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James is named as best young musician in West Sussex contest

A talented Bognor Regis musician has won a countywide prize.


Cellist James Dew was chosen as the winner of this year’s West Sussex Music Award competition.


The 17-year-old impressed the adjudicators, Peter Hewitt and Jonathan Willcocks, the former head of junior studies at the Royal College of Music and the Royal Academy of Music respectively, with his performance.


The final of the contest, formerly the Malcolm Sargent Competition, was held at the Regis School of Music’ recital hall on Sunday.


The event is in its 24th year and has acted as a springboard for several professional local musicians in the past.


James’ mother, Michela Cocolin, said: “James has also successfully auditioned for a place in the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain 2020.


“In 2019, he had performed with the NYO at some of the most prestigious concert venues in the UK and abroad, including the BBC Proms at the Royal Albert Hall, which was televised on BBC Four, and the Young Euro Classic Festival in Berlin.”


James has described playing at the Proms as his most memorable experience to date and an ‘incredible feeling’.


The NYO Orchestra for 2020 has 164 members and is the world’s biggest orchestra of teenage musicians.


In the music award final, James’s fellow contenders were Sogo Aihara, piano, Jenji Luc, cello, and Brendan Connellan, French horn. Pianist Millie Mazzone, was the reserve finalist.


The competition was organised by Dulcie Knapman and the Friends of the Regis School of Music.

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