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Sunday, November 8, 2009


Thanks to Vodacom, international music feast comes to South Africa In 2010

A buzz of anticipation will greet the arrival in January 2010 of 28 of the most talented young string players in the world for the acclaimed Vodacom-sponsored 5th Unisa International String Competition. The competition is due to be held in Tshwane from January 22 to February 5, 2010.

With the vibrant talents representing 18 countries, audiences can expect exhilarating hours of the most glorious and demanding music in the extensive string repertoire. The musical sounds will represent countries from afar afield as Russia and the People's Republic of China to Norway, to Australia, and Dominica in the West Indies. They include two sisters, Olena and Vera Guliei, who play the cello and violin respectively.

The competition is the only one of its kind in Africa recognised by the World Federation of International Music Competitions in Geneva, making it a highly prestigious music event.

Bob Collymore, Chief Officer: Corporate Affairs of the Vodacom Group, says: “With such a high calibre of entrants, we are confident that the 5th Unisa International String Competition will provide a feast for lovers of classical music. Vodacom is delighted to once again be in the forefront of encouraging and celebrating young talent and we trust that this competition will prove to be an invaluable step towards a promising musical career.”

The field will include four young musical geniuses from South Africa, of which three automatically qualified through this year's 2nd Unisa National String Competition. One entrant was chosen following a rigorous screening process of over 100 applicants. The South Africans will include the youngest competitor, 16-year-old Jacqueline Wedderburn-Maxwell, who was runner-up in this year's national competition.

With a total purse of R890,000 sponsored by Vodacom, the competition for top honours will be fierce. Two first prizes of R200,000 each will be awarded to the first-placed violinist and cellist. Second prize will be R170,000; third prize R140,000; fourth prize R100,000 and fifth prize R80,000. Various special prizes will also be awarded.

Included in the line-up are South African cellist Jacques-Pierre Malan (22) and violinists Avigail Bushakevitz (22), Vicente Espi (22) and Jacqueline Wedderburn-Maxwell (16).

All rounds, including the two grand finale evenings on February 4 and 5, 2010, will take place in the ZK Matthews Great Hall, Unisa Main Campus. The performance of the finalists, as soloists in violin and/or cello concertos with the Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by the South Africa-born Conrad Elmer van Alphen, will encapsulate the thrill and prestige befitting the competition.

More information is available from the Unisa Music Foundation at 012 429 3344/3336. Tickets for the first three rounds are available at the door, while season ticket holders can secure their seats in the final rounds through Computicket from December 10 2009. Bookings for this musical feast will open to the public at Computicket from January 4, 2010.