Finalists named in the 2021 Sussex Young Musician of the Year competition

Bright young musical talents from Cuckfield, Burgess Hill, Shoreham and Chichester have been confirmed as the four finalists in the Coro Nuovo Sussex Young Musician of the Year competition.
Maria Luc (piano)Maria Luc (piano)
Maria Luc (piano)

Catherine Kent, chairman of Coro Nuovo, confirmed the musicians from whom the overall winner will be picked in early July.

The 2021 finalists are:

Jane Burnell (soprano): Jane is 24 and grew up in Cuckfield.

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Jane is currently studying for an MMus in classical voice studies at the Royal Northern College, Manchester. Her undergraduate studies were at Leeds Conservatoire. Jane is a regular concert soloist and has sung with many choirs all over the UK and for the past six years has sung with the Rodolfus Foundation.

As a keen choral singer, she co-founded the Meanwood Ensemble – a classical vocal quartet based in Leeds. She has recorded with Sky TV, Katherine Jenkins and Fox Film Themes. She hopes to use the prize money to fund extra language lessons in French, German and Italian to enhance her singing in a foreign language.

Laurence Cuttriss (clarinet): Laurence is 23 and from Burgess Hill.

Laurence spent his early years performing with youth orchestras and concerts throughout the UK and Europe. He is studying at Trinity Laban Conservatoire where he is studying for a BMus in performance.

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Laurence regularly deputises for orchestras and ensembles and has appeared with Brighton Fringe. He was awarded two first place prizes in 2020 and 2021 in the Wilfred Hambleton Clarinet Competition. He is hoping to go to Krakow in 2022 to perform at the International Festival. Laurence would use the prize money to fund the cost of entering competitions and his university fees.

Nancy Holt (soprano): Nancy is 25 and from Shoreham.

Nancy has just completed her masters at Guildhall School of Music and Drama where she gained a distinction. She is now on Guildhall’s Opera Course for the next two years.

She has played many operatic principal roles and made her debut appearance at London’s Barbican Concert Hall last year in a programme of Debussy songs. She has been a finalist in Chartered Surveyors Vocal Prize and in the Susan Longfield Prize for Female Voices. She was due to start at Glyndebourne as part of the Festival Chorus last year but that was cancelled due to Covid. She would find the competition prize money very useful to benefit her studies and replace some of her lost earnings this year.

Maria Luc (piano): Maria is 25 and from Chichester.

Maria was a runner up in this competition two years ago and is now in the final four this year. She studies at the Royal Northern College of Music and Drama. Maria has studied with the best classical performers – Andreas Schiff, Stephen Hough, Michel Beroff. She has won major piano prizes at the RNCM and in 2020 won the Barbirolli Prize for Cello and Piano. She has played at Wigmore Hall, Wales Millennium Centre as well as Chichester and Liverpool cathedrals. If she won the prize she would use the money to help her living costs during her master’s studies.

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The Sussex Young Musician of the Year competition offers young musicians (aged between 18 and 26) the chance to win cash prizes – £1,000 for the winner, £500 for the runner-up and £250 each for the two other finalists to help fund their music studies.

The organisers received 31 entries this year and will now go forward to the next stage of the competition.

Catherine Kent, chairman of Coro Nuovo, added: “Once again, we received a healthy volume of entries to this year’s competition and in many ways more interesting with candidates accustomed to online performing. We continue to be amazed by such incredible, talented musicians in Sussex.

“Congratulations to all the finalists and thank you to everyone who took time to enter the competition.

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“All of them deserve the very best of luck during these very difficult times.

“At Coro Nuovo we recognise that a music career does not come easy, schools are continuing to scale back on the arts and with the lack of performance opportunities due to Covid, the cost of tuition and coaching continues to rise. We really hope these bursaries help out.”

The winners will be announced in a live virtual awards ceremony in July. For more information on the competition visit www.sussexyoung

Coro Nuovo is a leading Sussex choir consisting of top singers from around the county. Its music director and conductor is international tenor Andrew Rees.