Clarinettist Emile Souvagie delighted the audience with a programme combining Brahms and Gershwin in the first section final of the 2023 ROSL Annual Music Competition.


Last night, Belgian clarinettist Emile Souvagie became the first section final winner of the competition, taking home £5,000 and the first of our four soloists who will proceed to the Gold Medal Final, which will take place at Wigmore Hall in June this year.

In the first section final of the 2023 Royal Over-Seas League’s Annual Music Competition, four soloists competed in the Wind and Brass section final. James Blackford euphonium, Meera Maharaj flute, Emile Souvagie clarinet and Lewis Banks saxophone delighted the crowd in the busy Princess Alexandra Hall. The adjudicators Sue Dent, Geoff Parkin, Katherine Spencer and Sue Thomas had the tough job of choosing the winner and the soloist who will go onto compete for the Gold Medal and a further £15,000.

Emile Souvagie was chosen as the Section Final Winner and was awarded the Dyers Company Award for Wind, Brass & Percussion in memory of Lady Barbirolli (the exceptional oboist, and chair of the panel of adjudicators of the ROSL Annual Music Competition for nearly twenty years). Emile Souvagie is a Belgian clarinettist who studied at the Brussels Royal Conservatory, Kungliga Musikhögskolan in Stockholm and the Hochschule für Musik und Tanz in Cologne and is the recently appointed principal clarinet of Opera Ballet Vlaanderen.

New for this year, ROSL has partnered with Making Music to offer our section final winners the chance to join the Philip & Dorothy Green Young Artist Award (PDGYA) for one year. As winner of the Wind and Brass Section Final, Emile will be featured in the new Recommended Artist Guide, and have the opportunity to be booked for performances with Making Music’s member promoters.

With such brilliant talent onstage last night, the adjudicators awarded two further prizes to James Blackford who took home the Philip Jones Memorial Prize for exceptional Brass Playing, £1,000 and saxophonist Lewis Banks and flautist Meera Maharaj were jointly awarded the Sussex Prize for Woodwind for an exceptional woodwind player, also £1,000.

Watch Emile's prizewinning performance here:

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 February: Brass, Wind and Percussion – winner Emile Souvagie clarinet
  • 21 February: Singers
  • 28 February: Keyboard
  • 7 March: Strings
  • 14 March: Strings and Keyboard Ensembles
  • 21 March: Mixed Ensembles
  • 28 March: Overseas Awards
  • 14 June: Gold Medal Final – Wigmore Hall
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