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Essex Young Musician of the Year

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Essex Young Musician of the Year 2021 • Awards

The winner of the 1st Prize of £1,000, The Essex Young Musician of the Year Cup, and recital engagements, was Madeline Robinson (24) soprano.

The 2nd prize of £400, The Hall Memorial Prize and Cup, was won by Holly Putt (23) mezzo-soprano from Chelmsford.

The other prizewinners were:

3rd Prize £300 – The Waitrose Prize and medal – Melinda Blackman (26) violin from Colchester

4th Prize £200 – The Ongar Round Table Prize and Medal – Justin Man (16) piano from Harlow

5th Prize £100 – The Arts Society West Essex Prize adn Medal – Isabella Pincombe (23) oboe from Southend

6th Prize £75 – The Ongar Music Club Prize – Amy Ward (21) flute from Colchester

Two further prizes for under 19s were also awarded.

The Geoffrey Timms Memorial Prize of £100 and Medal - Elizabeth Loboda (17) Oboe from Saffron Walden

The Bert Webster Memorial Prize of £100 Chimes Music Tokens and Medal - Nell Ramdenee (16) Piano from South Ockendon.


The Final Round of this year's competition was held Zoom on 4th July. To download the souvenir competition programme, click here: Final Round Programme.

The First Round of this year's Essex Young Musician of the Year competition was held online on 6th June.
The programme can be downloaded by clicking this link: First Round Programme

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The John Lill Awards

Ongar Music Club is delighted to announce the 2021 Essex Young Musician of the Year competition. Due to the uncertainty of the current situation, this will be held in two rounds – the first being by way of a single, unedited video recording. Successful candidates will proceed to the final round on Sunday the 4th July at 2:00pm. This will take the form of EITHER an online concert with a further video submission OR, if permitted, a live concert to be held in Ongar.

If the final round is online, the performances will be presented in a 'Zoom' meeting for candidates and adjudicators. Members of the public will be able to purchase access to the final round. All candidates will receive a written report on their performances.

Full details of the competition are in the new prospectus which you can download by CLICKING HERE.The closing date for entries is the 31st May 2021.

In addition to the pubished details of the first prize, for 2021 this will also include the offer of engagements by the Roman River Festival and the Great Dunmow Town Band, as part of their Last Night of the Proms concert in October.

At the foot of this page are links to files detailing the Conditions of Entry, Video Guidance and Data and Performance Protection. Proceeding to enter the competition indicates that you have read these files and that you agree to the conditions. Candidates are responsible for ensuring that their accompanying pianist (if applicable) also accepts the conditions detailed in these files.

When candidates are ready to apply, they should CLICK HERE to proceed to the online Entry Form. You will need to enter the password EYM84. Once an entry form has been submitted and verified, the candidate will receive details of how to upload their first round video.

If you need any further information, please contact the administrator, Roderick Elms, who will be pleased to help: administrator@ongarmusicclub.org.uk

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

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 26 or under (for 2021 only) who were born, educated or currently reside in Essex (this includes the old Essex towns of Ilford, Wanstead and Woodford).


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 (left) to hold for one year, and the offer of a recital for Ongar Music Club.

Other generous cash prizes will be awarded. 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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Essex Young Musician of the year 2021 • First Round

The First Round performances for this year's competition are to be held online. You can join this special concert on 6th June at 3:00 pm by clicking here.

You can also download the concert programme, free of charge, by clicking here.

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Messages from previous finalists ...

It really meant a lot to me winning the EYMY especially considering the calibre of past winners. The Final was held on an incredibly warm day in Ongar and I was slightly nervous. The Budworth Hall in Ongar was full, which elevated the mercury levels, but I was so excited to have reached the final.
Winning certainly helped my career trajectory to join the London Philharmonic.

Gregory Walmsley – cellist, London Philharmonic Orchestra

I greatly valued the prize, and the confidence shown in giving me the recital, ‘kick-started’ me into making the effort to achieve a ‘First’ at the Guildhall [School of Music and Drama] after which I applied for, and was offered, the position of Principal Horn of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra.

Elspeth Dutch – Principal Horn, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra

Entering the competition was a crucial stepping stone in my career. It offered me a platform to hone my performance skills, gaining vital experience in several languages and genres. Soon afterwards, I began the most exciting musical journey of my career thus far, joining the a cappella group, The King's Singers. I'd certainly encourage any aspiring performer to enter this fabulous competition!

Timothy Wayne-Wright – former member of The Kings Singers

The competition provided an amazing opportunity to explore repertoire, to put together interesting and challenging recital programmes and to develop the skills needed to perform in front of an audience. I was twelve when I first entered the competition but I remember how friendly and encouraging the audience was. Winning the title gave me the confidence and experience to embark on a career in music which has taken me to many countries all around the world.

Suzie Thorn – Principal Oboe, RTÉ Concert Orchestra

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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

Click here to see Benjamin Grosvenor, Essex Young Musician of the Year 2003 in the BBC Young Musician Final of 2004

Click here to see Benjamin Grosvenor, Essex Young Musician of the Year 2003, discussing his work and preparation

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

Competition Support Files

Click below to download a file as a PDF

Conditions of Entry  •  Video Guidance  • Data and Performance Protection