PROM 3: BBC YOUNG MUSICIAN 40th ANNIVERSARY | BBC Proms 2018

Internationally renowned violinist Nicola Benedetti (2004 winner) astounded with a wild, modern interpretation of Ravel’s Tzigane, full of passionate scratches and bends. Another international celebrity, cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason (2016 winner) joined forces with the competition’s three other cellist winners for a beautiful new arrangement of Giovanni Sollima’s Violoncelles, vibrez!

The finale, Mussorgsky’s deafening The Great Gate of Kiev, saw all the BBC Young Musician 2018 Category Finalists dotted around the Hall, some hammering out gigantic bells in the gallery. Four percussionist competition winners whacked on bongos for Steve Reich’s Drumming — Part 1, which did not seem to be a particular showcase for their talents.

Iain Farrington’s Gershwinicity (BBC commission) brought the house down, especially for clarinettist Emma Johnson (1984 winner) and her heartbreaking “Embraceable You”. Ben Foster’s kitsch BBC Young Musician Theme and Variations (BBC commission) and David Bruce’s messy Sidechaining (BBC commission) were less persuasive.

Iain Farrington’s arrangement of Saint-Saëns’ The Carnival of the Animals for four pianists (including 2018 winner Lauren Zhang) was rapturously received, though it seemed an odd decision not to have a competition winner play the cello solo in “The Swan”. Likewise, Sir James Macmillan’s Animaniacs-style Britannia was a tour-de-force for the BBC Concert Orchestra, but featured no competition winners.

A long Prom at nearly three hours, but a wildly impressive evening celebrating young British talent.

1,350 £6 Promming tickets are available on the day for every performance.

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