Unisa stays in tune with their International Piano Competition

The Unisa Music Foundation’’s concert series and music competitions have long been one of the university’s flagship cultural activities. Unisa’s International Piano Competition, first established in 1982 has gone on to become one of the world’s premier piano competitions taking its place alongside several world class piano competitions such as the Van Cliburn Piano Competition. Laureates from the Unisa competitions have gone on to become world-class performers with prolific international careers, thereby solidifying Unisa’s standing in the international music competitions arena as one of the leaders in the field.
Coupled with Unisa’s competitions is one of the country’s largest community music engagement programmes. Since 1998, a community music development programme has been developed that has impacted thousands of children who wouldn’t have access to music tuition otherwise. The extensive programme has evolved to include several ensembles, of which the UMF Wind Ensemble and UMF Symphony Orchestra are regularly showcased in concerts as part of the UMF concert schedule. The programme is paving the way for the development of music among disadvantaged youth across the country with many of our students having gone on to study at universities across the country and also perform with some of the leading orchestras and jazz musicians in South Africa.
The upcoming 5th Unisa National Piano Competition in July is promising to once again raise the bar with the addition of a second style category. For the first time, a jazz category will run alongside the classical category. The jazz category was modelled after reviewing some of the world’s foremost jazz competitions including the Theolonius Monk International Jazz Competition and the Montreux Jazz Competition, which is a part of the Montreux Jazz Festival. The jazz category of the national piano competition will form the basis for the jazz category of the Unisa International Piano Competition in 2016, which will also include a jazz and classical category.
All rounds of the competition are open to the public. Tickets for each session will be on sale at the door from 11 to 18 July in the Z K Matthews Great Hall on Unisa’s main campus in Pretoria.

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