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SAMRO OVERSEAS SCHOLARSHIPS (article first published : 2005-08-21)

SAMRO is South Africa's national society of composers, lyricists and music publishers administering the performing, broadcasting and diffusion rights in music. South African keyboard players are the focus of this year's scholarships. Also included are special additional music study awards.

Administered by the SAMRO Endowment for the National Arts (SENA), these significant awards currently rotate over a four-year cycle between composers, singers, instrumentalists and keyboard players. The awards comprise two annual Scholarships - one for "serious"/classical music and one for jazz/"popular" music - and this year each award is worth R160,000, with a travel allowance of R10,000 as an additional part of each of the two scholarships.

This year six candidates in each genre ("serious"/classical music and jazz/"popular" music) were selected from 28 graduate or final-year performers who entered the recorded Qualifying Round of the competition. The Gala Final Round will take place at the ZK Matthews Great Hall on August 20 and will see two finalists in each genre competing for the top awards.

The only KZN pianist represented in the semi-finalists is Burton Naidoo. A student of Prof Darius Brubeck at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, he appears in the jazz/"popular" music genre. Another KZN connection is Melvin Peters whose student at the University of Pretoria, Charl du Plessis, appears in the same category.

Melvin Peters is also among the adjudicators for this category along with Susan Barry, lecturer in piano at the Durban Institute of Technology.

SAMRO has offered its prestigious Overseas Music Scholarships for more than 40 years. Among outstanding South African musicians who have benefited from the scholarships and special additional study awards are Paul van der Merwe, who has played as Principal Oboe of the famous Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra; well-known jazz bassist Victor Ntoni and jazz drummer Kesivan Naidoo; violinist Jürgen Schwietering who is leader of the Free State Symphony Orchestra and the Odeion String Quartet; operatic bass-baritone Abel Moeng; popular music vocalist Abigail Petersen and outstanding recorder virtuoso Chatradari Devroop. Distinguished South African keyboard players who have benefited include "serious"/classical pianists Steven de Groote; Anton Nel and Nina Schumann; organist Wim Viljoen and classical/jazz pianist Surendran Reddy.




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