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Laura van der Heijden, 15, wins BBC Young Musician

A Sussex cellist – half-Dutch, half-Swiss – ran away tonight with the career-making BBC Young Musician of the Year, cresting to triumph on the Walton concerto. If the Nicola Benedetti story is anything to go by, Laura will go from here to eternity.

The low-key BBC presentation of the final posed a refreshing contrast to the general run of TV  talent contests and the absence of audience hysteria had me standing on my chair and yelling with relief.

Yet low-key can be taken too far. The judges decision was not explained to the audience, it was announced by a shrinking violet in a soporific monotone and there was no opportunity for the winner to give a final display of her gift.

Worse, the BBC website was not updated with result.

Come on, guys, this is about performance,¬†isn’t it?

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  1. Caroline Bagot says:

    I completely agree that the BBC took low-key to a ridiculous level and the judges announcement was dreadful. It would also have been nice to hear some comments from the judges. I did, however, think that Laura was such a lovely performer with so much maturity and a worthy winner.

  2. Martin Reynolds says:

    Worthy winner indeed. I’m looking forward to her CD of the Walton which was totally new to me.

  3. John Hames says:

    No, I don’t agree. It was dignified, and thankfully without those ridiculous pauses before the winner’s name was announced. If anything, there was too much guff about the performers’ school lives etc., but one recognises that one purpose of the competition is to enthuse the country’s youth if possible. The presentation generally made one even more acutely aware of how disgusting nearly all other “talent” shows have become. And I doubt if the judges’ decision could have been explained to the audience in a way that would have been accurate while still making sense to the public!

  4. Laura was indeed a worthy winner. Overall I thought the BBC’s presentation was fantastic – to sponsor and broadcast such a competition is truly enlightened.
    Maybe the website wasn’t updated so as not to spoil it for iPlayer viewers?!

    • Martin Goodwin says:

      I agree that Laura was a worthy winner, but cannot support your view that the BBC presentation was fantastic, at least during the sectional rounds, where it sacrificed the broadcast of complete movements in favour of constant interruptions from the presenter and heavy editing. The judges commented in particular on Laura’s playing of the brahms sonata, but I never heard it all the way through!

  5. clive greenwood says:

    In the preliminary round (String section) it was quickly apparent that Laura van der Heijden has a special talent, with a relaxed, convincing stage presence, interacting with her accompanist. She carried this into the semi-final and final with a maturity beyond her years. I am probably not the only music-lover who cannot help wondering if, as her musicianship develops, we will one day rate her with Jacqueline Du Pre, whom I saw perform in the 1960′s.

    Was Laura’s musicianship greater than the other two finalists? I must say that I found Yuan Fan Yang’s performance of the Greig compelling listening; his timing on some of the most lyrical passages was exquisite. Was it not brave of him to choose a concerto known so well by so many of us? He is assured a great career as a solo pianist.

  6. JR Wright says:

    A lovely performance of the Walton concerto, which increased my appreciation of that music. A worthy winner. In respect of the manner in which the programme was presented, it was excellent; so cultured, and thus a pleasure to watch.

  7. John Hames says:

    By the way, the BBC website repeatedly idenfifies Clemency Burton-Hill as Sara Mohr-Pietsch. Get a grip!

  8. Ian Tegner says:

    Thank goodness for Norman Lebrecht. Otherwise I still would not know who won.

  9. Richard Wheldon says:

    Why do we need separate presenters? Come to that, why do we need CB-H at all??
    Sara does it all so much better in every way.

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