Clean Sweep for Ryan Yeh in the Boys’ School Senior Instrumental Competition

June 10, 2024 at 11:36 AM

With preliminaries starting in Term 1, seventy- five auditionees, were reduced to twenty semi-finalists, leaving only the top eleven performances heading into the ‘Best of the Best’ Instrumental Final at the Boys’ School. The depth of musicianship, variety of instruments, and incredible number of students who participated in the competition this year left Head of Music, Georgina Jarvis, floored.

It is widely accepted that to become skilful at anything, a certain amount of time and dedication is required. Many will have heard of the 10,000-hour rule, which Malcolm Gladwell coined in his book “Outliers,” claiming this was the required amount of time to achieve mastery of complex skills. When listening to the finalists play, it is incredible to think about their age considering their skill. No doubt, once they’ve reached 10,000 hours, they will be extraordinary.

The ‘Best of the Best’ competition was split into two categories like previous years. The Middle School category featured musicians from Years 3-6, and the Senior Category from Year 7 and 8. The five Middle Schoolers took to the stage first, before the talented Jazz Combo provided a short upbeat entertainment ahead of the six Senior School finalists.

The Middle School category featured Boyi Yujin on the piano, Darren Lin on the clarinet, Eason Zhu on piano, then Boyi returned on the violin, and finally George Sun on piano. First prize went to last year’s winner, Boyi Yujin, performing Concerto in G on the violin. Our youngest finalist, George Sun (Year 4), took runner-up with a beautiful rendition of Tchaikovsky’s Song of the Lark.

The Senior category had performances from pianist Cyrus Tong, Aaron Zhao on guitar, Ryan Yeh who played pieces on both the cello and piano, Thomas Bottomley with the bagpipes, and Austin Watson on trumpet. In an unprecedented turn of events, both first prize and runner-up went to Ryan Yeh, who won on the cello and received second honours for his piece on the piano. Adjudicator and Head of Performing Arts at St Cuthberts College, Oliver Gilmour, said he looked for artistry when deciding upon the winners, as all the performers were highly skilled. He was very impressed with the standard of musicianship and said it was the most difficult adjudication he had done.

With Ryan finishing his time at the Boys’ School this year, each of the remaining finalists will return next year with another chance to perform and for their peers and judges. All the finalists were well-prepared and impressed their audience with their extraordinary musical calibre at such a young age. As Mr Cassie commented, we know that to reach this level there is determination, discipline, and very supportive parents and family behind each child. This event marked the grand finale of the Boys' School Instrumental Competition and we look forward to a repeat of this outstanding event next year.  

Final Results:


Middle School

Boyi Yujin (Violin) – 1st Place

George Sun (Piano) – Runner Up

Eason Zhu (Piano) - Highly commended


Senior School

Ryan Yeh (Cello) – 1st Place

Ryan Yeh (Piano) – Runner up

Cyrus Tong (Piano) – Highly Commended

Thomas Bottomley – Highly Commended


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