Island pianist Thomas wins BBC Young Musician keyboard final

Isle of Wight pianist Thomas Luke has been crowned the BBC Young Musician 2020 for the keyboard category. Thomas, 16, and a pupil at Ryde School, was named the keyboard winner, after it was broadcast on BBC Four this evening (Sunday).

The competition was pre-recorded before the lockdown and took place at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in Cardiff, and Thomas is the first semi-finalist to be announced as part of the 2020 edition of the contest.

He said: “After my performance I heard the audience cheer. It was an amazing feeling because it confirmed to me that I had communicated well with them which is what music is all about.

“When I heard the announcement that I had won, I was shocked. Having watched the BBC Young Musician competition for years, to hear my own name announced as the keyboard winner was just insane! It took a while to sink in. Much of what happened next was a blur.”

He added: “I hope that the exposure I will receive from winning the keyboard category will serve as a useful accolade for my future as a performer.”

Paul Bullock, BBC Young Musician Executive Editor, said: “The start of a new series of BBC Young Musician is always something to celebrate, showcasing as it does the very best of the UK’s young classical performers. Keyboard is always a category that thrills with its technical demands and rich repertoire.

“So many of today’s most distinguished UK pianists have taken part in this competition and it is exciting to see the next generation. Thomas gave a beautiful performance that demonstrated his technical ability alongside real musicality. Congratulations to him and all the keyboard finalists.”

The BBC Young Musician Semi Final and Grand Final are currently scheduled for broadcast in the autumn, along with the Final of BBC Young Jazz Musician 2020 which will be staged as part of the EFG London Jazz Festival in November.

As the keyboard winner, Thomas will be up against the winners of the woodwind, brass, percussion and strings categories in the semi-finals and final. The other four categories are being broadcast on BBC Four over the next four Sunday evenings.