Meet our six 2021 judges
Joanna MacGregor is one of the world’s most innovative musicians, appearing as a concert pianist, curator, and collaborator. As a solo artist Joanna has performed in over eighty countries and appeared with many eminent conductors – Pierre Boulez, Sir Colin Davis, Valery Gergiev, Sir Simon Rattle and Michael Tilson Thomas amongst them – and orchestras, including London Symphony and Sydney Symphony orchestras, Chicago, Melbourne and Oslo Philharmonic orchestras, the Berlin Symphony and Salzburg Camerata.
She has premiered many landmark compositions, ranging from Sir Harrison Birtwistle and Django Bates to John Adams and James MacMillan. She performs regularly at major venues throughout the world, including Wigmore Hall, Southbank Centre and the Barbican in London, Sydney Opera House, Leipzig Gewandhaus, the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam and the Mozarteum in Salzburg.
Head of Piano at the Royal Academy of Music and Professor of the University of London, Joanna MacGregor is also the Artistic Director of Dartington International Summer School & Festival.
Sam Haywood has performed to critical acclaim in many of the world’s major concert halls. The Washington Post hailed his ‘dazzling, evocative playing’ and ‘lyrical sensitivity’ and the New York Times his ‘passionate flair and sparkling clarity’. He embraces a wide spectrum of the piano repertoire and is equally at home as a soloist or chamber musician or with accompanying Lieder. He has had a regular duo partnership with Joshua Bell since 2010 and often performs with cellist Steven Isserlis.
He has recorded two solo albums for Hyperion, one featuring the piano music of Julius Isserlis (grandfather of Steven Isserlis) and the other Charles Villiers Stanford’s preludes. His passion for period instruments led to a recording on Chopin’s own Pleyel piano, part of the Cobbe Collection. In 2013 Haywood co-founded Solent Music Festival in UK. The annual Lymington-based festival features highly varied programmes and projects in the local community. Guest artists have included the King’s Singers, the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, Steven Isserlis, Anthony Marwood, Michael Portillo, Mark Padmore and the Elias Quartet.
Natalie Clein OBE, Cello
Described by the Times as 'mesmerising' and 'soaringly passionate', British cellist Natalie Clein has built a distinguished career, regularly performing at major venues and with orchestras worldwide.
Natalie came to widespread attention at the age of sixteen when she won both the BBC Young Musician of the Year and the Eurovision Competition for Young Musicians in Warsaw. As a student she was awarded the Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother Scholarship by the Royal College of Music. She completed her studies with Heinrich Schiff in Vienna.
In 2015, Natalie was appointed Artist in Residence and Director of Musical Performance at Oxford University for 4 years, taking a leading role in concert programming, in developing new artistic projects, and in introducing new modes of teaching. A Bach project began in the autumn of 2016, along with visits from a number of leading contemporary composers.
She was a judge in the 2018 BBC Young Musician competition, and performed in a special BBC Prom celebrating the 40th anniversary of the competition.
A keen recital and chamber performer, she has recently performed Bach's Complete Cello Suites in London, Southampton and Oxford; and has curated a series of four concerts for BBC Radio 3 at LSO St Luke's. Natalie is a Professor at the Royal College of Music London and Music Academy Rostock. She plays the 'Simpson' Guadagnini cello of 1777.
Tasmin Little OBE, Violin
Tasmin Little has firmly established herself as one of today's leading international violinists. She has performed on every continent and in some of the most prestigious venues of the world. Her discography and performance schedule reflect her wide-ranging repertoire and she has given numerous World Premiere performances. She remains one of the few violinists to perform Ligeti's challenging Violin Concerto performing it in Berlin, New York, Salzburg, Amsterdam and Philadelphia.
Tasmin Little is a Fellow of the Guildhall School of Music and Drama (FGSM), a Vice President of the Elgar Society, an Ambassador for The Prince’s Foundation for Children and the Arts, and for Youth Music.
In 2016, she was awarded Honorary Membership of the Royal Academy of Music (Hon RAM) by the Academy and the University of London. In 2019, she won the BBC Music Magazine Personality of the Year Award. She is the recipient of the Gold Badge Award for Services to Music and in 2012 was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Birthday Honours List, for Services to Music. She plays a 1757 Giovanni Battista Guadagnini violin.
John Wallace CBE, Trumpet
John Wallace grew up in the Brass Band tradition in Scotland. In 1965 he toured Europe with the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain and went on to become Principal Trumpet with the Philharmonia Orchestra after periods with the Royal Philharmonic and London Symphony Orchestras as Assistant Principal.
In 1986, John created his flexible brass interest group, The Wallace Collection, who made over 30 solo and ensemble CDs and undertook a wide variety of performance tours and innovative musical projects. During his first career as a trumpet player, John played concertos with many conductors including Simon Rattle, Andrew Davis, Riccardo Muti, Giseppe Sinopoli, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Leonard Slatkin, and premiered new works by Malcolm Arnold, Peter Maxwell Davies, Harrison Birtwistle, James Macmillan, Tim Souster, Robert Saxton, Mark Anthony Turnage, HK Gruber and Dominic Muldeowny amongst many others.
In 2002 he became Principal of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, a multidisciplinary institution of Drama, Dance, Production, Screen and Music. He left this position in September 2014 to resume his musical career, reforming The Wallace Collection, and composing new music for brass.
John was awarded the OBE in 1995 in recognition of his distinguished services to Music, and the CBE in 2011 for services to Dance, Music and Drama in Scotland.
Kathryn Bryan, Flute
Katherine Bryan made her concerto debut at the age of 15 with Daniel Harding and the Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields in London and later made her US concerto debut at the Lincoln Centre with the Juilliard Orchestra. She has since performed as soloist with the BBC Philharmonic, Helsinki Philharmonic, Royal Scottish National, Hallé, Nurnberger Symphoniker, New York Philharmonic and English Baroque orchestras.
Katherine studied at Chetham's School of Music, Manchester and won a full scholarship to study flute at the Juilliard School, New York with Jeanne Baxtresser and Carol Wincenc. She was a prize winner at the Royal Over-Seas League Music Competition, the Young Concert Artists International Competition in New York and was a finalist in the BBC Young Musician of the Year for three consecutive competitions. She was awarded the Julius Isserlis Scholarship by the Royal Philharmonic Society. At the age of just 21, she was appointed Principal Flute with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra - a position she holds today in addition to appearing as concerto soloist with leading orchestras worldwide.
Katherine is currently a lecturer in flute at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and Chetham's School of Music in Manchester. She a regular Guest Principal with the Philharmonia Orchestra, and has also played Guest Principal with the London Philharmonic, BBC Symphony, BBC Scotttish, BBC Philharmonic, Royal Northern Sinfonia, Royal Philharmonic, Hallé, Seattle Symphony, Swedish Radio and London Symphony orchestras.