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Connoisseurs appointed to judge music competition


The panel of esteemed adjudicators for the 2019 National Youth Music Competition (NYMC), has just been announced.

The panel members of music experts come from Bloemfontein, Cape Town, Johannesburg, Potchefstroom and Pretoria, representing a vast pool of experience to judge the contestants in three categories – piano, strings and wind instruments.

They will individually score the 18 selected contestants, listening to more than a hundred works over four days, running from 8 to 12 October at the Hugo Lambrechts Auditorium in Parow, Cape Town.

The panel consists of Michael Maas (Chairman), Prof Farida Bacharova (strings), Prof Tinus Botha (piano), Polina Burdukova (strings), Samson Diamond (strings), Dr Franklin Lewis (piano), Dr Mario Nell (piano), Dr Bridget Rennie-Salonen (flute) and Junnan Sun (clarinet).

Three of them have been prize winners of the competition that celebrates its 35th anniversary this year. They are Burdukova, Nell and Sun.

The competition aims to identify, expose and develop South Africa’s rising classical music stars.

With R145 000 in cash prizes, a gold medal and silver and bronze medals in three categories, the competition for classical instrumentalists between the ages of 14 and 19 years this year attracted 30 entries. Following auditions, only 18 contestants have been selected for the prestigious competition.

Affirming its local roots, the competition also offers a special prize for the best performance of a work by a South African composer.

All contestants take part in the first two rounds, after which a maximum of 12 players go through to the third round. The six top musicians then do their battle under the accompaniment of the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra (CPO). All have to play a varied repertoire of works from various time periods.

“The NYMC is the only music competition in South Africa where the finalists perform in competition as soloists with a full symphony orchestra, the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Brandon Philips,” says Michael Maas, founder of the NYMC and chairman of the National Youth Music Foundation (NYMF).

In line with the NYMF’s vision, it invites former contestants and students to serve on a shadow jury, training a new generation of adjudicators in the process.  The shadow jury chair is Prof John Hinch, flautist and Professor Emeritus of the University of Pretoria.

The shadow jury cannot influence the scores of the main panel of adjudicators, but it awards the Shadow Jury Prize of R3 000 for the most promising semi-finalist.

The 2019 shadow jury consists of Rory Africa, University of Cape Town (UCT), Seth Alexander (UCT), Dominic Daula, Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester, Lourens Fick, University of Stellenbosch (US), Lara Havenga, US, Nicola McLachlan, UCT, Grace Njogu (UCT).

With less than two weeks to the start of the competition, more than a third of the available tickets for the Finalists’ Gala Concert on Saturday 12 October has been taken up.

  • The finalists’ gala concert on 12 October starts at 19:00. Tickets cost R120, R90 for pensioners, students and learners.  Bookings can be made at Computicket 0861 915 8000, Shoprite and Checkers outlets, or online at www.computicket.com.
  • Entrance is free to the first free rounds from 8 to 10 October at the Hugo Lambrechts Auditorium.
  • The National Youth Music Competition is supported by the City of Cape Town, the Oppenheimer Memorial Trust, the Rupert Music Foundation, Cape Town Theatre Trust, Joan St Leger Lindbergh Charitable Trust, Nussbaum Foundation, Lorenzo and Stella Chiappini Trust, Overstrand Arts and the Ackerman Education Trust and UNISA.