Young Musician of the Year



Humphrey Burton (1978-92)

Sarah Greene (1994)

Christopher Warren-Green (1996)

Stephanie Hughes (1998-2004)

Howard Goodall (2006)

Gethin Jones (2008)

Clemency Burton-Hill (2010-2)

Alison Balsom and Milos Karadaglic (2014)

Alison Balsom and Clemency Burton-Hill (2016-8)

Anna Lapwood (2020)

Jess Gillam and Alexis Ffrench (2022)


Ernest Lush (1978)

Jane Glover (1988)

Mervyn Williams (1990)

Edward Gregson (1990 final)

Paul Daniel (1992 final)

Sarah Walker (1996)

Alistair Appleton (2004)

Aled Jones, Nicola Loud (2008)

Howard Goodall (2010)

Josie d'Arby (2012, 2014 Jazz award, 2016-8 Grand finals, 2022 Grand final)

Soweto Kinch (2014 Jazz award)

Joe Stilgoe (2016 Jazz award)

Yolanda Brown (2018 to present, Jazz award)


BBC Cymru Wales for BBC1, 7 February 1978 to 29 April 1984

BBC Cymru Wales for BBC2, 14 April 1986 to 28 May 2000

BBC Cymru Wales for BBC Four/Two, 19 May 2002 to 13 May 2012

BBC Cymru Wales for BBC Four, 18 April 2014 to present


Lest you should think that is just about rip-off phone-ins, people eating creepy-crawlies, and badly-thought-out lottery promotions, we bring you... Culture! With a capital C.

The title is a complete misnomer as its only held every other year, but "Young Musician of the 24 Months" sounds rubbish. The instrumental portion of the BBC's brace of high-brow musical contests (this runs in even numbered years, Cardiff Singer of the World in odd numbered) consists of a series of category finals for Brass, Woodwind, Keyboards, Strings and (since 1994) Percussion, with the winners progressing to the Concerto Final where they play with a full orchestra, invariably prompting letters to the Radio Times asking rhetorically how you judge a violinist against a percussionist anyway. The champion goes on to the Eurovision Young Musicians competition, where they're beaten by the Austrian contender.

In each category final, the competitors perform a solo piece, or a concerto - a work that spotlights their solo instrument with orchestral accompaniment. The category winners progress to the gala final. This format was altered slightly from 2010 until 2020, with a semi-final stage between the category finals and the gala final, which reduced the field from five to three.


1978Michael Hexttrombone
1980Nicholas Danieloboe
1982Anna Marklandpiano
1984Emma Johnsonclarinet
1986Alan Brindviolin
1988David Pyatthorn
1990Nicola Loudviolin
1992Frederick Kempfpiano
1994Natalie Clein'cello
1996Rafal Payneviolin
1998Adrian Spillettpercussion
2000Guy Johnston'cello
2002Jennifer Pikeviolin
2004Nicola Benedettiviolin
2006Mark Simpsonclarinet
2008Peter Mooretrombone
2010Lara Ömeroğlupiano
2012Laura van der Heijden'cello
2014Martin James Bartlettpiano
2016Sheku Kanneh-Mason'cello
2018Lauren Zhangpiano
2020Fang Zhangpercussion
2022Jordan Ashmanpercussion

A Jazz award was inaugrated in 2014:

2014Alexander Bonesaxophone
2016Alexandra Ridouttrumpet
2018Xhosa Colesaxophone
2020Deschanel Gordonpiano


The contest was established in 1978 by BBC Music employees Humphrey Burton and Walter Todds.


Regional heats were shown in 1978; a round before the category final was shown until 1994, and again in 2002 and 2004. Until 2000, all programmes were shown on BBC2; since 2002, the heats have been shown on digital channel BBC4, with only the final going out on BBC2.

In 2010, with the introduction of a new semi-final stage, the contest got a little more mainstream coverage with highlights of the semi-final joining the final on BBC2. By 2014, the pendulum had swung highbrow: the television contest was stuck on BBC4, but all the category finals and the grand final were broadcast on Radio 3. For 2018, Radio 3 broadcast a 30-minute concert starring each competitor in the week before their category heat aired.

The 2020 contest was affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. Category finals aired in May 2020, as originally planned. The semi-final had been taped in March, but was held over until the live final could be staged - and that wasn't until May 2021. The 2022 contest was deferred from spring to early autumn, and abolished the semi-final.

Web links

BBC programme page

Wikipedia entry

See also

Eurovision Young Musicians

Weaver's Week review (2008)


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