Nineteen year old violinist Savitri Grier is the winner of the first Concerto Competition organised by Oxford Philomusica and Oxfordshire County Council Music Service. The final took place last Saturday at the Sheldonian Theatre in front of an audience which included the The High Sheriff of Oxfordshire, The Mayor of Banbury, The Mayor of Bicester, The Mayor of Carterton, the Chairman of Oxfordshire County Council and officials from the County Music Service and County and City Councils plus members of the public, who managed to reach the event despite the heavy snowfall that afternoon. Each of the three candidates playing a complete concerto of their choice with Oxford Philomusica conducted by John Traill.
Savitri beat off strong competition from Emanuel Bach (2nd prize winner) and Osman Tack (3rd prize) to secure a cash award of £1000 plus an invitation to play a concerto with Oxford Philomusica in their next Sheldonian Series. Both runners up received £300 plus £250 worth of Oxford Philomusica concert tickets, and all three were presented with their prizes by Mr David Shirley, who had generously supported the competition by contributing to the prizes.
The panel of distinguished judges – Marios Papadopoulos, the director of Oxford Philomusica and an acclaimed international pianist; Tony Mealings, the Head of Oxfordshire County Music Service; the violinist and BBC Young Musician of the Year winner, Jennifer Pike; conductor John Traill; and flautist, teacher and conductor Caroline Hobbs-Smith – were generous in their praise of all three finalists, but unanimous in awarding the first prize to Savitri.
Marios Papadopoulos commented ‘Savitri Grier played the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto in D major which, in many ways, was a brave choice as it’s such a well known piece and all the judges would have heard great soloists play it, but we loved her performance. It was quite superb, and I have no hesitation in inviting Savitri to play with the Oxford Philomusica in our next series’.
Savitri Grier (19) took up her first violin aged 4, and then attended the Junior Royal Academy of Music for 10 years. She has already performed at Wembley Arena and the Barbican, and will make her Royal Albert Hall debut in May. She is currently reading Music at Christ Church.