Newsletter 17 August 2005
Show Boat Success In Germany
The Orchestra was very warmly received in Nuremberg, Germany, where they made a successful European debut together with Cape Town Opera in their production of Show Boat.
In this regard, we received the following note from Gaby Dahl, who heads up the Friends of Orchestral Music. She was on a visit to Germany recently and says:
“I drove to Nuremberg to attend a performance of Showboat. The performances for Saturday afternoon and evening were sold out, so was Sunday. The audience was enthralled and met the performance with standing ovations.
“I almost had tears in my eyes when Otto Maidi sang Old Man River, while Mike Huff and Stella Magaba had the audience in shrieks of laughter. The whole cast was unbelievably good and I really felt proud. Breakfast next morning was best: the whole breakfast area was so unbelievably South African, laughter and discussions in English, Afrikaans and Xhosa. The Hotel staff were as delighted with their guests as was the audience. One of our members who attended the next Wednesday confirmed that the evening was sold out again and that they received standing ovations again.
My only regret is that the Orchestra did not have a chance to give one or two concerts… When leaving them I really felt homesick…”
The CEO of the CPO, Louis Heyneman was also at the premiere of Show Boat in Germany. He says:
“It is ironic that our artists performed to full houses in Germany and received standing ovations, whereas the attendance of the local performances of exactly the same production were not sold out – despite the favourable reviews in the local media.
“On the opening night in Nuremberg I was sitting in one of the boxes close to the stage and from that vantage point, I could clearly see the audience’s reactions. It was obvious to me that the theatregoers there are more appreciative than here. The standing ovation at the end was long and sincere. The ovation on the opening evening in Cape Town was warm, but not as convincing.
“Of course our black singers and dancers with their sense of rhythm and their resounding, typical African sound, as well as the “exotic” nature of a Show Boat out of Africa contributed to the marketing.
“Nevertheless, it struck me that the Germans, who have a wider choice of live theatre, visiting artists and other forms of entertainment than we have, chose to attend our production of Show Boat and to receive it so warmly.”
Immediately after the return of the majority of the members from Germany, rehearsals started for the Spring symphony season.
Some members of the orchestra who were not required in Germany have been performing since 14 August for Cape Town Opera and the UCT music department’s co-production of Benjamin Britten’s Midsummer Night’s Dream.
During this time some members of the orchestra were also involved in school programmes, and in the next edition of the newsletter we will include a special item on these programmes.
On 28 August Patrick Goodwin (read the separate item below), one of the products of the CPO’s cadet system, makes his debut as soloist with the orchestra as part of the Youth Music Festival.
THE SPRING SEASON
Popular conductor Bernhard Gueller returns to the Cape to conduct the first two concerts of the Spring symphony season in the Cape Town City Hall. The season consists of four Thursday evening concerts, starting on 18 August and ending on 8 September 2005.
In the opening concert Maestro Gueller conducted a programme consisting of Mozart’s Symphony No. 29 in A major, K201, César Franck’s Symphonic Variations for Piano and Orchestra and the Symphony No. 3 in C min, Op. 78 (the “Organ Symphony”) by Saint-Saëns. The soloist for the Symphonic Variations was the young South African pianist James Baillieu, while well-known Cape Town organist Barry Smith joined the orchestra as soloist for the Saint-Saëns symphony.
The South African oboist André van Daalen, a product of the University of Stellenbosch, is the soloist for the second concert, which includes the Oboe Concerto in D maj by Richard Strauss. André has a special link to the CPO since he began his oboe studies under the CPO’s artistic executive Sergei Burdukov.
André has been a student of Hansjörg Schellenberger at the Escuela Superior de MÃºsica Reina Sofia in Madrid, Spain since October 2002. As member of the conservatoire’s orchestra he has played under such conductors as José Luis Garcia, Rudolf Barshai and Sir Colin Davis, and as soloist he has performed in various Spanish cities under Antoni Ros-Marba and Hansjörg Schellenberger.
The last two concerts of the series will feature the South African-born conductor Conrad van Alphen, who now resides in Holland. He will be joined by two Russian soloists: the internationally renowned cellist Alexander Ivashkin and the young pianist Konstantin Soukhovetski, who took 2nd prize at the 10th UNISA International Piano Competition in Pretoria last year and who is now on his first South African tour.
The season includes works by well-loved composers such as Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, Brahms and Schumann. It also features works that are heard less often, such as Prokofiev’s Sinfonia Concertante, Op 125, and a world premiere of the South African composer Peter Klatzow’s “Three Paintings of Irma Stern”.
Managing The Orchestra
The management of a modern symphony orchestra comprises many diverse facets, requiring a wide-ranging knowledge encompassing the orchestra repertoire, all aspects of staff management, transportation and logistics, taxation rules for foreign artists, contracts, labour legislation, disciplinary and grievance procedures and more.
In fact, the list of things you need to know when managing an orchestra is almost endless, says the General Manager of the CPO, Ivan Christian.
What prepared him for this job? Ivan told us he has 27 years experience in the orchestral field in South Africa behind him – both as a performing musician and as an administrator. A career as a professional horn-player with the various orchestras that served the State Theatre, Pretoria, from 1978 to 1991, was followed by a short stint as Senior Music Librarian.
He was appointed as Manager of the Transvaal Philharmonic Orchestra in 1993 and later rose to the position of General Manager of the New Arts Philharmonic Orchestra, a post he held until June 2000 when the members of the orchestra, ballet and opera companies employed by the State Theatre were all retrenched.
Ivan took up his current post with the CPO in December 2000 to help prepare for the start of what was then a new musical venture in Cape Town.
Asked about what makes his challenging job worthwhile, he says:
“There are times when the work prior to a production is very stressful, but when I sit and listen to the final result as the orchestra performs, it all seems worthwhile. Music transcends the human experience and raises us to a higher plane of existence”.
From Cadet to Soloist
The Cape Philharmonic is proud of its cadet system and of the achievements of its participants. One such person is the violinist Patrick Goodwin. Patrick will be performing as soloist with the orchestra for the first time at the end of August.
Born in Windhoek, Namibia, Patrick moved to Cape Town in 1996. His tutors included Artemesio Paganini and Jürgen Schwietering, and since 2002 Farida Bacharova at the SA College of Music.
In 2001 he successfully auditioned for a violin cadetship with the Cape Philharmonic Orchestra and remained a cadet in the orchestra until 2004. He has since worked as an ad hoc player in the orchestra.
Patrick was a also member of the National Youth Orchestra from 2000 to 2001 and in his final year at University became concert master of the UCT Symphony Orchestra and String Ensemble with whom he appeared as a soloist for the Western Cape premiere of Hendrik Hofmeyr’s Concerto for Violin, Flute and Strings in May 2004.
He graduated from UCT in 2004 with distinctions in violin performance and chamber music. Since then he has attended master classes with Christopher Rowland (Royal Northern College of Music), as well as Philippe Graffin and Hu Kun at the Royal Academy of Music, London.
In March 2005, Patrick had the opportunity to play for the internationally renowned Russian violinist and pedagogue, Dr. Ilya Kaler, at DePaul University School of Music, Chicago, and has subsequently been offered a much sought-after place in DePaul’s graduate programme.
“I have been lucky to have had a taste of what a career as an orchestral musician is about, while still studying. Shortly after I started playing as a cadet with the orchestra I began taking lessons with Prof. Bacharova at UCT. It was, I’m sure, the combination of professional training and ethics I picked up with CPO together with inspired teaching and musical nurturing from my teacher that has helped lay the right foundation for my future career as a soloist, chamber and orchestral musician.
“…The orchestra members were always encouraging and supportive, but demanding of a certain standard from the cadets. The atmosphere helped me to get an understanding of professionalism within an orchestra, dealing with different personalities and working together for the sake of something bigger than yourself: the music you are performing.
“I am both excited and nervous about what lies ahead. I’m not scared of hard work though, and I believe that if you give something your all, you’re bound to succeed. It has been a dream of mine to play as a soloist with the Cape Philharmonic since I moved to Cape Town and I’m looking forward to realising this when I play as part of the Youth Festival in late August.
“This is just before I leave for the US and I’m playing a wonderful work, the Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso by Saint-Saëns. It will be great to leave for Chicago, literally, on that high note!”
In our next edition:
The next edition of our newsletter will feature, among others, an interview with the CEO of the Cape Philharmonic, Mr Louis Heyneman, and an item on the Friends of Orchestral Music