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Friday, November 06, 2020

BBC Four celebrates young British jazz with BBC Young Jazz Musician 2020 Final broadcast as part of the EFG London Jazz Festival - Sunday 22 November at 7pm on BBC Four

(Press release)

The biennial celebration of the most talented up-and-coming musicians and singers on the British jazz scene, BBC Young Jazz Musician 2020 reaches its conclusion with a socially-distanced Final at Cadogan Hall on Saturday 14 November, when the five shortlisted finalists – aged 18 to 22 -  showcase their talents accompanied by the acclaimed Nikki Yeoh’s Infinitum, led by British jazz composer and pianist Nikki Yeoh.

In collaboration with the EFG London Jazz Festival and supported by the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music, the BBC Young Jazz Musician Final – part of the 2020 Festival and taking place in an empty venue as per current government guidelines -  will be broadcast to music lovers all over the country on BBC Four on Sunday 22 November, presented by award-winning saxophonist, composer, and broadcaster YolanDa Brown.

The five finalists are 21-year-old saxophonist Matt Carmichael, from Glasgow and currently a student at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland; 20-year-old saxophonist Alex Clarke, born in South Cheshire and already taking her first steps in the world of professional music; 22-year-old pianist Deschanel Gordon, from Hackney, London and a recent graduate at Trinity Laban; 21-year-old guitarist Ralph Porrett, from Telford, Shropshire and currently a student at Guildhall School of Music and Drama; and 18-year-old double bassist Kielan Sheard, originally from Hertfordshire, who has just joined Trinity Laban.

These outstanding young musicians will each perform a 15-minute set in front of a panel including some of the most celebrated British instrumentalists on the current international jazz scene: trailblazing saxophonist Nubya Garcia; vibraphonist, multi-instrumentalist and music educator Orphy Robinson; and trumpeter and composer Guy Barker. The judges and the audience at home will listen to the finalists as they present music from the standard jazz repertoire, by legends of the genre such as Coltrane, Brubeck, Monk, and Parricelli among others, with each set including at least one piece composed or arranged by the young musicians themselves.

On stage with the competitors, providing world-class accompaniment, will be Nikki Yeoh’s Infinitum with Yeoh leading her rhythm section of siblings Michael Mondesir (bass) and Mark Mondesir (drums).

To get to the Final, the young musicians made it through two previous rounds, with a Semi Final including 25 competitors  who were judged by another panel of jazz stars: pianist Zoe Rahman,  saxophonist Tim Garland, and trumpeter Byron Wallen.

The winner of the 2018 edition was Birmingham saxophonist Xhosa Cole – the Breakthrough Act of the Year at the 2020 Jazz FM Awards and previously the Jazz Newcomer of the Year in the 2019 Parliamentary Jazz Awards. BBC Four audiences can enjoy a guest performance by the rising star musician, as Cole will be returning to the competition for a special set as part of the BBC Young Jazz Musician 2020 Final.

Head of BBC Music TV Commissioning, Jan Younghusband, says: “We are once again delighted to shine a light on some exceptional new jazz talent. We wish the young stars all the best for their performances. We are also grateful to our discerning judging panel and glad of the chance to bring live music to our audiences.

BBC Young Musician Executive Editor, Paul Bullock, says: “It is a source particular joy at this time to showcase these special young performers and provide BBC audiences with a chance to hear their music. BBC Young Musician, in all its forms, is by definition about the future. We look forward to better times ahead and the chance to witness the careers of these young musicians as they continue to develop in the years to come.”

YolanDa Brown says: “What a year 2020 has been,  throughout this year music has been an outlet and a source of strength to many. I am absolutely delighted to present the BBC Young Jazz Musician Finals again and pleased that the show must go on, in a safe socially distanced way. Witnessing the most outstanding young musicians hone their craft and chase their dreams is the most rewarding feeling and I cannot wait to watch it all from Stage Right in between links."

Nikki Yeoh says: “I’m overjoyed to be performing with some of the UK’s finest young jazz musicians. After a year where live music has been scarce, this concert will be full of energy and creative vibrancy as we explore these artist’s compositions alongside fresh arrangements of jazz standards.”

In addition to the television coverage on BBC Four,  iPlayer will host the BBC Young Jazz Musician Final for 12 months after initial broadcast.

The celebration of inspiring young British musical talent continues on BBC Four in Spring 2021 with the BBC Young Musician 2020 classical Semi-Final & Grand Final, with the Category Finals available on iPlayer in the run up to the competition’s climax. Recorded pre-lockdown at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in Cardiff, the Semi-Final will see the five category finalists (17-year-old pianist Thomas Luke; 19-year-old oboist Ewan Millar; 18-year-old French horn player Annemarie Federle; 17-year-old percussionist Fang Zhang; and 19-year-old violinist Coco Tomita) perform to gain a place in the Grand Final.

BBC Young Musician and BBC Young Jazz Musician 2020 are managed and produced by BBC Studios Music and Entertainment Wales.

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