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Drummer Lewis Isaacs impresses the judges in televised percussion final of BBC Young Musician 2020

Lewis Isaacs loved his big television moment when he took part in the percussion final of BBC Young Musician 2020.

Performances by the 16-year-old drummer and his four fellow contestants were aired on BBC Four on Sunday May 24.

Former Hockerill Anglo-European College student Lewis earned praise from the judges as he performed John Psathas's One Study One Summary, a work for mixed percussion including marimba, cymbals and pots and pans.

Lewis Isaacs (35457457)
Lewis Isaacs (35457457)

He also played Pius Cheung's Etude in E minor for solo marimba and Rick Dior's Till the Cows Come Home for mixed percussion.

Lewis, who lives in Little Hallingbury and attends the Purcell School for Young Musicians in Bushey, was beaten to the top spot by 16-year-old Fang Zhang.

The winner goes through to the semi-final of the national competition – which was first staged in 1978 and is broadcast biennially on BBC TV and BBC Radio 3 – where he will be up against pianist Thomas Luke, oboist Ewan Miller, French horn player Annemarie Federle and the winner of the strings final.

The winner of the grand final will earn the chance to play a concerto with the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra at Manchester's Bridgewater Hall.

The percussion final judging panel included Simone Rebello, director of percussion at the Royal Northern College of Music, and Julian Warburton, professor of percussion at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama.

Angela Dixon returned to the panel as chair of all the category finals.

Lewis is also a student at the Saffron Centre for Young Musicians (SCYM), a specialist Saturday school run in partnership with the Guildhall School of Music and based at Saffron Walden County High. He said: "The whole experience was really enjoyable and a great opportunity as I got to showcase my skill on a national level.

Lewis Isaacs (35457469)
Lewis Isaacs (35457469)

"The crowd was very supportive and I hope that I gave them and people who watched the broadcast on television a good show.

"Meeting all the other percussionists opened my eyes to the level of other players and gave me a perspective that will definitely help later on when preparing for other things.

"Overall I'm really happy to have got that far and to have been given the chance to perform on TV."

Lewis began playing drums and piano at the age of seven and began formal study of the marimba and orchestral percussion at 11. SCYM percussion teacher Daniella Ganeva also teaches Lewis at the Purcell School.

His interests span classical, jazz, rock and pop, and he has played in a variety of orchestras, bands and ensembles. He reached the national final of the Young Drummer of the Year in both 2019 and 2020 and was second in the Universal International Youth Percussion Competition in Belgium in 2017.

He has performed in leading London venues including the Royal Albert Hall, Southbank Centre and Cadogan Hall, and in the future hopes to attend music college and become a solo percussionist and drummer.

Lewis Isaacs taking part in the 2019 final in Bromsgrove, Worcestershire (35458203)
Lewis Isaacs taking part in the 2019 final in Bromsgrove, Worcestershire (35458203)

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