It is well-known that the BBC Young Musician competition is one of the most welcome competitions for young musicians in the UK in view of its challenging and exciting structure and media coverage.
I have affection and appreciation for this competition due to my experiences in it. In 2010 when I was 13, I was a category finalist who was lucky enough to win the entire Walter Todds Bursary that year. In 2012 I won the keyboard category, got past the semi-final, and became one of the three grand finalists. After that, I thought I’d happily bid farewell to the competition, subsequently turning to some prestigious international ones (e.g. winning the 3rd Prize in the Minnesota International E-Piano Competition in 2013, 1st Prize of the 4th International Franz Liszt Piano Competition in Weimar in 2014, the 1st Prize at the Cleveland International Young Artists Piano Competition in 2015, and the 9th Grand Prix Interlaken Classics International Piano Competition 2016).
Naturally I didn’t apply for the BBC Young Musician Competition in 2014.
However, for the 2016 competition, I had reached my decision, after much hesitation, to participate in it again for a variety of reasons. The principal reason was rooted in my feelings towards the audience of my performances and music. For the past years, I have been thankful to the people who attended my concerts and showed interest in my performances and compositions. In my conversations with them after the concerts, some people by chance turned to the topic of the BBC Young Musician competition. They encouraged me to participate in the competition again if I was still eligible and hoped to see me on the screen. Also, one of the key aspects of eligibility according to the rules is not whether you were a past finalist; it is your age, and I was within that limitation, although it would be my final chance. I thus intended to take this platform to perform for the people who have been caring for my progress.
Moreover, I have always had a strong interest in music composition. Between 2013 and 2014, I composed a concerto called ‘The Wilderness’, scored for solo piano and full symphony orchestra, which was premiered in China in 2014 and performed in Manchester in 2015. It was enthusiastically received with critical acclaim from the press and audience. I cherished the aspiration that if I could reach the grand final in 2016, I would like to play my concerto for a broader audience, from which I might also get reviews and feedback from other musicians, helping my further revision on the work, as it will be performed again with the National Theatre and Dance Orchestra in Beijing this summer.
Nevertheless, in hindsight, I guess I might have made a wrong decision from the beginning to enter again, according to some of my teachers and friends at least. Indeed, the first words the judges said to me after the category final were 'why, why, why did you enter again…?’.
Of course I have learnt a lot from the competition. I sincerely congratulate on the performances of the other competitors and the winner’s success. It is so encouraging to see that through the inspiration from BBC Young Musician, more and more young musicians are developing to high musical standards in this country and becoming enriched by music. I would like to thank all the concerned BBC staff members for their hard work on the documentaries, and all of the audience for their understanding of my thinking and intention. And at the end of the day, being a musician is centred on one’s everlasting love for music, and one’s desire to serve and share the beauty of music with others.