The ultimate UK talent contest for young classical performers, BBC Young Musician returns to BBC Four, Radio 3, iPlayer and Sounds this October for its 23rd instalment.

The biennial competition has been celebrating up-and-coming musical talents from across the UK for five decades, launching the careers of international stars such as Nicola Benedetti, Mark Simpson and Sheku Kanneh-Mason. BBC Young Musician 2020 was won by 18-year-old percussionist Fang Zhang, who was awarded the title in May 2021, at a Grand Final delayed by the global pandemic.

The 2022 BBC Young Music Category Finals were recorded in early July at Saffron Hall in Saffron Walden, Essex, and as per tradition will present some of the best young instrumentalists in the fields of brass, keyboard, percussion, strings and woodwind. The Category Finals were judged by panels chaired by organist, director of music at Pembroke College, and broadcaster Anna Lapwood, and included celebrated instrumentalists such as violinist Jennifer Pike, clarinettist Emma Johnson, horn player and BBC Young Musician 2016 category winner and Grand Finalist Ben Goldscheider, and percussionist Paul Philbert among others. Hour-long programmes of highlights from each Category Final will be broadcast on BBC Four over a week, starting on Sunday 2 October. They will be introduced by trailblazing saxophonist and broadcaster Jess Gillam – a competition finalist herself in 2016 – and classical soul pianist, composer, and producer Alexis Ffrench – making his TV presenting debut. Highlights from the Category Finals, introduced by Linton Stephens with contributions from Jess Gillam, will also be broadcast on BBC Radio 3 – Lunchtime Concert slot from Tuesday 4 to Friday 7 October.

The BBC Young Musician Grand Final, recorded at Manchester’s Bridgewater Hall on Thursday 29 September, is scheduled for broadcast on BBC Four and BBC Radio 3 on Sunday 9 October, with a presenting team featuring Jess Gillam, Alexis Ffrench and BBC Young Musician regular Josie d’Arby. The culmination of the contest will see the five Category Winners competing for the prestigious title. Each finalist will perform a concerto with the BBC Philharmonic led by Mark Wigglesworth in front of an expert jury chaired by Anna Lapwood and including 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.

Returning in Autumn 2022 is also BBC Young Jazz Musician, turning the focus on some of the most talented up-and-coming musicians and singers on the British jazz scene. During the Jazz Final, taking place at London’s Queen Elizabeth Hall on Saturday 19 November as part of the EFG London Jazz Festival, and broadcast on Sunday 20 November on BBC Four, five finalists will compete for the title, following in the footsteps of BBC Young Jazz Musician 2020 winner pianist Deschanel Gordon.

Suzy Klein, BBC Head of Arts and Classical Music TV, said: “BBC Young Musician has been bringing the next generation of classical stars to audiences since 1978. So it is with great pleasure that we herald its return to our screens with a new showcase of the most dynamic, charismatic and brilliant young classical performers from across the UK. We are so proud to be able to provide a platform for their artistry and to nurture these emerging stars in the crucial first steps of their careers.”

The BBC Young Musician 2022 Grand Final will be available to watch on BBC iPlayer for 12 months after initial broadcast, with audio available on BBC Sounds for 30 days.

BBC Young Musician 2022 and BBC Young Jazz Musician 2022 are managed and produced by BBC Studios Music and Entertainment Wales.