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Johannesburg teen wins coveted SA national music prize.

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A 14-year-old home-school violinist of Parktown North, in Johannesburg Gilah Kellner, has won the top prize in this year’s National Youth Music Competition.

     Apart from clinching the prestigious gold medal and R30 000 at the grand finalé on Saturday 14 October at the Hugo Lambrechts Auditorium in Parow, Cape Town, the talented young musician was also awarded the Polina Burdukova Prize of R4 000 for the best performance by a string instrumentalist of a classical work by a Russian composer.

     Stellenbosch University student Emilio February, 19, walked away with the second prize of R10 000 and silver medal. Hailing from Elsies River, Cape Town, his performance of Hendrik Hofmeyr’s Concerto per Marimba e Orchestra D’Achi won him the R4 000 prize for the best performance of a concerto in the final round, as well as the R2 500 prize for best performance of a South African work in any round.

     The other category winners were David Cyster, 17, of Kuils River (wind instruments) and University of Pretoria student, Jolandi Schaap, 19, of Menlo Park, Pretoria (piano). The category winners each received R5 000 and a silver medal. Cyster also palmed in the Leon Hartshorne prize of R4 000 as the best winds instrumentalist.

     The overall third prize of R6 500 went to Namibian violinist Eike Coetzee, 15. He and Nicholas Bruiners, 19, of Mowbray were both appointed runners-up in the strings category, with each winning R3 000 and a bronze medal.

     Ah-Young Moon, 14, a learner of Renish Girls High in Stellenbosch and Althea Steynberg, 18, of Roodepoort were the runners-up for piano and wind instruments respectively.

     The UNISA Shadow Jury Prize of R3 000 for the best semi-finalist, who was not a finalist, went to Rosemarie Lemmer, 19, of Garsfontein, Pretoria. She also palmed in the R2 000 Michael Masote prize for the most promising contestant in the piano category. Zoe Coetzee, 17, of Bloemhof Girls High in Stellenbosch received it in the strings category.

     Beate Boshoff, 16, of Voortrekker High in Bethlehem in the Free State walked away with R4 000 Pauline Nossel prize for the best performance of a classical work by a pianist.

     Hosted by the National Youth Music Foundation, the annual competition for classical instrumentalists aged between 14 and 19 years offered cash prizes totalling R145 000. This year, 21 musicians from across South Africa were selected to take part in a four round playoff at the Hugo Lambrechts Auditorium from 10 to 14 October.

     They each had to perform a variety of classical works in front of eight illustrious adjudicators that was assisted by a shadow jury that included former contestants and music students.

     “Over the past 33 years these young musicians have raised the bar annually, proving that there is a healthy growth culture of classical music throughout South Africa,” says Michael Maas, founder and chairman of the National Youth Music Foundation.


  • The National Youth Music Competition is supported by the Oppenheimer Memorial Trust, the Rupert Music Foundation, Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra, Joan St Leger Lindbergh Charitable Trust, Nussbaum Foundation, Ackerman Educational Trust, National Lottery Commission, Overstrand Arts, Hugo Lambrechts Music Centre, UNISA, Darling Music For All, Mr R le Roux, Mr B Rabinowitz, Rooiberg, and other donors who wish to remain anonymous.



Media Enquiries:


*Michael Maas, Chairman, NYMF, Tel: 083 659 2808


*Frikkie Odendaal, Tel: (021) 423-7263 or e-mail: odendaal@afrikom.co.za

     *Photos are available from odendaal@afrikom.co.za