Maria Luc, will compete with Leo Popplewell, Andy Martin and George Robinson. At stake on July 6 is the Coro Nuovo Bursary to help them with their promising careers.

Maria, 22, whose father fled from the horrors of the Vietnam War is among those competing. She is studying for a Master’s degree at the Royal Northern College of Music.

In her submission to judges Maria, a pianist, from Chichester, said: “I am of Japanese and Vietnamese heritage. My father, AnvaLuc, is a piano tuner based in Sussex and he came over as a refugee from Vietnam to escape the Vietnam War where he was unfortunately blinded by an unexploded bomb. My mother is Japanese and plays piano as a hobby and also currently teaches piano and Japanese. There were always pianos in the house from when we were born so it was natural to have an interest in them.”

Cambridge graduate Leo Popplewell, 23, whose father is from Petworth, plays the cello. He is at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, having gained double first class honours at Cambridge and won Truett Cup for Overall Contribution to Music at Eton.

Chichester-born Andrew Martin, 25, took part last year. He started playing the flute 15 years ago and throughout his youth he played in local area ensembles around West Sussex. He was principal flautist of the County Youth Orchestra for 3 years. He graduated from the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama with a 1st Class honours degree last July, and since has been studying at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London on the Orchestral Artistry Masters Course.

Classical guitarist George Robinson, 23, another entrant from Chichester, is a music student. George is currently in his first year of his Master of Performance studies at the Royal College of Music with Gary Ryan and Charles Ramirez.

The reserve entrant is Eliette Harris, 22. currently studying at the Royal Northern College of Music under Yossi Zivoni. She was tutored by Helen Browne until the age of 18 in Brighton where she grew up, and often returns to study with her between terms.

The contest winner receives £1,000 and the opportunity to play with the Coro Nuovo choir and be paid as a professional musician. The runner-up wins £500 and other finalists £250.

Previous winners of the bursary have included saxophonist Hannah Corcoran who is now studying for a Masters at the Royal Academy, Gideon Brooks, who is touring with the European Youth Orchestra and Rebecca Leggett (mezzo) who finds herself in great demand as a soloist around
the UK.

The evening will also feature a performance by the Coro Nuovo choir of popular music under the title Earth's Beauty.

Audience admission to the final, which starts at 7.00 pm is £12.50 and tickets are available at or by phoning 07740 946 276

Text and pictures by Phil Dennett