Gifted pianist crowned Perse Musician of the Year
13 Nov 2020
Prodigious pianist Juliette Richards (Upper Sixth) was praised for “an outstanding recital demonstrating real command of the piano” after seeing off tough competition to take the 2019-20 Perse Musician of the Year title.
The final had been due to take place in April only to be postponed due to the Covid-19 shutdown. However, the show went on, albeit virtually, with the five finalists each recording their pieces for adjudication by Professor Margaret Faultless, Director of Performance at the Cambridge University Faculty of Music, Head of Historical Performance at the Royal Academy of Music, and co-leader of the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment.
As well as Juliette, the final featured filmed performances from trumpeter Henry Butler (Upper Sixth), violinist Adrianne Lin (Year 10), clarinet player Alicia Li-Yan-Hui (Year 9) and vocalist Iona Woods (2020).
Professor Faultless provided her adjudication to the finalists via Zoom and was elated with the “very fine performances” of each of the musicians.
However, Juliette was declared the winner for the “panache and drama” of her rendition of pieces by Ravel, Beethoven and Stravinsky, with Iona being highly commended for her programme, spanning music sung in Italian, French, German and Portuguese.
Commenting further on Juliette’s performance, Professor Faultless said: “I thought her technique was always at the service of the music. It was apparently effortless, but I guess she practised very hard. Both the technical control and her musicianship matched the different requirements of the variety of repertoire she presented.”
Juliette was delighted to have won the prestigious Richard King Cup for her efforts.
She said: “I’m really happy. The competition was very tough this year and there were some amazing people in the final. It’s just a joy that there are so many musical people in the Perse community and I feel really grateful to have won.”
Perse Director of Music Ben Wingfield added: “The whole process started back in September 2019 with the string competition, which seems a world away now. To have brought the competition to its conclusion, albeit a few months later than planned, is really wonderful.
“We were lucky enough to be able to use the Peter Hall Performing Arts Centre for some excellent filmed recordings with the help of our accompanists Peter Hewitt and Mark Fielding, as well as sound recordist and video editor Melanie Kirwan.
“Congratulations to Juliette, Iona and our other finalists for a really terrific competition this year. This has been the best I can remember, and a ray of light in the darkness of a difficult year for our musicians.”
You can catch highlights of this year’s final here and Juliette’s full recital here.