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Sunday, January 24, 2010


Jacqueline Wedderburn-Maxwell of Durban joins two other SA musicians to compete against international talent.

Three young South African musicians – one each from Cape Town, Durban and George – are among the 27 competitors who are gathering for the start of the prestigious Vodacom-sponsored 5th Unisa International String Competition in Pretoria today.

Jacqueline Wedderburn-Maxwell (16) of Durban joins Avigail Bushakevitz (22) of George and Vicente Espi (22) of Cape Town to fly the South African flag against 24 other musicians from 17 other countries. The three qualified for the competition following their outstanding performances in last year’s 2nd Unisa National String Competition, which earned them the top three places respectively.

Bob Collymore, Chief Officer: Corporate Affairs of the Vodacom Group says: “We are pleased to be able to extend a hand of hospitality to all participating countries. We look forward to a feast of music and trust that as the musicians showcase their extraordinary talents, the experience will be just as rewarding. Good luck to all!”

For the first time, parents, family members and friends from across the globe will 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 area, 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.

The three finalists of each category, violin and cello, will be heard live 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. The finalists’ violin and cello concertos will be accompanied by the Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra (JPO), led by Pretoria-born conductor Conrad van Alphen who is currently based in The Netherlands.

Van Alphen is the artistic director and chief conductor of Sinfonia Rotterdam which he has moulded into one of the best orchestras in The Netherlands. He is known as a well-established conductor who has gained popularity with orchestras for the way in which he rehearses and performs. His return to his birth country to direct the JPO, which he has conducted on many occasions previously, will bring a thoroughly South African energy to the finals.

With all the role players putting their best efforts into the competition, it will be an event to look forward to and - with a total purse of R890,000 sponsored by Vodacom - the contest for top honours will be an intense challenge.

Tickets for the first three rounds are available at the door, while bookings for the two final rounds on February 4 and 5 can be made through Computicket. More information from the Unisa Music Foundation on 012 429 3344/3336.