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Promising pianist wins BBC Young Musician 2018

Lauren Zhang, 16, from Birmingham. has been taking piano lessons since she was four.

A 16-year-old pianist has been named the winner of BBC Young Musician 2018.

Lauren Zhang, from Birmingham, said it was “astonishing” to have won the competition, the UK’s leading contest for young classical musicians.

“I can’t quite believe it,” said the GCSE student, who has been taking piano lessons for 12 years.

“It’s been a fantastic opportunity to play with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (CBSO) and the journey right from the start of the competition has been incredible.”

Judging panel chair Kerry Andrew said: “Lauren’s performance left us all breathless.

“Her exceptional level of technical skill and intelligent musicality shone through in a beast of a piece. We see great things in her future.”

The grand final of the competition was held at Symphony Hall, Birmingham.

The finalists performed with the CBSO, conducted by Mark Wigglesworth in front of a live audience, and were judged by a panel of experts.

Lauren is now set to appear on the BBC Radio 3 stage at BBC Music’s The Biggest Weekend in Coventry on May 28. She will also be at a special BBC Young Musician 40th anniversary concert at the BBC Proms at the Royal Albert Hall on July 15.