I enjoyed watching the BBC Young Musician of the Year piano final last night. I haven’t watched this competition for years so it was interesting to hear all the competitors. The standard was very high as it always is for this competition. I was a little upset to see that there wasn’t a female in the final selection of 5 young pianists. A female pianist did win the whole competition two years ago; Lara Melda, a pupil of a colleague and friend, Emily Jeffrey (we both studied with Patricia Carroll at the RCM).
All 5 competitors played very varied programmes including the Berg Sonata, and works by J.S.Bach, Scarlatti, Haydn, Beethoven, Liszt, Dutilleux, Debussy, Morel, and lots of Chopin especially the Nocturnes. All competitors came from the top musical schools around the country; Chethams, Purcell School and The Royal College of Music Junior Department. I loved the last competitor Martin Bartlett. His technique wasn’t as flashy or as developed as a couple of the other pianists but his musicianship was superb – really impressive for such a young player. However, the jury didn’t agree with me.
You can watch last night’s piano final on BBC iplayer or you can watch the final to be broadcast on BBC2 on May 13th 2012 and held at The Sage in Gateshead. To whet your appetite, here is a clip of the Young Musician of the Year 2010 winner, Lara Melda, performing Chopin’s Etude in C sharp minor followed by her winning performance of Saint-Saëns’ Second Piano Concerto.
For much more information about practising repertoire, take a look at my two-book piano course, Play it again: PIANO (Schott). Covering a huge array of styles and genres, 49 progressive pieces from approximately Grade 1 – 8 are featured, with at least two pages of practice tips for every piece.
If you’re thinking about learning to play the piano, my guide-book, So You Want To Play The Piano? (Alfred) is full of useful help and support.
The Faber Music Piano Anthology (Faber) is also a valuable resource for those who desire a collection of standard repertoire from Grades 2 – 8, featuring 78 pieces in total.
I have written a selection of educational piano music (both solo and duet) and you can hear it and find out much more here: EVC Music Publications.