Cellist Laura van der Heijden (above), aged 15, has won this year’s BBC Young Musician competition in a televised final at The Sage, Gateshead.


Laura, who is from Forest Row, Sussex, performed Walton’s Cello Concerto with the Northern Sinfonia and conductor Kirill Karabits to win the coveted title – and £2,000 prize money – in an evening which also saw the competition’s first ever appearance in the final from a recorder player. Sixteen-year-old Charlotte Barbour-Condini opened the final with a performance of the Recorder Concerto in C minor by Vivaldi.

Pianist Yuanfan Yang was the third competitor to make it through to the final – he performed Grieg’s Piano Concerto in his bid for the title.

The judges for the evening included the last cellist to win the title of BBC Young Musician, Guy Johnston – as well as recorder player Piers Adams, composer Charlotte Bray, pianist Paul Lewis and conductor, Jessica Cottis.

As she picked up her trophy (made by Welsh jeweller Mari Thomas), Laura said: ‘I just had a really great time and I’m so so lucky’.

Laura began playing the cello at the age of six and since 2008 has studied with Leonid Gorokhov.

Two Walter Todds Bursaries, each of £1,000 were awarded to string category finalist Juliette Roos and percussion category winner Hyun-gi Lee, neither of whom had made it through to the final.


Pick up a current issue of BBC Music Magazine for a look behind the scenes at this year’s BBC Young Musician competition. You can also watch the final of the competition and catch up with the five category finals on BBC iPlayer.