Teenage South African stars win UK music scholarships from Birmingham Conservatoire

Three young South African musicians have gained scholarships to further their studies, following long-term and long-distance learning with music experts from the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire.

ARCO scholars Sifiso Mbatha, Kamogelo Maraba and Jordan Brooks
ARCO scholars Sifiso Mbatha, Kamogelo Maraba and Jordan Brooks

Cellist Sifiso Mbatha, 17, cellist Kamogelo Maraba, 18, and 16-year-old violinist Jordan Brooks have gained places at the Purcell School, Royal Birmingham Conservatoire and Chetham's School for Music respectively.

Sifiso and Kamogelo have gained ongoing tuition and opportunities through the Conservatoire's ARCO Project, an innovative distance-learning project between the Conservatoire and the Morris Isaacson Centre for Music (MICM) in South Africa. The ARCO students at MICM receive weekly one-to-one instrumental lessons, mentoring and coaching, delivered by a group of current students and recent graduates from the Conservatoire via video conferencing.

Sifiso, from Dobsonville, Soweto, was one of the inaugural group of students on the ARCO Project in 2015 and has now been awarded a scholarship for sixth form study at the Purcell School for Young Musicians in Hertfordshire.

Kamogelo, from Diepkloof, Soweto, attended the National School of the Arts from 2015, achieving a distinction in music. He has concurrently been a student on the ARCO Project, a member of the Rand Symphony Orchestra and the Johannesburg Youth Orchestra. Kamo has been awarded a scholarship to study for a BMus (Hons) at Royal Birmingham Conservatoire.

Jordan, from Cape Town, started violin lessons aged seven, performed as soloist with the Cape Town Symphony Orchestra, and won the South African National Youth Music Competition in 2019. He has now been awarded a scholarship to study at Chetham’s School of Music in Manchester.

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