The 5th Unisa National Piano Competition started a new tradition in 2015. A Jazz category. The two jazz finalists joined two classical finalists on 18 July as they played a half hour selection of works to a packed Z K Matthews Great Hall in Pretoria. They were accompanied by Victor Masondo on bass and Rob Watson on drums.
First up was the Durban-based Lungelo Ngcobo and he was followed by the 2014 Standard Bank Young Jazz Artist, Kyle Shepherd.
Kyle Shepherd played an energetic and varied programme featuring Charlie Parker’s Scrapple from the Apple, three of his own compositions and the prescribed piece We will meet again by Billy Evans. His performance impressed both the jury and audience and he was awarded the first prize of R60 000 for the Jazz Category.
Lungelo Ngcobo took R35 000 home, together with an additional R2 000 for the best rendition of an up-tempo jazz standard in the first round, while Kyle Shepherd received the prize for the best performance of a South African jazz composition in the second round.
Both finalists will be able to represent South Africa in the prestigious 13th Unisa International Piano Competition taking place in January 2016.