Accomplished and detailed performance takes Beethoven piano prize

Sebastian Carrington

Junior Royal Birmingham Conservatoire student Sebastian Carrington has won the 2022 Beethoven Piano Society of Europe (BPSE) Junior Intercollegiate Piano Competition, seeing off the candidates from the Royal Academy and the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama.

Following preliminary internal auditions, 16-year-old Sebastian was selected to represent the Junior Department of Royal Birmingham Conservatoire in the junior piano competition in London on Sunday 3 April.

Sebastian became the first Junior Conservatoire pianist to win the prize with an accomplished and detailed performance of Beethoven’s Sonata No.17 in D minor, Op. 31/2 ‘Tempest’ and the compulsory Bagatelle in C major Op. 33/5.

The competition is open to students of the UK’s junior conservatoire departments and specialist music schools, with one representative selected from each institution. Sebastian faced contestants from the Royal Academy of Music, the Royal College of Music, the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, the Royal Northern College of Music, the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama as well as the Centre for Young Musicians (London).

The selection process involves each institution selecting their representative in preliminary auditions, with the winner then representing their respective junior department or school in the final, which was held at City Lit in central London.

Sebastian has been studying at the Junior Conservatoire with Visiting Tutor in Piano Jan Loeffler for seven years.

Sebastian said: “Competing in the BPSE Junior Intercollegiate Piano Competition this year has been an incredibly rewarding experience. Not only has learning the music been challenging yet fun, but playing to such a renowned jury and receiving advice from them was maybe the most incredible part of this whole event. It also allowed me to meet several other young pianists who share a love for Beethoven’s music.

“I’m so grateful for all the hard work and patience my piano teacher Jan Loeffler has shown me throughout my preparation for the competition, combined with the level of detail that he has helped me to recognise in the score. I’d also like to express my utmost appreciation for the tremendous support from Future Talent, and I can never thank Royal Birmingham Conservatoire enough for believing in me and presenting me with the opportunities to learn and progress. Finally, I’d like to thank my mother for her support; I wouldn’t be where I am today without her.”

Head of Junior Conservatoire Timothy English said: “I am absolutely delighted by Sebastian’s achievement in winning this prestigious prize. He is an outstandingly talented student who has benefitted from the exceptional teaching that Jan Loeffler delivers as part of a world-class piano department.”

Pictured (left to right): Chairman of the adjudication panel Enrique Graf, Angela Brownridge, Sebastian Carrington, Visiting Tutor in Piano Jan Loeffler, Yulia Chaplina

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