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ARJAN TIEN FOR UNISA COMPETITION (article first published : 2008-01-13)

Netherlands conductor Arjan Tien, well-known to South African musical audiences, and the Chamber Orchestra of South Africa (COSA) will once again team up to provide the orchestral backing for the finals of the Vodacom-sponsored 11th Unisa International Piano Competition.

The finals of this internationally-recognised competition, to be held in Pretoria, will take place over four nights: February 5 to 9 with the winners to be announced following the performance on February 9.

Dot Field, Vodacom’s Chief Communications Officer, says: “Vodacom has been associated with the Unisa Music Competitions since 1998. The Unisa International Piano Competition has become a much-anticipated occasion on the South African musical scene, and enjoys an outstanding reputation as the only one in Africa to be internationally recognised. As South Africa’s leading cellular network, we are delighted at our continued association with this leading music sponsorship.”

Arjan Tien, who was born in 1968 in the Netherlands, made his first appearance in South Africa in 1998 with the KwaZulu-Natal Philharmonic Orchestra. This was to be the first of many musical associations with several orchestras in this country. He has also featured in a recording with the Chamber Orchestra released in October 2005 of the Alto Rhapsody by Brahms and other works, featuring South Africa’s diva Sibongile Khumalo as soloist.

Commenting on the competition, Maestro Tien said: “For young musicians it is essential to frequently perform on stage which motivates them to work hard and bring out the very best of their talents. The Unisa International Piano Competition enables them to develop their musical and technical skills at the highest level in an international field of musicians, and for many, it will present opportunities to boost their career.”

This will be the third Unisa music competition final that Arjan Tien has led, while COSA has been the orchestra of choice for the competition since 2002. Formed in 2000, COSA a section 21 company founded and owned by the musicians themselves and the only professional orchestra based in Pretoria. Apart from regular symphony concerts, COSA also plays for ballet and opera productions and makes recordings.

Although COSA often works without a conductor, it has collaborated with a number of internationally renowned conductors such as Carlo Franci, Gérard Korsten, Arjan Tien and Conrad van Alphen.

The competition begins with an opening ceremony on January 24. All rounds will be held at the ZK Matthews Great Hall, Unisa Main Campus, Pretoria. Main cash prizes for the 11th Unisa International Piano Competition total R650,000, with a first prize of R200,000. Additional prizes to the value of R150,000 will also be awarded, making a total purse of R800,000.

Tickets for the first three rounds are available at the door, while those for the final are available from Computicket. Information about ticket prizes and performance times is available from the Unisa Music Foundation, tel 012-329-3336 / 3344 / 3311.




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