Applications for BBC Young Jazz Musician 2020 Now Open!

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Following the 2018 edition, won by NYJO saxophonist Xhosa Cole, this year’s competition again provides a platform for young jazz performers to showcase their musicality.

Following the success of the first three editions, the biennial BBC Young Jazz Musician competition returns in 2020 to support and celebrate the wealth of young talent on the UK jazz scene.

NYJO band-members have enjoyed a lot of success throughout the awards’ short history, with four of the five finalists in the 2016 edition being NYJO affiliated – including the winner, Alexandra Ridout. We were very proud to announce that Alex was nominated for a Parliamentary Jazz Award this year, which you can read about in our post from earlier this week.

“We are so delighted that we can continue with BBC Young Jazz Musician this year, and give these incredibly talented musicians a platform to perform. Encouraging young talent at this time has never been more important and we are thrilled to partner again with the EFG London Jazz Festival to make this possible.”

Head of BBC Music TV Commissioning, Jan Younghusband

In a continued joint effort to showcase the most talented up-and-coming instrumentalists and singers to audiences across the UK, the BBC Young Jazz Musician Final will be hosted as part of the EFG London Jazz Festival in November, and broadcast on BBC Four.

From the initial entries, up to 25 semi-finalists will be selected, out of which five young performers will go on to appear at the final. The finalists will have the opportunity to play with the internationally acclaimed Nikki Yeoh’s Infinitum, led by British jazz composer and pianist Nikki Yeoh and featuring her rhythm section of siblings Michael Mondesir (bass) and Mark Mondesir (drums).

“It’s a thrill to be launching the next edition of BBC Young Jazz Musician and again be providing an opportunity for young British jazz performers to showcase their wonderful talents. The circumstances we are currently experiencing came at a time when ‘jazz’ in the UK was enjoying a real renaissance. As we begin our 2020 search, we look forward to hearing the latest crop of talented newcomers as part of this new wave, and to celebrating their dedication and fearless art.”

BBC Young Musician Executive Editor, Paul Bullock

The winner of the 2018 edition – Birmingham saxophonist and current NYJO chairholder, Xhosa Cole (pictured above) – explains how the award served to instil confidence, both personally and musically:

“Winning the 2018 Competition proved to me the power of consistency, sincerity and patience. The award has put my career in fast forward and I have had so many opportunities since then, it’s hard to list them all. I once heard the quote: ‘When the elevator to success fails, you take the stairs’, and this quote summarises the story for me in a weird way. At the competition I was waiting at the elevator door to see if it would take me onwards and upward, and as luck would have it, it did. Now it’s up to me to get myself together musically and personally – and get to be the player I want to be. But the competition has proved to be an incredible springboard for me – beyond any of my initial dreams.”

NYJO Saxophonist, Xhosa Cole

The 2020 BBC Young Jazz Musician launch comes in the week following the completion of the category finals for the BBC Young Musician classical competition – with highlights of the category finals and concerts in full now all available on iPlayer. The five Young Musicians who are progressing to the semi-final for the classical competition – which is scheduled for broadcast in the Autumn – are: 16-year-old pianist Thomas Luke; 18-year-old oboist Ewan Millar; 17-year-old French horn player Annemarie Federle; 16-year-old percussionist Fang Zhang; and 18-year-old violinist Coco Tomita.

Entries for the competition are now open, with a deadline in mid-July, and full details on how to apply can be found on the BBC Young Musician website.

BBC Young Musician and BBC Young Jazz Musician 2020 are managed and produced by BBC Studios Entertainment and Music Wales, and commissioned by Jan Younghusband, Head of BBC Music TV Commissioning, for BBC Four.

The final of the BBC Young Jazz Musician 2020 is presented as part of the EFG London Jazz Festival, event supported by the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music.

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