It was a privilege to join the jury with Sarah Bruce and Christopher Glynn for the 2023 BIMC held at Bromsgrove School between 30 May and 3 June. From a large entry, 24 fine musicians came through to the final rounds in Bromsgrove and twelve excellent semifinalists were chosen: Raymond Brien (clarinet), Ezo Dem Sarici (violin), Robert Finegan (saxophone), Gerard Flotats (cello), Adam Heron (piano), Vanessa Hristova (viola), Anna Im (violin), Hiroki Kasai (viola), Yu-Chieh Lin (piano), Matthew McLachlan (piano), Marika Tsuchiya (marimba) and Arthur Yiu Chung Yu (piano).

Many wonderful performances from these musicians come to mind: Raymond Brien’s playing of Salvatore Sciarrino’s Let me die before I wake for solo clarinet, cellist Gerard Flotats’ reading of Janacek’s Pohádka, saxophonist Robert Finegan in Ryo Noda’s Maï, Adam Heron in Bach’s Italian Concerto, Vanessa Hristova’s playing in Rebecca Clarke’s Viola Sonata, Hiroki Kasai, viola, in Reger’s Suite No 1, Rosenblatt’s Carmen Fantasy played by Eso Dem Sarici, violin, Marika Tsuschiya in Christopher Norton’s November Evening for marimba solo and Arthur Yiu Chung Yu’s pianism in Schumann’s Symphonic Etudes, Op 13.

After careful consideration, three finalists came through to play on the 3 June in the Routh Hall at Bromsgrove School. Performing with distinction throughout the competition, I remember especially Yu-Chieh Yu’s moving performance of Scriabin’s Valse Op 38 and Prokofiev’s 8th Sonata, Anna Im’s intense and personal playing in Amy Beach’s Romance for violin and piano and Matthew McLachlan’s outstanding performance of Stravinsky’s Petrushka.

All three finalists contributed to a memorable concert with highly positive responses from the audience. In the end, the 2023 BIMC winner was Matthew McLachlan. Congratulations to him and to all those who participated at such a high level.

In the afternoon of the final, the Bromsgrove Young Musicians Platform was held in Routh Hall featuring some outstanding young talent from 9 -17 years. Congratulations to Junior section winner, Izaac Bazlov (piano) and runner-up, Nathaniel Ming-Shun Law (oboe) and Senior Section winner, Hugo Svedberg (cello) and runner-up, Casey-Joan Whyte (violin) for their impressive performances.

With thanks to Chair David Saint, former Chair Ian Morris, Young Musicians administrator Monica Toso, Beverley Needham and all the Bromsgrove School administration, Young Musicians Platform adjudicators Alastair Moseley, Richard Jenkinson and Sarah Oliver, as well as the brilliant competition accompanists Jonathan French, Janine Parsons and Kate Thompson this was a week to remember.

Matthew McLachlan, piano
Yu-Chieh Lin, piano
Anna Im, violin
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