A PIANIST from Ryde can be seen performing on the BBC Young Musician of the Year this weekend.

Thomas Luke, 16, is currently studying for his GCSEs and attends the Junior Academy of Music in London on Saturdays.

Thomas will perform in the first of the category finals for keyboard, which will be broadcast on Sunday (May 3) at 7pm on BBC Four.

He said: "I never think of competitions as competitions, I think of them as opportunities to play and communicate with the audience.

"As a result, my preparation for the BBC Young Musician competition was no different to how I would normally practise for a concert.

"Before performing, I visualised the experience thoroughly in my head, so when I walked on stage for real, it felt almost familiar.

"I love performing, and playing in the category final was amazing. I met some fantastic people I have stayed in touch with. The atmosphere during the two days of filming was electric."

The UK contest for classical musicians has launched the careers of international stars such as Nicola Benedetti, Mark Simpson and Sheku Kanneh-Mason, and will return to BBC Four and iPlayer in a new format.

The BBC Young Musician semi-final and final are scheduled for broadcast in autumn, along with the final of BBC Young Jazz Musician 2020.

BBC Young Musician executive editor Paul Bullock said: “BBC Young Musician is one of those very special projects as television producers we are privileged to be involved with.

"This year, more than ever, the series provides the opportunity to witness supremely talented and dedicated young people performing to the highest standard, reminding us of the power great music has to lift spirits, provide solace and inspire us all.”