BBC Young Musician 2020 finalists announced after a yearlong delay

The semi final of BBC Music Magazine was recorded in March last year, but the broadcast was delayed because of the COVID-19 pandemic

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Finalist, Ewan Millar performs during the BBC Young Musician Grand Final at Bridgewater Hall in Manchester. Picture date: Sunday April 25, 2021. PA Photo. Photo credit should read: Fabio De Paola/PA Wire

After a year’s delay because of the coronavirus pandemic, the semi final of BBC Young Musician 2020 was broadcast this evening on BBC Four.

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Of the five semi finalists, three have proceeded through to the grand final, which will be broadcast on Sunday. The three successful young musicians are 18-year-old French horn player Annemarie Federle, 19-year-old oboist Ewan Millar and 17-year-old percussionist Fang Zhang. In the grand final, they will each perform a concerto of their choice with the BBC Philharmonic at Bridgewater Hall in Manchester.

Federle’s chosen concerto is Ruth Gipps’s rarely performed Horn Concerto. This year is Ruth Gipps’s centenary and there are many concerts and recordings of her works planned for later this year.

Ewan Millar played a number of contemporary works in the category and semi finals, and has chosen to play a similarly vibrant piece in the grand final: the ‘Legacy’ Concerto by the Spanish composer Óscar Navarro, known for his writing for film and TV.

Percussionist Fang Zhang has been praised by the judges through the competition for his marimba playing, an instrument he has also chosen to play in the grand final. His chosen concerto is Keiko Abe’s Prism Rhapsody. 

These three musicians were up against 17-year-old pianist Thomas Luke and 19-year-old violinist Coco Tomita, the respective winners of the keyboard and strings finals.

This year’s semi final judging panel included Lisa Tregale, director of the BBC National Orchestra and Chorus of Wales; head of composition at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama John Hardy; and double-bassist and founder of the Chineke! Orchestra Chi-chi Nwanoku. Angela Dixon, chief executive of Saffron Hall, chaired the panel.

Find out more about this year’s BBC Young Musician finalists here.

Organist and conductor Anna Lapwood has presented all this year’s BBC Young Musician broadcasts.

The grand final of BBC Young Musician 2020 was filmed recently, following the lifting of coronavirus restrictions, and will be broadcast on Sunday 2 May at 8pm on BBC Four.

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Top image: Ewan Millar, playing in the grand final. Broadcast this Sunday.