University College School music stars earn places in national final at Royal College of Music

University College School musicians Sam Sher and Rudy Brass, both aged 12. Picture: Nigel Sutton

University College School musicians Sam Sher and Rudy Brass, both aged 12. Picture: Nigel Sutton - Credit: Nigel Sutton

Two friends from University College School will be performing before an audience of hundreds at the Royal College of Music on Sunday after being recognised as promising young musicians in a nationwide competition.

Last week trumpeter Rudy Brass and his friend, alto sax player, Sam Sher, both 12, took part in the heats of the prestigious Emunah Young Musician of the Year competition.

Dozens of youngsters from up and down the country entered the competition, run by Jewish organisation Emunah.

The two boys, who are in the same class at UCS in Hampstead, particularly stood out and came away with well-deserved honours.

Rudy was one of 11 students selected to play in the final of the competition, while Sam was nominated for the Most Promising Newcomer award.

“I felt relieved that all the work had paid off but I’m nervous about Sunday,” said Rudy, who lives in Willesden.

“I started playing the trumpet when I was six. I wanted to play a loud instrument and that was the only one I knew.

Most Read

“When I started, and still now, I really enjoyed playing classical music.”

At the heats, which took place in a practice room at the Royal College of London, Rudy played the classical piece Badinage by Eugene Bozza.

Judges described his performance as “captivating”, “excellent throughout” and said that he was ‘‘full of musical flair”.

Sam, from Hampstead Garden Suburb, has been playing the alto-sax since he was seven. He wowed judges with his performance of two jazz pieces.

He said: “I practice whenever I have free time and I have three lessons a week – it’s a big part of my life.”

Rudy added: “It was nice to enter together because it made us less nervous.”

Also competing were brother and sister Amos and Aviva Sharp from Golders Green.

Violinist Amos, 11, a Highgate School pupil, reached the finals giving a “very mature, very musical and very expressive” performance of Massenet’s Meditation from Thais.

Aviva, nine, also a violinist and a North London Collegiate School pupil, was nominated for a Most Promising Newcomer award for her “charming performances” of Oskar Rieding’s Pastorale and Brahms’ Hungarian Dance No. 5.

Other local young musicians among the 11 finalists are ten-year-old pianists Zach Brandman, from West Hampstead, and Nicolas Veal Baschwitz, from Kentish Town, who both attend Belsize Music Academy, and singer Natasha Fisch, 13, from Hampstead Garden Suburb.

This is the third year the national competition has taken place but the first time that finals have been held at the Royal College of Music.

The winner will receive a £500 prize of musical instruments for his or her school, courtesy of Wienerworld.