16 May

Lauren wins BBC Young Musician of the Year 2018!

Upper Fifth pupil Lauren has been named the 21st winner of BBC Young Musician of the Year.

“Astonishing” – The Independent



“… what most impressed was the magical delicacy of her playing…” - The Times


“As she played, there was an electricity in the room. People were really listening.” - Tom Poster, Judging Panel


“Having spent a lifetime making music with some of the world’s finest musicians I can honestly say that Lauren is up there with the best – she is a total phenomenon.” - Julian Lloyd Webber, Principal of the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire


“She has a natural genuine musicianship … and a real intelligence,” - Nicola Benedetti, Previous Winner

Just two days before her first GCSE exams, Lauren found herself performing on the stage of Birmingham’s Symphony Hall, in front of a live audience of thousands, soon to be broadcast across the nation.

Lauren was one of 25 finalists across five categories. After winning the Keyboard category on 4th May, and progressing through the semi-finals on the 11th, Lauren took to the stage to play her final piece: Prokofiev’s fiendish ‘Piano Concerto No 2’.

“This concerto is a musical Everest. Any pianist who can play it, let alone perform it for their debut with a professional symphony orchestra in front of TV cameras the week before their GCSEs begin, should be awarded some kind of medal.” – Rebecca Franks, The Times.

Lauren chose this piece because it balanced “lyrical” melodies with elements that were more “grotesque or bizarre”.

"I really had to practise it quite a few times before I could play without stopping in the middle because it was just so difficult," she said.

On finishing the piece, accompanied by the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, the audience roared with absolute delight! Her supporters included dozens of her friends from KEHS and KES, and many of her teachers.

The judging panel too was bowled over.

“Her exceptional level of technical skill and intelligent musicality shone through in a beast of a piece,” said Kerry Andrew, Chair of the Judging Panel. Lauren’s performance "left us all breathless".

Lauren was clearly astonished by her success. “I can’t quite believe it! It’s been a fantastic opportunity to play with the CBSO and the journey right from the start of the competition has been incredible,” she said.

Lauren will now go on to perform at several BBC Concerts this year, including the BBC Proms at the Royal Albert Hall. In the meantime, we hope that Old Edwardians will join us in congratulating Lauren on this enormous achievement, and will wish Lauren and her classmates the best of luck in their GCSEs.

You can watch her winning performance on BBC iPlayer. You can also read reviews by The Times, The Guardian and The Independent by clicking the links. News of her success has even travelled the globe – click here to read the South China Morning Post’s review.

Images courtesy of BBC Young Musician of the Year.