April 18, 2014

Alison Balsom to host this year’s BBC Young Musician competition

Once a finalist in the UK’s leading classical talent showcase, the English trumpet sensation has become a role model.

Before she became one of the most recognised and beloved fixtures in the classical music firmament, Alison Balsom launched her career 16 years ago as a teenage finalist in the 1998 BBC Young Musicians Competition’s concerto round, then as a Radio 3 New Generation Artist.

She has gone on to record several albums with EMI Classics; her most recent release for Warner Classics (Sound the Trumpet) just one of many triumphs that saw her crowned Gramophone Artist of the Year in 2013.

Now one of the BBC competition’s biggest success stories, she will inspire a new generation of young musicians this year as co-host alongside guitarist Milos Karadaglic. Balsom presents the five Category Finals (Strings, Keyboard, Woodwind, Brass and Percussion) from Friday 18 April until the semi-final on 17 May. Of the five finalists in each category, one will be selected to duke it out in the semis, with three going on to the Final at Edinburgh’s Usher Hall, broadcast on BBC Four and BBC Radio 3.

“I couldn't be more excited about returning to that terrifying yet totally awe-inspiring place that is BBC Young Musician,” she said in a BBC interview. “This competition remains the benchmark for all young classical musicians in the UK. In the whole scheme of talent shows, the dedication, the preparation and the natural ability that abounds each year from BBC Young Musician is unbelievable. Both the audience and the artists are treated with the respect and the professionalism that this high standard of music-making deserves.

“I am so honoured to be a part of it all again. I know exactly how each performer must be feeling right now; it's exactly how I feel before each performance, even to this day. Actually, I’m really pleased I'm NOT in their shoes right now!”

BBC Four broadcast dates:

18 April – Strings Category Final
25 April – Percussion Category Final
2 May – Woodwind Category Final
9 May – Keyboard Category Final
16 May – Brass Category Final
17 May – Semi-Final
18 May – Final