The youngest competitor in the finals of the Gloucestershire Young Musician of the Year 2022 wowed the judges and won the title.
But while 15-year-old Cheltenham College violinist Kimmy Kwok was the judges’ favourite, she wasn’t the audience’s. They chose 17-year-old Sir Thomas Rich’s School violinist Isaac Williams in a hotly contested finals at Pittville Pump Room on Tuesday night.
Delayed for a year because of the pandemic, the competition made an exciting comeback, dogged at times by Covid, which saw six of the original 13 contestants drop out – and also one of the judges.
Kimmy was one of five competitors, who gave polished performances during the evening, compered by Glyn Oxley, musical director of the organisers Gloucestershire Symphony Orchestra.
As soon as it was over Kimmy telephoned her parents in Hong Kong. She said: “I am really grateful for this prize, it was a huge opportunity for me.”
The first prize of £500 was presented to her by Brimpsfield Music Society chair Patrick Daly and she received the Hewitt Jones Trophy from composer Thomas Hewitt Jones.
Presenting the special audience prize of £200 to Isaac was his teacher Matt Denton, representing sponsors the Carducci Music Trust. Runners-up prizes of £50 were presented by Lavinia Sidgwick of The Summerfield Charitable Trust.
The three runners-up were former Sir Thomas Rich’s Grammar School pupil Aaron Le Maistre,19, who is now studying at the Royal Northern College of Music, cellist Souny Park, 17, from Cheltenham Ladies’ College and fellow pupil violinist Vanessa Yip, 16.
The judging panel comprised chairman Professor Derek Aviss, of Trinity Laban and concert pianist Pippa Harrison.