The initial Bardi Young Musician concert took place in June 2012 at Fraser Noble Concert Hall, and featured a 10-year-old player, who had been made known to the Bardi Symphony Orchestra by his piano teacher. The concert attracted significant local newspaper coverage, and a capacity audience of about 250.
It was subsequently decided that the competition should take place annually, focusing on orchestral instruments. Up to 2020 instrumental categories were rotated each year through strings, brass, and wind, but since 2022 the competition has been relaunched to be open to players of any orchestral instrument (strings, wind, brass and percussion) aged 18 and under and of Grade Eight standard or equivalent.
While the principle of the Bardi Young Musician concert series probably cannot be ‘patented’ in any way, the Committee will make every effort to ensure that the concept and the distinctive title remain unique within the Leicester, Leicestershire & Rutland area.
At a Bardi Symphony Orchestra Committee meeting on 22 September 2015, the originally-agreed (May 2013) process of identifying and selecting a local young musician was reviewed, to ensure – consistent with the Orchestra’s charitable status – continuation of a transparent process. The process has once again been reviewed for 2022 to streamline some aspects of the process. The two principal issues covered by this process are eligibility and selection.
The concept of the Bardi Young Musician series is based on two factors – the age of the individual musician, and recognition that it is essentially a local event.
The term ‘Young Musician’ could cover a wide range of ages and abilities. The benchmark set by the inaugural 2012 event demonstrated the value, in terms of encouragement, media interest, and potential sponsorship, of the musician being clearly a young person, rather than for example a youthful adult. To restrict eligibility to primary school pupils such as at the inaugural event would be unreasonably restrictive, but the significance of the individual being someone who is showing playing ability and potential ahead of their chronological age, is very important in ensuring the unique nature of the initiative, and attracting publicity and sponsorship.
As a benchmark, the Bardi Young Musician annual invitation will ideally be limited to young musicians who will be 18 years of age and under at 31st August in the year preceding their Young Musician performance, though this limit may be varied at the Committee’s discretion, if exceptional circumstances require.
The ‘localness’ of the young musician is a key feature of the Bardi Young Musician concept. This will be defined by a requirement that young players applying should be in full-time education at Leicester, Leicestershire or Rutland schools, primary or secondary, state or independent.
While there could be an argument for entirely ‘open’ application, nomination etc and selection, such a process would inevitably be cumbersome and unmanageable. With effect from the 2022 competition applications will be made on-line and must include details of the young players teacher. The application process should ensure that, while selection should be from a reasonably wide pool, nominations received are from reputable, reliable and referenced sources, and can guarantee that young musicians nominated are of a standard equal to the profile and prestige of the event and the title Bardi Young Musician.
From 2022 the competition will be open to young players of any orchestral instrument, with applications being made on-line via the Bardi Symphony Orchestra’s website, www.bardi.co.uk. In addition to basic information the application form invites applicants to state which concerto, concerto movement, or piece for soloist accompanied by orchestra. they would play if successful at the audition
After the closing date all the applications received, will be sifted by a panel comprising the Orchestra Manager, the Conductor of the Young Musician concert, the Orchestra Chairman, and one other Bardi committee member or co-opted individual (eg a respected local music teacher) not involved in that year’s nominations. This panel will decide which of the nominees they wish to consider further. The panel will then audition with the chosen young players, hear them play, and hold a short informal interview. The audition panel will make its recommendations for confirmation by the Bardi Committee.
The prizewinner will receive a £100 cash prize, a trophy, and the opportunity to play a concert or concerto movement with the Bardi Symphony Orchestra in a public concert.
The above are the updated guidelines, agreed at a meeting of the Bardi Committee. Where circumstances require variation, the guidelines may be interpreted with flexibility where the Committee considers it necessary and appropriate.