Classic FM’s Rising Stars 2024: 30 young musicians reshaping classical music

14 March 2024, 07:56 | Updated: 14 March 2024, 14:07

Classic FM’s Rising Stars 2024
Classic FM’s Rising Stars 2024. Picture: claraevensphotography / Ogata photo

By Kyle Macdonald

Introducing the 30 incredible musicians under the age of 30 that we’re championing for 2024.

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A new generation of musicians continues to evolve the classical music landscape. They come armed with incredible technique, creativity and musicality, and are already drawing millions to their music.

Every year we select Classic FM’s Rising Stars, shining a light on 30 young players who are doing something very special. Here are the names to watch in 2024...

  1. Deniz Sensoy – violin

    Born in Turkey, Sensoy gave her first solo concert with the Çukurova State Symphony Orchestra aged eight.

    “Deniz has a very bright musical personality, passion for music and great determination... She has a bright future.” These are the words of none other than legendary violin virtuoso Maxim Vengerov, and if this recent performance of Amy Beach is anything to go by, we’d have to agree.

    Rising star violinist plays Amy Beach's achingly beautiful 'Romance' | Classic FM

  2. Hayoung Choi – cello

    Born in 1998, Choi began her musical education in Seoul, South Korea, before moving to the UK, where she attended the Purcell School of Music. Last year she created a sensation with a stunning Haydn concerto, which won her the Queen Elisabeth Competition for Cello. She plays an instrument on loan from Florian Leonhard Fine Violins, made by Nicola Bergonzi in Cremona around 1785.

    Read more: Young soloist’s blistering Haydn concerto that won her the world’s most prestigious cello competition

  3. Laura Lootens – guitar

    Laura Lootens was born in 1999. Her passion for classical guitar was kindled when she took her very first guitar lesson at the age of eight. Ever since, she says she has found fulfilment by sharing what she terms as the ‘infinite variety of sonorities the guitar offers’.

    Laura Lootens - Albéniz: España, Op. 165: No. 3, Malagueña. Allegretto (Arr. Laura Lootens)

  4. George Li – piano

    This young American star pianist won the Silver Medal at the 2015 International Tchaikovsky Competition. Since then, he has performed with a host of the world’s top orchestras and conductors and made acclaimed recordings of virtuoso repertoire on Warner Classics.

    George Li plays Liszt: Les Jeux d'Eaux à la Villa d'Este

  5. Laure Chan – violin

    A star violinist and also a composer, top conductors are already talking of the power of Laure Chan’s musical communication. Her debut album Tribute to Bach was released in March 2021 and featured her own compositions alongside those of the Baroque master. Chan’s second album featuring the Schumann Violin Concerto was recorded at London’s iconic Abbey Road Studios.

    J.S. Bach - Chaconne from Partita No. 2 in D minor, BWV 1004

  6. Juya Shin – conductor

    One of the most exciting young conductors of today, Juya Shin has just been named one of the London Philharmonic Orchestra’s Fellow Conductors for 2024/25. The Korean-born star of the podium is now based in Germany with many saying she’s one to watch.

    Posted by Juya Shin on Wednesday, July 19, 2023
  7. Thomas Horeczko – composer

    The Algerian-Ukrainian known as ‘Braths’ is a classical composer, producer and developer who is making waves with his evocative music and impressionistic soundscapes. His piano work Nuit d’été was released last month.

  8. Lucy Walker – composer

    Cambridge-based Lucy Walker is one of the country’s brightest compositional voices. Her beautiful choral writing has been championed by The Chapel Choir of Pembroke College and conductor Anna Lapwood. As Composer in Residence at St Martin’s Voices, Lucy writes new commissions for performances at London’s iconic St Martin-in-the-Fields church.

    Anna Lapwood, The Chapel Choir of Pembroke College, Cambridge - Away in a Manger

  9. Alexander Malofeev – piano

    One of the most talented young pianists around today, Alexander won the International Tchaikovsky Competition for Young Musicians aged 13 and has never looked back. He is the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra’s Artist in Residence for the 2023/24 season and has been thrilling audiences with his virtuosity as part of the prestigious residency.

    Rachmaninow: 3. Klavierkonzert ∙ hr-Sinfonieorchester ∙ Alexander Malofeev ∙ Alain Altinoglu

  10. Ryan Corbett – accordion

    Born in Glasgow in 1999, Ryan Corbett has been described as “one of Scotland’s most exciting young musicians” (The Scotsman). When he was 11, Ryan’s grandmother gave him a small accordion on which he taught himself to play Scottish traditional music. It’s a journey that would lead him to classical repertoire, but all with the natural, infectious joy of his wonderful instrument.

    Bach arr. Corbett: Keyboard Concerto No. 4 in A major, BWV 1055 - Ryan Corbett

  11. Philipp Schupelius – cello

    This Berlin-born cellist is in his early 20s and has already amassed an impressive array of competition wins and devotees. Philipp is currently studying at the Kronberg Academy. His debut album was recorded at the Beethoven House in Bonn and was a tribute to a musical hero, Catalan cello master Pablo Casals.

    Philipp Schupelius - Pezzo Capriccioso, Op. 62 by Tchaikovsky - Germany 🇩🇪

  12. Gabríel Ólafs – composer

    The latest remarkable musician to come out of Iceland, this composer defines himself by his melodic storytelling and atmospheric arrangements, and his music always holds a connection to the volcanic island’s incredible geography and history. Gabríel is also co-founder of the Reykjavik Recording Orchestra, his country’s first dedicated orchestra performing for film, TV and video games.

  13. Andrzej Filończyk – baritone

    One of the world’s rising star singers, this 29-year-old is very much one to watch in the opera world. In 2016 he won first prize and the award for Best Polish Voice in the Stanisław Moniuszko International Vocal Competition in Warsaw. He is also a former member of the International Opera Studio in Zurich Opera House, and a recipient of a number of awards and scholarships. This Rossini will show you why...

    Andrzej Filończyk - "Largo al factotum" 2023 (G. Rossini)

  14. Tim Posner – cello

    This young cellist started playing his instrument at age eight. Tim Posner is a star soloist and one of the finest young chamber music players of today, with a very impressive future in store. When he’s not on solo duties with some of the UK and Europe’s most exciting orchestras, Tim is principal cellist of Amsterdam Sinfonietta.

    Arvo Pärt - Spiegel im Spiegel | Amsterdam Sinfonietta

  15. Alberto Navarra – flute

    In spring 2022, the Italian flautist shot to woodwind stardom, winning the Carl Nielsen International Flute Competition. Later that year, Alberto joined the Berliner Philharmoniker as member of the prestigious Karajan Akademie, studying with world-leading French flute virtuoso Emmanuel Pahud.

    Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach - Flute Concerto in D minor Wq. 22, 3rd mov - Alberto Navarra

  16. Chloe Rooke – conductor

    Chloe Rooke came to international attention after winning the Contemporary Award at the first International Conducting Competition in Rotterdam in May 2022 and the Audience Prize at the Donatella Flick-LSO Conducting Competition in 2021. She is passionate about music’s role in bringing social transformation and is Artistic Director and Principal Conductor of Street Orchestra Live, the UK’s first street orchestra.

  17. Will Duerden – double bass

    Double bassist Will Duerden is fast becoming one of the most sought-after artists of his generation. In demand as a soloist, chamber musician and orchestral leader, his growing international career spans four continents, showcasing the unique magic of his mighty instrument.

  18. Tarmo Peltokoski – conductor

    Born in Vaasa to Finnish and Filipino parents, Tarmo Peltokoski began learning piano at age eight, and started studying conducting at 14. Since then, many of the major orchestras have seen his considerable talent. In October 2023, Peltokoski signed a recording contract with the always-star-hunting record label Deutsche Grammophon. This Mozart shows that star quality...

    Mozart: Le nozze di Figaro – Ouvertüre ∙ hr-Sinfonieorchester ∙ Tarmo Peltokoski

  19. Njioma Chinyere Grevious – violin

    Njioma Chinyere Grevious is a graduate of The Juilliard School and a winner of its prestigious John Erskine Prize for scholastic and artistic achievement. She has appeared as star soloist for many orchestras and is a founding member of the Abeo Quartet.

    🎵Experience the mesmerizing talent of Njioma Chinyere Grevious, a rising star in the world of classical music. Njioma...

    Posted by Sphinx Organization on Tuesday, April 4, 2023
  20. Sebastian Heindl – organ

    There really must be no better place to start a journey in music other than as a member of the St Thomas Boys Choir in Leipzig, where Johann Sebastian Bach once was Cantor. Bach clearly made his impression, and Sebastian Heindl began his life as an organist and is now regarded as one of the world’s most exciting players. Here he is, returning to that home of Bach to play his incredible music.

    Bach: Sinfonia BWV 29 at the Thomaskirche Leipzig, SEBASTIAN HEINDL

  21. Charlotte Spruit – violin

    This talented Dutch violinist began her violin studies at the age of four. Fast-forward 20 years and she is completing her Master’s degree at the Royal Academy of Music. As a soloist and chamber music specialist, Charlotte has played at the world’s finest concert halls, including the Concertgebouw, Wigmore Hall in London, and Hamburg’s Elbphilharmonie.

  22. Rob Burton – saxophone

    British saxophonist Rob Burton is one of this nation’s most exciting young musicians. He has played with many of the UK’s leading orchestras and is known for bringing a unique flair to everything he plays. Having completed his studies at the Royal Academy of Music he then persued his Masters at Zürich University of the Arts before returning to the UK.

    Francis Poulenc - Oboe Sonata (arr. soprano saxophone & Piano)

  23. Aaron Azunda Akugbo – trumpet

    Born in 1998 and of Nigerian-Scottish descent, Aaron Azunda Akugbo is being tipped as a future leading exponent of his instrument. A graduate of the Royal Academy of Music and ex-principal trumpet of the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain, he cites Louis Armstrong as his biggest musical inspiration. You can’t go wrong there...

    Aaron Akugbo - Trumpet Concerto in Eb major - Joseph Haydn

  24. Laurence Kilsby – tenor

    Born in 1998, Laurence began his singing career as a boy treble with the Tewkesbury Abbey Schola Cantorum. He went on to study and sing at Royal College of Music, the Curtis Institute of Music and Académie de l’Opéra National de Paris, and is now regarded as one of the country’s finest tenor voices.

    Schubert - Sehnsucht, D. 879 / Laurence Kilsby, tenor & Ella O’Neill, pianist

  25. Nathan Amaral – violin

    Born and raised in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro where opportunities for young people are scarce, 12-year-old Nathan Amaral received a visit from a stranger one day that changed his life. The person at the door simply asked him, “Would you like to play the violin?” There began a journey in music that led to him just recently to being awarded with the Paul Roczek award at the Mozarteum University in Salzburg.

  26. Hayato Sumino – piano

    One of the most exciting young musicians of Japan, Hayato Sumino was a semi-finalist at the prestigious 2021 International Chopin Piano Competition, and immediately became one to watch. He also performs his own music under the name of ‘Cateen’ on YouTube, with over 100 million views to his classically-inspired piano improvisations, recreations, and recreations. Here’s one of them...

    Read more: Pianist plays 7 levels of ‘Twinkle Twinkle Little Star’ with increasing virtuosity

    Pianist plays 7 levels of ‘Twinkle Twinkle’ with increasing virtuosity

  27. Simone El Oufir Pierini – piano

    Born in Rome in 1996, pianist Simone El Oufir Pierini began studying music at the age of eight. At 18, he graduated from St. Cecilia Conservatory of Music, Rome with the highest honours. He loves exploring early piano music, with a historically informed approach and began his recording career with the works of Italian composer Luigi Cherubini and France’s Hélène de Montgeroult.

    Read more: Hélène de Montgeroult – the French composer who played piano to save herself from the guillotine

  28. Julius Asal – piano

    A “uniquely beautiful sound and special sonority”. That was the praise of great, late pianist Menahem Pressler when he hear this German youngster. In 2023, Deutsche Grammophon announced the exclusive signing with Julius Asal, and his first album is scheduled for release later this year.

    Julius Asal - Debussy + Improvisations (Live from Yellow Lounge, 2023)

  29. Alis Huws – harp

    Alis Huws is the current Official Royal Harpist, bringing her musicality to important occasions of state, and offering moments of music on royal occasions, including at 10 Downing Street, Windsor Castle and St James’ Palace. But that’s just as important as her work in music education and advocacy – she recently embarked on a tour of 30 primary schools across rural Powys to celebrate 30 years of Live Music Now’s work in Wales.

  30. Hana Chang – violin

    In 2023, Hana Chang was a prize-winner for the charity that does so much to identify and support the young classical stars of the future, the Young Classical Artists Trust. Hana is currently at Kronberg Academy with violin superstar Christian Tetzlaff, and is playing with many leading orchestras alongside her studies.

    Hana Chang - Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky: Valse Scherzo