RCM musicians reach 2020 BBC Young Musician category finals

Updates Summer 2020

Student updates

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News, stories and updates from the RCM student body, plus posts from the #RCMCommunity on social media, which brought together our community’s music-making during lockdown.


RCM students have continued to keep connected throughout lockdown, posting videos of their performances, rehearsals and personal projects using #RCMCommunity. Here are a few highlights. 

Vicente Chavarría

Conductor Vicente Chavarría posted his interpretation of a song by Mexican performer Lila Downs.

Jess Lawley

Singer Jess Lawley made good use of being at home with her family in this performance of ‘A Boy Like That’ from Bernstein’s West Side Story.

Jinhong Low and Theodor Uggla

Pianist Jinhong Low has been using technology to partner with fellow musicians. Here he accompanies tenor Theodor Uggla.


* Technology has allowed me to continue collaborating with my fellow singers and I am amazed at the things we have to...

Posted by Jinhong Low on Friday, May 22, 2020

Ashby Mayes

Social media maven Ashby Mayes brings some energy with his own arrangement of Holst’s Jupiter, from The Planets.

Natasha Page

Soprano Natasha Page has been performing on Facebook with accompanist Shiori Hosoda, based in Japan. In this post the soprano sings Schumann’s Die Lotosblume.


This week’s song recorded from opposite sides of the world 🇯🇵 🇬🇧 is Schumann’s Die Lotosblume. Shiori and I are both...

Posted by Natasha Page on Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Emily Bristow

Lyra Brass, a brass quintet made up of students from the RCM and Trinity Laban, posted this video of member trumpeter Emily Bristow making music with her friends during lockdown.

The Albert Quintet

The Albert Quintet, made up of RCM students Ashby Mayes (bassoon), Hannah Gillingham (flute), Poppy Webb-Taylor (oboe), Diogo Bandola (clarinet) and Ludovico Maletti (horn), performed some Nintendo theme music as part of their #QuaranQuintoot series.

George Harliono

Here pianist George Harliono, who’s been posting performances regularly for his followers, performs Chopin's Etude op 10 no 3 in E major.

View this post on Instagram

Here's another Chopin etude, op 10 no 3 in E major, I had a couple of requests to record this piece so here it is! (I moved the pianos around in my room, so I hope you like the new layout 😅) New videos coming soon, I'll be posting some Prokofiev and also Debussy! Enjoy, stay safe everyone and have a good weekend! 😊 - - - - #piano #grandpiano #pianists #pianist #classicalpianist #classicalpianists #classicalmusician #classicalmusic #classicalmusicians #grandpiano #rcmcommunity #steinway #steinwayandsons #yamaha #yamahapiano #steinwaypiano #home #practice #pianopractice #chopin #beethoven #etude #chopinetude #chopinetudes #rcmcommunity #quarantinelife #instaquarantine #musicforhealing #comfortmusic #favouritemusic

A post shared by George Harliono (@georgeharliono) on May 18, 2020 at 7:20am PDT

RCM Percussion Faculty

Members of the RCM Percussion Faculty presented a socially distanced performance of Rossini's Barber of Seville, arranged by Max Heaton.

Betania Johnny

Junior Department violinist Betania Johnny has been posting daily videos on Instagram documenting her practice. Here she is with Junior Department cellist James Dew performing Handel-Halvorsen's Passacaglia. 

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Betania Johnny �� (@betaniajohnnyviolin) on Jun 19, 2020 at 12:50pm PDT

New music, broadcasts and appointments

Edwin Hillier

The world premiere of Plastica, a piece by doctoral composer Edwin Hillier was broadcast on BBC Radio 3 in March. Edwin was also the winner of the Electroacoustic / Sound Artwork category in the fourth annual Scottish Awards for New Music, awarded for his piece Dhātu.


Rosanna Milner

RCM Junior Department singer Rosanna Milner has been recording music at home for her local church (St Helen’s Church, Hertfordshire, where her father is choir master) for use in their online services during lockdown and one of her recordings was played on BBC Radio 4 in March.

Manase Latu

Tenor Manase Latu is to join the Metropolitan Opera Lindemann Young Artist Development Program in the autumn.

Theodore Platt

Baritone Theodore Platt will join the Bayerische Staatsoper Munich Opera Studio in the autumn.

Rebeca Suarez

Violinist Rebeca Suarez released her second music video, of a performance of Malinconia by Ysaÿe.

Jobine Siekman

On 9 May Jobine Siekman took part in celebrations for EU Day, performing the EU anthem with an ensemble of European musicians.

Tom Foster

During lockdown, composer Tom Foster coordinated an online project called 'Unheard:Unseen' that brought together 14 composers who are all either current or former RCM composition students. The performance was broadcast on Facebook.

Awards, nominations and prizes

Pianist Laetitia Amodio won the Stars of the Albion Grand Prix 2020 of £2,000 at the seventh iteration of the international music festival in March.

Pianist Nikita Burzanitsa won the Best Romantic Prize and Prix du Barreau du Val d’Oise at the Piano Campus Competition in Paris.

At this year's Royal Over-Seas League (ROSL) Annual Music Competition, cellist Maxim Calver reached the Strings Final, Dominic Doutney won First Prize in the Piano Final and flautist Sirius Chau won the ROSL Woodwind and Brass Prize. Dominic and Sirius will go on to compete in the Gold Medal Final, which has been postponed until the autumn. Pianist Yuanfan Yang was also awarded the ROSL Collaborative Piano Award (formerly the Accompanist Prize).

Four Junior Department students and one senior College student reached their category finals in this year's BBC Young Musician competition. The musicians – pianist Jacky Zhang, percussionists Toril Azzalini-Machecler and Isaac Harari, bassoonist Alice Gore and violinist Ilai Avni - featured on BBC Four as the highlights from each of the category finals were broadcast throughout May.

Volunteering on the Front Line

Gergely Toth-Vajna, a fortepiano MMus student at the RCM, has been volunteering as a doctor in Hungary, his home country, during the COVID-19 pandemic.


Gergely undertook a ventilation masterclass at Semmelweis University, where he studied medicine, in order to help COVID patients. He volunteered at one of the country’s COVID centres and substituted for older physicians who were unable to work. He’s also participated in Hungary’s nationwide screening drive.

Of his inspiring story, Gergely says that he feels lucky to be able to volunteer and keep making music: 'It is very hard to find time for everything, if you do both music and medicine with passion, you will not feel it as a burden.'

To his fellow students, Gergely says: 'As healthcare works to heal the people, people will need music to heal the pain in their soul. Your part will be just as important as that of the doctors.'

Royal College of Music Prizes

Ana Manastireanu won the Pianist Prize in the 2020 Lieder Competition. She also won First Prize for piano in the Brooks-Van der Pump Competition, while Rob Hao and Jack Campbell placed joint second.

At the Joan Chissell Schumann Competition in March, the vocal awards were won by Theodore Platt (First Prize), Ted Black (Second Prize) and Thomas Isherwood (Third Prize). In the pianist awards, Jinhong Low won First Prize, Ana Manastireanu won Second Prize and Jack Campbell was awarded Third Prize.

The Qurtis Quartet won the RCM Brass Ensemble Competition 2020, with commendation also going to the RCM Tuba Quartet.

The winner of the String Quartet Competition 2020 was the Gasparo Quartet.

The winner of the Wind Ensemble Competition 2020 was the Vara Saxophone Quartet.

Other awards and prizes

Nien Chin Chai won the Gold Prize of the Professional Youth Group at the Third China-UK International Music Festival.

Pianist George Harliono has been awarded one of the three available Yamaha Music Foundation of Europe Scholarships at the Intercollegiate Yamaha Awards, held at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire. The scholarship is worth €2,000.

At the 2020 Chappell Medal Piano Competition in February, the Chappell Medal (First Prize) went to Siqian Li, the Hopkinson Gold Medal (Second Prize) and Cyril Smith Prize went to Nikita Burzanitsa, and the Hopkinson Silver Medal and Peter Wallfisch Prize went to Yuanfan Yang.

Pianist Danilo Mascetti won Second Prize, Best Baroque Prize and Best Classical Sonata at the 14th UNISA International Piano Competition in Pretoria, South Africa.

In February, pianist Victor Maslov won shared First Prize at the Second International Rachmaninoff Competition in Moscow.


Junior Department pianist Clara Sherratt won the Beethoven Piano Society of Europe Junior Intercollegiate Competition in March. She was the youngest participant.


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