The BPO Concerto Prize is a competition for solo performers organised and staged by Birmingham Conservatoire in association with the Birmingham Philharmonic Orchestra. It is acknowledged as the Conservatoire’s premier instrumental competition.
Originally known as The Ludlow Prize, it was founded in memory of David Ludlow, who both led and conducted the Birmingham Philharmonic in its formative years and who was a widely respected and talented violinist.
In a semi-final round students perform a concerto of their choice with piano accompaniment and three finalists are chosen by the Conservatoire. Later they repeat their performances to an audience, this time accompanied by the Birmingham Philharmonic Orchestra. Winners of the Prize are normally invited to perform a concerto with the Orchestra and are eligible for a substantial cash award at the discretion of the Trustees of the Prize.
The competition is judged by a well-known figure from the world of British music. Past adjudicators have included Vernon Handley, Arthur Davison, Jack Brymer, Thea King, Richard Adeney, Peter Cropper and Evelyn Rothwell (Lady Barbirolli).
Past winners of the Ludlow Philharmonic Concerto Prize include Zoltan Vincze (trumpet), David Taylor (euphonium), Anna Ovsyanikova (violin – below top left), Alison Bach (French horn – below bottom right), Ashley Stevens (violin), Annette Korman (flute), Pei-Fen Wang (percussion), Martin Orgill (trumpet), Michael Seal (violin – below bottom left) and Jack McNeill (clarinet – below top right).
The involvement of the BPO from 2013 onwards is regarded as a great step up for the standing of the Prize, the BPO and the Conservatoire itself. All involved are working together to ensure that the competition continues to go from strength to strength.