Vuyo Sotashe and Maudé Montierre were named the winners of the 2011 SAMRO Overseas Scholarships Competition, during a gala event on 3 September.

Montierre won the coveted scholarship in the Western Art Music category, while Sotashe was awarded top honours in the Jazz/Popular Music category. Both are students at the University of Cape Town.

Each winner receives a R160 000 scholarship (plus R10 000 travel allowance) from SAMRO Endowment for the National Arts (SENA) to study music at tertiary level at a recognized international institution.

SENA commissioned composer Peter Klatzow, who won the SAMRO scholarship for composers in 1964, to set former President Mbeki’s iconic “I am an African” speech to music for voice and orchestra for the Overseas Scholarships Competition.

Saturday’s gala event, held at the Linder Auditorium in Parktown, marked the premiere of this new work. It was performed by the two Western Art candidates, sopranos Hlengiwe Mkhwanazi (26) from the University of Cape Town and Montierre (21).

The two Jazz/Popular Music finalists, mezzo soprano Emily Bruce (31) and baritone/tenor Sotashe (21), both from UCT, sang jazz composer Noel Stockton’s South African Medley on the night. The medley consisted of arrangements of Brotherhood by Stockton, from a poem by Edwin Markham, with additional Xhosa text by Bonisile Gcisa; as well as Ntyilo-Ntyilo by Alan Silinga; and A Cry, A Smile, A Dance by Selaelo Selota (arranged by Judith Sephuma).

The singers were accompanied by the Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Albert Horne, as well as by pianist Elna van der Merwe, and a jazz trio made up of pianist Melvin Peters, bassist Marc Duby and drummer Kesivan Naidoo (a previous SAMRO scholarship winner and the Standard Bank Young Artist for Jazz in 2009).

The audience was also treated to a vibrant performance by the Soweto Marimba Youth League, also known as “SMYLe”.

This gala final round was preceded by the intermediate round, on 1 September, during which the six semi-finalists in the two genres were narrowed down to two in each category.

SENA’s annual Overseas Scholarships Competition is the country’s largest music education award. As SAMRO embarks on an extensive programme of celebrations to mark its 50th anniversary, the organisation is proud to have injected more than R50-million into music education in South Africa since 1962, through the 60 scholarships and 1 404 bursaries awarded to date, supporting 35 music schools at a variety of tertiary institutions throughout Southern Africa.

For more information on the SAMRO Endowment for the National Arts, visit or e-mail

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