In the senior Helen Wareham final adjudicator Gill Johnston awarded the string prize to double-bassist Harrison White for his dextrous virtuosity. A highlight of the evening was (after a gap of many years) hearing an organist win a prize: Jakub Bartoszewski in a dignified rendition of Bach’s BWV 578. Noah Frett (like the talented Tim Ayling) was a finalist in two categories, but it was for his sheer entertainment value on the trumpet, especially in the jazzy moments, which echoed his ‘A train’ on piano, that he won the brass competition. Phoebe Bagge sang first and came first, with her Gluck aria, in the vocal section and flautist Cathy Hobbs’s brave decision to play Debussy’s unaccompanied ‘Syrinx’ gave her the woodwind prize.
Given her huge experience, the adjudicator’s comment that the musical standards were ‘phenomenally high’ was a deserved compliment to the music staff, not least the evening’s piano accompanist Richard Saxel.