Matthew Hua is the Maidstone Musician of the Year 2019.
Matthew won this year's competition held at Maidstone Grammar School on Saturday with impressive performances of Mozart's Sonata no17 in B flat major, and Chopin's Nocturne in E, opus 61.
But the 18-year-old pianist from Maidstone Grammar School, who is hoping to go to York University in September to read music and sound recording, had some tough competition, not least from second-placed Annabel Beniston who played Bottesini's Reverie in D, and the finale from Bensted's Four Episodes on her double bass, accompanied for both pieces by her sister Emma Beniston.
The 14-year-old Annabel plays for both the Maidstone Youth Orchestra and the National Youth Orchestra.
The judges Kevin Ashman, Andy Millest and Lucia D'Avanzo-Lewis had a tough time choosing between the contestants, who ages ranged from nine to 18, but unanimously agreed that a third prize for the performer showing the most promise should go to violinist Luna Bolton, just nine, from Holmewood House School in Tunbridge Wells. Luna played two lengthy pieces by Borowski and Hubay without music.
The other contestants were singer Elizabeth Knowles, 11, from Valley Park School, Maidstone; Justin Myles, a 17-year-old pianist and pupil at Ifield School, Gravesend; 11-year-old horn player George Hall from Dane Court Grammar School in Broadstairs; and 13-year-old Thomas Hall who plays the euphonium for the Southern Counties Youth Band.
The competition, now held 18 times, was organised by the Rotary Club of Maidstone Dawn Patrol, with the Mayor of Maidstone Dave Naghi presenting the trophies. The audience of around 150 were treated to performances from last year's winner, trumpet player Joseph Pickard, and also from the Kent Youth Recorders as well as from the seven contestants.
An eighth contestant, singer Lucy Colbert, had to pull out at the last minute, after coming down with tonsillitis.