A group of nine talented young South African pianists will participate in the 2018 Hennie Joubert National Piano Competition, starting on Monday 12 March. Presented as part of the Stellenbosch International Piano Symposium, the competition is one of the most prestigious platforms in the country for young pianists.
The biennial competition, presented at the Stellenbosch University (SU) Konservatorium, was started in 1984 with Virginia Fortesque, Bennie van Eeden and Cecilia Lourens as judges, and many of the finalists have gone on to become well-known musicians. Recent former winners include Louis Nel (2016), Roelof Temmingh (2014) and Sulayman Human (2012).
This year, nine finalists have been selected as competition participants. The initial rounds will be held on Monday 12 March and Tuesday 13 March. Thereafter the judges will select five pianists to compete in the finals on Friday 16 March. Each of these five finalists will perform a movement from a piano concerto with the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Corvin Matei.
The nine 2018 finalists are Qden Blaauw (13) from Durbanville, Beate Boshoff (16) from Bethlehem, Daniel Brodie (18) from East London, Leo Huan (14) from Pretoria, Gerhard Joubert (17) from Stellenbosch, Andrew Raney (16) from Johannesburg, Milano Reynecke (15) from Pretoria, Mike Wang (11) from Cape Town, and Simon Wu (17) from Cape Town.
Louis Nel (17), the most recent winner, says receiving the first prize in 2016 was a great moment in his life. “I was quite surprised because, at 15-years-old, I thought that I was too young and inexperienced for the competition. Many of the competitors had the experience of participating in previous years, and you never know how well they have progressed.”
For Louis, who hails from Pretoria, the most enjoyable part of the competition was preparing his concerto for the finals with the Stellenbosch University Symphony Orchestra. “It was also great to get to know the other competitors. Also, I learned such a lot from the master classes that was presented by the Stellenbosch International Piano Symposium.”
As part of his prize, Louis gave a piano recital in Wellington. “This was very special for me. The competition has taught me that you should never underestimate yourself, and it helped me to improve my standard of playing and to be more at ease on stage,” says Louis.
He won a total of R22 000 in prize money, as well as three recital engagements.
First held in 2006, the Stellenbosch International Piano Symposium will run from 14 to 18 March at the SU Konservatorium, following the Hennie Joubert Competition. It brings together teachers, performers and students for a programme consisting of recitals, master classes and lectures. This year, three internationally acclaimed pianists – South African Jan Hugo, Israeli Aviram Reichert and the Russian-born German Jura Margulis – will be the guest artists of the Symposium.
The three pianists will each give a recital in the Konservatorium’s Endler Hall. Hugo will perform music by Beethoven, Debussy and Liszt on Wednesday 14 March; Reichert will play works by Brahms and Schubert on Thursday 15 March; and Margulis performs a programme of works by Scarlatti, Tchaikovsky and Rachminoff on Saturday 17 March.
- Concert tickets are available from Computicket. Symposium passes can be purchased on the Symposium website, pianosymposium.co.za. The full Symposium programme is also available on the website, or call 021 808 2358 for more information.