Pianist Qden Blaauw
Pianist Qden Blaauw

Reddam House pupil scoops prestigious Yamaha Scholarship

By Tamara Mafilika Time of article published May 19, 2021

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Reddam House Durbanville’s piano prodigy, Qden Blaauw has taken first place in the prestigious Yamaha Scholarship programme for 2020/21. The programme focuses on the piano as the instrument category of choice. Blaauw’s prize of more than R14 000 will assist him further his music studies.

He started playing the piano when he was eight. He says he had heard pianists performing and decided to “give it a try”. His musical gift was then encouraged when he joined Reddam House Durbanville in Grade 8 on a partial scholarship.

The 2020 Yamaha Scholarship programme was for the first time conducted online due to the global Covid-19 restrictions and attracted entries from Gulf Co-operation Council states, the Middle East, West Asia and Africa.

According to Yamaha, “The competition presented high standards across all regions, with the South African entrants ranking highly among the finalists.”

South Africa was awarded two first-place positions – to Blaauw, a student at the Shane Goodall Piano Studio, whose audition repertoire included Joseph Haydn’s Sonata in C Major and Fredric Chopin’s Etude Opus 10, nos 5 and 9; and John Smith, also from Cape Town, who’s taught by Erina Westgarth-Taylor.

Shane Goodall looks back on his journey with this exceptional student which began when Qden was just aged nine: “His enthusiasm and passion for music, in particular the piano, was striking from the start. It has been an enormous pleasure and at the same time a huge responsibility guiding and nurturing his musical talent.

“I was delighted that Reddam House Durbanville has been so supportive of Qden and his achievements and goals, allowing him the freedom and space to develop his talent, and as a result, I have a deep appreciation for the music staff and the leadership of the school.”

Reddam House Durbanville is a member of Inspired, a global premium education group, which has a partnership with renowned US-based Berklee College of Music, to deliver “Inspired by Berklee”, which features a pioneering curriculum and artists-in-residence programme to develop contemporary music, dance, theatre, and creative capacity skills at Inspired schools worldwide.

During April, Blaauw had the privilege of attending a one-day workshop with an artist-in-residence from Berklee, working together with fellow musicians from Reddam House on It’s all in the song, which gave students an opportunity to explore creative expression through the processes and techniques involved in writing and performing a song to completion.

Barry Nieuwoudt, Reddam House Durbanville’s executive head of school, says the institution has been extremely proud to be a part of Blaauw’s brilliant progress as a world-class pianist for over three years.

“We constantly strive to ensure that we provide an environment for children with talent in the arts, music, and drama to excel, and we’ve celebrated Qden’s long list of remarkable accomplishments, awards, performances at major concerts, and importantly, his ever-growing skill and his immense passion for classical piano.”

Nieuwoudt adds that Reddam House will continue to encourage and support Blaauw as he progresses through his final two years in high school.

“We foster a family atmosphere here and we make sure that everyone in our Reddam House Durbanville community feels recognised for their own unique talents and thrives in our ‘home away from home’.”

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