Young musicians from Cape Town sweep all medals and South African compositions feature at the 27th annual SAMRO Hubert van der Spuy competition

A clean sweep for Cape Town’s younger generation musicians – that summarises the final round results of the 2015 SAMRO Hubert van der Spuy National Music Competition for instrumentalists. The gold medal and the substantial Johanna van der Spuy Memorial Prize went to Jordan Brooks (12) from Fairways, Cape Town. Leo Gevisser (12) from Rondebosch claimed silver and Naomi Fokkens (13) from Plumstead claimed bronze.

The final round of the competition, now in its 27th year and the fifth year sponsored by the SAMRO Foundation, took place on 2 October before a capacity crowd in the Hugo Lambrechts Auditorium in Parow, Cape Town.

SAMRO Foundation Managing Director André le Roux affirmed SAMRO’s investment as more than just financial. ‘This is an investment into the future, into fledgling talents who excel in this competition, participate in our flagship Overseas Scholarships competition nearly a decade down the road and ultimately become music ambassadors that South Africa can be proud of. As the Foundation also aims to preserve and promote cultural heritage, I am also thrilled that every one of the 60 competitors has to perform a South African composition as part of their repertoire.’

Hilda Boonzaaier, chairperson of the Competition’s organising body, (South African Society of Music Teachers, Tygerberg), said they are deeply indebted to their generous sponsors, especially the SAMRO Foundation, for continued support. Echoing the sentiments of Le Roux, Boonzaaier believes that the ‘investment in young musicians will make [us] proud in the years to come.’

The 60 participants were selected to compete after auditions held in Pretoria, Bloemfontein, Durban, Port Elizabeth and Cape Town. They performed over two rounds before being narrowed down to 25 semi-finalists for a third round on Thursday, 1 October and eight finalists for the gala concert on Friday.

The eight finalists were Jordan Brooks (12, from Fairways, violin); Jacqueline Choi (13, Durbanville, piano); Naomi Fokkens (13, Plumstead, violin); Leo Gevisser (12, Newlands, Cape Town, piano); Leo Huan (12, Pretoria, piano); Pendo Masote (11, Auckland Park, violin); Rin Matsuki (11, Pretoria, violin); and Natanja Uys (13, Plattekloof, violin).

Choi reached the final for a third time – in an unprecedented fifth appearance at the competition – with Gevisser and Huan repeating their feats of last year.

Category and runner-up prizes for piano went to Gevisser and Choi; for strings to Brooks and Fokkens; for woodwinds to Piere-Simon Rossouw (Welgemoed).

Amy Janse (Bloemfontein) won the strings development category, and the prize for the most promising development candidate overall. She is a student of Francois Henkins at the Mangaung String Project. An honorary award for service to music tuition was bestowed on Tilla  Henkins of the same project, which claimed the prize for the most successful development project.

Best performance prizes were presented to Brooks (Baroque first round), Gevisser (Classical second round) and Brooks (Romantic third round).

The best performance prizes for South African compositions went to Brooks for Allegro from Introduction and Allegro by Alan Stephenson (first); Eike Coetzee from Windhoek for Variazoni sopra una ninnananna by Hendrik Hofmeyr (second); and Pendo Masote from Auckland Park for Lullaby by Alan Stephenson (third).

Special prizes in honour of the late Leon Hartshorne, were presented to Gevisser as the highest scoring student of a national SASMT member, and his teachers Prof. Nina Schuman and Luis Magalhäes.

Natanja Uys and her teacher Elzaan Coetzee teamed up for the Tygerberg SASMT Prize for the best achievement by a student of the branch.

Unisa prizes were also awarded to the winners of the various categories.

The adjudicators were Tinus Botha, senior piano lecturer at North-West University; Andrew Moroosi, a seasoned  oboist and cor anglais player; and Michelle Williams, principal second violinist of the Cape Town Philharmonic.

Full particulars about the competition at www.samrohubertvanderspuy.wordpress.com

For more information, email the SAMRO Foundation on samrofoundation@samro.org.za, visit www.samrofoundation.org.za, and like the Foundation’s Facebook page for regular updates.

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