Bath Young Musician 2023
Five talented musicians competed for the title of Bath Young Musician of the Year in the magnificent Pump Room, home to centuries of classical concerts. This is one of the Mid-Somerset Festival’s most celebrated events as all the participants gained outstanding marks in the March festival. Based on the BBC’s competition of the same name, it has acted as a springboard for the past 36 years in launching many musical careers and some former winners have returned to adjudicate.
The competition began with Indira Pandit on the cello, giving full expression and texture to the music of Debussy and Shostakovich. This was followed by the rich, joyous sounds of Dorothy Hodge’s alto saxophone which filled the high-ceilinged ballroom. Rebecca Shea said she loved the first of her pieces, Frank Bridge’s Allegro Appassionata, because, ‘it explores the full range of the viola’ and her enjoyment was well-communicated to the audience. She ended her repertoire with an arrangement of Prokofiev’s ‘Dance of the Knights’, now familiar as the theme tune to ‘The Apprentice.’ Amelia Wise exhibited tremendous breath control in her clarinet playing and gave a varied repertoire with pieces from Poulenc, Schumann and Stravinsky. Finally, Alexander Bichard took to the stage, performing on both the violin and viola. He opened with Bloch’s ‘Nigun’, a highly-charged, emotional piece written just after the first World War. Alexander is passionate about early 20th Century music and his playing was engaged and seemingly effortless.
Adjudicator Simon Kudurand praised all the young musicians and said their playing was fantastic but the three adjudicators were unanimous in their decision and Dorothy Hodge was named Bath Young Musician of the Year. Her contrasting repertoire, with pieces from Darius Milhaud, Michael McGlynn and Jules Demersseman, displayed her virtuosity and phenomenal stage presence.
The Mayor of Bath Cllr Dine Romero congratulated the talented performers and presented the winner’s trophy while Paul Roper gave each competitor a certificate and cash prize on behalf of the Roper family, the festival’s chief sponsor.