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18-year-old percussionist Jordan Ashman from Milton wins BBC Young Musician 2022 with ‘exquisite’ performance





An 18-year-old percussionist from Milton has been named the winner of the BBC Young Musician 2022 competition after a performance described as ‘magic’.

Jordan Ashman, who attended Impington Village College and Hills Road Sixth Form College, was revealed as the winner of the coveted title during a grand final on BBC Four and BBC Radio 3 this evening (Sunday, October 9).

He played the drums, marimba, vibraphone and a car’s brake drum during the performance.

Jordan Ashman, 18, from Milton, has won BBC Young Musician 2022. Pictures: BBC Pictures
Jordan Ashman, 18, from Milton, has won BBC Young Musician 2022. Pictures: BBC Pictures

The teenager began playing on a drum kit when he was aged seven and soon expanded into percussion.

He is now studying at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire and has played with the National Children’s Orchestra, National Youth Orchestra and the National Youth Brass Band.

Jordan impressed the judges with his performance of American composer Jennifer Higdon’s Percussion Concerto, which was written in 2005 for celebrated percussionist Colin Currie. Scoring for a mix of pitched and non-pitched instruments, he was accompanied by the BBC Philharmonic conducted by Mark Wigglesworth.

The 18-year-old, who won the percussion final filmed in July at Saffron Hall in Saffron Walden to reach the grand final, said: “Taking part in BBC Young Musician 2022 was an incredible experience. Working on the Jennifer Higdon Percussion Concerto with Mark Wigglesworth in the Grand Final, and performing alongside such amazing musicians including the other competitors and the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra was something that I will never forget.

“The experience of playing to so many people in the Bridgewater Hall and Saffron Hall was breathtaking.

“I was, and still am, really excited to showcase what I and all the different percussion instruments can do, and I hope that I have greatly increased people’s understanding of percussion and that they can see how vibrant, virtuosic, expressive and dynamic the percussion can be.

“It is still only starting to sink in that I won, but I am really excited for the opportunities that may now come my way.”

The grand final was presented by trailblazing saxophonist and broadcaster Jess Gillam - who was herself a competition finalist in 2016 - along with classical soul pianist, composer and producer Alexis Ffrench and BBC Young Musician regular Josie d’Arby.

The panel was chaired by Anna Lapwood, an organist, broadcaster and director of music at Pembroke College, Cambridge, and included BBC Radio 3’s editor for live music Emma Bloxham, Southbank Centre’s head of classical music Toks Dada, conductor Ben Gernon, and sitar player, composer and producer Anoushka Shankar.

Anna said: “Jordan Ashman’s performance started not with loud, flashy playing, but with exquisite, gentle beauty. He held the entire room throughout that delicate opening and kept that magic through his whole performance.

“Jordan combined emotional expression with an easy, assured technique, and moments of brilliance that made all of us catch our breath.

“Throughout the competition, all five finalists demonstrated a bravery and commitment to excellence that was incredibly moving, showing us that tradition and innovation don’t need to be mutually exclusive but can go hand in hand. Bravo to them all, and to all the other extraordinarily talented young musicians who have been a part of this process.”

Jordan Ashman with fellow musicians in the earlier BBC Young Musician 2022 Percussion Final, recorded at Saffron Hall in July, which he won to reach the grand final. From left, Sophie Warner, Joshua Gearing, Eric Zhang, Jordan Ashman and George Garnett. Picture: BBC Young Musician
Jordan Ashman with fellow musicians in the earlier BBC Young Musician 2022 Percussion Final, recorded at Saffron Hall in July, which he won to reach the grand final. From left, Sophie Warner, Joshua Gearing, Eric Zhang, Jordan Ashman and George Garnett. Picture: BBC Young Musician

The final was filmed on September 29 at Manchester’s Bridgewater Hall and also featured stunning performances by the other four 2022 BBC Young Musician category winners: 19-year-old trumpeter Sasha Canter, a Royal Academy of Music student from Oxfordshire, 18-year-old pianist Ethan Loch from Glasgow, who is studying at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, 17-year-old flautist Sofía Patterson-Gutiérrez, from Stockport, who is in her final year at Chetham’s School of Music, and viola player Jaren Ziegler, also 17, from London, a Junior Royal Academy of Music student and A-level student at University College School.

Suzy Klein, BBC head of arts and Classical Music TV, said: “It was a joy to witness all the talent and determination on display as part of the competition this year. These young musicians are the future of the art form, and show audiences that classical music is in constant evolution and that new generations find inspiration in so many different places. We wish Jordan and all the incredibly talented Finalists the best for their future careers.”

The 2020 title was also won by a percussionist - Fang Zhang earned it at Bridgewater Hall in May last year after the final was delayed by thel pandemic.

Other former BBC Young Musician winners include classical music stars such as cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason, violinist Nicola Benedetti and clarinettist Mark Simpson.

The BBC Young Musician 2022 Grand Final is now available on iPlayer for 12 months, and BBC Sounds for 30 days.



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