Promising music students win UK scholarships

A boy plays the cello.

Three accomplished teen musicians from Mzansi have secured scholarships at renowned music academies in the United Kingdom. 

Sifiso Mbatha from Soweto (cello, age 17), Kamogelo Maraba from Soweto (cello, age 18) and Jordan Brooks from Cape Town (violin, age 16) were awarded places.

They will be attending The Purcell School, Royal Birmingham Conservatoire and Chetham’s School for Music, respectively.

Ongoing tuition will be given to Mbatha and Maraba. This will take place via the conservatoire’s ARCO Project. ARCO is a distance learning project connecting the conservatoire and Soweto’s Morris Isaacson Centre for Music (MICM).

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MCIM’s ARCO students benefit from weekly personal instrumental lessons, mentoring and coaching. These are relayed by students and  graduates from the conservatoire on the Zoom platform, according to a report by Rhinegold Publishing.

Mbatha will benefit from a scholarship to study at The Purcell School for Young Musicians in Hertfordshire in the sixth form. “I’m looking forward to taking my cello playing to the next level so I can pursue music as a career,” he said.

Maraba already has a distinction in music. He has been variously involved with the National School of the Arts, worked as a student on the ARCO Project and has been a member of both the Rand Symphony Orchestra and the Johannesburg Youth Orchestra.

Maraba’s scholarship enables him to study for a BMus (Hons) at Royal Birmingham Conservatoire. “Music means a lot to me. It creates meaning in my life,” he said.

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Brooks, who hails from Cape Town, started playing violin at seven. He has played as a soloist with the Cape Town Symphony Orchestra. He won the 2019 South African National Youth Music Competition.

He is a concert master at both the Cape Town Philharmonic Youth Orchestra, as well as the Beau Soleil Senior String Ensemble.

Brooks will be studying at Chetham’s School of Music. On being given this opportunity, he enthuses: “I’m very excited to be stepping into a new environment and getting to know more people.”

The ARCO project will  contribute towards these three talented teens in terms of fundraising for the airfare, living expenses and unresolved tuition fees, the report said.