Top young string players, ensembles and artists will receive a tailored career development programme

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The Borletti-Buitoni Trust has announced its award and fellowship winners for 2024 – a varied line-up of string quartet, piano trio, double bassist, violinist, clarinettist, pianist and soprano.

The Mithras Trio and the Leonkoro Quartet have each been announced as BBT award recipients. Both ensembles receive £30,000.

BBT has also announced its fellowship winners. They are violinist Hana Chang, double bassist Will Duerden, soprano Lucy Fitz Gibbon, clarinetist Jonathan Leibovitz and pianist Jaeden Izik-Dzurko. Each fellowship is worth £20,000.

The recipients will be encouraged to reflect and experiment at a crucial time in their career development. They will benefit from a flexible programme that will enable them to deliver their own projects, such as recordings, digital projects and new collaborations, while receiving practical career support and considered advice.

Toby Smith, the chief executive of BBT, said: ’I am so looking forward to working alongside these artists and the brilliant BBT team to build on the vision of Ilaria Borletti Buitoni and her late husband Franco Buitoni, to nurture musicians who are shaping a future where classical music’s remit and reach is urgent, relevant and broad.’

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Mithras Trio

Established in 2017 while students at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama, the Mithras Trio, comprising violinist Ionel Manciu, cellist Leo Popplewell and pianist Dominic Degavino, received prizes at the Trondheim International Chamber Music and Royal Over-Seas League competitions and the Royal Philharmonic Society Henderson Chamber Ensemble Award, all in 2019. The trio was also selected as Kirckman Concert Society Young Artists (2019/20), Countess of Munster Trust Recital Scheme Artists (2020-23) and BBC New Generation Artists (2021-23). The trio’s debut album Eros was released on Linn Records in November 2023.

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Leonkoro Quartet

The 2024 BBT Award is the latest in a string of prestigious international prizes and accolades for the Berlin-based Leonkoro Quartet. It received the second prize (in the absence of a first) and audience prize at the Premio Paolo Borciani International String Quartet Competition in 2021, followed the next year by first prizes and special awards from the Jürgen Ponto Foundation, International String Quartet Competition Wigmore Hall, Concours International de Quatuor à Bordeaux, MERITO String Quartet Award and participation in the current BBC New Generation Artists scheme. Its debut album of Ravel’s String Quartet and Schumann’s Third Quartet was released in 2023 on the Mirare label.

Hana Chang © Kaupo Kikkas YCAT Finals 2023 1

Violinist Hana Chang at the YCAT Finals 2023 © Kaupo Kikkas 

21-year-old BBT Fellowship winner Hana Chang became a Young Classical Artists Trust (YCAT) and Concert Artists Guild New York artist in 2023 and is a laureate of the Stradivarius, Prague Spring, Beethoven Hradec, Yehudi Menuhin and Stuttgart international violin competitions as well as the youngest finalist of the Henryk Wieniawski Competition. She currently studies with Christian Tetzlaff at the Kronberg Academy and receives mentorship from Ida Kavafian and Janine Jansen.

Will Duerden © Kaupo Kikkas YCAT Finals 2023 5

Double bassist Will Duerden at the YCAT Finals 2023 © Kaupo Kikkas

An ABRSM Scholar at London’s Royal College of Music (supported by the Drake Calleja Trust) and Yehudi Menuhin School scholarship holder, 21-year-old Will Duerden is also a YCAT artist with a slew of awards and prizes in addition to his BBT Fellowship, including the Yorke Double Bass Prize at the 2023 Royal Over-Seas League Strings Competition and the International Society of Bassists Competition. He was also a finalist in the 2018 BBC Young Musician of the Year Competition.

BBT fellowship winner American soprano Lucy Fitz Gibbon believes that creating new works and recreating those lost in centuries past makes room for the diversity of voices integral to classical music’s future. She has given modern premieres of rediscovered pieces from Baroque to the mid-20th century and is sought-after for her collaborations with today’s composers.

27-year-old clarinetist Jonathan Leibovitz adds his BBT fellowship to a portfolio of accolades and prizes in Israel and Europe including the Arthur Waser Prize, first prize at the Crusell Competition in Finland, and a Special Prize at the Carl Nielsen Competition in Denmark. In 2022 he became a YCAT and Concert Artists Guild artist and also a Classic FM Rising Star.

27-year-old pianist Jaeden Izik-Dzurko has won top prizes at the Hilton Head, Maria Canals and Paloma O’Shea Santander International Piano Competitions. He studied with Yoheved Kaplinsky at the Juilliard School and Corey Hamm at the University of British Columbia and is now a student of Jacob Leuschner and Benedetto Lupo.

The awards and fellowships are announced every other year on 17 March to mark the birthday of Franco Buitoni (1934-2016), co-founder of BBT with his wife Ilaria Borletti Buitoni.

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