The Avison Ensemble Young Musicians' Awards

Young musicians and singers are invited to take part in our annual music award sponsored by The Avison Ensemble

Young Musicians' Awards competition participantsThe Avison Ensemble Young Musicians' Awards were set up in 2006 to encourage young musical talent across the North East Region.

The Young Musicians’ Awards is not a competition. It’s an opportunity to perform and try out pieces in front of an audience and in a friendly and supportive environment with feedback from the assessors. Awards are given based on an individual’s performances and their interpretative and technical development between the First Round Assessments and the Finals. The entrants to the Awards receive tuition and guidance, as well as important encouragement to continue their musical education. Everyone taking part in this event is given the same expert advice and assessments. The finalists are also assessed on their talents for live performance.

We're grateful for funding awarded by the Heritage Lottery Fund which is supporting this year's Young Musicians' Awards as part of our Avison Workbooks Project.

We are grateful for our sponsors' support for this outreach programme in previous years:

  • The Esmée Fairbairn Foundation
  • The Gillian Dickinson Trust
  • The Hays Travel Foundation
  • The Sir James Knott Trust
  • The Northern Rock Foundation
  • The Rothley Trust
  • The Roland Cookson Fund at the Community Foundation
  • Joel Cohen and Andrea Toon

The Young Musicians' Awards 2019

Any young musician, up to the age of 19, from the North East Region can join in. There are four categories available to entrants, each category having its own Award for the succesful entrant. Entrants to all categories will be asked to perform two contrasting pieces, maximum 6 minutes overall and one of which must be by an 18th Century composer of their choice, on any instrument or voice.  Performers should provide their own accompanist (if required). A harpsichord is available if required. Music grades will be formed into the following categories:

  • Category A (Grades 1, 2 & 3 or equivalent)
  • Category B (Grades 4, 5 & 6 or equivalent)
  • Category C (Grade 7 or equivalent and above)
  • Category D (Small classical music groups – chamber ensembles with no more than 8 players)

The panel of artistic assessors will include John Treherne MBE (formerly Head of Gateshead Schools’ Music Service). Other appropriate assessors will be co-opted as required.

  • Applications for the 2019 Awards will open late in 2018 with an application deadline of early January 2019.
  • First Round assessments will take place in either late January or early February 2019.
  • The Finals will take place in either later February or early March 2019.

Please contact us here if you'd like to know more about the Awards and how to apply for our 2019 Awards.

The 2018 Awards - winners and highlights

The Young Musicians' Awards 2018 Finals were held on Saturday 10th March 2018 at the Literary and Philosophical Society, Newcastle. The Awards assessors heard sixteen finalists for the four categories of Grades 1-3, Grades 4 - 6 and Grades 7 and 8 and Grade 8 and above, and one ensemble.

The 2018 Awards winners were:

  • Grades 1-3 category: Anna Fischer (voice)
  • Grades 4-6 category : Lotte Collin (voice)
  • Grades 7 and 8: Alex Adamson (violin)
  • Grade 8 and above: joint winners - Michael Fu (violin) and Ned Wheaton (piano)
  • Small ensemble: piano/string quartet - Maddy Clarke (violin), Alex Adamson (violin/piano), Elin Devine Douglas (viola) and Laura Haubold (cello)

The winners will perform at our Awards Winners' Concert on Saturday 28th April 2018 at the Lit and Phil where they will be presented with their Awards engraved with their names. Click here for details of this event.

Highlights from our previous Awards Finals can be seen on FLICKR: 201720162015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 and YOUTUBE: 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 part 1 | 2009 part 2 | 2009 part 3

We're grateful to The Literary and Philosophical Society for hosting this year's Finals and for generously presenting each of the winners with a year's membership of their Library.

For further information about the awards please email us. We also welcome enquiries from music teachers.  If you are a music teacher and would like to know how to get your students involved, please email us.




Previous Young Musicians' Awards winner Sarah Gardner performs at the Royal Albert Hall, September 2012

Sarah Gardner was one of our Young Musicians' Awards winners in 2011 and she won the 2012 Next Brit Thing classical music award. As part of her Next Brit Thing prize she performed to a capacity audience at the Royal Albert Hall during the Classic FM Live 2012 20th birthday concert on Monday 24 September 2012. She performed Rachmaninov's Prelude: Alla Marcia in G minor from Preludes Op 23.

Photos of Sarah at the Classic FM concert can be viewed here.

Read more about Sarah's Next Brit Thing award here and watch her performance on YouTube here.

Sarah has recently accepted a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Music for September 2013.

Top Sarah with Classic FM presenter Tim Lihoreau at Classic FM Live 2012
Middle Sarah on stage at the Royal Albert Hall performing Rachmaninov's Prelude in G minor
Bottom Sarah collecting her Next Brit Thing 2012 award from tenor Noah Stewart and soprano Laura Wright at Indigo2 in March 2012