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23 March 2023, 09:30 | Updated: 24 March 2023, 11:52
Introducing the 30 musicians under the age of 30, that we’re championing as Classic FM’s Rising Stars in 2023.
From child prodigies to movie stars, here are 30 musicians whose names you should get to know as future stars on the classical music scene.
Our list was compiled with the help of several industry experts including the renowned cellist and conductor Julian Lloyd Webber, who said: “I love working with Classic FM on Rising Stars. It’s a privilege to see and hear so many wonderful young classical musicians, and we are really excited by the multi-talented variety of our latest 30 trailblazers!”
Mezzo-soprano Aigul Akhmetshina made her debut at London’s Royal Opera House at the age of 21, as the titular character in Bizet’s Carmen. Since then, she has appeared on international opera stages in Paris, Berlin, Barcelona and Madrid, most recently portraying Rosina in the Royal Opera House’s production of Rossini’s opera, The Barber of Seville.
The Barber of Seville - 'Una voce poco fa' (Rossini; Aigul Akhmetshina - The Royal Opera)
Polish cellist Michał Balas studies at the Basel Academy of Music in Switzerland, and in 2022 he took home the first prize in the cello category of the Classic Strings International Competition. Fresh off the back of his winning performance come a series of concert appearances in Europe’s greatest concert halls in 2023, including Vienna’s Musikverein and the Mozarteum in Salzburg.
South Korean piano sensation Seong-Jin Cho rose to international renown in 2015, when he won the International Chopin Piano Competition. He signed to record label Deutsche Grammophon in January 2016, and has released nine albums on the prestigous ‘Yellow Label’ to date – most recently works by Handel and Brahms.
Seong-Jin Cho – Chopin: Scherzo No. 4 in E Major, Op. 54
At just 16 years old, Singaporean violinist Chloe Chua has already performed with some of the world’s most acclaimed orchestras and performers, as well as appearing in viral videos with YouTube duo TwoSetViolin. As Singapore Symphony Orchestra’s artist in residence in the 2023/24 concert season, Chua recently released her debut album pairing Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons with Locatelli’s Harmonic Labyrinth – a recent Classic FM Album of the Weekend.
Vivaldi’s Four Seasons-Summer 3rd Movement, performed with SSO at the Esplanade on 24 April 2022
Violinist Ellie Consta is the founder of Her Ensemble, the UK’s first women and non-binary string orchestra. Formed in 2020, the boundary-defying group champion works by women composers, and are a driving force in challenging the music industry’s gender stereotypes.
Esther Abrami plays Louise Farrenc’s evocative ‘Andante’ with Her Ensemble | Classic FM
Canadian mezzo-soprano Emily D’Angelo is the first and only vocalist to date to have been presented the prestigious Leonard Bernstein Award at the Schleswig Holstein Festival. D’Angelo made her stage debut at 21 as Cherubino in Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro, and in 2021 released her debut album as an exclusive Deutsche Grammophon artist, titled enargeia and including works by Hildegard von Bingen and Hildur Guðnadóttir.
Born in Jamaica to Cuban parents, Ellinor D’Melon first picked up the violin aged two and has barely put it down since. Now aged 22, she has performed with some of the world’s most renowned orchestras and musicians, and on 24 March 2023 releases her debut album featuring music by Tchaikovsky and Lalo.
Ellinor D'Melon plays C.Schumann Romances for violin and piano
Swiss-born Ivo Dudler was appointed solo horn at the NDR Radio Philharmonic Hannover in 2017, and in 2019 he also joined the orchestra of the Bayreuth Festival. Alongside his orchestral work, Dudler performs as a soloist and has recently made his solo recording debut as part of the Orpheum Foundation’s Next Generation Mozart Soloists.
Ivo Dudler, Schweiz | Finale Horn | ARD-Musikwettbewerb 2021
Spanish violinist María Dueñas took home both the first prize and audience prize at the 2021 Menuhin Violin Competition, and in 2022 was both dedicatee and world premiere performer of Gabriela Ortiz’s Altar de Cuerda, at the Walt Disney Concert Hall with Gustavo Dudamel and the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra. Dueñas is a keen composer, having written her own pieces as well as cadenzas for Mozart’s violin concertos, and in 2022 signed a contract with Deutsche Grammophon, having recorded her upcoming debut album with the label at Vienna’s Musikverein.
F. Mendelssohn, Concerto in E minor - María Dueñas / Gustavo Gimeno / LPO
American cellist Sterling Elliott made his concerto debut aged seven, and has placed in several statewide and national competitions. He currently studies at the Juilliard School of Music in New York, alongside an active performing career which has so far seen him share the stage with many of the US’s major orchestras and esteemed musicians.
Based in Reykjavík, Eydís Evensen is a classically trained pianist and composer of post-classical music. Growing up in a household with musical influences that varied from Tchaikovsky to Led Zeppelin, Evensen says that the piano “became a therapist and a best friend to me – I always felt better after I played”. Today, Evensen’s greatest inspirations include forces of nature, and the music of Philip Glass.
Eydís Evensen - Anna's Theme
French-Serbian-Italian violinist Luka Faulisi has been described by esteemed violinist Pinchas Zukerman as having “a million dollar sound”. He released his debut album Aria this year with Sony Classical – an exploration of some of opera’s greatest themes from Carmen to La Traviata.
Luka Faulisi - Carmen Fantasie: Prélude - Habanera
Born in Djibouti, classical guitarist Raphaël Feuillâtre was raised in the west of France and is now based in Paris. After winning the prestigious Guitar Foundation of America competition in 2018, Feuillâtre signed to Deutsche Grammophon and released his debut album in September that year. In late March 2023, he will release his third album with the label, Visages Baroques.
Raphaël Feuillâtre – Couperin: V. Les barricades mysterieuses (Arr. Antoine Fougeray for Guitar)
When Giorgi Gigashvili first began learning to play the piano, he never thought about becoming a professional pianist, he says. Nevertheless, after winning the Georgian version of TV talent show The Voice aged 13, Gigashvili went on to take home first prize at the Vigo International Piano Competition, which was adjudicated by Nelson Freire and Gigashvili’s idol, Martha Argerich.
SCARLATTI // 'Keyboard Sonata in D Major, K. 29' by Giorgi Gigashvili
British pianist George Harliono is just as likely to be found in the concert hall as he is on a street, shopping centre, or train station piano. Having reached viral acclaim for his public performance videos as young as nine years old, Harliono has since performed on some of the world’s most highly regarded concert platforms and in 2019 became one of the youngest pianists to be accepted into the International Tchaikovsky Competition.
Ravel Une Barque sur l’Ocean - George Harliono (piano)
German cellist Annabel Hauk began playing the cello at five years old, and by the age of seven had won both the first and special prizes at the Mendelssohn Competition. In 2022, Hauk made her debut at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, and has performed alongside renowned musicians including Gidon Kremer, Jörg Widmann, and Itzhak Perlman.
Johann Sebastian Bach Cello Suite Nr. 6 in D-Dur BWV 1012
American conductor Jonathon Heyward is in his second year as chief conductor of the Northwest German Philharmonic, having been made assistant conductor the Manchester’s The Hallé in 2016. In 2022, it was announced that Heyward would become the next music director of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra beginning in 2023.
In 2012, at the age of 15, British trumpeter Lucy Humphris won the presigious London Symphony Orchestra Brass Academy Candide Award. She graduated from the Royal Academy of Music in 2019, and that same year gave the premiere of the one-woman show The Secret Life of Trumpets at the Southbank Centre’s ‘Imagine’ children’s festival. Humphris released her debut album Obscurus in February 2023.
Balletto - Respighi arr. L Humphris - Harry Rylance and Lucy Humphris
2017 winner of the City of Cambridge Symphony Orchestra Young Conductor’s Competition, Tess Jackson is currently studying with Sian Edwards at the Royal Academy of Music in London. Whilst studying at Cambridge University, Jackson conducted the opera society’s production of Donnacha Denney’s The Last Hotel – the first opera by a living professional composer to be produced by the society in nearly half a century.
British-German cellist Sophie Kauer made her big-screen debut alongside Cate Blanchett in 2023’s Tár. She began learning to play cello at the age of eight, and is currently studying at the Norwegian Academy of Music in Oslo. In March 2023, hot off the heels of her acting performance, Kauer released her debut album with Deutsche Grammophon titled Unsung, featuring music by Nadia Boulanger, Clara Schumann, Felix Mendelssohn and more.
Read more: ‘Cate Blanchett produces a sound some conductors don’t come close to’ – Tár cellist Sophie Kauer
In 2021, Israeli pianist Ariel Lanyi won third prize at the Leeds International Piano Competition, made the final round of the Arthur Rubinstein International Piano Master Competition, and was a prizewinner in the Young Classical Artists Trust auditions. Lanyi’s debut album of Schubert’s piano music was released in 2021.
#LeedsPiano2021 - Final: Ariel Lanyi (3rd Prize)
Now based in the United States, Geneva Lewis was born in Auckland, New Zealand, and began playing the violin aged three. Lewis made her solo debut at 11 with the Pasadena POPS Orchestra, and has since shared the stage with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, Mitsuko Uchida, Sir Andràs Schiff, and many more.
Samuel Barber: Concerto for Violin | Geneva Lewis, NEC Philharmonia
British trumpeter Matilda Lloyd won first prize in the Eric Aubier International Trumpet Competition in Rouen, France, and has since appeared as a soloist throughout Europe, South Africa and the US. Lloyd’s debut album was released in 2018, and her sophomore album Casta Diva, which sees her performing operatic arias transcribed for trumpet, is due to be released in April 2023.
Solo de Concours - Théo Charlier
Violinist Mathilde Milwidsky’s debut album was released in 2020, and saw her performing the world premiere of three sonatas for violin and piano by Agnes Zimmermann, attracting reviews which called it “one of those once-in-a-decade or more discoveries”. A further album of Beethoven Romances followed, and more recently Milwidsky was one of eight violinists selected to attend the Verbier Festival Academy in 2021 and 2022.
Born in Hong Kong, Tiffany Poon is an American classical pianist and YouTuber. Since being accepted to the Juilliard pre-college programme aged eight, the young musician has gained over 317,000 subscribers online, and has studied with Emanuel Ax and the late Joseph Kalichstein.
Manchester-born Natalia Senior-Brown began her musical career as a violinist at six, and entered Chetham’s School of Music at nine to study violin, piano, and music theory. Senior-Brown switched to play the viola at 14, and went on to study at the Royal Northern College of Music. She has performed with the Chineke! Orchestra and HER Ensemble, as well as at The Brit Awards and a Louis Vuitton fashion show.
French clarinettist and composer Raphaël Sévère won the Tokyo Competition aged 12, and has since performed as soloist with some of the most highly regarded orchestras in France and internationally. His works have also been commissioned by various high-profile music festivals and venues.
Raphaël Sévère / OCP / Lars Vogt : Mozart clarinet concerto
British-Chinese flautist Daniel Shao has been praised for his “virtuosity, charm, and charisma in abundance”, and has performed concertos with the Czech National Symphony and Oxford Philharmonic orchestras, and the Orchestra of the Swan. He has enjoyed a close relationship with the Philharmonia Orchestra, and is also a member of the contemporary music collective, Tangram.
Canadian pianist Ryan Wang began playing piano at the age of four, making his debut at Carnegie Hall just a year later, and appearing on Ellen Degeneres’ popular talk show the same year.
Ryan Wang (14 years old) plays Chopin Etude Op. 10 No. 10
Swiss-born Chinese pianist Mélodie Zhao set a world record aged 13, as the youngest pianist ever to record Chopin’s 24 Etudes. Since, Zhao has recorded the complete Beethoven sonatas and Tchaikovsky Piano Concertos, and has composed several distinct works of chamber and orchestral music.
Rachmaninoff: Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini – Mélodie Zhao / Howard Griffiths / BSOF