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NB: as of 23 September 2008, all new artSMart articles are being published on the site news.artsmart.co.za.

SAMRO BURSARIES (article first published : 2008-09-7)

South Africa's music stars of the future have been given a much welcomed boost with the awarding of 80 music study bursaries to the value of R662,000 by the Southern African Music Rights Organisation's Endowment for the National Arts.

The SAMRO Southern African Music Study Bursaries for 2008 have been announced, and continue to be of the most substantial music study grants available in Southern Africa.

SAMRO is a non-profit society that administers music rights on behalf of composers, authors, songwriters and music publishers. Its corporate social investment portfolio is managed by the SAMRO Endowment for the National Arts (SENA). Every year, the SAMRO Endowment awards a number of bursaries to deserving candidates who wish to pursue full-time music study.

This bursary scheme has helped kick-start the musical careers of many of today's household names - such as jazz artists Marcus Wyatt and Andile Yenana, bassist Concorde Nkabinde, cellist and conductor Kutlwano Masote, flautist Melanč Hofmeyr-Burger, classical pianist Nina Schumann and operatic soprano Angela Gilbert.

Professor Marc Duby, a renowned bassist and composer who recently left the Tshwane University of Technology to head up the School of Music and Musicology at Rhodes University, described the bursary scheme as 'vital' to the development of musicians in South Africa: "The majority of those wanting to study music can't get funding - it's extremely rare," he said. "Therefore, any initiative that fosters an educated music industry which is capable of fending for itself should be congratulated."

Through its Southern African Music Study Bursaries and its prestigious Overseas Scholarships, awarded for almost five decades, SAMRO Endowment seeks to identify and nurture musical talent, so that it can flourish to the benefit of the South African music industry. Like the Overseas Scholarships, the bursaries are offered in each of the two main musical genres, Western Art Music and Jazz/Popular Music, and are allocated for both undergraduate and postgraduate study.

There are four types of bursaries offered by SAMRO: Undergraduate Bursaries for General Music Study, valued at R8,750 each; Undergraduate Bursaries for Music Education Study, each with a value of R7,750; Intermediate Bursaries for Music Composition Study, worth between R6,250 and R9,250; and Postgraduate Bursaries for Indigenous African Music Study, at R5,750 apiece.

This year, the judges were particularly struck by the significant number and calibre of applicants who wished to undertake research into indigenous African music.

Professor JSM Khumalo, chairman of the panel of adjudicators tasked with awarding the bursaries for studying African music, was most impressed by the increased interest in exploring and documenting the indigenous music of South Africa and its surrounding areas: "Our indigenous music is very rich, but also very complex," he said. "If we don't understand the ways of representing it, especially in notation, we can't present it to be read. I am very impressed with the candidates who received awards this year and thoroughly enjoyed reading their research. However, still much more needs to be done to unearth our nation's heritage."

André le Roux, manager of SAMRO Endowment, said, "This year we awarded more Indigenous African Music Bursaries and Composition Study Bursaries than ever before, which brings us in line with our goals of addressing our rich and diverse musical legacy and growing the depth of compositional language in South Africa."

For more information on the bursary scheme, contact the SAMRO office at 011 489 5000, or e-mail sena@samro.org.za or visit www.samro.org.za




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