String soloists and ensembles dominate YCAT’s new intake of exceptional young artists

YCAT new artists

New YCAT artists (clockwise from top left) Atenea Quartet, violinist Charlotte Spruit, violinist Hana Chang, pianist Ignas Maknickas, Trio Chagall, double bassist Will Duerden. Photos © Kaupo Kikkas

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The Young Classical Artists Trust (YCAT) has added six new rising stars – a group dominated by string soloists and ensembles – to its roster of young talent. Following a rigorous international selection process that culminated in a day of public live auditions on 2 June at London’s Wigmore Hall, the musicians chosen for 2023’s intake are violinists Hana Chang (US) and Charlotte Spruit (The Netherlands), British double bassist Will Duerden, Lithuanian–American pianist Ignas Maknickas, and ensembles Trio Chagall (Italy) and the Swiss-based Atenea Quartet. 

Founded in 1984, YCAT is a charity that works to support the early careers of talented musicians, offering selected artists a bespoke package of management, career development and prestigious performance opportunities over a three- to five-year period. 

In addition, the young American cellist Sterling Elliott was announced as the latest YCAT–Music Masters Robey Artist, further cementing YCAT’s collaboration with Music Masters, the UK-based music education charity that provides teaching, mentoring, financial support and performance opportunities to musicians between the ages of 4 and 25, and champions under-represented voices in the industry. 

YCAT’s chief executive and artistic director, cellist Alasdair Tait, said: ‘At a time when opportunities for our most creative and inspiring young talent are becoming ever more precious and limited, YCAT’s mission to deliver these vital career-building opportunities has never felt more important. I’m delighted and excited to be welcoming these new artists to the YCAT family and can’t wait to begin our journey together.’ 

Tait headed a jury of distinguished industry leaders that included Angela Dixon, chief executive of Saffron Hall; Stephen McHolm, director of the Verbier Academy; Roger Wright, chief executive of Britten Pears Arts; Tanya Bannister, president of Concert Artists Guild, New York; and Rachel van Walsum, director and co-founder of Maestro Arts.

Current and past YCAT artists include violinists Irène Duval and Randall Goosby, violists Jordan Bak and Timothy Ridout, cellist Maciej Kułakowski, and the Agate and Adelphi quartets.

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