The 36 young South African pianists competing at this year’s annual Atterbury National Piano Competition all excelled at the event which took place at the Atterbury Theatre, Pretoria, recently, with its main sponsor being Atterbury Trust.

The hotly-contested competition began with a short, highly enjoyable programme delivered by the overall winner of the 2015 competition, Leo Gevisser. The competition took place in four rounds, a semi-final round of 18 participants, and a final round comprising nine extraordinarily talented young pianists.

The overall winner of the competition, Swunhtat Oo from Harrismith, delighted judges to be awarded with first place and a cash prize of R30, 000. Second place was earned by Cindy Ju and third place winner was Louis Nel.

There were also three age category winners: Dané van Graan for 12 years and younger, Beate Boshoff for 15 years and younger and Swunhtat Oo for 19 years and younger.

Thanks to the generosity of the competition’s main sponsor, Atterbury Trust, a total of R80, 000 in prizes were given to pianists in the different age categories.

Special prizes were also awarded to the best pieces in different styles. Louis Nel won for the best Baroque piece. Cindy Ju won for the best classical work and best South African work. Swunhtat Oo won for the best romantic and best modern pieces.

Mrs Claudine van Breda, Artistic head of the Atterbury National Piano competition, was awarded a special accolade for her valuable contribution to piano teaching in South Africa. The adjudicators of this year’s competition were Prof. Alexander Johnson, Mr. John Roos, and Prof. Nina Schuman.