August 25, 2017

The Competition

Every 3 years, YBT organises a public competition to select the five young musicians that will receive its support until they reach the age of 25. The overall winner, receives a cash prize and a priority to sponsorship and resources but this does not in any way exclude the runner ups. Each musician is assessed for their needs and the benefits that YBT support can offer them at the time.

We are not only looking for five exceptionally talented classical musicians but for candidates that show the potential to develop and grow. Character and attitude is as important as musical ability. We search for musicians with a high degree of personal commitment; free thinkers with unending motivation and drive and the ability to communicate their ideas and emotions on and off the podium. In short, we look for ambassadors of excellence, people who are prepared to also look out for and be an example to others.

All our applicants need to meet the following criteria:

  • Be under the age of 21 on the first day of January following the competition final. (For 2022 this is temporarily raised to 22).
  • Candidates are generally expected to be at least 16 years old at the time of application.
  • Play an instrument that is considered part of the classical symphony orchestra and is officially taught in Belgium’s top music conservatoires. (We include singers and pianists too)!
  • Studying at a music conservatoire or academie. (Very young candidates are sometimes relieved of this criteria).
  • Belgian, or domiciled in Belgium*

*The world is flooded with international music competitions and we did not feel we had the necessary resources to do an international competition justice, especially as our emphasis is on personal follow up with one to one coaching and support. By focusing our resources on musicians who grew up and live within the network of our local music establishments and its associated network, not only can we know our candidates better but we can also better prepare them for their international solo careers while they finish their studies.

From all our first list of entries, we select fifteen candidates to perform in front of a professional panel of judges made up of representatives of the music establishment, business leaders, media professionals and personal coaches. In addition to performing, the panel takes the time to not only interview them but also to have a professional coach spend an hour or more with each one, assessing their personal motivation and strength of character and dedication. From our fifteen we select five to go on to our live gala evening where they will perform to the judges and a live audience, pieces of music of their own choice (in association with the event organisers).
The overall winner is selected by both the professional judges and the audience combined.

The prize

The finalists of the YBT competition win the beginning of a career! This means they go home with:

  • A ‘Finalist trophy’ and 244EUR performance fee subsidy
  • Support from Young Belgian Talent VZW up until the age of 25
  • Financial advice
  • Legal advice
  • PR/Marketing support and coaching (your own website, business cards, social media…)
  • Career coaching
  • Access to YBT resources and budgets, typically 3000EUR per year. Budgets cover: travel, personal coaching, master classes, summer schools, etc. and are subject to business case application and YBT director approval.
  • The possibility of a CD made from professional recordings of concerts and studio performances (subject to assessment and resources).
  • The possibility of a full high-resolution video made by internationally renowned professionals. (subject to assessment and resources).
  • Priority for invitation to participation in YBT concerts during the sponsorship period.
  • Possibility of concert tours, for example with Musica et Poetica.
  • Access to YBT’s partner network.

The overarching winner of the Young Belgian Talent competition receives in addition:

  • The winner’s trophy
  • A onetime prize of 1.000 EUR
  • Preferential access to YBT resources and budgets.
  • A contract for giving a minimum of 3 concerts during the sponsorship period.
  • Paid concert tour of Belgium for Musica et Poetica (typically 7-9 concerts).
  • Become a member of the Jury Panel for the following finals.

The winner is chosen by a professional jury.

From 2022 onwards, we are introducing a ‘public choice’ winner, who will voted for by the public on the night. They  will receive all the benefits of the finalists and in addition a 500EUR onetime prize and ‘Public Choice’ trophy.

This is where we obtain our competition slogan: “YBT The Finals: where preparation and opportunity meet”.