I am very flattered to have received a Borletti-Buitoni Trust Fellowship 2012. Upon first glance the award seems to be a simple one of money, but after even so short a time as a week, I am noticing how far-reaching the benefits of being a recipient are. To be placed alongside musicians of such high calibre as the past winners is almost a prize in in itself, but the support you are given in terms of PR advice and important performance opportunities is something else (and certainly invaluable at such an early stage in my career). Of course, a congratulatory phone call from Mitsuko Uchida was quite a confidence booster!
But I feel I should also make a small point. This Trust is not based around competition – they give a varying number of Awards/Fellowships per year, dependant on the quality of the nominees. Having spent even a small amount of time on the competition circuit, I have found the time spent in preparation and on that stage has not been a particularly happy or rewarding one – even when it results in first prize. Competitions in music undermine the foundation and purpose of our art. The Borletti-Buitoni Trust does not inanely pit musician against musician. It founds itself on the bare minimum of competitive elements, and for this I am immensely grateful.