Crouch End pianist reaches BBC young musician finals

Noah Stoneman has reached the finals of the BBC young jazz musician of the year awards for 2016. Pho

Noah Stoneman has reached the finals of the BBC young jazz musician of the year awards for 2016. Photo: Polly Hancock - Credit: Archant

The teenage jazz pianist has an eclectic musical taste, citing one of his greatest influences as American hip hop artist Kendrick Lamar.

“His music incorporates jazz; he’s bringing it to a wider audience,” the Crouch End musician explains.

Noah Stoneman, 15, will perform in front of a global audience having reached the finals in the BBC young musician jazz awards.

He first started playing the piano when he was six and learning in earnest when he was eight.

Noah experimented with classical music at primary school, but he craved more musical freedom, even from a young age. “I wanted to do more of my own thing,” Noah said.

“I was in year five and my friend Miles gave me a jazz CD.

“I heard it and even though it went beyond me, I really liked it. You can improvise more with jazz. You can interpret a tune which someone has written however you want.”

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The 15-year-old musician plays a variety of live gigs, and he likes playing with others the most.

“You need the other musicians to keep it entertaining,” he said.

“It’s at its best when you’re completely immersed and it’s like you’re the spectator.

“You don’t get that same sensation doing classical; it’s something very special to jazz.”

Noah practices piano for at least an hour a day, plays with Haringey Young Musicians and goes to the Royal Academy of Music every Saturday.

He insists, however, that this does not get in the way of his Highgate Wood school work.

“I had a few talks with my mum about making sure I am keeping up,” Noah said. “Music is my priority because it’s what I want to do.

“It would be easier if I didn’t have music but I love it.”

- The televised final of the BBC Young Musician 2016 Jazz Award will take place on Saturday March 12 in the Dora Stoutzker Hall, Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, Cardiff.