At the end of August, a dozen young pianists will go all out to dazzle in a high-stakes contest to win one of the SAMRO Foundation’s lucrative scholarships to study music overseas.

Following an intensive selection process, six candidates in the Jazz/Popular Music category and six in the Western Art Music genre were selected as semi-finalists in the 2013 SAMRO Overseas Scholarships Competition, which is open to keyboard players this year. 

They are gearing up to play their hearts out in front of a judging panel during the intermediate round on 29 August 2013, during which the top two candidates in each category will be selected to go into the final round. 

The two finalists in each genre will then go head to head in a thrilling musical duel that never fails to produce creative fireworks, during the final round on Saturday, 31 August 2013, at the SABC’s M1 Studio in Auckland Park. Two R170 000 scholarships – one for the best jazz candidate, one for the best western art music candidate – are up for grabs. 

The 12 gifted young pianists hail from around the country, and range in age from 22 to 29. Five are based in the Western Cape, another five candidates call Gauteng home, one is from Durban and another was born in Bloemfontein. 

They have all excelled in their undergraduate music studies, and are now looking to further their education at postgraduate level at an international tertiary institution, should they win one of the two prized SAMRO Foundation scholarships on offer this year.

The Jazz/Popular Music semi-finalists are:

•Lifa Arosi (24), from Johannesburg

•Sibusiso Mashiloane (29), from Durban

•Bokani Dyer (27), from Cape Town

•Wandile Molefe (29), from Johannesburg

•Gabriel Montgomery (23), from Johannesburg

•Nicholas Williams (27), from Cape Town


The Western Art Music semi-finalists are:

•Jan Hugo (22), originally from Bloemfontein, currently based in Italy

•Sylvia Jen (26), from Centurion

•Coila-Leah Enderstein (22), from Cape Town

•Nina Phillips (24), from Pretoria

•Megan-Geoffrey Prins (22), from Riversdale

•Daniel Strahilevitz (24), originally from Johannesburg, currently based in Israel


These scholarships, offered every year by SAMRO for more than half a century, are among the most lucrative music education awards in the country and have provided a springboard to greatness for several generations of young South African musicians.

For more information on the competition, contact Naseema Yusuf at, or visit

Note to media:

Media accreditation is available for the intermediate round and final round of the 2013 SAMRO Overseas Scholarships Competition. Please contact JT Communication Solutions at should you wish to cover either event, or both.

Thursday, 29 August 2013: 

Intermediate round at SABC M1 Studio, Auckland Park, Johannesburg.

Western Art Music: Six semi-finalists perform from 9.30am until 1.15pm; two finalists to be announced at approximately 1.45pm 

Jazz/Popular Music: Six semi-finalists perform from 2.30pm until 6.45pm; two finalists to be announced at approximately 7.15pm 


Saturday, 31 August 2013: 

Final round at SABC M1 Studio, Auckland Park, Johannesburg, at 6.30pm

Two finalists in each category to compete for the Overseas Scholarships