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St Mary’s young musicians shine at prestigious awards events

St Mary’s School, Cambridge, celebrated its annual Young Pianist of the Year and Young Musician of Year awards on the 08th and 09th November.

Held every year, the prestigious events each honour the wealth of musical talent from across the school and give students the chance to perform in special concerts.

On two successive days, pupils showcased their exceptional musical talents to parents, staff and their fellow peers – with performances expertly adjudicated by Mr Simon Kirk MA Music Oxon, FRCO and Director of Music at St John’s College School.

The Young Pianist of the Year event saw students aged 10 to 18 perform an eclectic mix of music ranging from baroque to modern, from Bach to Maksim Mrvic – a contemporary Croatian composer. In the Intermediate Class, highly commended certificates were awarded to Charlie L., Jasmine L. and Biano L., for their performances of Arietta by Grieg, Changing Times by Heather Hammond and Lavender Field by Karen Tanaka. The winner of the Intermediate Class was Karla C., with her expressive performance of Epilogue by Oliver Francis Huang-Hsu. 

The Advanced category saw Emilia M. commended for her performance of Claire de Lune by Debussy and Sonia W. for her performance of Chopin’s Mazurka No. 23 in D, Op.33 No.2. The Agnes Heron Memorial Cup (awarded annually to the student in the Advanced Class who gives the outstanding piano performance of the evening) was awarded to Imogen C. for her sensitive and expressive performance of Reverie by Debussy. 

The following day, the school’s Young Musician of the Year competition took place. The evening began with string instruments, before moving on to vocal performances and ending with wind players. Young Pianist of the Year, Imogen C. also returned to perform Reverie. There was a diverse array of pieces, each given its own interpretation by the performers.

Highly commended certificates were awarded to Davina Y., Jasmine L., Hannah F., Tilly T. and Solvieg S. for their performances of Beethoven’s Sonata No. 5 Op. 24 Spring Mvt 1, Bartók’s Romanian Folk Dances, JS Bach’s Sonata No. 1 in G minor Mvt 1 BWV 1001, Ivor Novello’s enchanting We’ll Gather Lilacs and the Waltz from Suite Antique by John Rutter. The overall winner of the Young Musician of the Year competition 2022 was awarded to Maryam G., with her stunning performance of two movements from Schumann’s Marchenbilder Op. 113 on viola. 

Charlotte Avery, Headmistress at St Mary’s School, said:

“Our congratulations go to all of our students who took part in our prestigious competitions. Each pupil delivered an exceptional performance demonstrating their passion for music and their instruments of choice. These events are both highly anticipated in our school’s calendar and the standards set get higher each year. Our special thanks go to Mr Simon Kirk for adjudicating both competitions. This was an unenviable task – given the calibre of musicians participating – and we are grateful for the valuable feedback he gave our young musicians.”

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