Standard Bank Young Artists

The Standard Bank Young Artist Awards were established by the National Arts Festival, Grahamstown in 1984 to recognise relatively established young emerging South African artists who demonstrate  outstanding artistic talent. The National Arts Festival Committee select winners in five different disciplines: Theatre, Music, Dance, Jazz and Visual Art-and from time to time Film.

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2014 jazz winner

Capetonian pianist, saxophonist, composer and band leader - Kyle Shepherd - has been named by the National Arts Festival as the 2014 Standard Bank Young Artist for Jazz. Shepherd's family is quite musical, so he has been around classical and jazz musicians - and their music - from a young age. He started studying (classical) violin at 5 years old, but recalls watching a concert by Abdullah Ibrahim as a 15 year old, and deciding that he wanted to be part of music-making in that way; switching to the piano, jazz and his own compositions as a result.

Despite having recorded 4 albums and toured playing his own music in concerts in 15 countries through Africa, Europe and Asia; he remains very proud to walk onto the stage, at every concert, in every country; but holds dear a number of particularly special musical memories: "In February of 2013 I played a solo...

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Winner
2014
Jazz

2013 jazz winner

The 2013 Standard Bank Young Artist Award winner for Jazz, Shane Cooper (27) understands the difficult terrain of the music industry and why an award in the music sector can be the ideal incentive for career advancement. Working as a bassist, composer, producer and educator, Shane Cooper  originally from Port Elizabeth is now based in Cape Town. 

Cooper has performed and recorded with some of the leading jazz artists and bands in South Africa including Zim Ngqawana, Kyle Shepherd, Feya Faku, Bokani Dyer, Marcus Wyatt, Louis Moholo-Moholo, Babu and more. It is with some of these groups that he has toured around Europe, India, Africa and the US. ...

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Winner
2013
Jazz

2012 jazz winner

Standard Bank Young Artist Award for Jazz 2012 winner, Afrika Mkhize, was born in Durban and started playing the piano at the age of six."I was surrounded by music at birth and never stopped loving it,"said Mkhize about his journey into jazz. "To win this award simply means that some individuals have been watching me for a number of years."

According to the National Arts Festival Committee member for jazz, Alan Webster, Afrika Mkhize represents the exciting new face of South African jazz. As a musician steeped in South Africa's musical heritage, he displays a new and versatile musical perspective. Mkhize is described as a pianist of unique talent who can play music across a...

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Winner
2012
Jazz

2011 jazz winner

Bokani Dyer, Standard Bank Young Artist Award for Jazz 2011 winner, has performed in Switzerland as part of the South African delegation to the World Economic Forum. He is also a jazz musician from a strong musical family and has played with jazz legends such as Jimmy Dludlu, Jonas Gwangwa and Judith Sephuma as well as his father Steve Dyer.

 "I've always had a love for music, but developed a liking for jazz at the age of 16 after I had been playing for a few years. Jazz is a beautiful art form which allows for deep exploration through spontaneous creativity," says Dyer....

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Winner
2011
Jazz

2010 jazz winner

Rising musical star Melanie Scholtz is the 2010 Standard Bank Young Artist Award winner for Jazz. "It is such an incredible opportunity to strive and reach for greatness, and this has been proved possible by all the previous winners. We also have an important platform, opportunity and responsibility through music to change the world somehow," she said. 

Melanie Scholtz graduated cum laude from the UCT Opera School, and is a vocalist grounded in the down-to-earthiness of the blues, R&B and legendary jazz singers such as Dee Dee Bridgewater and Billie Holiday. "I am so honoured and humbled to have been selected to be part of a long line of musicians that...

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Winner
2010
Jazz
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