BBC Young Musician 2018 launches on BBC Four on Friday 6 April with complementary coverage on BBC Radio 3
25 young musicians compete for the title of BBC Young Musician 2018
Television presenters across the series include Josie D’Arby and Clemency Burton-Hill with Alison Balsom
BBC Young Musician launches a brand new series of podcasts presented by 2016 Finalist, Jess Gillam
BBC Four documentary BBC Young Musician: Forty Years Young explores the history and future of the competition, with contributors including many former winners and finalists, along with Julian Lloyd Webber, Humphrey Burton and actor Richard Wilson
Nicola Benedetti continues in her role as BBC Young Musician Ambassador

BBC Young Musician, the UK’s leading contest for young classical musicians celebrates its 40th anniversary in 2018 with a host of special activity including a special BBC Four documentary, a new series of podcasts, an exciting line-up of presenters and judges and the first ever BBC Young Musician Prom.

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 discovering and championing the stars of the future. The 2016 winner, 17-year-old cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason, has gone on to perform at range of high-profile events including at the BBC Proms and the BAFTAs, and his recent debut album made history by crashing into the top twenty in the Official Album Charts and topping the Classical Charts.

Other past winners of BBC Young Musician include cellist Natalie Clein, clarinettist and composer Mark Simpson and oboist Nicholas Daniel, and there’s an illustrious list of former finalists too: pianists Stephen Hough and Stephen Osborne, violinist Tasmin Little, pianist, conductor and composer Thomas Adès, percussionist Colin Currie and flautist Juliette Bausor – to name a few.

BBC Young Musician will launch on BBC Four on Friday 6 April, running weekly until the Grand Final on Sunday 13 May, with complementary coverage on BBC Radio 3. The five Category Finals (Strings, Percussion, Woodwind, Brass and Keyboard) will be presented on television by Josie D’Arby, who will be joined by BBC Young Musician 1998 finalist, trumpeter Alison Balsom and BBC Young Musician 2004 winner, violinist Nicola Benedetti for the Semi-Final. Each Category will comprise of five finalists, who will perform in front of an audience and a specialist panel of adjudicators at the new Royal Birmingham Conservatoire. One musician from each Category Final will go through to the Semi-Final, with three going through to the Grand Final.

Nicola Benedetti continues as the 2018 BBC Young Musician Ambassador for the third competition running, and will mentor the 2018 Semi-Finalists in the run-up to the Grand Final.

The Grand Final will take place at Symphony Hall Birmingham on Sunday 13 May, accompanied by the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Mark Wigglesworth. It will be broadcast later the same day on BBC Four presented by Clemency Burton-Hill, Josie D’Arby with Alison Balsom, and also on BBC Radio 3, presented by Kate Molleson.

All performances from the series will be available to view in full on the BBC Young Musician website.

The 40th anniversary of BBC Young Musician will be marked by a host of additional activity, including a brand new series of BBC Young Musician podcasts, presented by 2016 Finalist, saxophonist Jess Gillam, who will explore what it takes to be a musician in today’s world, with help from a host of special guests.

A special documentary on BBC Four will follow the soaring careers of the three finalists from 2016, cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason, saxophonist Jess Gillam and French horn player Ben Goldscheider, as well as exploring the long history and exciting future of the competition with help from a wide selection of contributors including Nicola Benedetti, Humphrey Burton (who co-created the competition and presented it for many years), conductor Mark Wigglesworth, and music critic Jessica Duchen.

2018 will also see the first ever BBC Young Musician Prom, which will feature performances from former winners and finalists. Further information will be announced at the launch of the BBC Proms 2018 programme on Thursday 19 April.


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