Fang Zhang wins BBC Young Musician of the Year

We’d like to offer our congratulations to BBC Young Musician of the Year winner Fang Zhang, a former pupil of RNCM alumnus and Deputy Director of Percussion, Le Yu.

The 17-year-old, who recently studied at Chetham’s School of Music, secured the title with a stunning performance of Keiko Abe’s marimba concerto Prism Rhapsody.

The final of the prestigious competition, delayed from 2020 due to the pandemic, took place at Manchester’s Bridgewater Hall under socially distanced restrictions with no audience. It featured the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Mark Wigglesworth.

On winning the competition, Fang, who has been performing around the world since he was 11 and is a member of the China Youth Percussion Orchestra, said: ‘I am honoured and delighted to win BBC Young Musician 2020, and feel so lucky considering the talent of the other finalists. The BBC team is amazing and I want to thank them and my schools, Chetham’s School of Music and Qingdao Percussion College, for supporting me through the whole programme in every possible way.’

Fang’s win marks the first time in 23 years since a percussionist has lifted the famous trophy, the last being RNCM alumnus Adrian Spillet in 1998.

Le Yu said on social media: ‘As a teacher I am just proud of this young man, I remember clearly in 2016 how we met in Shanghai when he took the first prize at the national competition and then Fang came to the UK in 2018 to study, just in 2 years how much he has improved. Bravo!’

4 May 2021

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