Newsletter June 2006

 In Newsletter Archive

Newsletter 15 June 2006

Orchestra News

The 2006 Winter Symphony Season ends on 22 June and the CPO will be absent from the local stage until the Shostakovich Centenary Gala Concert in August (read more below). The reason for this “quiet” period is that the orchestra will be travelling: after being met by standing ovations night after night in Nuremberg last year, Cape Town Opera and the CPO were invited back to Germany for another run of “Show Boat”. Rehearsals for this production start shortly after the end of the Winter Series. The orchestra will depart for Nuremberg on 12 July and return on 31 July.

Thereafter it will be time for the members of the orchestra to take a break: the annual leave will be most welcome after a busy 12-month period ending in the Nuremberg visit.

The rest of the year is filled with a packed schedule of concerts, opera and ballet, culminating in the first Cape Town International Summer Music Festival from 16 November to 7 December.

Booking has opened for the Shostakovich Centenary Gala Concert on 31 August in the City Hall, in which the CPO will be paying tribute to one of the greatest composers of the 20th Century: Dmitri Shostakovich (1906-1975). This special concert will be under the baton of Alexander Lazarev, one of Russia’s foremost conductors and a regular guest conductor of the world’s great orchestras. He is particularly well known as one of today’s leading interpreters of the works of Shostakovich and Prokofiev. The programme will consist of Shostakovich’s Festive Overture, Op. 96, his Piano Concerto No. 2, Op. 102 and his Symphony No. 7, Op. 60 (the “Leningrad”). The soloist will be François du Toit, one of South Africa’s foremost concert pianists and chamber musicians.

We have a winner!

Maria du Toit, the principal clarinettist of the Cape Philharmonic Orchestra, recently returned from Bucharest, Romania, as winner of the clarinet category of the Jeunesses Musicales International music competition where she competed against 40 clarinettists from around the world. The competition is held every year for different instruments and this year the categories were clarinet, piano and composition, with a total of 185 contestants from 45 different countries.

Maria says what she really enjoyed about the competition was “making contact with excellent players, playing and competing on an international level, and of course, the incredible thrill of winning after so much hard work and preparation.”

“We are very proud of Maria’s achievement,” says Louis Heyneman, CEO of the CPO. “The CPO is a strong supporter of our young talent and we have a well-structured development programme in place. It is very rewarding to see how this belief in local musicians is well-founded when someone like Maria walks off with international recognition at such a high level.”

Maria du Toit graduated from Stellenbosch University in 1999 and continued with post-graduate studies in New York, the Netherlands and Bulgaria. Before her success in Romania, she also excelled as first prize winner of a number of major South African music competitions: the ATKV Forte, the UNISA Overseas Music Scholarship Competition, the Mabel Quick Overseas Study Competition and the Huguenot Competition.

She has been the principal clarinet of Cape Philharmonic Orchestra since 2002 and is also a part-time clarinet lecturer at Stellenbosch University. She is married to another member of the CPO, Todor Balkandjiev (principal bassoon) and they have a 1½-year-old son who, according to Maria, already shows signs of a love of music and dancing!

Schools and rehearsals

We have had a number of enquiries from parents asking whether youngsters may attend rehearsals of the CPO. A number of schools do bring whole classes to attend a rehearsal and we generally advise parents to discuss this with the music teachers at their schools. The rehearsals are from 10:00 to 13:00 on the Thursday morning of the concert in the City Hall.

The Friends of Orchestral Music organise attendance and the person to contact is Francisca Louw at (021) 461 8312 or 082 447 0570.

In brief:

· Our new brochure detailing the complete concert calendar until the end of the year is now available. If you do not have a copy yet, then pick one up at the next concert or at


· Booking for the first Cape Town International Summer Music Festival is open. Book early to reserve good seats for this major event.

In our next edition …

…we will report back on our fundraising event – the Johnnie Walker Gold Label Ovarions evening at the ArabellaSheraton Grand Hotel on 16 June. We will also talk to Sergei Burdukov, the Artistic Executive of the CPO.

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