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Friday, January 29, 2010


(Pic: Avigail Bushakevitz)

South African violinist continues to fly flag.

South African violinist Avigail Bushakevitz continued to fly her country’s flag high when she formed part of the 12 musicians from 10 countries selected to go through to the semi-finals of the Vodacom-sponsored 5th Unisa International String Competition.

Avigail is one of the three South Africans who qualified for the competition following their outstanding performances in last year’s 2nd Unisa National String Competition, which earned her top place in that competition.

The semi-finalists were announced last night at the conclusion of the second round of the competition, which is being held in Pretoria.

The semi-finalists are (in alphabetical order, followed by their instrument and country): Georgi Anichenko (cello; Belarus); Hrachya Avanesyan (violin; Armenia); Andrey Baranov (violin; Russia); Avigail Bushakevitz (violin; South Africa); Charles-Antoine Duflot (cello; France); Alexander Gilman (violin; Germany); Hans Kristian Goldstein (cello; Norway); Yura Lee (violin; Republic of Korea); Anton Pavlovskiy (cello; Russia); Alexander Ramm (cello; Russia); Deanna Talens (cello; USA); and Yuuki Wong (violin, Dominica).

Bob Collymore, Chief Officer: Corporate Affairs of the Vodacom Group says: “With ten countries now represented on the platform, the 5th Unisa International String Competition proudly continues to be a showcase of great musical talent from around the world. We look forward to further sterling performances from these young cellists and violinists, as they aim for the finals.”

Each competitor will now present an hour-long recital in the third round, following which the jury will select the six to compete in the finals of this prestigious international music competition, the only one of its kind in Africa recognised by the World Federation of International Music Competitions in Geneva. With an equal number of cellists and violinists (six competitors for each instruments), the competition continues to provide strong representation from each of these musical genres. Each of the 12 players is now a step closer to claiming the Vodacom-sponsored main prizes totalling R890,000, including first prizes of R200,000 each for violin and cello.

Several special prizes will also be awarded for performances in the first three rounds. These are: R10,000 for best performance of the South African composition in the first round, sponsored by SAMRO; R10,000 for best performance of a sonata by Mozart or Beethoven in the second round, sponsored by the Desmond Willson Memorial Trust; and R15,000 for best recital in the third round, sponsored by the Desmond Willson Memorial Trust.

The finalists will perform over two evenings, February 4 and 5 at 19h30 [GMT+2], in what promises to be a feast of the world’s best-loved violin and cello concertos. They will be accompanied by the Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra (JPO), led by Pretoria-born conductor, Conrad van Alphen who is currently based in The Netherlands.

Parents, family members and friends from across the globe will also be able to listen live to the final rounds of the competition via the internet. The live streaming will be done through Radio Today’s website, while in the greater Johannesburg, classical music lovers will listen to the live broadcast on Radio 1485 AM. The broadcast will also be available on Radio Today’s DSTV Channel 169, nationally and across the SADC sub-region.

More information about the competition is available from the Unisa Music Foundation at 012 429 3344/3336.