shimmering display of young instrumentalists’ talent was the hallmark of the 2011 SAMRO Hubert van der Spuy National Music Competition, which took place in Cape Town from 26 to 30 September.
Seventy young primary school candidates aged 13 and younger participated in this prestigious national music competition, which was sponsored by the Southern African Music Rights Organisation for the first time.
The event attracted a record 134 entries from around the country in the categories of piano, strings, woodwind and brass instruments, as well as other instruments (percussion, recorder, classical guitar and harp), with a special category for development groups.
After three preliminary rounds, the best performers went through to the final round at the Hugo Lambrechts Auditorium in Parow, Cape Town, on Friday, 30 September. The coveted first prize – with a gold medal and prize money of R10 000 – went to talented young pianist Kensuke Kawajiri, under the tutelage of Karien Labuschagne.
The full list of winners is as follows:
- Most promising development candidate (R1 000 prize): Sakie Ndala
- Most promising candidate (10 years and under) (R1 500 prize): Iman Bulbulia
- Development prizes – strings (R500 each): Thami Mrwarwaza and Sakie Ndala
- Best performance prizes (R1 500 each):
- Baroque (first round): Kensuke Kawajiri
- Classical (second round): Kensuke Kawajiri
- Romantic (third round): Althea Steynberg
- Category prizes (plus UNISA prize) (R2 000 each):
- Other instruments: Althea Steynberg (Recorder)
- Winds: Danielle Rossouw (Clarinet)
- Strings: Frances Whitehead (Violin)
- Piano: Kensuke Kawajiri
- Most successful development project (R5 000): Mangaung String Project
- Best performance (South African composition): Eriko Kawajiri
- Third prize (bronze medal plus R4 000): Danielle Rossouw
- Second prize (silver medal plus R6 500): Frances Whitehead
- First prize (gold medal plus R10 000): Kensuke Kawajiri
Quoting from the famous NP van Wyk Louw poem “Die Beiteltjie”, in his opening address, Andre le Roux (General Manager: SAMRO Endowment), said that this poem, like the competition, was about small, focused actions leading to bigger achievements.
“It’s about talent and skill, and honing that talent and skill so that it reaches its maximum potential. That is precisely why we, as SAMRO, have chosen to invest in this competition. One day, not long from now, these candidates will have honed their talents and skills to become contributing members of society … and will contribute meaningfully to the cultural life of this country,” he said.
He expressed the hope that some of the candidates would one day be awarded SAMRO Bursaries or even one of its coveted Overseas Scholarships, and perhaps ultimately become SAMRO members as professional musicians.
After the exceptional performances in the final round Le Roux added that it was heartening to have “such a platform of excellence existing at primary school level, and to witness young kids coming on stage and performing their hearts out”.
The SAMRO Hubert van der Spuy National Music Competition is organised by the Tygerberg branch of the South African Society of Music Teachers, with prizes worth more than R50 000 for the winners and their teachers. It is sponsored by SAMRO, UNISA, the ATKV, the Hugo Lambrechts Music Centre, Music@Work and several anonymous donors.
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