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Covid safety trips rising music adjudicators

Michael Maas and Khanyisele Mthethwa

Covid 19, has undeniably changed the world. Now heading towards the two-year mark, the National Youth Music Competition (NYMC) also had to adapt to the new normal.

The contest runs from 6 to 11 December 2021 at the Hugo Lambrechts Auditorium in Parow, Cape Town.

An initiative of the National Youth Music Foundation (NYMF), the shadow jury that was established in 2014 has been stumbled by the pandemic’s fallout. The initiative aims to train the country’s future music adjudicators. It consists of former NYMC prize winners and university music students.

To adhere to current Covid 19 regulations, the shadow jury for the NYMC has this year been suspended as part of the contest’s Covid mitigating measures to enhance overall safety.

Pauline Nossel and Samson Diamond

“We are disappointed that we cannot accommodate all the elements that usually make the Competition unique and exciting, but the shadow jury will return when conditions are more certain. This year we will concentrate on having live performances within the Covid restrictions, as safety for all concerned is paramount,” says Chairman, Michael Maas.

The National Youth Music Foundation has announced the panel of eight adjudicators for this year’s NYMC.

The panel members of esteemed music connoisseurs come from Bloemfontein, Cape Town, Johannesburg, Stellenbosch and Pretoria, representing a vast pool of local and international experience to judge the contestants in five categories – piano, strings, wind instruments, brass and percussion.

Franklin Lewis and Berthine van Schoor

The panel consists of Michael Maas (chairman - piano), Samson Diamond (strings), Emeritus Professor John Hinch (wind), Dr Franklin Lewis (piano), Khanyisile Mthethwa (wind), Pauline Nossel (piano), Bennie van Eeden (piano) and Berthine van Schoor (strings).

They will individually score the 26 selected contestants, listening to more than a hundred works during the contest’s four days.

The record number of 26 upcoming stars will compete over four rounds for the coveted title, the R155 000 cash and gold, silver and bronze medals.

John Hinch and Bennie van Schoor

All contestants take part in the first two rounds, after which a maximum of 12 players go through to the third round. The six top musicians then do their battle under the accompaniment of the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra (CPO) at a gala concert on Saturday 11 December 2021 with CPO resident conductor, Brandon Philips on the podium.

Due to Covid regulations, the number of people allowed to the gala concert will be limited.

"The entire concert and award ceremony will be streamed free on the NYMC website from 18:00. People can just click the streaming button on the homepage of the NYMC website (," Maas emphasises.

Entrance is free to the first free rounds from 6 to 9 December at the Hugo Lambrechts Auditorium. Entrance will be strictly limited due to Covid restrictions.