The 2020 Concerto Competition was forced by the pandemic to be postponed to Sunday 4 July 2021, with adjudicators Alexander Walker (Music Director, Abingdon & District Music Society), William Fong (piano), Chi-chi Nwanoku (strings) and Paul Harris (wind). There was a large field of 19 competitors (5 pianists, 9 violinists, 1 violist, 2 cellists, 1 clarinettist and 1 trumpeter).
Oliver Simpson emerged as the overall winner, playing Saint-Saens’ 1st Cello Concerto. His technical and musical expertise was superb, and he was notable for communicating with his audience, an aspect of performance practice which has inevitably declined during 15 months of very little ‘live’ performances. Oliver received the first prize of £300 and the offer of a performance with the Abingdon & District Music Society. Oliver had already earned the accolades of Berkshire Young Musician and joint winner of the Oxford Philharmonia concerto competition, amongst several other awards.
Runners-up were Sophia Demetriades, one of the youngest competitors, playing Saint-Saens’ 3rd Violin Concerto, Aoife Soni with the technically demanding Viola Concerto of Bartok, and Sasha Canter playing the Haydn Trumpet Concerto. They will have workshop opportunities with ADMS. Special Mentions were given to Ciara Whitnall playing the Prokofiev Sinfonia Concertante for ‘cello, and Geordie Campbell with the fiendishly taxing Piano Concerto of Britten.
The next Concerto Competition will be held in 2023.
The 2018 Concerto Competition was held in the Silk Hall, Radley College (by kind permission) on Sunday 22 April. The adjudication panel was composed of Remus Azoitei (strings), George Caird (wind) and Ian Jones (piano), chaired by Alexander Walker (Musical Director, Abingdon and District Music Society). Out of a strong field of fourteen highly talented young soloists, the panel awarded joint first place to Leo Appel for his dynamically and tonally modulated performance of the first movement of Walton’s Violin Concerto, and to Claire Edmiston for an outstanding performance of the technically very demanding first movement of Nielsen’s Flute Concerto. Runners-up were Leo Strelle (2nd & 3rd movements of Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto) and Christina Stuart (1st & 3rd movements of Schumann’s Cello Concerto).
Congratulations to them, and thanks to all the participants for their excellent playing, to the adjudicators for their illuminating comments, to Rosemary Joseph for masterminding the event, and to Anthony Williams and Radley College for their hospitality.
Leo Appel played the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto with Abingdon & District Music Society Orchestra to warm acclaim from a packed house, and the Bruch Concerto with Didcot Concert Orchestra.
Claire Edmiston played the Reinecke Flute Concerto with ADMS orchestra.
Christina Stuart rehearsed the Grieg Piano Concerto, and Leo Strelle the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto, with ADMS Orchestra.