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 wet 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.