Similar to the 2014 National Piano Competition, the voice competition included parallel jazz and classical categories with independent juries for each category. The juries were comprised of some of South Africa’s leading jazz and classical teachers and performers including Amanda Tiffin, Nicky Schrire, Prof. Mageshen Naidoo, Nthabiseng Motsepe and Debbie Mari on the jazz jury and Hanna van Niekerk, Lize Coetzer, Dr Hanli Stapela, Dr Conroy Cupido and Thami Zungu on the classical jury. Prof. Karendra Devroop was the chairperson of the jury for both categories. The event was a tremendous success that showcased some of the country’s incredible young jazz and classical vocalists who performed with the Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra under Brandon Phillips as conductor and a rhythm section comprised of Roland Moses (piano), Victor Masondo (bass) and Peter Auret (drums). The winners were Palesa Maleiloa (classical voice) and Tshepo Tshabalala (jazz voice) with Cecilia Rangwanasha (classical) and Daniella Hart (jazz) voted as second place winners.
All four finalists gain automatic entry into the sixth Unisa International Voice Competition that will take place from 23 January until 3 February 2018 at ZK Matthews Great Hall. In his closing ceremony address, Artistic Director Prof. Karendra Devroop indicated that the level of performance for all candidates was exceptionally high and on par if not higher than some of the competitions he has adjudicated internationally. In attendance at the final round was His Excellency, Dr Thabo Mbeki, Chancellor of the University of South Africa and former President of the Republic of South Africa. Dr Mbeki is also the president of the Unisa International Music Competitions and will play an important role in the upcoming international voice competition. In a first for Unisa, this entire competition was streamed live on YouTube with all rounds currently available online. The competition was also recorded and broadcast by SAfm and will be broadcast on KykNet (DSTV channel 144) in early September.