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BBC Young Musician: Percussionist Fang Zhang wins

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Fang Zhang

Teenage percussionist Fang Zhang has been named BBC Young Musician of 2020.

The 17-year-old took the title with a virtuoso performance of Keiko Abe’s marimba concerto Prism Rhapsody, which required him to play with six mallets simultaneously.

His playing “elicited a kaleidoscope of colours and expression” that “deeply moved the jury”, said Angela Dixon, who chaired the judging panel.

Zhang’s victory came a year late, after the 2020 contest was delayed by Covid.

The Chinese-born musician said he was “honoured and delighted” to take the title, adding he felt “so lucky considering the talent of the other finalists”.

Previous Young Musician winners include celebrated classical musicians such as cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason and violinist Nicola Benedetti.

The delayed 2020 final was held under Covid-safe conditions at Manchester’s Bridgewater Hall.

Each of the three finalists played a full concerto with the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, led by conductor Mark Wigglesworth.

Zhang’s competition came from 18-year-old French horn player Annemarie Federle and 19-year old oboist Ewan Millar.

Wigglesworth said he was impressed by all three contestants, who had “shown a tremendous passion and determination to maintain their commitment to the competition across a year of uncertain silence”.

“They play with humility and respect but daring and personality too, encouraging all who hear them to look forward to more positive times ahead,” he added.

Zhang was born in China’s Henan province and has recently been studying at Chetham’s School of Music in Manchester.

He has been performing around the world since he was 11 and is a member of the China Youth Percussion Orchestra.

As well as the marimba, he plays snare drum timpani and vibraphone, and has won competitions including the China Youth Percussion Competition, the New York International Percussion Competition and the Tokyo International Percussion Competition.

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This post courtesy of uk-news

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