Top Artisits on our Masterclass Panel

The competition seeks to include entry of any participant within the defined age groups. Independent judges will be selected to preside over the competition from the panel of Independent Board of Adjudicators.

Classical Instrumental: Congyu Wang

Hailed as a “complete musician – a sensitive artist and an extremely talented young pianist”, Congyu Wang is an internationally renowned soloist who has garnered acclaim as a recitalist, accompanist and chamber musician. 

Born in Singapore, Congyu Wang started playing the piano at the age of 3. He was selected for a scholarship that enabled him to attend the prestigious Ecole Normale de Musique de Paris, where he studied with renowned pianists Jean-Marc Luisada and Odile Catelin-Delangle. He later enrolled in the Schola Cantorum (Paris) to continue his studies with Gabriel Tacchino (who had been Francis Poulenc’s only student).

Ever since youth, Congyu Wang has enjoyed phenomenal success in international piano competitions, ultimately winning the Grand Prize in Berlin and Bordeaux. His other prizes include Vulaines-sur-Seine, Lagny-sur-Marne, Merignac, Paris, Jakarta, Tallinn and Cle d’Or Reunion. He was featured in ZaoBao as Singapore’s most promising young artist of the year 2016. 

At the Chopin International Piano Competition for Young Pianists in Slovenia 2010, Congyu was awarded 6th Prize. One of the jury members, François Weigel, believed he should have won, and resigned thereupon in protest. Congyu Wang has since made appearances in over 750 recitals in France, England, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Belgium, Switzerland, Germany, Croatia, Hungary, Serbia, Estonia, Finland, Sweden, Latvia, Reunion Island, China, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and other countries. 

Congyu Wang is a Young Steinway Artist. 

Highlights of some of his performances include festival appearances at Château de la Verrerie (France), Ernen Music Festival (Switzerland), the Geza Anda Piano Festival Masterclasses (Berlin), the International Isang Yun Academy (Paris), International Hammer Klavier Piano Series (Barcelona), International Piano Festival (Amarante), Festival Langtang (Reunion Island) and Chopin Fest (Belgrade). His recordings are frequently broadcasted on radios internationally – Radio France, BBC Manchester, Radio Vie, Radio Antena 2, Symphony 92.4 etc. 

Congyu Wang has earned a reputation for delivering stunning performances of extremely demanding repertoire. His vast repertoire includes 30 piano concerti, along with the complete solo piano oeuvre of Chopin and Poulenc. 

Throughout his training in two of the most prestigious French music academies, he regards conductor-pianist François Weigel, Eric Heidsieck (a student of the late Alfred Cortot) and the renowned pianist Ádám György as his mentors. 

Congyu Wang is the Founder and Artistic Director of the Piano Island Festival, Piano Concerto Festival (Budapest). As President of Association des Jeunes Musiciens (Foundation) – he created Piano Island Records (CD Label) as well as Piano Island Artist Management. 

mario nell

Light Instrumental: Mario Nell

Acknowledged as one of South Africa’s leading musicians and teachers, Mario Nell is a senior lecturer at the University of Stellenbosch.

He studied at the Universities of Port Elizabeth and Stellenbosch before he completed his master’s degree in performance at the University of Cape Town and a PhD at the University of Stellenbosch.

Also holding a UPLM from Unisa, he was the winner of the Unisa Overseas Music Bursary Competition. From 1999-2001 he furthered his studies at the Staatliche Hochschule für Musik in Freiburg, Germany. From 2006-2007 he also studied for his Nachdiplom at the Zurich University of the Arts in Switzerland where his main focus was on historical performance practice. 

He won first prizes in all the major music competitions in South Africa. This includes the National Youth Music-, ATKV Prelude and Forte-, Mabel Quick-, Oude Meester- and Unisa Overseas Music Competitions. During his periods of study abroad he also distinguished himself in several important international competitions including a top prize at the Calgary International Competition with performances in Germany and Hong Kong. 

Since he made his debut with the SABC Orchestra in 1993, he has appeared as soloist with all the major orchestras in South Africa. Since 1999 he gave recitals in Germany, Switzerland, France, the Netherlands, Czech Republic, Italy, England and South Korea. He was also invited as guest professor at the national University of the Arts in Seoul, South Korea, in 2002 and 2003. 

Besides a busy performance schedule as soloist, accompanist and chamber music musician, he is an active teacher and his students have been the overall winners of all the major music competitions in South Africa, for example the Sanlam-, Artscape-, Artstrust Piano-, Mabel Quick-, Samro -, Grahamstown National-, Unisa National Organ-, ATKV Muziq and Unisa Overseas Music Bursary Competitions.

From 2010-2014 he received the University of Stellenbosch Rector’s prize for excellence as a teacher. He is often invited to give masterclasses and as a juror for music competitions and serves as examiner for Unisa music.


Instrumental: Berthine van Schoor - Krumme

Berthine van Schoor is one of South Africa’s finest cellists and is well known for her warm, burnished sound and versatility. She started cello lessons at age 6 with the legendary Betty Pack and studied with Magdalena Roux at the University of Stellenbosch, where she obtained a B.Mus and B.Mus Hons (cum laude) as well as being awarded several prizes and bursaries. She later studied with Prof Heidi Litschauer at the Mozarteum in Salzburg, Austria, where she obtained a Konzert Diploma and M.Mus. 

Berthine studied and worked in Europe from 1989 to 2000. She was a member of the Gustav Mahler Youth Orchestra and a part-time member of the Mozarteum Orchestra, with which she toured all over Europe and Japan. From 1993 to 1997 she was principal cellist for the Philharmonic Orchestra of Bad Reichenhall, Germany. From 1998 to 2000 she lived in Salzburg, taught at several music schools in Austria and Germany, and was a member of the Salzburg Mozart Orchestra, Musici and Pro Musica. 

Berthine returned to South Africa in 2000 and founded her own cello academy (see separate CV), which has produced numerous excellent students, who are currently studying in Europe and the USA. She is a part-time lecturer at the University of Pretoria and tutor for the University of South Africa Music Foundation community projects. She has received two awards from UNISA for outstanding teaching, as well as being a string specialist music examiner for Unisa. 

She regularly performs in solo recitals as well as with her trio Trio Gloriosa for all the major concert series in South Africa and also plays with Vevek Ram (sitar) and Rabin Ram (sarod) in the Indian classical music group East meets West. They have performed concerts all over the country, including at the National Festival of the Arts in Grahamstown and the Cape Town Festival, as well as for the High Commission of India. In 2016, she was given the name Meera by the India community. (Meera was an Indian saint poet who sang all her poetry in praise of Lord Krishna, the Hindu god of music). 

A career highlight was two concert tours to India in 2007 and 2009, with acclaimed pianist Albie van Schalkwyk, where they performed in nine cities. As a soloist, Berthine has performed with various orchestras in South Africa (eg the Cape Town Symphony Orchestra and KZNPO), Austria and Germany and India. 

She has organized as well as performed in numerous concerts for foreign embassies (such as the Italian, Norwegian, Hungarian and Austrian embassies, the Alliance Française, the High Commission of India and the South African embassy in Rome), promoting the music of these countries as well as establishing important cultural ties between them and South Africa. Berthine has been on the faculty of the International Academy of Music in Castelnuovo di Garfagnana, Tuscany, Italy, since 2010. 

She plays a cello made by Georg Tiefenbrunner, Munich, 1849. 

Cello Academy Information 
Berthine van Schoor founded her Cello Academy in 2007. She started teaching in 1998 in Austria and Germany, whilst still living in Salzburg. She has had numerous students who won competitions (eg the Unisa Grade 8 Bursary competition, the Philip Moore competition and the Samro competition). Her cello pupils won the award for Best Cellist at the Pretoria Eisteddfod numerous times. Several of her students went to study overseas, eg in England, the USA and Austria. Her pupils have performed in concerto festivals in Pretoria and Johannesburg and her string ensemble, the Unisa Music Foundation String Ensemble, won joint First Prize in the Tshwane Youth Music Festival in 2014. 

The Academy has performed in many concerts for foreign embassies, eg the farewell concerts of two Italian ambassadors, concerts for the Alliance Française, a Christmas concert for the Austrian Embassy in 2015 as well as several charity events. Berthine has been on the faculty of the International Academy of Music in Castelnuovo di Garfagana, Tuscany since 2010 and has taken many young South African cellists along to take part in this festival. Berthine has received five awards from Unisa: the “Best Teacher” Award as well as four awards for outstanding results in the Unisa Cello Exams. She was on the screening jury for the Unisa International String Competition in 2010. Berthine is a string specialist examiner for Unisa and is a cello lecturer at the University of Pretoria.

Drama division: Lizz Meiring

From Lady Macbeth to a Pop-up Toaster, Lizz Meiring has played everything! Lizz has received 19 awards as an actress, director, writer, for her service to the arts and a lifetime achievement award.

She has also been nominated for a further 18 awards. In 2019 Lizz celebrates 35 years in the Entertainment Industry. Lizz made her professional debut at the age of 9, in CJ Langenhoven’s “Die Vrou van Suid Afrika” directed by Anna Neethling-Pohl. Hereafter she performed in several productions for the semi-professional “Pretoria Theatre for Children”, as well as making her TV debut in 1976 on the teenage TV programme “Gateway”.

Since completing her studies (BA Drama Hons) at the University of Pretoria in 1983, Lizz has never been without work for a single day, on the contrary she is often busy multi-tasking as many as 6 productions at any given time. Her impressive body of work includes: more than 5000 functions (as MC or Guest Performer); 284 TV productions; 28 movies; 214 scripts, directing and producing projects; 346 theatre productions; 12 published works and a DVD. 

She is known for her unforgettable, painstaking enthusiasm in the different sectors within the arts, which she loves with all her heart, and these include her roles as an actress, theatre director, producer, dramaturg and playwright, voice artist, TV- and film scriptwriter, theatre and TV presenter, copywriter, translator (Afrikaans, English and French), fiction and youth romance writer, arts journalist, columnist, creative consultant, speaker and master of ceremonies, guest lecturer, arts advisor, registered qualified auctioneer, and self-proclaimed arts junky! 

She strives to enhance the lives and careers of established and new artists through entrepreneurship, self-sustainability and job creation in both the performing- as well as visual arts. 

Apart from a guest appearance (as herself) on Villa Rosa, and writing a pantomime for their Christmas episode, Lizz has never appeared in a Soapy. 

Even after all of this, Lizz has an insatiable appetite and genuine love for the entertainment industry, and there is no end in sigh

Dance: Ignatius van Heerden

Ignatius van Heerden, brought up in the town of Ohrigstad, displays his extensive dance training skills in the styles of jazz, ballet and contemporary dance. 

He successfully obtained several awards and nominations over the last decade, some of which including a Standard Bank Ovation Award (2017), SATMAG Award (2017), FNB Vita Award for Most Promising Male Dancer (2004), a Naledi Award Nomination for Best Choreography (2010) and a Merit Award at the National Arts Festival for Excellence in Creativity and Innovation (2013). 

Ignatius has worked with some of South Africa’s most prominent dance companies and choreographers, some of which include Robin Orlin, Mark Hawkins, Gladys Aghulhas, David Goldie, David April, Christopher Kindo, Bailey Snyman and Kelsey Middleton. 

Opening his talents to the field of theatre, he performed in Odessy, Joseph, Jesus Christ Superstar, Peter Pan, Disney’s Beauty and The Beast, Disney’s High School Musical, Fred Abrahams’ Jungle Book, Madam Zingara, Queen at the Ballet, Romeo’s Kiss, Tango Nights, Swingtime at the Ballet, Moffie and Nataniel’s Combat. 

Aside from performing, Ignatius has choreographed numerous commissioned works and was chosen to partake in the FNB Dance Umbrella Choreographic residency. He has created works for the Youth Dance Company of Tshwane, FNB Dance Umbrella, KKNK National Arts Festival, and the Fantastic Flying Fish Dance Co.

Ignatius was one of the founding members of move1524 for Stellenbosch University, where he also acted as the artistic director and choreographer. He was commissioned to choreograph a new work for FNB Dance Umbrella’s 20th anniversary, and worked under acclaimed Robin Orlin in Dressed to Kill, Killed to Dress. 

With much enthusiasm and incredible passion, Ignatius founded his own dance studio, Iggy’s Dance Academy. He also spent the past few years training, developing and lecturing dance and musical theatre students at Oakfields College. 

In 2016 he produced, as well as performed, in the premiere of (The) Last Supper, for which he was nominated as Best Actor in a Play, Best New Choreography and four additional Theatre Awards. 

Under the banner of Oakfields College, his works include 6 Impossible Things, Flesh, J’Zel, Nefelibata, Four, and Being in his arms… Thats home, no matter where that may be. 

Apart from the above, Van Heerden’s most recent successes include the choreography for Uit die Bloute (dir. by Henrietta Gryffenberg, 2018), as well as the critically acclaimed Nijinsky’s War, which received a prestigious Standard Bank Ovation Award for Artistic Excellence, along with six, four SA Theatre Magazine nominations and the award for Best Cutting-Edge Production (2017). 


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Enjoy a one of a kind festival!

The biggest and first kids arts festival. Come and enjoy our wonderland in a safe and secure environment. 11 and 12 May 2019 at the Ruimsig Stadium.

The sole purpose of the Wêlakapêla Kids Festival, is to create a unique festival that has never been seen in South Africa. 

This festival will focus mainly on children and children’s productions, stalls will only sell interesting children’s items. 

This festival has it all – Live Entertainment, Children’s Theatre, Huge Inflatable Park for all ages, Food Stalls, Puppet Theatre, Children’s Beauty Salon, Haunted House, Flea market with all children’s products, Adult Wine & Dine area – Hours of Fun. 

This unique experience will be the first of its kind and focuses on the development of the arts for children of all ages and ethnic groups. The festival is very proud to produce a line-up on the main stage that allows the audiences to see all their favourite characters on one stage. 

The Wêlakapêla Kids Festival – the first of its kind – come and enjoy our wonderland in a safe and secure environment.

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