Semi-finalists sing the tune of a new South Africa

Last week, SAMRO Foundation administrators and a panel of adjudicators completed an intensive selection process – narrowing a pool of 35 applicants to 12 semi-finalists.

On August 27 these talented South African vocalists – six in Western Art (“classical”) music and six in Jazz – will compete live during the intermediate round of the Foundation’s annual Overseas Scholarships Competition. One singer in each category will claim the ultimate prize: a R170 000 study award and the opportunity to accelerate their journey towards artistic and creative excellence.

The SAMRO Overseas Scholarships Competition has evolved much over 53 years. This evolution has followed South Africa’s compelling journey towards a unique cultural identity that reflects our history, our struggles, triumphs and visibility on the global stage.

“We are now starting to hear a truly South African sound,” says Andre Le Roux, managing director of the SAMRO Foundation. “This year, SAMRO Foundation administrators and adjudicators took note of and were impressed by several candidates who chose South African compositions for their competition repertoire.

“Compared to previous years, there seems to be increased appreciation of South African composition. For us as a Foundation within Africa’s largest music rights organisation and composers’ society, this is proof that we’re doing impactful work to preserve our rich heritage and shape the new inclusive voice of our country.”

All 12 semi-finalists are between 22 and 30 years of age and are pursuing their passion as top achievers in the music world. Many have already honed their musical prowess as professional performers.

This year’s top six in the Jazz music category are:
Amy Campbell (UCT)
Mikhaela Kruger (UCT)
Palesa Modiga (UCT)
Nelmarie Rabie (TUT and UP)
Kwena Ramahuta (UKZN)
Amy Walton (UCT)

The Western Art music category’s semi-finalists are:
Khanyiso Gwenxane (TUT and UCT)
Andiswa Makana (TUT)
Nombuso Ndlandla (NWU)
Levy Sekgapane (UCT)
Makudupanyane Senaoana (UCT)
Victoria Stevens (UCT)

Four finalists – two in each category – will compete for top prizes on August 29 at the Linder Auditorium. This thrilling final round is open to the public, features live accompaniment, special guests and performances of a selection of musical works including a South African composition specially commissioned for the occasion.

The SAMRO Overseas Scholarship Competition rotates every year between awards for vocalists (2011, 2015), instrumentalists (2012, 2016), keyboard players (2013, 2017) and composers (2014, 2018).

Three SAMRO Overseas Scholarship winners have been recognised as Standard Bank Young Artist Award recipients, and countless others have gone on to pursue successful professional careers as internationally renowned Western Art and Jazz musicians.

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