New Talent Festival competition

Your moment in the spotlight

The New Talent Festival competition is a great way to exercise your musical muscles and learn from some of the world’s best teachers and professional musicians.

The competition is open to solo performances from anyone aged 4 to 18 years old. And the deadline for competition entry and registration is 2nd June 2024 (11:59pm BST), and 6th August 2024 (11.59pm BST) for the online version.

As the saying goes, ‘you’ve got to be in it to win it’. But everyone who takes part is a winner as far as we’re concerned. Wherever you finish in the competition, you’ll receive feedback from our jury panel and a certificate to show you were part of one of the world’s best youth music festivals.

Whatever stage you’re at; if you picked up an instrument for the first time this year, or if you can play rings around your friends, it doesn’t matter. If you play strings, piano, woodwind, brass, or love to sing, you can take part. Whether absolute beginner or music conservatory student, this is your moment in the spotlight.

Jury, Faculty & Advisors

Professor Jonathan Freeman-Attwood

Advisor
Principal of the Royal Academy of Music.

His commitment to education spans over 30 years, during which time he has also established himself as a recording producer, freelance trumpet player, writer and broadcaster. In the early years of his career, he was awarded the Healey Willan Memorial Scholarship at the University of Toronto, from which he graduated with First Class Honours, before embarking on research at Christ Church, Oxford.

From 1991 to 1995, he served as Dean of Undergraduate Studies at the Royal Academy of Music, then 13 years as its Vice-Principal and Director of Studies. In 2001, he was conferred Professor of the University of London. For over a quarter of a century in senior posts at the Academy, Jonathan has played a leading role in launching pioneering programmes and fostering major international relationships. He has been instrumental in nurturing a 20-year collaboration with The Juilliard School in New York, as well as masterminding several major artistic and professional development initiatives, including the Academy’s recording label (producing nearly 40 titles including those on Linn Records since 2012) to introduce talented young artists to the creative challenges of the studio.

He has also assembled a roster of eminent international musicians as permanent staff or visiting professors. A close involvement in the artistic strategy of the Academy has led to the inauguration of several successful concert series, including with the Kohn Foundation a 10-year project to perform all of Bach’s sacred and secular cantatas, extended into ‘Bach the European’ in 2019, co-curated with John Butt. During Jonathan’s Principalship, the Academy was granted Degree Awarding Powers from the Privy Council (2012) and has embarked on a number of transformational capital projects, including two new practice facilities and, from 2015, the building of the award-winning Susie Sainsbury Theatre and Angela Burgess Recital Hall, completed in 2018.

Jonathan is a Fellow of King’s College London (where he is a Visiting Professor) and has also been awarded fellowships from Royal Northern College of Music and Royal College of Music. He is also on the Advisory Board of the Academy of Ancient Music, Vice-President of the National Youth Wind Orchestra of Great Britain, Patron of London Youth Choirs, and a trustee and Chair of the Artistic Advisory Committee of Garsington Opera. He is also a trustee of Christ Church Cathedral Oxford Music, the British Library SAGA Trust, the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music (ABRSM) and the Countess of Munster Trust, and he served for a decade on the board of Young Classical Artists’ Trust (YCAT) and as a trustee of the University of London from 2010 to 2016.

As a trumpet soloist, Jonathan Freeman-Attwood has released 10 solo albums, the majority of them with Linn Records, and he has attracted wide critical acclaim for their musical originality. These recordings have achieved an effective reimagining of the trumpet as a chamber instrument in reconstructions of works from c 1600 to the 20th century. Initially with John Wallace and Colm Carey in 2003, he recorded The Trumpets that Time Forgot (Rheinberger and Elgar) before conceiving a series of programmes with pianist Daniel-Ben Pienaar: La Trompette Retrouvée (2007), Trumpet Masque (2008), Romantic Trumpet Sonatas (2010), A Bach Notebook for Trumpet (2012), The Neoclassical Trumpet (2014) and, most recently, An English Sett for Trumpet. Trumpet Masque won High Fidelity’s ‘Recording of the Year’ in 2008.

He also recorded the world premiere of Gabriel Fauré’s Vocalises in 2013, accompanied by pianist-scholar Roy Howat, whose edition was published by Peters. Jonathan is a Series Editor for Resonata Music’s The Re-Imagined Trumpet, in which, among other pieces from his catalogue, newly configured sonatas by Schumann, Mendelssohn and Fauré have been published. In 2020, he published with composer Thomas Oehler a Sonata ‘after Richard Strauss’ for Boosey and Hawkes, recorded for Linn as part of The Viennese Trumpet. In May 2020, BBC Music Magazine wrote: ‘Freeman-Attwood’s brilliantly recorded high lines and judiciously vibratoed singing prove companionable for the whole duration’.

Jonathan has produced over 250 commercial discs for many of the world’s most prestigious independent labels, including Naxos, BIS, Chandos, Hyperion, Harmonia Mundi USA, Linn, Channel Classics and AVIE. His productions have won major awards, including several Diapasons d’Or, Gramophone Awards, and numerous nominations over the last 20 years with artists including Rachel Podger, the Cardinall’s Musick, Trevor Pinnock, Phantasm, La Nuova Musica, I Fagiolini, the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Daniel-Ben Pienaar, and various leading cathedral choirs – among them St Paul’s Cathedral and Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford. He produced the final volume of Andrew Carwood’s Byrd Edition (Vol 13) for Hyperion, which won the prestigious Gramophone ‘Recording of the Year’ in 2010.

As an educator and scholar, he is active as a lecturer, critic, and contributor to journals (including Gramophone since 1992) and publications such as The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians (2001, 2nd edition) and Cambridge University Press’s Companion of Recorded Music, and also to BBC Radio 3. He is an established authority on Bach interpretation, particularly in challenging and refocusing historical perspectives on performance practices. He regularly writes for Warner, Decca, Deutsche Grammophon and other major record labels.

He was appointed CBE in the New Year’s Honours List in 2018.

Princess Alreem
Advisor

Royal Patron of Amy Yuan Academy.

Philanthropist.

Professor David Strange
Advisor

Professor of Cello at Royal Academy of Music.

Former Head of Strings at Royal Academy of Music.

Richard Morris
Advisor

Former CEO of ABRSM.

Former Chairman of Yehudi Menuhin School.

David Woodcock
Jury

Online

Director of Music at Harrow School, London.

Renowned conductor and educator.

David Woodcock began his musical education as a chorister at Canterbury Cathedral under Dr Allan Wicks. He returned to Canterbury at the age of 16 and completed 2 years as Cathedral Organ Scholar before going up to Cambridge as Organ Scholar at Queens’ College. During his three years at Cambridge, he directed Queens’ College Chapel Choir, the St Margaret Society Chorus and Orchestra and the Gentleman of St John’s. In September 1992, David was appointed Organist and Choirmaster at Oakham School, where from 1995-2005, he was Director of Music. Since September 2005 David has been Director of Music at Harrow School. Harrow has an outstanding reputation for the quality of its music education, and a large number of pupils go on to university with organ and choral awards.

David has a deep commitment to fostering music education of excellence. In a normal year, he oversees more than 100 concerts given by Harrow’s musicians.

He is a Fellow of The Royal College of Organists, for which he has served on the Trustee Council, as Chairman of the Academic Board and as an examiner. He has also served as a member of several national Music Education committees. Life as a school master leaves little time for other things, but David still finds time to perform as an organist and a singer. He sings occasionally with the Tallis Scholars and the Choir of the English Concert. As an organist he has given many recitals throughout the UK, including St Giles’ Cathedral Edinburgh, King’s College Cambridge, Coventry Cathedral, York Minster, Westminster Abbey and Canterbury Cathedral. In addition to family life and working his other great passions are following Arsenal FC and Kent CCC.

Professor Fraser Gordon
Jury

In person

Head of Woodwind at the Royal Academy of Music.

Principal Contrabassoon at Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.

After several busy years freelancing with the orchestras in Scotland, he was appointed to his current post as Principal Contrabassoon in the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in 2011, following in the footsteps of several notable British contrabassoonists including David Chatterton, Dominic Weir, Kenneth Cooper and Nicholas Reader.

Fraser is a former member of the Board of Directors of the RPO and enjoys being part of every aspect of the orchestra’s activity, including being an active participant in the Community and Education programme, RPO Resound. He enjoys performing in major cities around the world and performs regularly as a guest with the other orchestras in London and the UK and has worked with conductors such as Gergiev, Rattle, Noseda, Davis, Ticciati, Volkov and Nelsons.

From his first experience playing contrabassoon in Edinburgh Youth Orchestra to recent performances with the World Orchestra for Peace, Fraser has always enjoyed the supportive and blending role of the contrabassoon within the orchestra. He relishes the opportunities that arise in the world of chamber music, having recorded and toured John Adams’s Chamber Symphony with the Aurora Orchestra and performed Strauss’s Serenades with London Winds.

Fraser is in demand as an examiner and visiting teacher at Conservatoires and Music Schools across the UK and recently co-hosted live broadcast coverage of the Woodwind Category of the 16th International Tchaikovsky Competition from St Petersburg, Russia.

Fraser plays on two vintage 1950s Heckel contrabassoons, one previously owned by Richard Plaster formerly of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the other formerly belonging to Dominic

Professor Jo Cole
Jury

In person and Online

Former Head of Strings at the Royal Academy of Music.

Professor of Cello at Royal Academy of Music.

Jo Cole is Head of Strings and cello professor at the Royal Academy of Music. She won a scholarship to study at the Academy herself where she was a pupil of Florence Hooton and David Strange, before further study with Ralph Kirshbaum, Pierre Fournier and William Pleeth.

Her performing career of over twenty years included membership of the Academy of St Martins, regular playing with the London Symphony Orchestra, numerous guest principal and freelancing engagements throughout the UK as well as performance and recordings of chamber music and solo works. She has adjudicated competitions nationally and internationally, given classes in a number of international conservatoires and summer courses and uses these opportunities to share her thinking not only on cello playing but advocating that developing musicians embrace all forms of performance and the arts in order to be fulfilled and communicative artists.

She is Visiting Professor at the Shanghai Conservatory, a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Music and Professor of Music at the University of London.

Professor Nicola Eimer
Jury

In person

Piano Accompaniment and Chamber Music at the Royal Academy of Music.

Renowned concert pianist and chamber musician.

British Pianist Nicola Eimer has performed as a soloist and chamber music across Europe, Asia and America and has played at the major UK venues including the Barbican and Wigmore Hall.

A graduate of New York’s Juilliard School, Nicola held a Fulbright Scholarship to study with Joseph Kalichstein. She previously studied in London with Danielle Salamon, and then with Christopher Elton at the Royal Academy of Music, where she was subsequently awarded a Fellowship and then nominated an Associate of the Academy.

Nicola’s passion for chamber music has led to collaborations in duos as well as larger ensembles, and she won the 2002 Royal Overseas League Chamber Music Prize with the Eimer Piano Trio, as well as later winning the Piano Prize in the 2005 competition. She regularly performs with the Swedish violinist Johan Dalene, with whom she has made a BBC broadcast as part of the New Generation Artists scheme.

Nicola is regularly invited as a guest accompanist at international competitions, and has recently played for the Menuhin and the Carl Nielsen International Violin Competitions.

In February 2019, Nicola’s CD “So Many Stars” was released on Stone Records, with acclaimed violinist Fenella. It was described as “hugely rewarding” by The Observer; “an absolutely exquisite album” by BBC Radio 3’s Record Review, and was The Strad’s Recommended Recording that month, who said “the recorded sound combines warmth and immediacy with all the intimacy of a live performance, revealing Humphreys and Eimer at their stellar best.”

Teaching and lecturing are an important part of Nicola’s musical life. She has maintained a close connection with the Royal Academy of Music, teaching piano and chamber music at both Junior and Senior Departments, as well as being the piano lecturer on their piano pedagogy LRAM course. Nicola is also Head of Keyboard at Highgate School in London.

Professor John Hutchins
Jury

In person

Director of Junior Royal Academy of Music

Director of LRAM

As Director of the LRAM teaching course at the Royal Academy of Music he devised a course for students to provide the basic tools to begin a career in instrumental teaching. With over thirty years of teaching experience, John has become sought-after as a motivating and inspirational problem solver to many trumpeters of all ages. For the past eight years John was a Head of year at the Academy and is currently Professor of Baroque Trumpet.

As a performer he has played with numerous ensembles such as The English Chamber Orchestra, The Royal Opera House and English National Opera Orchestras. On the baroque trumpet John has worked with all the major national baroque ensembles, including The Sixteen, The English Consort, the Kings Consort, Copenhagen Baroque, Stuttgart Baroque and the English Baroque Soloists. John was also a member of the Phantom of the Opera orchestra in London’s West End for fourteen years.

Professor Kathron Sturrock
Jury

In person and Online
Piano professor and Collaborative Piano professor at the Royal College of Music

Kathron Sturrock was twice the winner for the best pianist at the Sofia International Opera Competition. After these awards she was invited to work for several years with Elisabeth Schwarzkopf in her Master Classes throughout Europe. She is a founder member and Artistic Director of the noted chamber ensemble The Fibonacci Sequence. As a soloist she has appeared with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and the BBC Concert Orchestra, making her Proms debut in 1994 playing Alan Rawsthorne’s Concerto for 2 pianos with Piers Lane. She has recorded CDs for Hyperion, Chandos, Gamut, Pickwick, Sain, ASV, Black Box, Quartz and Deux-Elles. In September 2003 she joined the Keyboard Faculty at the Royal College of Music, London, where she teaches piano, chamber music and collaborative piano. She has appeared on panels for many competitions, including the very special Sydney International Piano Competition sister project ‘The Piano Lovers Competition’ for amateur pianists.

Precentor and Director of Music at Eton College

Renowned conductor and educator

Tim is Precentor and Director of Music at Eton College. Choral highlights of his time at Eton have included two CD recordings and choir tours of China, Japan, India, Germany and Latvia. The choir is regularly heard on the professional concert platform, with notable engagements including Bach’s St John Passion with the Academy of Ancient Music, Mahler’s Symphony No.8 in the Royal Festival Hall with the Philharmonia under Lorin Maazel, and Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms with the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra under Leonard Slatkin. Tim has directed the choir on two episodes of BBC Songs of Praise and recorded a number of performances for David Starkey’s BBC series Music and Monarchy. Recent projects have included first performances of works by Sir James MacMillan and Judith Weir.

During his time at Eton, Tim has also developed and enhanced the reputation of orchestral music, establishing regular international tours which have taken the orchestra to venues such as the Rudolfinum in Prague and the Kursaal in San Sebastian.

Beyond Eton, Tim’s work with young musicians has included preparing trebles for the Barbican’s annual performance of Bach’s St Matthew Passion with the London Symphony Chorus/City of London Sinfonia, and a live Radio 3 broadcast of Mahler’s Symphony No. 8 with the London Symphony Orchestra conducted by Valery Gergiev in St Paul’s Cathedral. He has directed choirs and orchestra in venues such as St John’s Smith Square, Westminster Abbey and the Barbican, with recent freelance conducting engagements included a performance of Beethoven’s Symphony No.9 with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.

Senior Tutor in Violin at Royal Northern College of Music

ABRSM Examiner

Born and bred in Edinburgh, Steven Wilkie is one of the country’s busiest violinists. A prize winning student of Yossi Zivoni at the RNCM, he has played with many leading orchestras including the Halle, RLPO, RPO, BBC Philharmonic, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, the Philharmonia and the John Wilson Orchestra.

His solo appearances include the Bach Double (with Yossi Zivoni), Mendelssohn, Bruch, Brahms, Beethoven, Dvorak, Barber and Prokofiev concerti. In 2004 he made his European concerto debut in Lucerne.

He is the leader of the Manchester Concert Orchestra and a founder member of the Sinfonia of London.

As a chamber musician Steven has performed throughout the UK and is leader of Sinfonia UK Collective. This ensemble recently toured Canada with great success.

Steven is an examiner for the ABRSM and Senior Tutor in Violin at the RNCM. Former students are to be found in many orchestras including the current leader of the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra.

Steven plays a Nicolò Gagliano violin of 1765.

More jury members will be announced in due course.

Competition programme

1. Entry Deadline

2nd June 2024 (11:59 BST)

2. First Round of Competition

13th July 2024

3. Final Round Competitors

Notified on 13th July 2024

4. Final Round Performances

Afternoon of 14th July 2024

5. Award Ceremony

Afternoon/early evening of 14th July 2024

6. Winners’ Gala Concert

Afternoon/early evening of 14th July 2024

Competition categories

Strings

Piano

Woodwind
& Brass

Voice

In-person Prizes

Royal Academy of Music prize

Includes £1000 prize money, a 1-1 masterclass, admission into Junior Royal Academy of Music without audition, a year’s mentorship and an invitation to perform at the New Talent Festival 2025.

A single £1000 cash prize, a year’s mentorship and an invitation to perform at the New Talent Festival 2025.

One Scholarship to cover fees of the 1st Year of Bachelor Degree course at the CSI (Conservatorio della Svizzera italiana – Scuola Universitaria di Musica). Scholarship equivalent to c. 3500 CHF.

A single £500 cash prize, a year’s mentorship and an invitation to perform at the New Talent Festival 2025.

RNCM Prize

A £10,000 entrance scholarship to the RNCM (subject to successful audition) for a participant playing one of the following instruments: Viola, double bass, oboe, bassoon, french horn, bass trombone or tuba. This can be for entry in the following, or a subsequent, academic year.
The scholarship will be known as the ‘RNCM New Talent Scholarship’.
The audition will be on an individual basis at the appropriate time.
A year’s mentorship and an invitation to perform at the New Talent Festival 2025.

A single £1000 cash prize, a year’s mentorship and an invitation to perform at the New Talent Festival 2025.

Prizes for each category include £300 prize money, a year’s mentorship and an invitation to perform at the New Talent Festival 2025.

All participants will receive feedback on their competition performance.

For full prize list and descriptions, please visit the Competition Rules and Regulations.

Age groups

Junior I

Junior II

Junior III 

Junior IV

Junior V a

Junior V b

Ages 4-5

Ages 6-7

Ages 8-9

Ages 10-11

Ages 12-13

Ages 12-13 (full-time music school students)

Junior VI a

Junior VI b

Senior a

Senior b

Ages 14-15

Ages 14-15 (full-time music school students)

Ages 16-18

Ages 16-18 (full-time music school students)

Junior I

Ages 4-5

Junior II

Ages 6-7

Junior III

Ages 8-9

Junior IV

Ages 10-11

Junior V a

Ages 12-13

Junior V b
Ages 12-13 (full-time music school students)

Junior VI a

Ages 14-15

Junior VI b

Ages 14-15 (full-time music school students)

Senior a

Ages 16-18

Senior b
Ages 16-18 (full-time music school students)

Online Competition Programme

1. Entry and Video Submission Deadline

6th August 2024 (11:59 BST)

2. Online Live Award Ceremony

13th August 2024 (Time TBC)

Online Prizes

Guildhall Young Artists Prize

A £1000 prize voucher for Guildhall Young Artists Online classes.

Prizes for each category include £200 prize money, a year’s mentorship and an invitation to perform at the New Talent Festival 2025.

Includes publicity across New Talent Festival’s social media, and prize certificates for each age group.

Honourable Mention

Certificates of Honourable Mention will be awarded to performers who have, in the opinion of the adjudicators, reached a technically competent and musically interesting level of performance.

Awarded for excellence in music teaching to the direct music teacher of the winners of the Virtuoso Prizes and the Age Group 1st Prize winners

All participants will receive feedback on their competition performance.

For full prize list and descriptions, please visit the Competition Rules and Regulations.

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