Having chosen our four soloists for the Annual Music Competition Gold Medal Final, last night was the first of two ensemble rounds, where teamwork of the highest order was on display for the adjudicators and audience gathered in the Princess Alexandra Hall.
Four string ensembles took to the stage to compete for the £10,000 prize, with the Brompton Quartet, hailing from the UK, Poland and Slovenia, the first to perform. Their programme of Beethoven and Prokfiev set the bar for the evening, a tough act to follow!
Next up were Copenhagen-based Heathcliff Trio, who performed works by Ravel, Weinberg and Mendelssohn, before the interval.
The Hill Quartet got things going again after the break with a programme of M. Mullov-Abbado and Ravel, before the Echéa Quartet rounded out the evening's performances with works by Schubert G. Kurtag and Brahms.
The difficult decision of who to award the prize fell to adjudicators Ann Beilby, Stephen Upshaw, Gavin Henderson CBE and Geoff Parkin.
In the end, the Echéa Quartet, made up of Rosa Hartley viollin, Aliayta Foon-Dancoes violin, Dave Shaw viola, Eliza Millett cello. Congratulations!
Tune in next week to the mixed ensembles, where all manner of different instruments and repertoire are performed. And if you missed last night, fear not, you can see the winners peform again at the Gold Medal Final in November.