Newsletter December 2005

 In Newsletter Archive

Newsletter 22 December 2005

New CPO Chairman wants to “take the good work to greater heights”

The Cape Philharmonic Orchestra is proud to announce the appointment of Dr Wilmot James as its new Chairman.

Dr James is Executive Director of the Africa Genome Education Institute and Honorary Professor in the Division of Genetics, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town. He is also Chairman of the Immigration Advisory Board of South Africa, a Trustee of the Ford Foundation of New York, the Impumelelo Innovations Awards Programme and the US-SA Centre for Leadership and Public Values. He is a non-executive director of Sanlam Limited and Media24.

He says of his appointment, “I am delighted and honoured to have been asked. I am a lover of music and an amateur pianist and therefore the request to serve came as a special surprise.”

Asked about his vision for the future of Cape Town’s only professional symphony orchestra, Dr James paid tribute to his predecessor, Mr Ton Vosloo, Chairman of Naspers, who guided the CPO through its early years.

He said: “I would like to take the good work already done to greater heights and ensure that the people of Cape Town are exposed more fully to the quality of music that the CPO offers.

“I would especially like to see that the good work on developing the Cape Philharmonic Youth Orchestra intensify, while looking into ways in which we can reach larger and more diverse audiences. And, of course, there is always the issue of financial sustainability.”

Dr James holds a PhD in Sociology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison (1982) and is the author or editor of 13 books, the most recent being South Africa’s Nobel Laureates (with Kader Asmal & David Chidester eds.), What Holds us Together: Social Cohesion in South Africa (with David Chidester & Philip Dexter eds.) and Nelson Mandela: From Freedom to the Future (with Kader Asmal & David Chidester, eds.).

He was formerly Executive Director of the Human Sciences Research Council, a Dean of Humanities of the University of Cape Town, Executive Director of the Institute for Democracy of South Africa (IDASA) and Professor of Sociology at the University of Cape Town. He has held visiting positions at Yale University, Indiana University, American Bar Foundation and, as an Associate Editor, the Cape Argus. He most recently was Moore Distinguished Visiting Professor of History and Sociology at California Institute of Technology.

Three More New Board Members

The Orchestra is also delighted that the following three people have accepted appointments to the CPO Board:
Taweni Xaba, Managing Director of Africa Book Connection, a non-profit organisation that sources textbooks, academic journals and industry publications for needy university students. Ms Xaba is well known in advertising and publishing circles: she has worked on campaigns for many leading companies and has been published in many of South Africa’s leading magazines. Among her many achievements was her appointment in 2002 as editor of the first (and still only) international edition of the widely successful O, The Oprah Magazine. In 2003, O won the Mondi Award for Best Magazine Feature and the Marketing Mix Award for Best Women’s Magazine Content. Taweni Xaba is also a sought-after public speaker.
Rhoda Kadalie, Executive Director of the Impumelelo Innovations Awards Programme that rewards excellence in the public sector. From 1976-1995 she was an academic and became founder of the Gender Equity Unit at the University of the Western Cape. She has travelled extensively internationally, presenting lectures and papers on human rights and gender politics in South Africa. In 1999 she was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in the Liberal Arts from the University of Uppsala, Sweden, and in 2003 South African Women for Women presented Rhoda with their Human Rights Award in recognition of her tireless struggle for human rights and gender equality. In addition to her other activities, she is also a regular columnist for The Business Day.
Solomon Makosana, Chief Executive Officer of The Amy Biehl Foundation Trust. Mr Makosana is also a Board Member of the Primary Science Programme, the Extra-Mural Education Programme and Cricket South Africa. This respected educator and community leader was the founder of The Black Principal’s Forum and served as convenor of Education Communication for the Democratic Teachers’ Union & Peninsula African Teachers’ Association. He is the co-author of two books: The Songbird and The Calabash.

Orchestra News

December started with the orchestra playing at the AIDS benefit concert on 1 December, followed by Cape Town Opera’s production of Gianni Schicchi and Cavalleria Rusticana. On 15 December Russian superstar Olga Kern made a triumphant return to Cape Town when she played the Grieg piano concerto and Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. 1 on one evening. The CPO was conducted on that occasion by Ms Kern’s brother, Vladimir and the reception by the packed audience was tumultuous.

The Orchestra changed into a lighter mood for its two productions for the Festive Season – Big Band Swing II and Bring on Broadway. There are still some seats available for Bring on Broadway, which runs from 29 December until 8 January and features a sparkling cast of Kate Normington, Genevieve Benny, Duncan Royce and Timothy Moloi under conductor-arranger Michael Hankinson.

January 2006 will see the orchestra still very busy with a variety of engagements. After Bring on Broadway follows an appearance as part of the Suidoosterfees (Artscape Opera, 15 January) and then the first symphony concert of the year to start the Second Summer Symphony Series of the season (19 January, City Hall). Works will include the Dvor?k’s Carnival Overture, Bruch’s Scottish Fantasy with the celebrated young Dutch violinist Simone Lamsma and Rachmaninov’s Symphony No. 2.

January will end on a very high note, with 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. Tickets will be at a premium, so Mozart lovers are advised to book early. The exciting programme for this Gala includes 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).

February will see the continuation of the Second Summer Symphony Series (2 & 9 February), followed by a Sunset Concert at Kirstenbosch, featuring light Austrian music. 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).

The next symphony season follows soon afterwards in March (16, 23 & 30 March and 6 April in the City Hall). In March there will also be two performances of an orchestra extravaganza, Starlight Classics at Vergelegen (25 & 26 March).

Another orchestra extravaganza will follow in April, when the popular Last Night of the Proms can be heard in the City Hall (1 & 2 April). During April the CPO will perform during the long-awaited visit of the St Petersburg Ballet and their production of Swan Lake. More ballet follows in May (Sleeping Beauty 6-16 May, Artscape Opera), preceded by Cape Town Opera’s production of La Bohème (20-31 May, Artscape Opera).
We look forward to a rich musical experience in 2006 and wish all our readers all the best for the Festive Season

In our next edition ….

…we will continue to provide you with the latest news about the CPO and will start with a series of short profiles on members of the orchestra

Please send your comments and suggestions about the newsletter to Lia Labuschagne at Your feedback is important to us.

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