when she was three years old and began to learn piano and violin from the age of four. She joined Royal Birmingham Conservatoire’s Junior Conservatoire in 2010, when her mother, Hui, came to Birmingham for a sabbatical year, and studies piano under Dr Robert Markham and violin under Sam Mason. She has also enjoyed the musical guidance of Terry Coulton, Kenneth Hamilton, Madeline Ignazito and Rebecca Omordia.
Exam and competition success
Lauren achieved distinction in the Licentiate of the Royal Schools of Music exam in piano performance and the Licentiate of Trinity College London in violin performance respectively at the age of 12. She achieved the fellowship of Trinity College London in piano recital at the age of 13. In 2016, she was first prize winner of the 15th Ettlingen International Piano Competition and the Emanuel Piano Trophy. She won first prize in the 15 years and under category of the European Piano Teacher Association (EPTA-UK) in 2015 and secured third place in the 2015 Beethoven Intercollegiate Junior Piano Competition at the Austrian Cultural Forum London. She was also a prize winner at the 2015 Young Pianist of the North International Competition.
Professor Julian Lloyd Webber, Principal of Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, said:
‘Having spent a lifetime making music with some of the world’s finest musicians, I can honestly say that Lauren is up there with the best – she is a total phenomenon.’
Lauren Zhang said:
‘I’m astonished, I’m pleasantly surprised and, wow, I can’t believe it. I’d like to thank my family as well as my friends and teachers for supporting me along the way.’
Celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, BBC Young Musician 2018 was broadcast on BBC Four and BBC Radio 3.
Header photo: Lauren Zhang