Being announced as one of the National Arts Festival Standard Bank Young Artists is one of the biggest accolades any local creative can ever dream of.
“It’s one of the most prestigious awards for an artist in South Africa, if not the biggest,” explains Megan-Geoffrey Prins, this year’s recipient of the longstanding annual award in the category of Music.
“Personally, this is an incredible validation of what I do. It’s also a very special moment in which I can give thanks to my family and loved ones who have supported me through all these years. Professionally, it opens many doors, including the opportunity to perform at the NAF and to meet and be inspired by other recipients.”
As part of his award, Megan-Geoffrey performed at this year’s National Arts Festival in Makhanda (previously Grahamstown), in two recitals.
“The programme included a mix of popular repertoire by composers such as Liszt, Rachmaninov, Debussy and more modern works by Carl Vine,” the former Riversdale-born Stellenbosch University graduate reveals.
“One of the most exciting aspects of this concert is that it’s created the opportunity for me to commission a work from another Matie and good friend—Arthur Feder. I think it’s amazing that there is a wave of collaborations among a new generation of musicians in the country. I think this can be an exciting time for classical music in South Africa.”
Before NAF, however, Stellenbosch audiences could see Megan-Geoffrey as part of this year’s Woordfees (March 1 – 10), as well as on April 6 as part of the Endler Concert Series.
“During Woordfees, I had the opportunity to collaborate with another Matie, tenor Nathan Lewis, and then with previous winners of the ATKV competition.”
Megan-Geoffrey says he met some of his greatest mentors to date while studying at Stellenbosch University.
“Nina Schumann and Luis Magalhães played a pivotal role in my career and are two of the people I most admire. Together they really formed the backbone of my musicianship. They are incredible teachers who laid the groundwork in terms of technique, repertoire, and general professionalism. They are successful on so many different fronts, so it’s always been inspiring to see what can be possible as a musician in South Africa.”
He also recalls many “incredible opportunities” while he was studying, including the Stellenbosch International Chamber Music Festival.
“Being able to return to the festival and to Stellenbosch in a professional capacity has been very fulfilling. On a personal note, I made some of my greatest friends in Stellenbosch, including my wife. It will always feel like home.”
- By Steyn du Toit -