2008 Junior Intercollegiate Piano Competition

Sunday 16 March 2008
Bluthner Piano Centre, London

Jury: Professor Sulamit Aronowksy, Stephen Savage and Angela Brownridge

1st prize: Julian Clef, Chetham’s School
2nd prize: Lin Yang, Junior Royal Northern College of Music
3rd prize: Schay Wickham, Junior Royal Academy of Music

A sizeable audience attended the exciting event generously hosted by Roger Willson of the Bluthner Piano Centre. Paying tribute to the BPSE for providing a platform for young performers, Stephen Savage, Jury spokesman, observed that the practice of live performance was especially valuable in an era in which audiences often judge interpretations from recordings. Moreover, such competitions also offer a beneficial stimulus to institutions to foster their own internal Beethoven competitions. The Jury was looking, he explained, for many qualities, including attention to pianistic colour, effective ways of approaching the instrument’s sonorities, and sensitive pedalling. All the participants played the compulsory Bagatelle, Op 33/4 and a sonata of their choice: the first and third winners each gave dramatic accounts of the ‘Appassionata’ sonata Op.57, while Lin Yang played a crisply articulated Op. 27/2. We also heard Sarah Lyo (Junior RCM) in Op. 78 and Holly Coma (Croydon Music Centre) in an arresting Op. 31/2. The event was especially memorable as it always refreshing to hear young performers approach favourite warhorses for the first time, discovering the music afresh, and making it meaningful. The winner, Julian Clef, was particularly impressive for his polished and professonal attitude, his powerful expression, originlity of voicing, notably in the slow movement, and technical discipline. He is soon to study at the RNCM; one hopes to hear him at the BPSE Senior Intercollegiate Competition in the near future. All three prizewinners received cash prizes and a copy of the BPSE journal ‘Arietta’ and will perform in prize winners’ recitals, to be announced soon, with details on the BPSE website (www.bpse.org).

Written by Malcolm Miller

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