Emunah crowns 2014 Young Musician and Young Singer of the Year

Ten-year-old pianist Elizabeth Kandelaki from South Hampstead (pictured with Sponsor Anthony Broza and  Chair of Adjudicators Malcolm Singer) has won the title of Emunah Young Musician 2014 after performing in front of a 350-strong audience at the Royal Academy of Music in Marylebone on Sunday afternoon.  A second accolade was won by 12-year-old JFS pupil Emma Sherrard from Mill Hill, who received the first ever Emunah Young  Singer of the Year award from Mitch Winehouse and his wife Jane.

Runner-up for the Emunah Young Singer of the Year award was Ilan Galkoff, 10, from Borehamwood, who has performed on the West End stage in Les Miserables and Oliver.

Held in association with the Jewish Chronicle, the national competition is run by the charity Emunah which helps disadvantaged children and young people in Israel through its network of children’s homes, high schools, day care, therapy and counselling centres.  Founded by Emunah’s Michelle Hirschfield, this is the fourth year for the competition which raises funds for the Lord and Lady Sacks music therapy programme.

“This is the first time that I have won anything – it is probably one of the best experiences in my life.  I am overwhelmed,” said Elizabeth Kandelaki, a pupil at the London Russian School of Music (formerly Belsize Music Academy).

Perfectly poised, Elizabeth impressed the judges with a fine and sensitive performance of Grieg’s Notturno.  She started playing piano and violin at the age of seven, with piano becoming her first instrument.  She also studies music appreciation and composition.  She will receive a cheque for £300 from competition sponsors Wienerworld, the indie music specialist, and perform at Emunah’s Guildhall dinner in December.

Attracting over 70 contestants from around the country, the contest was judged by a panel comprising Malcolm Singer, director of music at the Yehudi Menuhin School, Jewish Chronicle editor Stephen Pollard, Teresa Cahill, Norma Fisher, Françoise Pierre-Geller and Marc Verter.

Violinist Amos Sharp, 12, last year’s winner, gave an accomplished recital while they deliberated over choosing his successor “as the standard was exceptionally high.”

Joint runners-up for the main title of Young Musician were pianist Alessandro d’Orazio, 10, and harpist Olivia Ter-Berg, 17.   Saxophone players Louis Isaacs, 12 and Jodie Bloom, 9, from Borehamwood, jointly won a woodwind prize in memory of Sara Freedman.

World famous cellist Steven Isserlis presented a cup in his name recognising the use of music for charitable purposes.  The recipients were ‘The Four Sons’ – Noam Bernstein, George Rosenfeld, Asher Levy and Jamie Rubenstein, who made a CD to raise funds for Emunah and two other charities.

Emma Sherrard, Emunah Young Singer of the Year, said: “I was shocked when my name was called out.  I thought it must be a mistake.” Singing Electricity from the musical Billy Elliot, she was the judges’ unanimous choice.  “It’s my favourite song from a musical,” she explained.  A member of the JFS singers, Emma was performing at the school’s winter concert where the competition was launched and had been persuaded to enter by music teacher and deputy head, Mr Appleman.

Although she has performed on stage with a local theatre group, Emma “gets shy of singing in front of her family.  I wasn’t allowed to come to the London heats where she was a class runner-up” explains her mother, Sara Sherrard. “At home she only sings in her room – I am shocked that she has won, but very proud.  The £200 prize for Wienerworld may get used for a voice coach for the talented youngster who would love to sing professionally.

Commenting on the event, Michelle Hirschfield said: “It has been a fantastic afternoon thanks to our incredible winners, runners-up, and all the talented young musicians and singers who have entertained us, while raising funds to help those less fortunate through music therapy.”

A special award was presented by Michelle Hirschfield to accompanist Daphne Coleman for her contribution to the competition over the last 4 years.

Photo Credits; John Rifkin and Graham Hirschfield.  Words by Sue Rifkin.

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The Finalists – Emunah Young Musician of the Year and Young Singer

Following the London and Manchester heats, we are delighted to announce that 13 fine young musicians have been chosen to perform in concert on Sunday 9 March at the Royal Academy of Music at the competition finals of Emunah Young Musician of the Year 2014. In addition, seven talented singers will compete for the title of Emunah Young Music Theatre Singer.

Congratulations to everyone who took part in the heats. The adjudicators were extremely impressed with the high standard of  the entries once again.  You are all stars!

The Showcase Concert will be at 2.30pm on Sunday 9th March at the Royal Academy of Music in London.  Tickets must be booked in advance.  For more information or to book tickets please call 0208 203 6066 or email alison@emunah.org.uk

Scroll down for list of London and Manchester finalists:




Louis Isaacs, 12, Saxophone

Runner up:

Jodie Bloom, 9, Saxophone


Joint Winners:

Leo Appel, 14, Violin

Olivia Ter-Berg, 17, Harp

Joint Runners up:

Leora Cohen, 15, Violin,

Aviva Sharp, 10, Violin



James Harvey,16



Alessandro d’Orazio, 10

Runner up:

Masha Vasileyva, 9



Leora Cohen, age 15

Runner Up

Elizabeth Kandelaki, age 10



Amber Lily Jacobs, age 14

Runner Up:

Emma Sherrard, age 12



Ilan Galkoff, age 10

Runner up:

Alana Bain, age 13



Natasha Fisch,14

Runner Up:

Brady Isaacs Pearce,13



Winner: Nicolas Veal-Baschwitz, 11, piano

Joint Runners Up:

Ben Silberstein, 14, Violin

Mark Englander, 13, Piano


Winner:  Justine Saville, 16

Pictured below some of the London Finalists.  More pictures from both Heats to follow soon!

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Are you the next Emunah Young Musician of the Year?

Entry to the 2014 Emunah Young Musician 2014 competition is now open!  Are you the person to follow in the footsteps of 2013 winner, violinist Amos Sharp?  This year we have £500 prize fund  (kindly sponsored by Wienerworld) to be shared between the overall winner of the competition (£300) and the winner of our new category: Musical Theatre Singer of the Year (£200).We are looking for talented young musicians and singers aged 8 – 18 to take part in this competition which is held in conjunction with the Jewish Chronicle.

To download an entry form click here. Full rules for the competition are available by clicking here. Any other questions – please call us on 020 8203 6066.

London Heats will be on Sunday 2nd February 2014.  Manchester Heats will be on Sunday 9th February 2014.  The Showcase Final Concert will be held on Sunday 9th March 2014 at the Royal Academy of Music.

For photos and a report on last year’s competition, please click here.

Photo of Amos Sharp – Credit John Rifkin.

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Violinist Amos Sharp is the 2013 Emunah Young Musician Winner!

The finalists were: Zach Brandman, Rudy Brass, Joshua Daniel, Mark Englander, Natasha Fisch, James Harvey, Rafi Kelion, Annabel Lawrence, Amos Sharp, Ben Silberstein and Nicolas Veal-Baschwitz.

Eleven-year-old violinist Amos Sharp was “overwhelmed with joy” to be the second family member to be named as Emunah Young Musician of the Year. He impressed the judges at a showcase concert on Sunday 3 March at the Royal College of Music, beating ten other finalists to succeed his sister, the cellist Anoushka Sharp, who was last year’s winner.

The competition is run by the charity Emunah, a major provider of welfare services to vulnerable children in Israel and is held in conjunction with the Jewish Chronicle.  The winner was presented with a prize of £500 towards musical instruments for their school by a representative of sponsor Wienerworld Ltd, Mrs Lily Broza.

This was the Highgate School pupil’s second time in the national competition and he also has a place at the National Children’s Orchestra of Great Britain, where he plays first violin. For his winning performance, Amos played Massenet’s Meditation from Thais.

Amos Sharp said: “I really wanted to win. I feel ecstatic, overwhelmed with joy. I wanted to play the most beautifully that I possibly could and to demonstrate that music has a hugely calming and uplifting effect because it ties in with the idea to use music therapy at Emunah’s children’s homes in Israel. My ambition is to become a world-class soloist and be able to perform to, and delight, audiences around the world.”

The winners were chosen by a panel comprising Malcolm Singer, Director of Music at the Yehudi Menuhin School, JC Editor Stephen Pollard, Teresa Cahill and Norma Fisher.

Announcing the results, Malcolm Singer said: “This has been a wonderful festival of music and we have enjoyed all the performances. The judges have had an interesting time trying to choose the winner and after much, much debate, it stays in the family and goes to Amos Sharp, for his fine playing, lovely tone, and real communication with the audience.”

Runners-up, 15-year-olds Rafi Kelion from Northwood, who plays flute and Annabel Lawrence from Leeds, who plays Bassoon, were praised for their “musical performance, articulation and shaping of phrases.” In addition, West Hampstead pianist Zach Brandman, 10, received an honourable mention for his performance of Schubert “remarkable in one so young.”

Continuing the family theme: Amos had been accompanied on piano by his father, David Sharp, and the concert included a cello recital by Anoushka as last year’s winner and his younger sister, the violinist Aviva Sharp, 9, was one of three ‘most promising newcomers who were invited to perform. The others were alto-sax player Sam Sher from Hampstead Garden Suburb and pianist Hannah Whiteson, 8, from Cheadle.

Entertainment included a gamelan workshop in which audience members could perform.

Afterwards, Emunah Young Musician Chairman Michelle Hirschfield paid tribute to the young performers, saying: “They have all given remarkable performances; it has been a tremendously enjoyable way of celebrating their talent while supporting those children who are less fortunate through the Lord and Lady Sacks music therapy programme at our projects in Israel. Amos is a truly deserving winner and we look forward to hearing him perform again at our fundraising events later this year.”

Words: Sue Levy  Photo Credits: John Rifkin

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Finalists announced for Emunah Young Musician of the Year 2013

Excitement is growing for the Showcase Final which is at the Royal College of Music on Sunday 3 March following the highly successful London and Leeds Heats.

London Heats:

Dozens of accomplished youngsters gave fine performances at the Royal Academy of Music on Sunday 3rd February at the London heats of Emunah Young Musician of the Year.  The class winners who will go through to the finals are: singers Natasha Fisch and James Harvey; pianists Nicolas Veal-Baschwitz, Zach Brandman and Joshua Daniel; Rudy Brass (trumpet), Rafi Kelion (flute) and Amos Sharp (violin).  In addition, Sam Sher (alto sax) and Aviva Sharp (violin) have been put forward for a ‘Most Promising Newcomer’ award which has been introduced this year.  The runners-up were singers Daniel Berenson and Brady Pearce; Alessandro D’Orazio (piano) and Olivia Ter-Berg (Harp).

Northern Heats:

The regional heats of Emunah Young Musician of the Year took place at Leeds College of Music on Sunday 10th February. The finalists are:  Ben Silberstein (violin); Mark Englander (piano) and Annabel Lawrence (bassoon).  Most Promising Newcomer award nomination: Hannah Whiteson (piano). The runners-up were:  Hannah Silberstein (flute), Noah Ottman (piano) and Aviva Sandler (violin).

Emunah director Deborah Nathan noted “the array of talent” and said that proceeds would support the Lord and Lady Sacks Music Therapy programme at the charity’s projects in Israel and would benefit “emotionally damaged” children.

Finalists from London and Leeds will now prepare for a Showcase Concert at the Royal College of Music in Kensington on Sunday 3rd March when the overall winner will be chosen.   The competition is held in conjunction with the Jewish Chronicle and the winner’s school will get £500 to spend on musical instruments, courtesy of Wienerworld.

Tickets for the Showcase Concert are:

£8 Child ( under 16)

£20 Adult

£25 Adult premium

£50 Family ticket ( 2 adults and 2 children)

To purchase tickets call 020 8203 6066 or email alison@emunah.org.uk

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Leeds Launch for Emunah Young Musician of the Year 2013

Pupils from the Grammar School at Leeds lent a hand to launch Emunah Young Musician of the Year 2013 and find a successor to the 2012 winner cellist Anoushka Sharp.  Heats for the national competition, run in conjunction with the Jewish Chronicle, are taking place on Sunday 3 February at the Royal Academy in London and on Sunday 10 February at Leeds College of Music.  The competition promotes young talent while raising funds for the Lord and Lady Sacks Music Therapy programme at Emunah project in Israel. Taking part in the launch were Year 11 pupils Hadassah Litvin (oboe), Hannah Silberstein (flute), Sam Myerson (cello) and Upper Sixth student Rebecca Saffer (piano). They were joined by Mr Andrew Wheeler, Director of Instrumental Studies.

This will be the third time that Hadassah Litvin, 16, has entered the competition – she previously took part in the London heats at the Royal Academy of Music.  She has oboe, bass guitar, piano and singing lessons and practices every day.  Says Hadassah: “I love playing music as it is challenging, interesting and helps me to relax. I also love the build up to a concert and the feeling of fulfilment once I have finished performing. The competition makes me work harder and each time I enter I become more confident about playing in front of an audience. It has taken me a long time to reach this stage, as I am quite shy.  Also, I know that by entering the competition I am helping those children who are less fortunate than me.”

The age range has been widened for this year’s competition which is open to performers – solo musicians and singers – aged between eight and 18. Entrants must have achieved grade four or above in their chosen categories – solo voice, piano or keyboard, woodwind, strings, brass and percussion.  The overall winner will receive a £500 prize to buy musical instruments for their school – courtesy of Wienerworld – with the option of donating part of the prize back to the charity. There will also be an award for the ‘most promising newcomer’.

The competition reaches its climax on Sunday 3 March at the Royal College of Music in London when finalists from around the country will perform in a concert.

The adjudicators will be Malcolm Singer, Director of Music at the Yehudi Menuhin School; opera singer Teresa Cahill; concert pianist Norma Fisher and Jewish Chronicle Editor Stephen Pollard.

Emunah’s Michelle Hirschfield, who chairs the competition, said: “We wanted to hold heats in Leeds in response to parent’s requests and because we know there are many fine musicians around the country.  We are most grateful to The Grammar School at Leeds for their help with the launch and hope to encourage many more young people to take part.”

Click here to go to the application form.

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