Record number of entries for The Sussex Young Musician of the Year

Catherine Kent (contributed pic)Catherine Kent (contributed pic)
Catherine Kent (contributed pic)
The Sussex Young Musician of the Year competition is enjoying its best-ever crop of entries.

Spokeswoman and organiser Kate Kent is delighted with this year's record numbers – 29 entries in all, the best in the competition’s nine years.

“We are sifting through them all at the moment and we will whittle it down to three. We have got a great range of entries, everything from recorder to drums and everything in between and voices from soprano to baritone. The panel will have a very difficult job but just looking at the entries it's clear that the competition has gone to another level now. It is just incredible.”

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Part of the reason, Kate believes, is that they have doubled the prize money to £2K first prize and £1K second prize which has clearly made the competition a lot more attractive to aspiring musicians: “For anyone it is now something that is really worth going for. We give them travel help as well and they're getting a performance with us as a professional and they are also given an opportunity to perform with the Sussex Symphony Orchestra.

“29 is the best number we have ever had, and I think another factor is that I wrote individually to all the heads of conservatoire. Post-Covid a lot of people that are working in the conservatoires are working from home and you are never really quite sure whether the messages got through to them so I contacted all the heads of conservatoire. Most of them said ‘This is amazing!’ and they will certainly make sure that their students know what we are doing. It would usually be online and on social media but writing individually to the heads I do think has made a big difference this year.”

Entrants have to be studying towards a career in music, be aged between 18 and 26 and have a connection with Sussex, educated here or from here or with parents or grandparents here: “People are applying from all over the world hoping that I will overlook the small fact that they don't have a Sussex connection but that connection is really important to us.

“I feel really encouraged. 29 is a lot of auditions to look through. The auditions are online. They send in an application and then an audition tape and we will go through them all. It is judged on their performance and also their Sussex connection and also how they will spend the money. All these things go into consideration. It's hard to judge but it is also very enjoyable.

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"I've listened to all of them now and it really does occur to me straight away, as I have said, that the competition is now on an entirely new level than ever before. And the lovely thing is when you look at our previous winners, they are all doing great things with their careers which is lovely.

"Musicians when they put their biographies in will always list their prizes and it's lovely to see people listing this prize.

“Our current Sussex Young Musician is Eliette Harris (violin). Brighton-born Eliette is captivating audiences with her remarkable violin skills.”

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