/ 16 February 2024

15th Unisa International Piano Competition

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Competitors from across the globe took part

The University of South Africa hosted the 15th Unisa International Piano Competition. with the finals being held on 2 and 3 February 2024. Unisa proudly hosted 40 participants (10 jury and 30 contestants) from 30 countries. 

Unisa Chancellor, Principal and Former President of South Africa Dr Thabo Mbeki and Vice-Chancellor Professor Puleng LenkaBula graced the stage on the last evening of the event. 

The Unisa International Music Competition has been held every four years since 1982 in Pretoria and is open to all pianists up to 30 years of age. It is one of the most prestigious music competitions, and is a member of the World Federation of International Music. The first winner of this event was Canadian pianist Marc-André Hammelin who has since established himself as a sought-after international pianist. 

Puleng said the world of international piano competitions serves as a microcosm of this journey. Pianists, aspiring to be the best, devote countless hours to perfecting their craft. In his address, Mbeki said that piano competitions have the potential to act as catalysts in the artistic community to create excellence, transcending whatever barriers may exist. 

Reflecting on the challenges faced by nations across the globe, marred by conflicts and wars, the need for respect of human life and dignity become increasingly paramount. It is in these moments of adversity that the arts, and particularly music, have the unique ability to serve as a bridge among belligerent communities. Great pianists through their virtuosity and artistry have the power to touch the hearts of people worldwide fostering a sense of shared humanity that transcends geopolitical boundaries. 

Congratulating the winners, Mbeki said : “Your journey does not end here, it extends to other international stages.” 

The winners for the 15th Unisa International Piano Competition in 2024 were Leo De Maria (from Spain), 1st Prize Classical Winner; Dabin Ryu (from South Korea) who was crowned the 1st Prize Jazz Winner; Tomas Jonsson (USA), 2nd Prize Jazz Winner: Elizaveta Ukrainskaia ( Russia ), 2nd Prize Classical Winner.

The evening ended in much jubilation as the winners graced the stage once more to accept their prizes.

For more details, visit: https://www.unisa.ac.za/