Newsletter January & February 2006

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Newsletter 19 January 2006

Pre-Concert Talks With Rodney Trudgeon

From 27 January, the symphony concerts of the Cape Philharmonic Orchestra will be preceded by informative talks, open to all concertgoers at the City Hall.

These talks will be presented by Rodney Trudgeon, a name synonymous with classical music broadcasting in South Africa. In a radio career spanning some 25 years, Rodney Trudgeon has sought to make classical music more accessible and more entertaining to the diverse cultures that make up South Africa’s population. Before relocating to Cape Town recently, he was responsible for the very popular pre-concert talks in Johannesburg.

The 30-minute talks will be held in the Abe Bloomberg Parlour at the City Hall and will begin at 19H15.

They will “take the form of an informal, informative and entertaining lecture on the works being played. I will take the audience through each work, pointing out its orchestration, style and briefly illustrating the principal themes. The lectures are not aimed at academics, but designed for music lovers who would enjoy musical signposts to enhance their concert listening experience,” says Rodney.

The first talk, on Friday 27 January will coincide with the Gala concert to celebrate the 250th anniversary of Mozart’s birth in Salzburg. Thereafter the talks will be held before the regular Thursday evening concerts.

As the voice of the SABC’s weekly live broadcasts of symphony concerts in Johannesburg, Rodney Trudgeon interviewed international artists of the calibre of Joshua Bell, Nigel Kennedy, Yehudi Menuhin, Bernard Haitink, Sir John Eliot Gardiner, Dame Kiri Te Kanewa, Julian Lloyd-Webber and John Rutter as well as most of the major artists in South Africa. As one of Classic FM’s most popular daily presenters, Rodney continued to share his knowledge and passion for music with a diverse audience and in December 2005, he took over as breakfast show host on Cape Town’s Fine Music Radio 101.3.

Mr Trudgeon, who will also get involved with development programmes of the orchestra, says, “I am really looking forward to getting to know and to interact with the music-lovers in Cape Town through the pre-concert talks.”

Orchestra News

After the diverse concerts in December, which included the AIDS Day concert, the Olga Kern Gala, Big Band Swing and Bring on Broadway, the first Symphony Season of 2006 is now the main course on the menu until the middle of February.

And what an eventful season this is to start the year!

The renowned British conductor Owain Arwel Hughes, who is making his South African debut, will be on the podium throughout the series. Currently the Principal Associate Conductor of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Maestro Hughes was formerly an associate conductor of the BBC National Orchestra of Wales and the Philharmonia Orchestra in London. He is also at present Artistic Director of the Welsh Proms and Music Director of the National Youth Orchestra of Wales, and, having forged strong links with Scandanavia, is a guest conductor of orchestras in Finland, Denmark, Norway and Sweden.

The recipient of doctorates and Fellowships from seven British universities and music schools, Owain Arwel Hughes is also well known throughout Britain as the presenter of the BBC-TV series ‘The Much-Loved Music Show’ and the series ‘Music for the Masses’. He was awarded the O.B.E. in 2004 for his services to music in Britain.

Mozart Gala – and more

The first concert series is full of highlights – but doubtlessly the signature event of the season is the Mozart 250th Birthday Gala (two performances in the City Hall on 26 & 27 January and another in the NAC Auditorium on 29 January). The 27 January concert will mark the 250th anniversary of Mozart’s birth to the day. The programme for this Gala includes some of Mozart’s most beloved works: the Overture to the Marriage of Figaro, the Ave Verum Corpus (K618), the aria Vorrei spiegarvi oh dio (K418), the Piano Concerto No. 21 (K467), the Violin Concerto No. 5 (K219) and the Symphony No. 40 (K550). The soloists are Simone Lamsma (violin – also the soloist for first concert of the series), Jan Gottlieb Jiracek (piano – also the soloist for the third concert), and local soprano Beverley Chiat. The popular local St George’s Singers will complete the line-up.

The third concert of the series takes place on 2 February and will feature the German pianist Jan Gottlieb Jiracek, who has been described by BBC Music Magazine as “one of the leading pianists of his generation”. The 27-year old Jiracek won the top prize at both the 1996 Busoni Competition and the 1996 Maria Canals Competition. He will be playing Mendelssohn’s Piano Concerto No. 2 in D minor, Op. 40. The rest of the programme includes Beethoven’s “Egmont” Overture, Barber’s Adagio for Strings, Walton’s Johannesburg Festival Overture and Elgar’s Enigma Variations.

The last concert in the series takes place on 9 February and will again be a highlight event, with a performance of Haydn’s majestic “The Creation” as the only work. Featured with the orchestra are local singers Zanne Stapelberg (Soprano), Mlamli Lalapantsi (Tenor), Xolela Sixaba ( Baritone) and the New Apostolic Church Choir.

On 12 February the CPO presents a Sunset Concert at Kirstenbosch, featuring light classical music from Austria. The month will end with the orchestra performing in Cape Opera’s production of Dvor?k’s Rusalka (25 & 28 February, 2 & 4 March in the Baxter Theatre).

Peter Martens, principal cello, has been with the CPO since its inception. He is a born Capetonian who started his studies in Cape Town but who also served a 2-month stint at the World Youth Orchestra in the USA and then studied in the birthplace of Mozart, namely Salzburg, Austria, for 3 years from 1991-1993. He was born into a musical family, he says and what he likes most about being a professional musician is “the variety, working with many different fine musicians, and being able to express myself through my favourite medium”. He was at first attracted to the cello because his father played it. In addition to music, he enjoys the outdoor life, especially swimming in the sea, walking in the mountains and cycling. He also enjoys teaching and coaching young musicians.

In our next edition ….

…we will continue to provide you with the latest news about the CPO and preview the second symphony season of 2006. We will also continue our series of short profiles on members of the orchestra.

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