Top Jazz and Classical talent to compete for SA's premier music prize
Top four in the 2012 SAMRO Overseas Scholarships Competition for instrumentalists have booked their place in the finals.
In the Western Art Music (also known as classical or serious music) category, the two young musicians who made it through to the final round are Avigail Bushakevitz (violin), a recent graduate of the Juilliard School of Music in New York, and Jacques-Pierre Malan (cello), who is studying at the Peabody Institute of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.
The two finalists in the Jazz/Popular Music category are trumpeters Mandla Mlangeni and Darren English, both from the University of Cape Town.
The final round will take place at the SABC's M1 studio in Johannesburg on Saturday, 18 August 2012.
On Thursday, 16 August 2012, the six semi-finalists in each genre were put through their musical paces in front of a panel of adjudicators at the SABC studios, performing works of their choice, in addition to specifically commissioned works. This followed the first "listening" round in which candidates were evaluated on recordings they had submitted to SAMRO.
In the Western Art category, the semi-finalists were Bushakevitz and Malan, as well as Liam Burden (saxophone), Matthew Lombard (saxophone), Vicente Espi (violin) and Dylan Tabisher (marimba).
The Jazz/Popular Music candidates were James McClure (trumpet), Benjamin Jephta (electric bass guitar), Creshwell October (acoustic guitar) and Monique van Willingh (flute), as well as Mlangeni and English.
These dazzling young academically trained musicians, aged between 19 and 29 - many of whom have already performed both at home and abroad -displayed artistic virtuosity as well as technical prowess across a wide range of instruments.
It was common cause among the music experts on the judging panel that even those who did not make it through to the final round were destined to enjoy illustrious musical careers.
The standard was exceptionally high this year and the competition tough, as is generally the custom with the cream-of-the-crop emerging musicians who compete on an annual basis for two sought-after R170 000 scholarships. These grants will be used to further their music studies at an accredited international tertiary institution or to attend master classes under the tutelage of world-renowned musicians.
Presented since 1962, the annual Overseas Scholarships Competition has established itself as a premier event on the local music education calendar. It is a flagship project of the Southern African Music Rights Organisation's (SAMRO) music education and corporate social investment arm, the SAMRO Foundation, and has launched the career of many prominent and respected South African artists.