The BBC’s Young Musician 2014 has launched, unveiling Nicola Benedetti as an ambassador and introducing a new award for young jazz musicians.
Entries for the classical arm of the biennial competition close on 26 July, with regional auditions taking place in September and October, category auditions in December, category finals and the semi final in March, and the final on 18 May 2014 at Edinburgh’s Usher Hall.
The first BBC Young Musician Jazz Award will comprise two audition stages followed by a final on 8 March 2014, to be held at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama. Entry forms for the Jazz Award will be available from 1 August 2013 with a closing date of 18 October 2013.
The classical competition whittles entrants down to five semi-finalists, from whom three finalists will perform in the concerto final with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra conducted by RPS award winner Kirill Karabits.
The 2012 winner was cellist Laura van der Heijden (right).
Nicola Benedetti, who won the competition in 2004, has been a vocal advocate for music education in recent years. She said of the competition: ‘I will always be grateful to the BBC Young Musician for providing me with an unparalleled opportunity and platform. Most exciting for me will be to hear new young musicians perform. This competition is one of the greatest examples of the UK’s commitment to developing young musicians, and it must be supported and recognised.’
Jan Younghusband, the BBC’s commissioning editor for music & events, said: ‘BBC Young Musician has provided a platform for outstanding young musicians for the past 35 years. It’s become a valuable partner in the development of young talent and has helped launch the careers of some of the UK’s finest performers.
‘This year we are delighted to introduce a new Jazz Award, further extending the reach of the competition and look forward to showcasing another group of exceptional young people when BBC Young Musician reaches its broadcast stage early next year.’
Roger Wright, controller of Radio 3, said: ‘BBC Radio 3 and BBC Four are delighted to work together again to showcase the UK’s outstanding young musical talent and to bring BBC Young Musician to its audiences in a truly immersive experience across radio and television.’
BBC Young Musician will be ‘broadcast extensively on BBC Four and BBC Radio 3’, said a statement, with a representative confirming that ‘the main heats will be broadcast on BBC Four and Radio 3 [as in 2012] and the broadcast details of the finals will be announced in due course’. The final in 2012 was broadcast on BBC 2; that channel’s schedules for the relevant period in 2014 are still under discussion.
The competition is managed and produced by BBC Cymru Wales.