Young musicians compete at Hugo Lambrechts

Seasoned academic and music adjudicator Professor John Hinch will guide the shadow jury at the 2018 National Youth Music Competition.

The crème de la crème of South Africa’s classical youth musicians between the ages of 14 and 19 are poised to battle it out for the coveted first prize at the 34th National Youth Music Competition at the Hugo Lambrechts Auditorium in Parow this week.

This year, only 19 contestants have been selected, following auditions across the country. They come from the Free State, Eastern Cape, Gauteng and the Western Cape.

On top of the more than R145 000 in prizes, gold, silver and bronze medals, the overall winner will also be invited to perform
in a concert at Overstrand Arts
in Hermanus. Western Cape finalists will be invited by the Hugo Lambrechts Trust to perform at a concert at the Hugo Lambrechts Auditorium. The best pianist
will also be invited for a concert at the North West University in Potchefstroom.

Five students from the University of Cape Town (UCT) are among the nine millennials who have been invited to serve on the shadow jury of the competition that runs from Tuesday October 9 to Saturday October 13.

Also among the nine is the 2016 first prize winner, saxophonist Cameron Williams, a finalist and two semi-finalists of the 2017 competition.

Under the watchful eye of Professor John Hinch, flautist and Professor Emeritus of the University of Pretoria, the shadow jury
will adjudicate the four-round
contest with prizes of more than R145 000.

The UCT students are Nicholas Bruiners, 1st year BMus (violin) and former prize winner of the competition; Joshua Louis, 3rd year BMus (violin); Seul Pearl Jung, 4th year BMus Performance Degree (cello); Lihle Mabhula, 2nd year MMus (flute); and Mulalo Mphaphuli, 2nd year BMus Performance Degree (flute).

The other shadow jury members for the 2018 competition are Rosemarie Lemmer (UP), Chris Njapha (US), Jolandi Schaap (UP) and Cameron Williams (US).

All of them are studying music in the corresponding fields of the 19 contestants, including piano, violin, cello, flute, clarinet and saxophone.

They will score the contestants independently from the panel of adjudicators, consisting of prominent academics and experts in the classical music arena. The shadow jury will pick the most promising semi-finalist, who doesn’t make it to the final round of the competition.

The annual competition, presented by the National Youth Music Foundation (NYMF), was started 34 years ago in Port Elizabeth by Michael Maas, founder and chairman of the NYMF.

The foundation’s vision is to identify, expose and develop youth musicians. It, therefore, invites former contestants and other rising stars to serve on the shadow jury to train a new generation of adjudicators.

“This concept offers former contestants and emerging musicians the opportunity to discover the inner workings of the adjudicating process at music contests. Since the inception of the shadow jury we have seen a strong correlation between their scores and that of the panel of adjudicators,” says Mr Maas.

Three years since he triumphantly won the gold medal and first prize of the National Youth Music Competition (NYMC) in 2015, the talented flautist Sakhile Humbane this week returns to the prestigious competition to star as the guest soloist at the finalists’ Gala Concert.

He will perform the Hungarian Pastorale Fantasy by AF Doppler in the finale with the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra.

“I am very excited to be returning to the platform from which I have learned so much. So much more this time as I will be there to present the music, without the added pressure of competing,” says Sakhile, who is studying music at the University of Cape Town.

Six finalists from the competition will be afforded the privilege of competing against each other to the accompaniment of the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra (CPO) at a gala concert on Saturday October 13.

The gala concert starts at 7pm. Tickets cost R120 and R90 for pensioners, students and pupils. Book through Computicket.

Entry is free to the first rounds from Tuesday October 9 to Thursday October 11 at the Hugo Lambrechts Auditorium.