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Culture Lane

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Culture Lane

And the BBC Young Musician is...

A 16-year-old pianist has won this year’s BBC Young Musician award. Lauren Zhang, who lives and studies in Birmingham, competed against 18-year-old saxophonist Robert Burton and 18-year-old cellist Maxim Calver to win the title in the 40th year of the competition. She performed Prokofiev’s 2nd Piano Concerto in G minor, op.16 with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra conducted by Mark Wigglesworth.

The judges praised her performance of a hugely challenging and ambitious work: “Her exceptional level of technical skill and intelligent musicality shone through in a beast of a piece,” said Kerry Andrew, chair of the judging panel. “She has a natural genuine musicianship … and a real intelligence,” said violinist and previous winner Nicola Benedetti.

Lauren said: “I’m astonished … I can’t quite believe it! It’s been a fantastic opportunity to play with the CBSO and the journey right from the start of the competition has been incredible.”

Lauren is currently studying for her GCSEs at King Edward VI High School for Girls — she has three exams on Tuesday — and also attends the Birmingham Junior Conservatoire. She began learning the piano at the age of four and also plays the violin. Born in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Lauren and her family moved to Birmingham in 2010. At the Junior Conservatoire she is taught by Robert Markham, who himself was a finalist in the BBC Young Musician competition in 1986.

Soon, biopic on grime pioneer Wiley

Wiley, the east London MC and one of the key pioneers of grime, is to be the subject of a biopic, according to Variety. Adam Smith will direct the feature. His previous directorial credits include the Michael Fassbender film Trespass Against Us, the Chemical Brothers documentary Don’t Think and episodes of Doctor Who, Little Dorrit and Skins.

The film will tell Wiley’s story from his youth in Bow, east London, as part of the Pay As U Go garage crew, before creating his harsh, innovative “eskibeat” production style that became synonymous with grime. He then crossed over into pop, scoring chart-topping singles both solo and with the group Roll Deep, nurturing a new generation of MCs before returning to his grime roots.

“This is my life, my highs and lows, but it’s not really all about me,” Wiley said. “When I make music, help the scene or even do something like this, it’s like I’m not alone any more. It’s for people who grew up like me. I’m doing it to help people who are lost like me.”

Smith also directed the video for Wiley’s debut solo single, 2004’s Wot U Call It?, and said: “Meeting Wiley and seeing what he and his friends were creating was a huge inspiration to me. Making a film about this incredible talent and his story 15 years later is very exciting.”

The giant Jade Buddha’s pilgrimage

Inside a shipping container encircled by ironbark trees, eight kilometres north-west of Bendigo in regional Victoria, there’s a special cargo: a million-dollar Buddha, carved out of jade, that has seen more cities and faces than you or I could dream of. He sits patiently in meditation pose, waiting to be unveiled amid great ceremony and carried into the gleaming white Great Stupa of Universal Compassion – the $20m Buddhist monument that rises out of the bushland next to the container. There, he will be protected by Mission Impossible-style security.

The Jade Buddha might sound like an episode of a Miss Fisher Murder Mystery but it’s actually a 2.5-metre sculpture that was carved out of what’s claimed to be the world’s largest boulder of jade, discovered in Canada 18 years ago. The statue has spent the past decade on a world tour, visited by more than 11 million people. It might seem odd that its final home is in regional Victoria but since 1981, these 210 acres of land have been donated to the creation of a Buddhist centre by former advertising executive Ian Green and his family.  

 
 
 
 
 

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