After the entire UK media managed to ignore the birth of a star at BBC Young Musician of the Year, the Guardian’s stand-in diarist took a sour swipe at me this morning for pointing out this omission. The tabloid Daily Mirror woke up to notice that Laura earned £498,000 less in prize money than Simon Cowell paid out the night before to a performing dog. Needless to say, the picture that illustrated the Mirror’s comment was of the dancing dog.
A lone review appeared today in some editions of the Times (not online). Richard Morrison writes:
I’m referring to the best TV talent show by a mile — the BBC Young Musician of the Year, which reached its riveting final on Sunday while some minor sporting thing was happening elsewhere. It was the most exciting for years. The winner was 15-year-old Laura van der Heijden, whose mesmerising performance of the rarely-played Walton Cello Concerto sparked comparisons with the young Jacqueline du Pré. Indeed, it may have been her unexpected choice of work that gave her the edge over Edinburgh-born Yuanfan Yang, who plumped for the hackneyed Grieg Piano Concerto. There’s another reason to cheer Laura’s win. She may be half-Swiss and half-Dutch, but she has grown up in Sussex and
attends a state comprehensive in East Grinstead. Her victory will be a timely boost to the campaign to keep music alive in
state schools at a time when it is doubly threatened by curriculum changes and savage funding cuts.
The BBC, 18 hours late, updated its websites to report the competition results. Various senior BBC execs have privately expressed their irritation with the website for failing to reflect BBC initiatives (not something that has ever troubled the Murdoch media).
For readers abroad, here’s a first clip of Laura playing the Walton concerto that won her the prize.