KZNPO’s summer sizzlers

Israeli-American conductor Daniel Boico  is on the podium for the KZNPO’s February 22 concert at Durban’s Playhouse Opera theatre.


THE KwaZulu-Natal Philharmonic Orchestra has announced details of its four-week Summer Season which runs in the Playhouse Opera theatre between February 22 and March 15, each Thursday at 7.30pm.

The season will be presented as part of the orchestra’s World Symphony Series which was launched in Durban 22 years ago.

Bongani Tembe, chief executive and artistic director of both KwaZulu-Natal and Johannesburg philharmonic orchestras, said: “I am delighted to continue the WSS brand with both orchestras, thereby ensuring we attract the finest international conductors and soloists to our concert platforms in Durban and Johannesburg alike, along with leading South African artists.”

For its opening concert on February 22, the KZNPO welcomes the return of its associate guest conductor, Israeli-American Daniel Boico, with a programme of three concert blockbusters.

Acclaimed Ukraine-born pianist, Anna Dmytrenko.

Boico opens his programme exploring the high drama of Frantz Liszt’s famed symphonic poem, Les Préludes, before being joined onstage by the acclaimed young Ukraine-born pianist, Anna Dmytrenko, for a performance of Saint-Saëns’s dazzling Piano Concerto No 2 in G minor.

Boico brings the evening to a close, delivering a powerful reading of Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No 4 in F minor.

Canadian-Caribbean conductor Kwamé Ryan returns to the KwaZulu-Natal Philharmonic’s podium with a programme of French classics in the March 1 concert in the Durban-based orchestra’s four-week summer season.

The concert, the second in the summer season, will be held at 7.30pm at Durban’s Playhouse Opera theatre.

The soloist on March 1 is Liesl Stoltz, an award-winning South African flautist who spent several years in Paris and Italy, where she studied with the world’s foremost flute virtuosi. Based in Cape Town, she performs extensively as soloist and chamber musician and teaches privately.

The programme will include Gabriel Fauré’s Masques et Bergamasques Suite, created as a 20th century musical homage to the world of the 18th century fêtes galantes. Comprising eight movements drawn from music the composer had written previously, the suite premiered in Monte Carlo in April. 1919. Its first movement, Overture, derived from an abandoned symphony begun in 1869.

Stoltz is to be showcased in two short works for flute and orchestra. The first of these, Cécile Chaminade’s1902 one-movement Flute Concertino in D major, has a highly decorative solo part, while François Borne’s Fantaisie brillante, based on themes from Bizet’s opera Carmen, has its own allure for a solo flautist.

Sandwiched between these two pieces is the Prelude a L’apres-midi d’un faune by Claude Debussy. The composition, first performed in Paris in December 1894, was inspired by the poem of the same title by Stéphane Mallarmé.

Liesl Stoltz will be showcased in two short works for flute and orchestra.

It is one of Debussy’s most famous works and is considered a turning point in the history of music; indeed, the 20th century French conductor-composer Pierre Boulez considered the score to be the beginning of modern music, observing that “the flute of the faun brought new breath to the art of music”.

The Symphony in D minor by César Franck (1822 – 1890) is also on the programme. It is the only mature symphony written by the Franco-Belgian composer.

The work premiered at the Paris Conservatory in February 1889, under the direction of Jules Garcin. Franck’s fame and reputation rest largely upon a small number of compositions.

Of these, the D minor Symphony was one of his last works. The fact that Franck chose to write it was probably due to the success that had greeted another of his large-scale compositions, his Symphonic Variations for Piano and Orchestra, composed in 1885. Like Bizet’s Symphony in C, Franck’s only symphony has retained its hold on the affections of concert-goers.

Note that the public is invited to attend the rehearsals for the symphony season concert at 10am on Thursday in the Playhouse Opera. Entrance for adults is R35 (R15 for pupils, which includes a cup of tea or coffee during the interval.

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

Call the KZN Philharmonic to enquire about special rates and to make arrangements for groups. Contact the bookings office at 031 369 9438.

Season tickets for the KZN Philharmonic’s summer season are available at Computicket  For more information phone 031 369 9438.

Canadian-Caribbean conductor Kwamé Ryan returns to the KwaZulu-Natal Philharmonic’s podium with a programme of French classics on March 1. Picture: Illa Thompson

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