On Saturday 26 November, in front of a sold-out Cadogan Hall, London, Jamie Cullum awarded first prize in the Pianist/Yamaha Piano Competition for Outstanding Amateurs. Acting as a judge for the evening he rewarded Eddy James a 79-year-old piano tuner whoís worked with legends Liberace, Victor Borge and Count Basie among others over the years.
Eddy wowed the capacity audience with dazzling performances of Body and Soul by John Green, The Man I Love by Gershwin and Rodgers & Hartís Manhattan.
Jamie Cullum commented: ìHe took my breath away and I realised I still have a lot to learn ñ and this from someone whoís never played on a stage in front of a live audience ñ heís amazing, just amazing.î
Eddy James was stunned by his victory: ìAfter decades of tuning other peoplesí pianos so that they could go out to perform it was a dream come true to play on stage in front of a live audience. I never expected to win and Iím in shock.î
Eddy wins a £10,000 Yamaha voucher.
Sabine Vinck, 35, Director of Finance Programmes at the London Business School won the Classical award and also wins a £10,000 Yamaha voucher.
The Pianist/Yamaha Piano Competition for Outstanding Amateurs is the only piano competition in the UK for amateurs and will now be an annual event.