THE latest Woking Music Festival season came to a resounding crescendo when the Woking Young Musician of the Year competition was held for the first time at St John's Church in St John's.

The 2022 winner was 17-year-old pianist Stefanija Nikolich, who performed The Mephisto Waltz no 1 by Liszt. Stefanija is a student at The Yehudi Menuhin School at Stoke d’Abernon.

Stefanija said she had “a wonderful evening and the experience will always be remembered”. It was a pleasure to perform alongside such gifted musicians.

In second place was violinist Rhia Thomas, also 17, a sixth form student and music scholar at Guildford High School.

This year, the adjudicator awarded third place jointly to Isabella Mackie, 16, for her performance on oboe, and to pianist Chung Sze Kwok, 17.

Isabella attends City of London Freemen's School at Ashtead and studies oboe and recorder at the Royal College of Music. Chung Sze will begin university this year, to study linguistics and cognitive science.

Additional prizes for performances at the Woking Music Festival in November were presented to Eleanor Kitchin, 10, who won the most promising young actor award, and seven-year-old Alex Qu, who got the Sandra Bedford Memorial Award for most memorable performance of the festival.

Two 12-year-old pianists are the joint junior musicians of the year – Daniel Nowrouzi and Yash Saran.

The best vocal performance of the festival was by Sacha King, 19. The winner of the Summer Bursary Award, which contributes towards the costs of summer school, was pianist Ruvin Meda, 15.

The adjudicator was Simon de Souza, a distinguished professor of horn, tutor and performer.

He commented: "It is a privilege to adjudicate such a well-run competition, and to spend the evening listening to such a wealth of talent.

“Although music education in this country faces many challenges, events such as this demonstrate that music still has the power to inspire young people to remarkable feats, and to touch the listener deeply.”

The awards were presented by the Mayor of Woking, Liam Lyons, who praised the musicians for their dedication to practice and the parents for their support.

For more pictures of the event, get the 10 February edition of the News & Mail