Newsletter May 2007
Arwel Owain Hughes appointed principal guest conductor
The celebrated British conductor Owain Arwel Hughes has accepted an appointment as principal guest conductor of the CPO.
During the past two years, Maestro Hughes has conducted the CPO on a number of occasions and he played an important part in the success of the first Cape Town International Summer Music Festival last year. He also conducts the CPO on the just-released world première recording of Alfred Schnittke’s Symphony No. 0 and his oratorio Nagasaki (read more below).
Maestro Hughes will return to Cape Town for the second International Summer Music Festival, taking place from 14 November to 9 December this year. He will also conduct concerts during the CPO’s 2008 Summer Symphony Season.
Johan Botha Gala Concert: 3 July
Internationally acclaimed South African-born Kammersänger, Johan Botha will take time off his hectic European and American opera and concert schedule to present a once-in-a-lifetime opera gala concert on 3 July. Rustenburg-born Both
a, who left South Africa in the early Nineties to pursue an extraordinarily successful singing career in Europe, will take his first bow on a Cape Town stage when he appears with Cape Town Opera and the CPO at the Artscape Opera House.
Botha, whose performance and recording diary is fully booked for years to come, is one of only a handful of South African singers who can boast a grand slam in opera, having performed at the Royal Opera House in London, the Metropolitan Opera in New York, the Vienna State Opera and La Scala in Milan. He will share centre stage with Cape Town soprano Zanne Stapelberg, several top Cape Town voices and the Cape Town Opera Voice of the Nation Chorus in the glamorous concert under the direction of maestro Victor Yampolsky. The concert will showcase arias and choruses from operas by Puccini, Verdi, Leoncavallo and Wagner. Book now at Computicket orArtscape Dial-a-Seat (021) 421 7695.
Important world première recording now available on CD
A world première recording of two works by Alfred Schnittke – the most important Russian composer since Shostakovich – is a major event on the international classical music scene. Just such a recording was made right here in Cape Town during December 2006 – immediately after the world première performance of Schnittke’s Oratorio Nagasaki during the CPO’s First International Summer Music Festival – and is now available in limited quantities directly from the orchestra.
The composer’s Symphony No. 0, together with Nagasaki, were recorded by special permission of Schnittke’s widow, Irina, for the prestigious Swedish record company BIS under conductor Owain Arwel Hughes. Mezzo-soprano Hanneli Rupert and the Cape Town Opera Voice of the Nation Chorus perform with the CPO for the recording of Nagasaki.
The CD goes on sale through music stores later this year, but copies are already available from the CPO by phoning the orchestra office at 021 410 9809.
Winter series just around the corner
The Winter Symphony Season starts on 7 June in the City Hall and includes many major works such asBeethoven’s Violin Concerto and Symphony No. 7, Mahler’s Symphony No. 5, Brahms’ Variations on a Theme of Joseph Haydn, Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 5, Dvořák’s Symphony No 8, Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 2 and Schumann’s Konzertstück, Opus 92.
The conductor for the series of four concerts will be the Russian-born Victor Yampolsky, who is well-known to Cape audiences. Unfortunately, Leon Botstein who was to have conducted the second concert in the series, had to cancel his visit to South Africa.
The soloists for the series are:
– Violinist Min-Jin Kym, who made her international debut at the age of 13 with the Berlin Symphony Orchestra. At age 15, she became the youngest student ever to be awarded a Foundation Scholarship at the Royal College of Music. She will play Beethoven’s Violin concerto in D major, Op. 61,during the first concert on 7 June. The rest of the programme consists of Purcell-Britten’s Chacony for strings Z. 730, andTchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 2 in C minor, Op. 17.
– Ingrid Jacoby (piano), first prize winner of the Concert Artists’ Guild Award, who made her New York debut at Carnegie Hall to critical acclaim. Her many prizes include the Baldwin National Piano Competition and the Steinway Hall Piano Competition. She will play Mozart’s Piano concerto No. 14 E-flat major, K 449, during the second concert on 14 June. The programme also includes Brahms’ Variations on a Theme of Joseph Haydn, Op. 56a (also known as the St Anthony Variations), and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7 in A major, Op. 92.
– Jory Vinikour (harpsichord) is recognized as one of the outstanding harpsichordists of his generation. A highly diversified career brings him to the world’s most important festivals and concert halls as recital and concerto soloist. He is the soloist in the concert of 21 June and the programme includes J. S. Bach’sBrandenburg concerto No. 5 in D major BWV 1050, Poulenc’s “Concerto champetre” and Dvorak’sSymphony No. 8 in G minor, Op.88.
– Tessa Uys, one of South Africa’s most distinguished concert pianists, comes from an exceptionally musical and theatrical Cape Town family. Based in London, she records extensively for BBC Radio 3 and her wide repertoire ranges from Scarlatti and Bach to Chopin, Brahms and Rachmaninov. She has released CDs of music by Schumann to great critical acclaim. She plays Schumann’s“Konzertstück” Op. 92 during the last concert of the Winter Series on 28 June. The programme also includes Elgar’s “Sospiri”, and Mahler’sSymphony No. 5 in C-sharp minor.
Second Winter Symphony Series preview
The second Winter Symphony Series starts on 9 August and will consist of four concerts, ending with a special Jack de Wet Gala Concert on 30 August. Prof De Wet is the violin pedagogue who made the biggest and most profound impact on young violinists and violin teaching in South Africa and during the concert some of his past students (Pieter Schoeman, Avigail Bushakovitz, Sarita Uranovsky, Michael Duffett, Xandi van Dijk, Manu Berkeljon, Anouk and Vincente Espi) will perform as soloists.
The conductors for this series are Pieter Daniel and Arjan Tien, while the soloists for the first three concerts are award-winning Maria du Toit (clarinet), playing Weber’s Clarinet Concerto No. 1, the much-acclaimed American pianist Gustavo Romero playing Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 2 as part of an all-Beethoven programme (also see the item below) and the virtuoso violinist Matthew Trusler playing Lalo’s Symphonie Espagnole, Op. 21.Details about this series are already available on our website and booking will open during June.
Gustavo Romero Beethoven recitals: diarise these dates!
The soloist for our 16 August Symphony concert, Gustavo Romero, will also launch a three year cycle of all the Beethoven sonatas in seven recitals in Palm Springs, Johannesburg, and Cape Town during 2007. The first of these recitals in Cape Town, will take place at 16:00 at the Centre of the Book on Sundays 5 and 19 August. More details will be made available later, but diarise these dates in the meanwhile.
The Second Cape Town International Summer Music Festival takes place from 14 November until 9 December this year. Our next edition will provide more detailed information about the festival, for which bookings will open in July.
-Double bass player Zoltan Kovats – one of the most familiar faces playing in the orchestra – is retiring after a lifetime as a professional orchestral musician. Zoltan was born in Beregowo (in the present Ukraine) and brought up in Budapest, Hungary, where he studied double bass from the age of 15. He came to South Africa in 1965 when Professor Leo Quayle appointed him as principal
bass in the then newly formed PACT Orchestra, Pretoria. In 1971 he moved to Cape Town as principal bass for the then municipal orchestra, the CTSO (Cape Town Symphony Orchestra). He has been a member of the CPO since its inception in 2001.
During his long career, Zoltan played under the direction of such well-known conductors as Dmitri Shostakovich, Igor Stravinsky, Pablo Casals, Zubin Mehta, Carlo-Maria Guilini, Lorin Maazel, Benjamin Britten, Sir John Barbirolli, Yehudi Menuhin, Otto Klemperer, Charles du Toit and Sir Georg Solti. Indeed, in 1995 Sir Georg Solti invited Zoltan to represent South Africa in the World Orchestra for Peace in Geneva to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the United Nations. This unique orchestra, which consists only of principal orchestra players, was assembled again in 1998 at Baden-Baden, 2000 (London), 2003 (St Petersburg / Moscow), 2005 (London, Berlin, Moscow and Beijing).
Despite his retirement from the CPO, Zoltan will once more represent South Africa in the World Orchestra for Peace during its commemorative concert tour in September this year – 10 years after Sir Georg Solti’s death.
– Maria du Toit (principal clarinet) and Todor Balkandjiev (principal bassoon) have become the proud parents of a daughter, Sofia. Our congratulations go to this talented couple, who already have a two-year old son.
– Oleg Alexeev, recently appointed as permanent violist in the Cape Philharmonic Orchestra, died in a microlight accident in April. Mr Alexeev was the husband of Farida Bacharova, regular guest concert master of the orchestra. Our deepest sympathies go to Farida and their children.
In our next edition
… details about the Second Cape Town International Summer Music Festival and other events.