SAMRO Overseas Scholarships for Composers competition finalist Riley Giandhari.
Durban - If musician and composer Riley Giandhari wins the annual Southern African Music Rights Organisation's Overseas Scholarships for Composers competition in Johannesburg this month, his dream of pursuing his postgraduate music studies overseas will be realised.

The scholarship, he said, was valued at a whopping R200 000.

Giandhari, 23, of Queensburgh, will compete in the jazz category at the Linder Auditorium on August 18.

“Although I am nervous, as nobody knows what to expect, I am also excited as I get to interact with great composers and musicians involved in the competition,” he said.

“I will be attending the competition as a composer and will be working with a band, which will play my composition titled Answer The Call at the final event.”

The University of KwaZulu-Natal master’s music student said that, while growing up, he was exposed to music at a young age. His father, Pravin, is a drummer.

“I used to watch him play the drums during praise and worship at church, and that was how I learnt the skill. After completing high school I was supposed to study law but I was on a waiting list. Music was, in fact, my last choice. However, upon choosing to study jazz, I realised I had made the best decision, as it made me open-minded as a performer and composer.”

Giandhari is currently completing his master's in music composition, which focuses on various genres of music that have inspired him.

“My final master's portfolio will be titled 'Music and the music in between'. It's a mix of the different genres of music that I've been playing and listening to. My goal is to reach a larger audience and introduce them to jazz through the use of different elements from the different genres.”

Giandhari added that he planned on developing himself as an international composer and performer under a mentor - such as master pianist Chick Corea.

“He is one of my biggest influences as a composer. I want my music to have a positive impact on the world. I would also like to open a music school for underprivileged up-and-coming musicians.”

Other plans include recording music albums, forming his own band and to compose film scores.

His advice to other musicians: “Always do what you love. Be yourself and learn as much as you can. 

"Also respect and appreciate all styles of music. It can heal. There will also be a lot of obstacles, challenges, and pressure from all sides, but remain humble, be teachable and stay true to who you are. There will never be another you.”