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Rising young stars chasing R145 000 prizes in national competition

The crème de la crème of South Africa’s classical youth musicians between the ages of 14 and 19 are poised to battle it out for the coveted first prize at the 34th National Youth Music Competition from 9 to 13 October at the Hugo Lambrechts Auditorium in Parow, Cape Town.

This year, only 19 contestants have been selected, following auditions across the country. They come from the Free State, Eastern Cape, Gauteng and the Western Cape.

Yippee! We have made it. Four of the nineteen contestants celebrate their selection for the battle of the rising stars from 9 to 13 October at the Hugo Lambrechts Auditorium, Parow, Cape Town. Nicola McLachlan (19) of Rondebosch, Qden Blaauw (14) of De Tijger, Keon Muller (14) of Blaauwberg and Dylan Crous (17) of Diep River outside the auditorium.

On top of the more than R145 000 in prizes, gold, silver and bronze medals; the overall winner will also be invited to perform in a concert at Overstrand Arts in Hermanus. Western Cape finalist/s will be invited by the Hugo Lambrechts Trust to perform at a concert at the Hugo Lambrechts Auditorium. The best pianist will also be invited for a concert at the North West University in Potchefstroom.

The wind instrumentalists are this year in the majority (eight) followed by piano (seven) and four on strings. Judging by the entries it seems as if the saxophone is gaining popularity among the youth with three saxophonists among the competitors.

“Just being selected for the competition is already an achievement for each of the participants. The competition commands stamina, technical excellence and strong interpretive skill as the youngsters are to compete over four rounds, playing an extensive repertoire of works,” says Michael Maas, Founder and Chairman of the National Youth Music Foundation (NYMF).

Three of the newly selected contestants from Cape Town demonstrate their skills to Michael Maas at the Hugo Lambrechts Auditorium, Parow, Cape Town. They are Dylan Crous (17) of Diep River, Keon Muller (14) of Blaauwberg and Qden Blaauw (14) of De Tijger.

The youngest two contestants, age 14, are from the Western Cape. There are 12 contestants from the Western Cape, four from Gauteng, two from the Free State and one from the Eastern Cape.

The National Youth Music Competition, presented by the NYMF and supported by the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra (CPO)and Fine Music Radio, (FMR), caters for classical musicians who are too young to qualify for the UNISA International Music and the ATKV Muziq competitions; or too old for the SAMRO Hubert van der Spuy National Music Competition.

“The distinguishing element of this competition is that the top six finalists are battling it out for top honours with the accompaniment of the CPO at a gala concert on Saturday 13 October,” says Maas.

Four first time contestants recently met at the Hugo Lambrechts Auditorium in Parow, Cape Town. Reflecting on their chances against 15 other rising stars from across the country are Qden Blaauw (14) of De Tijger, Keon Muller (14) of Blaauwberg, Dylan Crous (17) of Diep River and Nicola McLachlan (19) of Rondebosch.

All contestants take part in the first two rounds, after which a maximum of 12 players go through to the third round on Thursday 11 October. The six finalists rehearse their final round pieces on Friday with the CPO resident conductor, Brandon Philips.

The NYMF’s vision is to identify, expose and develop youth music. It, therefore, invites former contestants to serve on a shadow jury, training a new generation of adjudicators. The Shadow Jury chair is Prof John Hinch, flautist and Professor Emeritus of the University of Pretoria.

  • The finalists’ gala concert on 13 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 9 to 11 October at the Hugo Lambrechts Auditorium.
  • The National Youth Music Competition is supported by the Oppenheimer Memorial Trust, the Rupert Music Foundation, Joan St Leger Lindbergh Charitable Trust, Nussbaum Foundation, National Lottery Commission, Overstrand Arts,and the Ackerman Education Trust.

Yes we are excited. Three rising stars show their enthusiasm for the competition on the stage of the Hugo Lambrechts Auditorium in Parow, Cape Town, where the competition will take place from 9 to 13 October this year. They are Dylan Crous (17) of Diep River, Qden Blaauw (14) of De Tijger and Keon Muller (14) of Blaauwberg.