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Young stars chase big bucks with high notes

Hugo Lambrechts Auditorium, here we come. Four of the budding music stars who are competing in the 35th National Youth Music Competition in a self-assured mood in front of the auditorium. The are fltr Cape Town Philharmonic Youth Orchestra (CPYO) concertmaster and violinist, Jordan Brooks, 16, from Fairways, flautist, Zoé Parks, 17, from Brackenfell, bassoonist, Liam Slabbert, 16, from Durbanville and pianist, Gerhard Joubert, 17, from Stellenbosch.

Ticket sales for the final battle between the top six stars in the 2019 National Youth Music Competition’s gala concert, performed with the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra on Saturday 12 October at Hugo Lambrechts Auditorium in Parow, Cape Town has taken off enthusiastically.

More than a third of the available 450 seats have been taken a month ahead of the competition.

Just 18 of the 30 young musicians who entered for the annual National Youth Music Competition (NYMC) have been selected to compete for the R145 000 in prizes at the 35th edition of the prestigious competition that runs from 8 to 12 October at the venue.

The competition for classical instrumentalists between the ages of 14 and 19 years has attracted entrants from four of the country’s provinces. They have been selected following auditions in front of a panel of revered music experts. The 18 contestants are from the Free State, Eastern Cape, Gauteng and the Western Cape.

Really, 35 already? Three of the rising stars who have been selected for the 2019 National Youth Competition (NYMC) absorbing the fascinating story of the contest’s history from the founder of the competition, Michael Maas. They are fltr Zoé Parks, 17, from Brackenfell, Michael Maas, bassoonist, Liam Slabbert, 16, from Durbanville and violinist, Jordan Brooks, 16, from Fairways in Cape Town.

One of the youngest contenders is a 15-year-old violinist who is studying music at the prestigious Yehudi Menuhin School of Music in London.

Hear the music! Celebrating the 35th anniversary of the National Youth Music Competition, three Cape Town contestants flautist, Zoé Parks, 17, from Brackenfell with Chairman, Michael Maas and fellow-contestants bassoonist, Liam Slabbert, 16, from Durbanville and Jordan Brooks, 16, concertmaster and violinist of the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra (CPYO) from Fairways in Cape Town

The NYMC has been described as one of the most gruelling music competitions in South Africa. The competition commands stamina, technical excellence and strong interpretative skills. The contenders compete over four rounds, playing an extensive repertoire of works from different style periods.

Last year, a total of 137 works were performed by the 19 participants. It took more than 24 hours, spread over the four rounds of the competition.

All contestants take part in the first two rounds, after which a maximum of 12 players go through to the third round on Thursday 10 October. The six top musicians then do their battle under the accompaniment of the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra (CPO) with CPO resident conductor, Brandon Philips on the podium.

There is an equal number of pianists, violinist and flautists. The rest of the pack consists of three cellists, two clarinet players and a bassoon player. This year, there are seven first-timers, eight players who are competing for the second time and three who are testing the field for the third time.

Throwing down the music gauntlet. Four upcoming music stars rank their instruments for the 35th National Youth Music Competition. They are bassoonist Liam Slabbert, 16, from Durbanville, flautist Zoé Parks, 17, from Brackenfell, pianist Gerhard Joubert, 17, from Stellenbosch and violinist Jordan Brooks, 16, from Fairways in Cape Town’s southern suburbs.

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 to perform at a concert at the Hugo Lambrechts Auditorium.

Since last year, the Namibian National Symphony Orchestra (NNSO) instituted an invitation award for a finalist of their own choice to perform with the NNSO in their Concerto Festival 2020 in Windhoek.

The competition is the flagship the National Youth Music Foundation (NYMF), chaired by Michael Maas who founded the competition 35 years ago in Port Elizabeth.

“The foundation has broadened the exposure of these rising stars over the past year, presenting four concerts where former competition prize winners performed as soloists. Called, the Young Artists’ Concert Series, the concerts surpassed all expectations, attracting packed houses,” says Maas.

The NYMC moves with the times and broadcasts the gala concert live on Fine Music Radio (FMR), as well as on YouTube.

“The popularity of these channels have grown over the past three years, increasing the competition’s reach internationally. The NNSO uses the broadcasts to select the finalist for their award,” he says.

  • 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.

Contestants in the 2019 National Youth Music Competition


Surname

Name

Age

Instrument

Origin

School/University

Brodie

Daniel

19

Piano

East London

US

Brooks

Jordan

16

Violin

Fairways, CT

Westerford High

Cyster

David

19

Clarinet

Durbanville, CT

US

De Decker

Amber

19

Violin

Mowbray, CT

US

Hill

Paula

17

Flute

Durbanville, CT

El Shaddai

Huan

Leo

16

Piano

Die Wilgers, Pta

Crawford College

Joubert

Gerhard

17

Piano

Stellenbosch

Jan van Riebeeck HS, CT

Joubert

Pieter

17

Violin

Bloemfontein

Sentraal High

Masote

Pendo

15

Violin

Victoria, Jhb

The Yehudi Menuhin School

McLea

Vaughan

17

Cello

Bergbron, Jhb

Helpmekaar College

Müller

Keon

15

Clarinet

Blaauwberg, CT

Homeschool

Naudé

Willie

17

Cello

Roodepoort

Monument High

Parks

Zoé

17

Flute

Brackenfell, CT

El Shaddai

Robertson

Caroline

19

Cello

Fernwood Estate, CT

UCT

Slabbert

Liam

16

Bassoon

Brackenfell, CT

Durbanville High

Van Wyk

Lisa

19

Flute

Bellville, CT

US

Watson

Kate

19

Flute

Sandton, Jhb

UP

Wu

Simon

19

Piano

Milnerton, CT

UCT


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, UNISA and the City of Cape Town.