Semi-finalists revealed for prestigious SAMRO Overseas Scholarship

The battle for this year’s prestigious SAMRO Overseas Scholarships Competition is heating up. Following the application deadline on 15 May, SAMRO Foundation administrators and a distinguished panel of adjudicators last week completed an intensive selection process, narrowing a pool of 35 applicants down to 12 semi-finalists.

Semi-finalists in the last SAMRO Scholarship competition for singers, held in 2011. Photo: www.samrofoundation.org.za
Semi-finalists in the last SAMRO Scholarship competition for singers, held in 2011. Photo: www.samrofoundation.org.za

On 27 August 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 study award valued at R170 000 (about US$14 000) 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 the nation's history, struggles, triumphs and visibility on the global stage. According to Andre Le Roux, Managing Director of the SAMRO Foundation (and Music In Africa board member), “We are now starting to hear a truly South African sound."

This year, adjudicators were impressed by several candidates who chose South African compositions for their competition repertoire. Compared to previous years, explained Le Roux, “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 category are:

  • Ms Amy Campbell (UCT) 
  • Ms Mikhaela Kruger (UCT) 
  • Ms Palesa Modiga (UCT)
  • Ms Nelmarie Rabie (TUT and UP)
  • Mr Kwena Ramahuta (UKZN) 
  • Ms Amy Walton (UCT)

The semi-finalists in the Western Art music category are:

  • Mr Khanyiso Gwenxane (TUT and UCT) 
  • Ms Andiswa Makana (TUT) 
  • Ms Nombuso Ndlandla (NWU) 
  • Mr Levy Sekgapane (UCT) 
  • Mr Makudupanyane Senaoana (UCT) 
  • Ms Victoria Stevens (UCT) 

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

The SAMRO Foundation is a registered non-profit organisation that replaced the SAMRO Endowment for the National Arts (SENA) in 2012. The foundation is the social investment and music education arm of the Southern African Music Rights Organisation (SAMRO) Group of Companies. Since 1962, SAMRO has invested more than R100-million (approximately US$8.2 million) in supporting and nourishing the South African cultural landscape through bursaries, scholarships, commissions, the preservation of music heritage and other industry enrichment projects. 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). Numerous scholarship winners have gone on to pursue successful international professional, including 2011 winner in the Jazz category, Vuyo Sotashe.

For more information visit the Samro Foundation website.

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