Let’s face it, 18th century Germany and 21st century South Africa are not exactly a natural match. Forget over 300 years of difference and all that has transpired during the last centuries. Geographically and culturally, we are talking about two worlds that are very far apart. However, as many people say, music unites people all over the world. Always has, and always will. Perhaps therefore, it comes as no surprise that there are young singers in South Africa who actually are attracted to opera and many of the great works that German composers produced during their time. One might expect the youth of South Africa today to be more attracted to modern music, but there are those that still relish and study the classics. As a result, both last year and next year, some of these young South African talents will be able to engage in more intensive studies, honing their craft.
A Once-In-A-Lifetime Opportunity
For those in South Africa who love all things Mozart, 2012 was a banner year. Johannesburg hosted the Johannesburg International Mozart Festival, which, among other events, held a scholarship programme, in conjunction with an intensive study session, which was referred to as a Masterclass, allowing young South African singers to compete for additional training in this very challenging field. Professor Josef Protschka came all the way from Cologne, Germany to attend the auditions and give his evaluation. The professor regularly teaches at the MusikhochschuleInstitut there (yes, it does sound like a mouthful, but it certainly sounds like a school of music to me). During the competition, he had to make the difficult decision of choosing three students who would be awarded scholarships and would be given the opportunity to study at the Cologne Music College (now you know where Musikhochschule comes from). The three lucky students have been spending the last year studying there and although they are far away from home, they are getting vocal training which arguably would not be available to them back at home.
Not satisfied with achieving these results with the three lucky students, Professor Protschka is at it again. This time, he will conduct a Masterclass right here in South Africa, in Pretoria, with eight lucky students being chosen from the field of applicants. As you can imagine, the criteria for being selected don’t hinge on just a curriculum or a nice handwritten note. Various vocal recordings have to be submitted, covering everything from 18th century arias, both Classic and Baroque, as well as some 20th century works. The deadline for submitting everything is towards the end of December 2013, after which the selection process will start. Although the students will have to figure out their own lodgings during the course, the Masterclass is free of charge. Of all the candidates, one will be chosen to spend a year in Cologne, just like the current three students, with all expenses paid. It certainly sounds like the opportunity of a lifetime.
Enjoying the Charm of Johannesburg
With all it has to offer, from arts and culture to business and shopping, Johannesburg is quickly becoming a mecca for people from all over the world. Most people that come to visit want to naturally stay in one of the top hotels in Johannesburg. They know that they will be well received, enjoying excellent and luxurious accommodations, coupled with outstanding service, making for a memorable trip.
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