Spring into classical delights

Conductor Wolfram Christ at a KZN Philharmonic conductor’s master class in Durban last year.  Picture by Val Adamson.


TOP violinist Kyoko Takezawa, local pianist Ben Schoeman, the Fidelio Trio from Ireland and the National Youth Concerto Festival, featuring young South African musicians, are among highlights of the KwaZulu-Natal Philharmonic’s Early Spring Symphony Season, starting this month.

The acclaimed orchestra returns to the Durban City Hall for this four-week season, which runs from August 24 to September 14, every Thursday at 7.30pm.

“Special features of the season include visits by glorious violinist Kyoko Takezawa, South African pianist and Steinway Artist Ben Schoeman, Fidelio Trio from Ireland and the National Youth Concerto Festival, which will showcase some talented young South African musicians,” says an orchestra spokesman.

“We are committed to bringing the highest-quality symphony concerts to Durban, thereby enriching the city and province through music,” adds Bongani Tembe, the orchestra’s chief executive officer and artistic director.

The season opens on Thursday, August 24, with the KZN Philharmonic under the baton of German maestro Wolfram Christ, with a programme of works by Mendelssohn, Tchaikovsky and Dvořák.

The featured piece of the evening is one of the most technically exacting works in the violin repertoire, Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 35, performed by Japanese-born Takezawa.

Also on the programme is Mendelssohn’s Ruy Blas, Op. 95: Overture and the concert ends with Dvořák’s popular  Symphony No. 6 in D major, Op. 60

The second concert, on Thursday, August 31, sees Wolfram Christ offer the audience a rare encounter with Carl Maria von Weber’s Turandot Overture.

Mozart’s Piano Concerto No.20 in D minor is considered one of the most revolutionary of his entire oeuvre. It will be performed by South African pianist and Steinway Artist, Schoeman. The evening closes with Schumann’s Symphony No. 3 in E-flat major, Op. 97, Rhenische.

The third concert, on September 7, is an all-Beethoven programme and will be conducted by associate guest conductor Daniel Boico.

“The KZN Philharmonic is delighted to perform with Fidelio Trio, who are on an extensive nationwide tour, by courtesy of Culture Ireland. Fidelio Trio are Darragh Morgan on violin, Mary Dullea on piano (both are no strangers to the KZN Philharmonic) and Adi Tal on cello.

Japanese-born violinist Kyoko Takezawa.

“They were shortlisted for the 2016 Royal Philharmonic Society Music Awards, and Fidelio Trio are enthusiastic champions of the piano trio genre, performing the widest possible range of repertoire on concert stages across the world.”

They will perform Beethoven’s Triple Concerto for Violin, Cello and Piano in C major, Op. 56. Also on the programme are Beethoven’s Coriolan Overture and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 2 in D major, Op. 36.

While in Durban, Fidelio Trio will perform a different programme with the Friends of Music on Tuesday, September 5, at the Durban Jewish Centre in K E Masinga Road (formerly Old Fort Road).

The Early Spring Season will close with the National Youth Concerto Festival on Thursday, September 14, which will be conducted by resident conductor Lykele Temmingh.

“Fostering upcoming talent on our musical landscape has always been a central part of the KZN Philharmonic Orchestra’s mandate, and in this regard, the annual National Youth Concerto remains a fixture of the Orchestra’s Early Spring Season.”

Among the programme items will be: Vivaldi’s Concerto for 2 oboes in d minor: Mvts 1, 2 and 3; Mozart’s La Clemenza Di Tito, K.621: “S’altro che lagrime”; Mozart Piano Concerto No. 20 in d minor: Mvt 1; Hüe Fantasie; Stephenson Introduction and Allegro: Mvt 1; Verdi Macbeth: “Come Dal Ciel Precipita”; Arutiunian’s Trumpet Concerto in A flat: Mvt 1 and Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2 in c minor, Op, 18: Mvt 3.

Refreshments and light snacks may be bought in the foyer before the concert and during interval. Single tickets are available by phoning  0861 915 8000, or from Shoprite Checkers Money Market counters.

It is cheaper to subscribe: Subscribers can save up to 30%. For subscriptions phone 031 3699438.

NOTE: The morning rehearsals for the Early Spring Symphony Season concerts are open to the public and provide a glimpse into the preparation needed for a symphony concert. These are held at 10am on Thursdays in the Durban City Hall. Admission is R30 (R10 for students), which includes a cup of tea or coffee during the interval.

The final rehearsal is the perfect opportunity to introduce students to symphony concerts and also provides great outings for community groups and retirement homes

Contact the KZN Philharmonic to enquire about special rates and to make arrangements for groups. Contact bookings@kznphil.org.za or call the bookings office on 031 369 9438.

Also note that music-lovers can gain a deeper understanding of the music they are about to hear by attending the Friends of Music’s Pre-Concert Lecture in the Alhambra Room at the Playhouse, starting at 6pm each Thursday. The cost is R10.

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