'The award has put my career in fast forward': BBC Young Jazz Musician Competition Now Open for Applications

Xhosa Cole, winner of the BBC Young Jazz Musician 2018 award (photo by Anya Arnold).

'The award has put my career in fast forward': BBC Young Jazz Musician Competition Now Open for Applications

The deadline for applying is 17 July.

The BBC Young Jazz Musician competition has announced that applications for 2020 are now open. The competition, which takes place every two years, aims to provide a platform for young jazz musicians in the UK and will see the finalists perform at the EFG London Jazz Festival in November. 

Jazz musicians on all instruments – including voice – who are aged 22 or under can enter, and can do so by submitting a video of themselves performing. After the video submissions are judged, up to twenty five semi-finalists will be selected by a judging panel, out of which five will be selected to compete in the live final in November. 

In the semi-final, entrants will be asked to perform with the house ensemble in front of a panel of judges. Musicians who make it to the final will be mentored by, and will perform with, pianist Nikki Yeoh’s band, Infinitum. The live final at the EFG London Jazz Festival will see the musicians perform in front of a live audience and the winning musician will receive a prize of £3,000 plus a trophy. 

Previous winners of the competition are saxophonist Xhosa Cole (2018), trumpet player Alexandra Ridout (2016), and saxophonist Alexander Bone, who won the inaugural award in 2014. 

Commenting on the award and the launch of the 2020 competition, Cole said:

Winning the 2018 Competition proved to me the power of consistency, sincerity and patience. The award has put my career in fast forward and I have had so many opportunities since then, it’s hard to list them all. I once heard the quote: ‘When the elevator to success fails, you take the stairs’ and this quote summarises the story for me in a weird way. At the competition I was waiting at the elevator door to see if it would take me onwards and upward, and as luck would have it, it did. Now it’s up to me to get myself together musically and personally – and get to be the player I want to be. But the competition has proved to be an incredible springboard for me – beyond any of my initial dreams.

To enter, visit www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/articles/bbc-young-jazz-musician-2020

Published on 3 June 2020

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