Search for the Sussex Young Musician of the Year 2023 gets under way

The search for the Sussex Young Musician of the Year 2023 has begun.
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The competition boasts several financial bursaries in total worth £2,000 available for emerging young Sussex musicians. You can enter if you have a connection with Sussex (born, lived, worked, studied here etc), are between 18 and 26 years old and are studying music. Go to for the competition details and how to apply. Make sure you submit your application and a video of your competition entry by April 28.

The competition grew out of the Mid Sussex-based Coro Nuovo choir which is this year celebrating its tenth anniversary.

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Spokeswoman Catherine Kent said: “We were thinking about what made us different as a choir, and one of the things was the fact that we don't rehearse that often and so our singers therefore have to be singers who are able to rehearse at home without being together all the time but one of the other things that made us different, we thought, was to come up with this competition. Andrew Rees (who was Cuoro Novo’s music director until last year) came up with the idea because as a young singer himself he had known what it was to struggle to find the money and the opportunities he needed, and he used to go along to a lot of auditions to try to get bursaries and so on. So he had this idea and we all thought that it would work. We are now coming into our seventh year of the bursary.”

Last year's winner Zoe BarnettLast year's winner Zoe Barnett
Last year's winner Zoe Barnett

And not even Covid could stop them: “We managed to run it online during the pandemic. We thought should we stop but then we realised that it would be very difficult to pick it up again if we did. It needs its own momentum. It started off quite small in the early years with maybe ten or 12 or 15 people but it's grown to more than 40 entries now and I think that is partly because of Covid. We changed the way we ran it. We held online auditions and we are keeping them now. In fact so many young people are so used to doing things online now. It makes things a lot easier for them, but we run it as a hybrid competition. We pick our finalists from their online auditions and then our finalists audition at the concert where we decide who the winner is. It is not just about the cash, though that is useful. It's also the chance to give yourself a platform and to perform in front of an adjudicator. We have VIP adjudicators and it gives people a little bit of a set up to perform in front of them, but what we have also seen is our finalists start to network with other finalists during the competition and other things can emerge from that as well.”

Zoe Barnett, from Chichester, was crowned the winner of the 2022 Coro Nuovo Sussex Young Musician competition last year, winning a £1,000 prize. After two years of running the competition wholly online, the three finalists played live at Coro Nuovo’s Jubilee concert in Burgess Hill. The finalists were judged by David Lawrence.