Page 3 Profile: Martin Bartlett, young musician of the year


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A star is born?

Almost certainly. Martin’s talents with a piano shone through to reach last night’s final at Usher Hall in Edinburgh, where his performance of Rachmaninov’s “Rhapsody on a Themes of Paganini” overcame efforts from percussionist Elliott Gaston-Ross and recorder-player Sophie Westbrooke, both 15.

He can’t have become this good overnight

The 17-year-old from Essex began the piano at six and since the age of eight he has studied at the Royal College of Music Junior Department. Martin also achieved Grade 8 Distinctions in bassoon and recorder before the age of 12.

What’s this competition’s  track record like?

Past winners have gone on to lead the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain, studied at the Royal College of Music, become the youngest soloist to appear on the first night of The Proms and even collected an MBE.


Nicola Benedetti, now 26, won the competition 10 years ago at the same location. The Scottish violinist agreed to a £1m, six-album recording contract. In September 2012 she played at the Last Night of the Proms and was awarded her MBE in the 2013 New Year’s Honours list.