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Following the extremely successful launch of the Oxfordshire Concerto Competition in 2012, by the Oxford Philomusica in partnership with the Oxfordshire County Music Service, 2013 saw John return to conduct both the semi-final and final.  A notable strength of this competition is orchestral accompaniment in both semi-final and final; the Oxfordshire County Youth Orchestra and Oxford Philomusica (Oxford’s professional orchestra, resident at the University of Oxford), respectively.

The competition came to an exciting conclusion on Saturday 20 April 2013, with three finalists competing for an array of enviable prizes. Still only in their first year as undergraduate music students, Ellen Nugent (flute), Sarah Johnson (horn) and Makoto Nakata (violin) performed concerti by Liebermann, Strauss and Korngold respectively, to a warm reception from the audience and panel alike, in the Sheldonian Theatre, Oxford.

Chaired by OP Trustee Sir Curtis Price (Warden of New College and previously Principal of the Royal Academy of Music), the panel of judges included our own Marios Papadopoulos, conductor John Traill, Head of Oxfordshire County Music Service Tony Mealings, and guest judge clarinettist Mark Simpson. Ellen and Sarah both gave incredible performances with astounding technique and moving musicality in equal measure, but it was Makoto who stole the show with the spellbinding final performance of the evening, and walked out to rapturous applause to receive the winner’s trophy.

The prizes, presented by local MP Nicola Blackwood (an Oxford Music alumna herself), included £1,000 for the winner, with £500 each for Ellen (2nd) and Sarah (3rd). Makoto will also appear as a soloist with Oxford Philomusica in our 2013/14 concert series.

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