Violinist Coco Tomita wins Strings Final of BBC Young Musician 2020

18-year-old Coco Tomita will progress to the BBC Young Musician semi-finals in autumn

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18-year-old Coco Tomita has won this year’s Strings Category Final of BBC Young Musician. She follows in the steps of the many former strings finalists who went on to win BBC Young Musician: cellists Sheku Kanneh-Mason and Guy Humphreys, and violinists Nicola Benedetti and Jennifer Pike.

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Coco is studying at the Yehudi Menuhin School, a specialist music school in Surrey. Her winning programme included Ysaÿe’s Sonata No. 2, Hubay’s Carmen Fantasie Brillante and Heifetz’s arrangement of Debussy’s Beau Soir,

She will join the four other category final winners, who will go on to perform in the Semi-Final later this year: pianist Thomas Luke, oboist Ewan Millar, French horn player Annemarie Federle and percussionist Fang Zhang.

Coco was up against two other violinists, both 18 years of age: Mio Takahashi and Ilai Avni.

Mio studies at the Royal Academy of Music, and her programme for the Strings Final included Saint-Saëns’s Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso and the first movement of Beethoven’s Violin Sonata No. 4.

Ilai is in his first year at the Royal College of Music in London. He performed, among other works, Kreisler’s Recitativo and Scherzo-Caprice for solo violin and the fourth movement of Janáček’s Violin Sonata.

18-year-old cellist Ellen Baumring-Gledhill from London and attends the Junior Department of Guildhall School of Music & Drama, where her teacher is also her uncle. Ellen’s programme included Suk’s Ballade Op. 3 and Ginastera’s Pampeana No. 2.

17-year-old harpist Huw Boucher is the first harpist to reach the Strings Final since 2014. He is an A Level student from Penarth in Wales, who studies at the junior department of the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama. He played works including Godefroid’s Carnaval de Venise and Scarlatti’s Sonata in F sharp minor K25. 

Presenter Anna Lapwood was joined by violinist Matthew Trusler to discuss this years strings finalists. 2016 finalist Jess Gillam was joined by Sarah Alexander, chief executive and artistic director in the latest in her series of conversations.

Angela Dixon, chair of the judging panel and chief executive of Saffron Hall, was joined by harpist Stephen Fitzpatrick and violinist Fenella Humphreys.

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