Last night saw the culmination of the 2018 ROSL Annual Music Competition, with four exceptional young musicians competing for the chance to win the Gold Medal and £15,000 first prize. The Queen Elizabeth Hall was filled with the sounds of Chopin, Enescu, and Rachmaninov as Florian Mitrea piano, Emmanuel Bach violin, Michael Mofidian bass-baritone, and Jonathan Radford saxophone, performed for HRH Princess Alexandra, ROSL members, guests, and music industry professionals. 

The evening began with an introduction from Director-General Diana Owen and the national anthem, performed by the A4 Brass Quartet, who won this year's mixed ensemble prize at the Section Finals, held over six weeks in February and March.

Then came the competition proper, with the four solo winners from the Section Finals taking to the stage to compete for the Gold Medal. First up, Florian Mitrea piano gave us a programme of Chopin, Debussy and Prokofiev, after which violinist Emmanual Bach took to the stage, joined by accompanist Kumi Matsuo, to perform works by Enescu and Saint-Saens. 

Next up bass-baritone Michael Mofidian, accompanied by Keval Shah, gave us Rachmaninov, Liszt, and Sibelius. Finally, saxophonist Jonathan Radford rounded out the competitors and wrapped up the first half of the evening with a programme of Yoshimatsu, Turnage, and Khachaturian, accompanied by Christine Zerafa.  

Now came the interval, which gave the ten-strong panel of adjudicators, led by Gavin Henderson CBE, Principal of the Central School for Speech and Drama, a chance to deliberate on the exceptional performers they had just seen. No easy task, considering the size of the prize on offer, and the huge boost this could give to the career of these young musicians.

After the interval, the Marmen Quartet, winners of this year's Strings ensemble prize, gave us a rousing performance of Mendelssohn and Haydn, before the A4 Brass Quartet returned to round out the evening's performances with music from Bates, Sato, Ellerby, and Grainger. 

Chairman Sir David Brewer then gave a speech speaking of the long and storied of the Annual Music Competition and Princess Alexandra's unwavering support of it throughout the decades, before Director of ROSL ARTS Geoff Parkin made an impassioned plea for the future of arts education funding in the UK and around the Commonwealth, after which the prizes were handed out. A huge wealth of prizes were awarded to exceptional performers from across the Section Finals in February and March, a full list of which is available here.

Now came the moment we'd all be waiting for as Gavin Henderson announced this year's Gold Medal winner; Jonathan Radford! A look of disbelief was soon replaced by a huge smile as Jonathan collected his Gold Medal from Princess Alexandra. His exceptional musicianship and emotive playing tipped the scales in his favour, a huge congratulations to him!  

If you didn't get a chance to attend last night's final, you can catch him tomorrow at 1.10pm at St James' Piccadilly, where he will be performing a free lunchtime concert. He will also be a part of ROSL's Edinburgh Festival Fringe programme in August, along with several of the other finalists from this year's Annual Music Competition. Find out more about the programme and book your tickets here.


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