Lauren Zhang, 16, from Birmingham, was adjudged the ‘BBC Young Musician’ at the 40th edition of the BBC Young Musician Award.
BBC quotes Kerry Andrew, chair of the judging panel: “[the performance] left us all breathless".
The 16-year-old Zhang, who has been recently vetted and awarded by the prestigious BBC Young Musician Award, lives in Birmingham and continues her studies there. Zhang competed against saxophonist Robert Burton, 18, and cellist Maxim Calver, 18, to win award. For her winning round, she performed ‘Prokofiev’s 2nd Piano Concerto in G minor, op.16 with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra conducted by Mark Wigglesworth.’ [The Guardian]
The Independent quotes Lauren Zhang: “I’m pleasantly surprised and I can't believe it. The journey, right from the start of the competition, has been incredible."
Her performance was praised by the judges who said her performance was a challenging and ambitious work.
The Guardian quotes Kerry Andrew, chair of the judging panel: “Her exceptional level of technical skill and intelligent musicality shone through in a beast of a piece.”
The Guardian quotes Nicola Benedetti, violinist and previous winner of BBC Young Musician Award: “She has a natural genuine musicianship … and a real intelligence”
Lauren Zhang was born in Albuquerque in New Mexico and she started her training to play the piano at a tender age of four. She is also an accomplished violinist. She moved back to the UK in 2010 after winning a place at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire. Her family accompanied her to the UK. She has also previously won the competition on home turf by BBC after playing in Birmingham’s Symphony Hall at school concerts. This was her first concert with a professional orchestra, and her orchestra conductor Mark Wigglesworth was overwhelmed by her performance. [BBC]
BBC quotes Mark Wigglesworth: "When you meet Lauren she seems... I wouldn't say 'shy', but controlled within herself and very confident about her own personality. Then you hear her play and you discover this incredible depth and range of thought and imagination. That's an extraordinary combination."
Judge Tom Poster was compelled by her performance and he praised her saying there was “an electricity” in the room and people really lent her an ear. [The Independent]
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