EIGHT fantastic entrants took part in the annual Woking Young Musician of the Year competition, which was won by a pianist whose performance was described as “stupendous” by the adjudicator.

Chung Sze Kwok said she was thrilled to have won, with works by Brahms and Rachmaninoff.

Adjudicator James Lisney, an eminent pianist himself, said the Rachmaninoff piece in particular was a difficult choice of music to tackle.

The wealth of talent was on display at St John’s Church in St John’s on Saturday 4 February. James commented that all the competitors had performed with great generosity. “Thank you all for really entertaining me,” he said.

In second place was oboist Isabella Mackie, harpist Jamaal Kashim came third.

Chung said: “It was so lovely to meet and reconnect with local young musicians. I would like to express my thanks towards Christine Loosemore, Penny Davis and the entire Woking Festival Committee for providing these wonderful opportunities for musical development and celebration year after year. 

“I had a fabulous time getting to know the other performers and there was so much talent to enjoy and learn from throughout the evening.”

The audience was entertained by other winners from the November music festival while the adjudicating was taking place.

Further awards were made to Emily Hallett (most promising young singer), Damian Kok (junior musician of the year) Hannah Ward (most promising young actor) and violinists Damian and Dorcas Kok (Chamber Music Award).

The Sandra Bedford Memorial Award for the most memorable performance and The Grace Wright Rose Bowl for best choral entry were both awarded to the choral group Sound Mix, directed by Tim Peters.

“The quality of the young musicians was absolutely outstanding, with the junior chamber ensemble a particularly hard act for us to follow,” said Tim.  “We’d like to thank the Woking Music Festival team for another wonderful and uplifting event.”

One parent said:  ‘‘We are so glad to let our kids join this competition. We hope Woking Music Festival will flourish in coming years.’’

Handels Pianos of Sunningdale generously provided a beautiful Schimmel grand piano for the occasion.

Lothar Kiesche of Schimmel was at the competition and said: “It was a wonderful event with a very high standard and Schimmel are proud to be a part of the event. The different players showed the character of this lovely instrument’.

Prizes were presented by Woking Mayor Saj Hussain, who praised the musicians for their dedication. “I am glad it was not me who had to decide on the winner,” he said. “Everyone did a superb job.”

The 2024 event is on 3 February, with entrants being chosen from the winners of the Woking Music Festival to be held in November this year.

For more pictures of the event, get the 16 February edition of the News & Mail – in shops now.