16-year-old Lauren Zhang, from Birmingham, has won the Keyboard Final of BBC Young Musician 2018 and will progress through to the Semi-Final of the competition, joining 17-year-old percussionist Matthew Brett, 18-year-old saxophonist Robert Burton, 18-year-old cellist Maxim Calver and 18-year-old trombonist Isobel Daws.

The BBC Young Musician Keyboard Final was broadcast on BBC Four this evening (Friday 4 May) and will be available to view again on the BBC iPlayer. The Keyboard finalists were: 19-year-old Adam Heron, 16-year-old Elias Akerley, 15-year-old Jeneba Kanneh-Mason, 15-year-old Miriam Loladze-Meredith and Lauren Zhang.

The expert panel of judges for the Keyboard Final were Ronan O’Hora, Head of Keyboard Studies and Head of Advance Performance Studies at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, international concert pianist and chamber musician Tom Poser, and Chair of the Jury, composer, performer and writer Kerry Andrew.

BBC Young Musician 2018 will run 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) have been presented on television by Josie D’Arby. Josie will be joined by BBC Young Musician 1998 finalist, trumpeter Alison Balsom and BBC Young Musician 2004 winner, violinist Nicola Benedetti to present the Semi-Final on Friday 11 May. Each Category comprises of five finalists, who each perform in front of an audience and a specialist panel of adjudicators at the new Royal Birmingham Conservatoire. One musician from each Category Final progresses through to the Semi-Final, with three going through to the Grand Final.

The Grand Final will take place at Symphony Hall Birmingham on Sunday 13 May, with 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.

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.


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