A TUNED-UP former Stratford College music student has made it through to the final of the BBC’s Young Jazz Musician competition.
Elliott Sansom, who graduated from the Alcester Road college in 2012 before going on to study jazz at Birmingham City University’s Birmingham Conservatoire, is one of the five finalists in the running for the prestigious award.
The 21 year-old pianist comes from a musical family.
Captivated by his mother’s and grandmother’s piano-playing, he started to play the piano himself at the tender age of five.
Sixteen years later, he is now in the final year of his course in Birmingham, having spent time as part of his studies on a placement at the Conservatoire de Paris and also in Germany, where he studied under the celebrated jazz pianist Pablo Held.
Originally from Solihull, Elliott is fast gaining a reputation among jazz aficionados.
He has not only collaborated with other Birmingham-based musicians, but also plays and writes with his own trio, and together with his older brother, he is even in the process of setting up a recording studio.
Elliott said: “I’m thrilled to be in the final of such a prestigious competition and to be recognised for playing the kind of music I love.
“It’s a huge honour – I’m still trying to get my head round it. My time at Stratford College was instrumental in guiding me towards where I am today. The facilities were great and the staff were always incredibly supportive.”
James Maiden, who taught Elliott at Stratford College, was delighted at Elliott’s success although not surprised.
He added: “Even as a teenager he showed a remarkable musical talent with a gift for improvisation and experimentation.
“I wish him the very best, not only at the finals next month, but also in what I am certain will be a highly successful career as a professional musician.”
First held in 2014, the award runs in parallel with the BBC’s established classical music competition.
The final will take place on Saturday March 12 at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in Cardiff, and will be broadcast on BBC Four.