Television

BBC Young Jazz Musician Returns in 2020


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Following the 2018 edition, won by rising star saxophonist Xhosa Cole, this year’s competition again provides a platform for young jazz performers across the BBC.

Following the success of the first three editions, the biennial BBC Young Jazz Musician competition returns in 2020 to support and celebrate the wealth of young talent on the UK jazz scene.

In a continued joint effort to showcase the most talented up-and-coming instrumentalists and singers to audiences across the UK, the BBC Young Jazz Musician Final will be hosted as part of the EFG London Jazz Festival in November, and broadcast on BBC Four.

Entries for the competition are now open, with a deadline in mid-July, and full details on how to apply can be found on the BBC Young Musician website.

From the initial entries, up to 25 semi-finalists will be selected, out of which five young performers will go on to appear at the final. The finalists will have the opportunity to play with the internationally acclaimed Nikki Yeoh’s Infinitum, led by British jazz composer and pianist Nikki Yeoh and featuring her rhythm section of siblings Michael Mondesir (bass) and Mark Mondesir (drums).

The winner of the 2018 edition was Birmingham saxophonist Xhosa Cole (pictured above), who went on to be awarded as Jazz Newcomer of the Year in the 2019 Parliamentary Jazz Awards, as well as performing in some of the UK’s most prestigious venues.

Head of BBC Music TV Commissioning, Jan Younghusband, says: “We are so delighted that we can continue with BBC Young Jazz Musician this year, and give these incredibly talented musicians a platform to perform. Encouraging young talent at this time has never been more important and we are thrilled to partner again with the EFG London Jazz Festival to make this possible.”

BBC Young Musician Executive Editor, Paul Bullock, says: “It’s a thrill to be launching the next edition of BBC Young Jazz Musician and again be providing an opportunity for young British jazz performers to showcase their wonderful talents. The circumstances we are currently experiencing came at a time when ‘jazz’ in the UK was enjoying a real renaissance. As we begin our 2020 search, we look forward to hearing the latest crop of talented newcomers as part of this new wave, and to celebrating their dedication and fearless art.”

Saxophonist Xhosa Cole, BBC Young Jazz Musician 2018, says: “Winning the 2018 Competition proved to me the power of consistency, sincerity and patience. The award has put my career in fast forward and I have had so many opportunities since then, it’s hard to list them all. I once heard the quote: ‘When the elevator to success fails, you take the stairs’, and this quote summarises the story for me in a weird way. At the competition I was waiting at the elevator door to see if it would take me onwards and upward, and as luck would have it, it did. Now it’s up to me to get myself together musically and personally – and get to be the player I want to be. But the competition has proved to be an incredible springboard for me – beyond any of my initial dreams.”

Pianist and composer, Nikki Yeoh, says: “I am delighted to be performing with the next wave of the UK’s finest jazz musicians at the BBC Young Jazz Musician Finals 2020. Having been a semi finalist judge in 2018, I’ve witnessed at first hand the high calibre of musician that this competition attracts. The BBC Young Jazz Musician contest provides a valuable platform for the art form of Jazz, not only for the contestants and the winner but also for all of the young musicians who will switch on and feel inspired, having a ‘THAT ’s where I fit’ moment!

The 2020 BBC Young Jazz Musician launch comes in the week following the completion of the category finals for the BBC Young Musician classical competition – with highlights of the category finals and concerts in full now all available on iPlayer. The five Young Musicians who are progressing to the semi-final for the classical competition – which is scheduled for broadcast in the Autumn – are: 16-year-old pianist Thomas Luke; 18-year-old oboist Ewan Millar; 17-year-old French horn player Annemarie Federle; 16-year-old percussionist Fang Zhang; and 18-year-old violinist Coco Tomita.

BBC Young Musician and BBC Young Jazz Musician 2020 are managed and produced by BBC Studios Entertainment and Music Wales, and commissioned by Jan Younghusband, Head of BBC Music TV Commissioning, for BBC Four.

The final of the BBC Young Jazz Musician 2020 is presented as part of the EFG London Jazz Festival, event supported by the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music.

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