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Pianist Qden Blaauw of Reddam House Durbanville takes top spot in Yamaha Scholarship competition

Updated: Nov 15, 2021

Reddam House Durbanville_Qden Blaauw

Reddam House Durbanville’s piano prodigy, Qden Blaauw (Grade 11) has taken first place in the prestigious Yamaha Scholarship programme for 2020/2021, which focused on the piano as the instrument category of choice. Blaauw’s prize is over R14,000 ($1000) to help him further his music studies.

Blaauw 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, and he joined Reddam House Durbanville in Grade 8 on a part scholarship, which was awarded to him in line with the Reddam House philosophy to nurture arts and culture talent in their students.

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

According to Yamaha, “The competition presented extremely 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 nine years old: “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 USA-based music college Berklee 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. In 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 school 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 a 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’.”

Reddam Rising Stars

Join our Reddam House Rising Stars at Reddam House Atlantic Seaboard, Constantia and Durbanville, and in the Western Cape; Reddam House Waterfall, Bedfordview and Helderfontein in Gauteng; Reddam House Umhlanga and Reddam House Ballito, in KZN.

Reddam House is a member of the Inspired Group, a leading global premium schools group educating over 50,000 students across a global network of more than 60 schools on five continents. All Inspired schools are individually developed and designed in response to their environment and location, delivering excellent education to their respective communities. (

For more information, visit and click on Africa & Middle East link.

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