This year’s line-up for the Section Final saw two cellists, a guitarist and a violinist take to the stage; Elodie Chousmer-Howelles violin, Matthias Balzat cello, Jack Hancher guitar and Ben Tarlton cello, who battled it out for the £5,000 prize and made for a varied evening of performances. The adjudicators Leon Bosch, Alice Neary, Geoff Parkin, and Emily Sun had the difficult decision of choosing the section winner and performer who will go onto the Gold Medal Final to compete for the first prize of £15,000. 

New Zealand Cellist Matthias Balzat studied at Waikato University under James Tennant and graduated at the age of 17. He currently resides in Düsseldorf as a Masters student at the Robert Schumann Hochschule under world renowned Cellist Pieter Wispelwey. Matthias has won prizes        in numerous national and international competitions and has appeared as soloist with orchestras including the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, Christchurch Symphony Orchestra, Opus Orchestra, St Matthews Orchestra, Auckland Chamber Orchestra, Wellington Youth Orchestra, New Zealand National Youth Orchestra, Robert Schumann University Orchestra, Waikato University Orchestra, Scotch College Orchestra and the New Zealand Secondary Schools Orchestra.

Such was the quality on display, Elodie Chousmer-Howelles was also awarded the £1,000 Len Lickorish Memorial Prize for a String Player of Promise.

ROSL Annual Music Competition Section Finals take place each Tuesday 7-9pm at Over-Seas House, Park Place, St James’s Street, London, SW1A 1LR:

  • 14 September: Brass, Wind and Percussion – winner Marie Sato flute
  • 21 September: Singers – winner Milly Forrest soprano
  • 28 September: Keyboard – winner Ryan Corbett accordion
  • 5 October: Strings – winner Matthias Balzat cello
  • 12 October: Ensemble A (Strings)
  • 19 October: Ensemble B (Mixed)
  • 26 October: Overseas Award
  • 24 November: Gold Medal Final

Tickets: £15. To book tickets, visit, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 020 7408 0214 ext 219

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For more information or press images contact Mark Brierley, Head of Communications on T:020 7016 6905 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. visit


Founded in 1910, the Royal Over-Seas League (ROSL) is a non-profit private members' club dedicated to championing international friendship and understanding. ROSL helps artists and musicians across the Commonwealth connect, collaborate and create.

ROSL supports talented young artists and musicians from the UK and Commonwealth, providing performance and exhibition opportunities which bring their work to the attention of the professional arts community, media and general public.


The ROSL Annual Music Competition grew out of a series of concerts inaugurated at Over-Seas House in 1947 under the banner ‘Festival of Commonwealth Youth’. The Festival became competitive in 1952, with a first prize of £10. Over the past 68 years the competition has grown in scope and prestige and now awards in excess of £80,000 for solo performers, accompanists and chamber ensembles. Past ROSL prizewinners makes for an impressive alumnus of musicians of the highest calibre who have established prominent careers in the music profession. Find a list of past winners here: . To mark ROSL’s centenary in 2010 an appeal was launched to secure the future endowment of the ROSL Annual Music Competition Awards and Commonwealth Music Scholarships, currently worth £125,000 per annum. The funds are held in the ROSL Foundation (registered charity 306095). To make a donation contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.