A total of 195 applications were received for this year’s bursaries, submitted by prospective and existing undergraduate and postgraduate students who are pursuing full-time music studies at various South African tertiary institutions.
Of those applicants, 113 candidates succeeded on merit following evaluation by a panel of adjudicators. Each was awarded a R10 000 bursary towards their tuition fees.
In the general music study category, 71 bursaries were awarded in the following music genres: western art (47), jazz (20) and indigenous African music (4).
Fifteen bursaries were granted for music education studies and 19 for composition studies (the latter being awarded to third- and fourth-year students, as well as to honours and master’s candidates).
A record number of 30 applications were received for music composition – which bodes well for the future of original, homegrown compositions, whether they be scores for film, television or other media, advertising jingles or recorded music.
In the area of indigenous African music research, eight postgraduate bursaries were awarded. This is an avenue of study that the SAMRO Foundation is keen to promote.
A student who received a 2012 bursary for research into indigenous African music, Maxine Roberts from Pretoria University, wrote to SAMRO expressing her gratitude for contributing towards her master’s degree research into African musical influences on, and infusions in, the popular music of the United States, 1950 to 2000. “SAMRO’s support is invaluable to me, and in turn I hope that the results of my research project will spark interest in and encourage further research into the contribution of African indigenous music and musicians,” she wrote.
Students at the University of Cape Town claimed the lion’s share of the 2012 SAMRO music bursaries (32), with North West University, the University of Pretoria and the University of Stellenbosch also faring well with 14 recipients apiece.
Other institutions whose students benefited from the 2012 SAMRO music study awards were the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (12), Tshwane University of Technology (8), University of Fort Hare (1), University of KwaZulu-Natal (9), Rhodes University (3), University of Venda (1) and the University of the Witwatersrand (5).
Another note of thanks came from Winfried Lüdemann, chair of Stellenbosch University’s music department: “As an institution, we appreciate this support greatly, because we have many needy students who would not be able to study here if they did not get the kind of assistance you provide. It helps us to fulfil our task of building a musical culture in our country that much more easily. I hope that these students will be productive SAMRO members one day.”
Dr Karendra Devroop, director of the School of Music and the Conservatory at North West University, said: “I wish to convey our sincerest gratitude to everyone at SAMRO and SENA [now known as the SAMRO Foundation] for their continued support of our students. I am personally grateful to you, since I know first-hand how our students struggle to meet their financial obligations for their studies. Your support will go a very long way towards assisting our students who, I believe, are among some of the finest musicians in training in the country.”
The parents of Port Elizabeth music student Angela Freer also expressed their sincere gratitude to SAMRO: “Not only does [the bursary] provide financial relief to parents with today’s high cost of living, but it gives this talented group of folk the chance to perfect their given gift, and for this we really and truly appreciate your wonderful gift … You have contributed richly towards an individual who is preparing for the treasures of life going forward.”
This marks the third consecutive year that SAMRO has awarded in excess of R1-million in music study bursaries. Since 1981, the music rights organisation has awarded 1 517 such bursaries, and has pumped more than R50-million into music education through this scheme and other initiatives such as its annual Overseas Scholarships Competition.