“The future of classical music is very safe in the hands of young instrumentalists of this extremely high calibre”

From: Robert CowanThe Goffs
 Eastbourne

Thursday, 30th January 2020, 4:39 pm
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I had the privilege of attending the final of the Eastboune Symphony Orchestra’s 33rd annual young soloists competition held at The Birley Centre.

From around 30 accomplished entrants in initial rounds, five selected finalists, supported by some excellent accompanists, entertained a large and highly appreciative audience as they showcased their musical talents and extensive performance skills with pieces played on their instrument of choice.

How fortunate we are to have this major cultural event, promoted by the Eastbourne Symphony Orchestra in its 40th year, taking place in the heart of our town, for which thanks are due to its dedicated organisers.

Strings and piano dominated this year with each finalist playing one or the other.

Adjudicated by a panel of four, the contestants all performed with great panache and confidence, evincing a precocious mastery of their chosen pieces.

I am certainly glad that I did not have the onerous responsibility of selecting a winner and I really wonder how a choice can be made between equally gifted musicians playing different pieces on different instruments: an enormous and uncomfortable challenge for anyone sitting in judgement.

I would not have been disappointed by the selection of any one of the five as the overall winner, but I was especially pleased that the first prize, comprising both a substantial cheque and the opportunity later in the year to perform a concerto with the ESO, went to gifted cellist Juliet Wolff.

The afternoon’s performances gave me great pleasure but more importantly the assurance that the future of classical music is very safe in the hands of young instrumentalists of this extremely high calibre.