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Essex Young Musician of the Year

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The John Lill Awards

It is with great regret that due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, and the guidance available from HM Government, the Committee of Ongar Music Club feels that there is no alternative but to cancel this year’s Essex Young Musician of the Year Competition. The next Competition will be in 2021, but the age limit will be raised to twenty-six for that one occasion, so that no entrants will miss the opportunity of entering the competition.

If you need any further information, please contact

It is particularly important that potential applicants download the Competition Prospectus and thoroughly read the Competition Requirements and the Conditions of Entry. Submitting your entry will be your acceptance of both of these.

PICTURED TOP: Essex Young Musician of the Year 2019 • Finalists

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The competition ...

The Competition was established in 1984 through the enthusiasm of key members of Ongar Music Club. It aims to support and encourage young Essex musicians of talent and potential, who will enjoy competing and performing in a welcoming, pleasant environment. Past prize winners have gone on to enjoy successful professional careers.

The Essex Young Musician of the Year Competition is open to instrumentalists and singers aged 25 or under who were born, educated or currently reside in Essex. John Lill CBE, the distinguished Essex-born pianist and President of Ongar Music Club, has generously agreed to Awards in his name being presented to the finalists in this annual competition.


The winner of the competition will receive a  prize of £1,000, the John Lill Awards Trophy (opposite) to hold for one year and the offer of a recital for Ongar Music Club.

Other prizes will be awarded, totalling more than £1,000. Many of these have been bequeathed or donated by longstanding supporters of this competition and Ongar Music Club.

Two further prizes of will be awarded to the two candidates under 19, not already prizewinners in the current competition, who have given the most outstanding performances in their age group.

Full details of the prizes and jury will be announced in early June.

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Past winners ...

Anthony Marwood violin, Alison Baker piano, Jane Webster soprano, Pauline Dowse cello, Helen Knief viola, Gregory Bennett Walmsley cello, Nikos Zarb viola, Zoë Mather piano, Sarah Barnes cello, Siân Philipps violin, Rachel Barnes bassoon, James Scannell saxophone, Joseph Tong piano, Anthony Woollard cello,, Tammy Se violin, Clive Carroll guitar, Janey Miller oboe, Jane Stoneham marimba, Thomas Oxley bassoon, Benjamin Grosvenor piano, Victoria Goldsmith violin, Suzanne Thorn oboe, Sophie Biebuyck soprano, Timothy Wayne-Wright counter-tenor, Tamsin Thorn bassoon, Joanna Marie Skillett soprano, Sarah-Jane Lewis mezzo-soprano, Matthew Lewis trombone, Matthew Paris double-bass, Rebecca Leung piano, William Knight clarinet, Elodie Chousmer-Howelles violin, Rebecca Silverman soprano, Kayleigh McEvoy soprano, Jamie Cochrane piano, Michael Lafferty baritone

Pictured: Michael Lafferty, Essex Young Musician of the Year, 2019