Classical Graduate Wins British Flute Society Young Artist Competition

By Gemma Cross


The British Flute Society (BFS) welcomed talented players to its flagship annual event, the Competitions, with winners including a Classical graduate from Leeds Conservatoire.

As a student Sarah was encouraged to explore new styles of music such as contemporary music that uses extended techniques, was involved in the conservatoire’s New Music Collective ensemble, and played in many performances including projects with Manchester Camerata and a Percussion Does Dance concert where she played a flute and percussion concerto.

Sarah’s winning performance in the Young Artist Competition was an interpretation of Voice, a contemporary solo piece by Japanese composer Toru Takemitsu. The piece draws inspiration from the sounds of Japanese music and theatre through the use of extended techniques. This, along with interjections of a poem, adds to the atmosphere and drama. Sarah’s interpretation was well received by the judges who commented that she held the audience in the palm of her hand. Sarah secured the William Bennett Prize of £2000, plus the opportunity to perform at a BFS event.

Following her win, Sarah said “it was such a joy to take part in the Young Artist Competition and to be the first recipient of the William Bennett Prize. It was a fantastic event and an honour to perform to Gareth Davies and Eliza Marshall - both highly respected flautists. As well as this, I have been inspired to explore some of the other performers’ pieces for my repertoire.”

In addition to the Competitions, the day included a trade exhibition which allowed visitors to try instruments and browse the latest gadgets and sheet music, plus a lunchtime concert featuring several of last year’s Competitions winners.

View the full list of 2024 prize winners on the British Flute Society website

Find out more about studying Classical at Leeds Conservatoire 



By Gemma Cross

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