The countdown to the start of the prestigious Unisa National Piano Competition has begun.
Five provinces are represented in the competition: Gauteng, the Free State, the Western Cape, the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal.
On Saturday 11 July the first round will commence with 13 young pianists aged 16 to 26 competing in the Classical Category. There will be three sessions: 10:00, 14:00 and 19:00. Tickets are sold at the door for only R30 per session.
The first round continues on Sunday 12 July with five competitors in the Jazz Category performing in one afternoon session at 14:00.
All competitors will proceed to the second round on 13 and 14 July where after the first elimination will take place. The times and order will be the same as during the first round.
The third and semi-final round will take place on 15 and 16 July. During this demanding round the competitors each need to perform a recital of approximately 50 minutes.
Two finalists in each category will proceed to the final round on Saturday 18 July. The finalists in the Jazz Category will perform with a rhythm section consisting of Victor Masondo on double bass and Rob Watson on drums. The finalists in the Classical Category will each perform a piano concerto with the Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Eric Rycroft.
Tickets for the final round are sold at Computicket.
As part of the educational leg of the event, a shadow jury will adjudicate the performances alongside the official panel of adjudicators. A prize for the best semi-finalist who did not proceed to the final round will be awarded by the shadow jury. The aim of the shadow jury is to give them an opportunity to sharpen their critical listening skills, improve their stylistic insights and hone their evaluation abilities. These qualities are a valuable asset in their careers as music teachers, music examiners and even future adjudicators.
More than R200 000 will be awarded during the Prize-giving ceremony on 18 July.
The performance schedule will be uploaded on the Unisa Music Foundation’s website in due course: www.unisa.ac.za/musicfoundation