Yesterday the opening rounds of the Unisa Music Foundation’s 13th International Piano Competition got underway to much fanfare with the jazz category. This year the competition elevated its prestige by being the first in the world to run both jazz and classic categories within the same competition. This will no doubt add to the joy of live audiences, giving them the opportunity to experience the remarkable talent of some of the world’s most promising young musicians, who will pour their hearts out to secure top honours at the ZK Matthews Great Hall in Pretoria, until 6 February 2016.
Professor Karendra Devroop, artist director of the 13th Unisa International Piano Competition says that each category winner is set to walk away with R200 000 in prize money as well as participate in an opportunity of a lifetime. “The competition has been designed with a view to help young musicians showcase their talent, share it with others and leave a lasting impression that creates a fan base they can grow with.”
This year over seventy entries were received for the classical and jazz categories collectively, with many Russian and Korean entrants in the classical section, and numerous US-based jazz pianists also applying. Twenty eight finalists were subsequently selected from these, including our very excited South African finalists: Willem de Beer and Megan-Geoffrey Prins (classical), as well as Lungelo Ngcobo and Thandi Ntuli (jazz).
In the first two rounds, which are to be held during the week of 26 January, each pianist will have the opportunity to prove themselves, after which the first elimination round will take place, leaving only twelve competitors to battle it out in the semi-finals. During the semi-finals, three jazz and three classical finalists will be selected by an esteemed judging panel to compete in the grand finale – complete with a jazz rhythm section or full concert orchestra on 5 and 6 February 2016 respectively.
“All of the rounds are accumulative; therefore performances in previous rounds will count towards the end result, making it about consistently exceptional performances for audiences.” Devroop continues, “With so much to play for, finalists in both categories are undoubtedly already hard at work preparing their repertoires for late January.”
“We look forward to the privilege of sharing and showcasing their talent through the competition and encourage music lovers to join us for what promises to be a spectacularly entertaining and emotive event,” concludes Devroop.
Tickets for both grand finale evenings are available from Computicket and elimination round tickets will be available at the door. For more information please visit the UNISA website – http://www.unisa.ac.za/musicfoundation