16-year-old pianist Lauren Zhang named winner of BBC Young Musician 2018 live on Radio 3

16-year-old pianist Lauren Zhang from Birmingham has been named the winner of BBC Young Musician 2018.

The Grand Final of BBC Young Musician 2018 took place on Sunday 13 May at Symphony Hall, Birmingham live on BBC Radio 3 and BBC Four TV.

On winning BBC Young Musician 2018, Lauren said: “It’s astonishing – I can’t quite believe it! It’s been a fantastic opportunity to play with the CBSO and the journey right from the start of the competition has been incredible.”

Kerry Andrew, Chair of the Judging Panel said: “Lauren’s performance left us all breathless! Her exceptional level of technical skill and intelligent musicality shone through in a beast of a piece. We see great things in her future!”

The 2018 BBC Young Musician finalists were 18-year-old saxophonist Robert Burton, 18-year-old cellist Maxim Calver and 16-year-old pianist Lauren Zhang.

The finalists performed with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra conducted by Mark Wigglesworth in front of a live audience, and were judged by a distinguished panel of experts – conductor Alpesh Chauhan, cellist Natalie Clein, saxophonist John Harle and pianist Sunwook Kim. The panel of judges was chaired by Kerry Andrew, who sat across all five category finals and the semi-final. The 2016 winner of BBC Young Musician, cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason returned to perform the 4th movement of the Elgar Cello Concerto.

For the final Lauren performed Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto no.2 in G minor, op.16. Forthcoming appearances for Lauren following BBC Young Musician will include a performance on the BBC Radio 3 stage at BBC Music’s The Biggest Weekend in Coventry on Monday 28th May, and also at a special BBC Young Musician 40th anniversary concert at the BBC Proms on Sunday 15 July at the Royal Albert Hall.

The Grand Final was broadcast at 7pm on BBC Four, presented by Clemency Burton Hill and Josie D’Arby with Alison Balsom and Dobrinka Tabakova, and also on BBC Radio 3 at 7.30pm presented by Kate Molleson with contribution from 2016 BBC Young Musician Finalist, Jess Gillam.

BBC Young Musician, the 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 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.

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