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Top entries for SA’s premier youth music competition

A group of 19 of South Africa’s most talented young classical musicians will compete for top honours at the country’s premier youth music competition from 13 to 17 October at the Hugo Lambrechts Music Centre in Parow, Cape Town.

On top of the more than R125 000 in prizes; the overall winner will also be invited to perform in concerts at Nederburg, Overstrand Arts in Hermanus, as well as at the Darling Music Experience.

There is even a contestant who will specially fly in from Germany to participate,” says Michael Maas, founder and chairman of the National Youth Music Foundation (NYMF).

He is Henley Jun (18) from Somerset West, who is studying piano in Leipzig, Germany.

The National Youth Music Competition, presented by the NYMF in association with the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra (CPO), this year celebrates its 31st anniversary. The NYMF came into being to ensure the survival of the competition.

Over the past three decades, the event has produced top musicians such as Pieter Schoeman (conductor of the London Philharmonic Orchestra), Jacqueline Wederburn-Maxwell, Eben Wagenstroom, Jeffrey Armstrong (leader of the Cape Town Philharmonic Youth Orchestra) and Sulayman Human.

It is the third largest music competition for classical musicians in South Africa. This year the overall winner will walk away with R30 000 in cash and a gold medal,” says Maas.

Following auditions the 19 youngsters aged between 14 and 19 were selected from entrants throughout the country.

These young musicians will compete against each other in four categories over four rounds for the coveted first prize. The participants play in one of four categories, namely piano, strings, wind and other (percussion, harp, marimba, etc.). This year there are nine entries in the wind section, six for strings, three pianists and one percussionist.

This competition 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 competition. “It is the only music competition in the country where the top six finalists are afforded the privilege to perform with the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra (CPO),” says Maas.

All competitors take part in the first two rounds, after which a maximum of 12 players go through to the third round. Thereafter, six finalists are chosen to perform with the CPO at a gala concert under the baton of the newly appointed, Resident Conductor of the CPO, Brandon Philips.

The panel of adjudicators include Farida Bacharova (strings), Polina Burdukova (strings), Prof Ella Fourie (piano), John Hinch (wind), Dr Franklin Larey (piano), Shadrack Bokaba (strings), Michael Maas (chairman) and Bongani Ndodana-Breen (piano & composition).

• The finalists’ gala concert on 17 October starts at 19:30. Tickets cost R150, R90 for pensioners and R50 for students. Bookings can be made at Computicket 0861 915 8000, Shoprite and Checkers outlets, or online at www.computicket.com.