Music student celebrates ‘the versatility of percussion’ following BBC Young Musician win


A Birmingham City University music student is celebrating today after being crowned BBC Young Musician of the Year 2022, following a ‘stylish and committed’ performance using a wide range of instruments – from marimbas and crotales to kitchen bowls and car brake drums.

Percussion courses at

Royal Birmingham Conservatoire

18-year-old percussionist Jordan Ashman, who is in the first year of study for a BMus at Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, was announced as the winner of the prestigious competition at the Grand Final, held at Manchester's Bridgewater Hall.

Speaking after his win, the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire student said: “I feel really lucky to have had the experience of playing an amazing concerto with an incredible orchestra in front of so many people - I've learnt so much from it.

Professor Shirley Thompson, Interim Principal at Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, said: “Jordan deserves huge congratulations for such a wonderful achievement, marking a tremendous start to his undergraduate studies here at Royal Birmingham Conservatoire.

“We are all incredibly proud to have him as part of the RBC community and look forward to being there to support him following such an exciting and pivotal moment in his career.”

The announcement was made during the broadcast of the Competition’s Grand Final on BBC Four and BBC Radio 3 on Sunday 9 October 2022.

Jordan began playing the drum kit when he was seven and soon expanded into percussion.

The musician, from Cambridgeshire, has played with the National Children’s Orchestra, National Youth Orchestra and the National Youth Brass Band.

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

The panel was chaired by organist, director of music at Pembroke College and broadcaster Anna Lapwood, 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.

Toby Kearney, Head of Percussion at Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, said: “Jordan's outstanding performance was jaw-droppingly exciting, stylish and committed - his risk-taking playing is full of joy and displays musicality and flair way beyond his years. I'm so proud of Jordan and delighted he chose to study at RBC - what a way to start!

“The percussion department at Royal Birmingham Conservatoire places versatility and employability at the heart of its courses with a cutting-edge curriculum nurturing all students’ strengths and weaknesses individually.

“Percussion students are incredibly busy with countless performances and opportunities every year and our roster of highly acclaimed specialist tutors give students and graduates the skills and opportunities they need to build a successful career.”

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