YEMF Young Artist Competition Winners Announced

The Sollazzo Ensemble has won the York Early Music International Young Artists Competition. They received a cash prize of £1,000, opportunities to work with Radio 3, a performance in the 2016 York Early Music Festival, and a CD recording produced by Linn Records.

The Swiss sextet were also awarded the Friends of York Early Music Festival Prize and the new Cambridge Early Music Festival Award in the final of the competition, which took place on 11 July.

The ensemble performed a programme entitled ‘Fiddle-Players at the Court of Burgundy’, featuring 15th-century music for voices and instruments by Dufay, Agricola and Compère.

The Consone Quartet (UK) and nexus baroque (Germany) were both awarded places on the ‘eeemerging’ (Emerging European Ensembles) programme, which promotes new talent in early music. The Consone Quartet also won the EUBO Development Trust Prize for the most promising young artists.

Members of the judging panel included Kati Debretzeni (violinist and artistic adviser to the York Early Music Festival), Philip Hobbs (chief classical producer/engineer at Linn Records) and Peter Pontvik (founder and artistic director of Stockholm Early Music Festival).

Philip Hobbs, chair of the judging panel, said: ‘It has been an absolutely extraordinary day of music making. We have now arrived at a point where the technical mastery of these young musicians is a given and we can go beyond that to revel in their highly developed levels of contact, communication with each other and their audiences and the wonderful invention in their playing.’

Catherine Bott, who presented the competition said: ‘The standard has been higher than ever this year. I’ve been struck by the musicians’ open-mindedness and willingness to trust in even the smallest suggestions – such as balance or re-configuring their seating positions – which resulted noticeably in each and every ensemble raising their game in the final and improving their team work. The Competition itself is a remarkable model of how all competitions should be run. It is a fantastic showcase of talent from around the world.’

The next York Early Music International Young Artists Competition will take place in 2017.