The final of Junior Guildhall’s most prestigious award, the Lutine Prize, which showcases young talent, was held on Saturday 3 June at 2pm in the Milton Court Concert Hall. First place was awarded to 16-year-old trumpeter William Thomas while double bass player Matteo Walls, also 16 years old, was awarded second place.
William Thomas’ winning recital was a programme of Peeters’ Sonata for Trumpet III Tocata, William Himes’Concertino for Flugelhorn II Ballade, Allen Vizzutti’s Cascades and his own arrangement of Piazzolla’s Oblivion, from the ‘Paris’ album by Alison Balsom.
The Lutine Prize is Junior Guildhall’s equivalent of the senior school’s annual Gold Medal competition, with six students selected from the preliminary round to perform in the final. The finalists are required to perform a 20-minute solo recital; the winner of the first prize is given the opportunity to perform a concerto with one of the Junior Guildhall ensembles in addition to a cash award.
The other finalists were:
Robert Burton, saxophone
Reuben Cohen, tuba
Einav Grushka, piano
Thomas Masciaga, piano
The adjudicators this year were John Holmes, Chief Examiner for Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music (ABRSM) and distinguished conductor and musician Peter Esswood.
The Lutine Prize was inaugurated in 1982 and William Thomas joins a long line of winners, many of whom have enjoyed professional music careers: Thomas Adès, Thomas Poster and Annabel Thwaite.
William Thomas began learning Cornet when he was 8½ and soon added Trumpet and Flugelhorn to his instruments. He is now 16 and in his fifth year at Junior Guildhall, where he studies Trumpet with Andrew Mitchell, Piano with Robert Pell and plays in a variety of ensembles. In 2014 Thomas was a Brass Finalist in the BBC Young Musician of the Year and in 2015 was awarded both Kingston Young Musician of the Year and Richmond Young Instrumentalist of the Year. Until recently Thomas was Principal of Regent Brass under the direction of Paul Archibald, touring Poland in the summer of 2016 as leader and soloist. He was a member of the National Children's Brass Band of Great Britain for five years and was appointed Principal and Leader from 2014-16. Since 2012 he has also played Solo Cornet in the National Youth Brass Band of Great Britain. Thomas has been recipient of both the Junior Harry Mortimer Prize and the Bernard and Harold Tovey Memorial Prize and is a National Grant holder, through the government’s Music & Dance Scheme. Thomas recently helped to establish a new Jazz Ensemble with a group of friends, which has already been booked for a number of gigs. In the summer, he will be participating in a series of Concerts at the Edinburgh Fringe with the vocal group Voices of Lions.