Now in its twenty-third year, the Steynor Prize or RGS Musician of the Year has justifiably become one of the highlights of the RGS musical calendar. Established to showcase the extraordinary abilities of our most talented musicians, last night’s final proved to be no exception.
After a fiercely contested preliminary round, six finalists were selected – Peter Jones (Flute), Felix Johnson (Violin), Joseph Howes (Piano), Rohan McCauley (Clarinet), Max Kaczor (Trombone), and James Dicker (Piano). Together they performed a recital that was astonishing, not only in the breadth of its musical programme, but for the outstanding levels of musicianship on display.
It was a great pleasure to welcome Miranda Francis, Head of the Junior Department at the Royal College of Music, to adjudicate. Selecting a winner at a competition where the overall standard is so high is never easy, but this was made even harder when each of the performers tackled such complex music, performing it with such outstanding accomplishment. Commenting on each performance in turn, Miranda remarked on each of the performer’s formidable technique, extraordinary levels of musicianship, and wonderful repertoire choice. However, by the narrowest of margins, she awarded The Steynor Prize to a performer who displayed both technical prowess and who was able to convey the sense of drama and character inherent in the music – James Dicker.
Congratulations to James, and to all the finalists who took part; they can each be immensely proud of all they have achieved. Special thanks must go to Jan Newman, whose faultless and skillful accompaniment enabled each boy to perform to their full potential, and was, as always, a highlight of the evening.
Musician of the Year never fails to astonish but for this to be achieved by such a deserving set of finalists made this year’s final very special indeed. Yet again, this incredible concert proved to be an exceptional evening of music making which had the appreciative audience enthralled from start to finish.
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