Newsletter September/October 2006

 In Newsletter Archive

Newsletter 15 September 2006

Sad loss of Board member

We were saddened by the news of the passing of Mr Solomon Makosana during August. Solly, as he was affectionately known, was a well-known educator and was also involved in many sport, cultural and community arenas. At the time of his death, he was the CEO of the Amy Biehl Trust, President of Western Province Cricket and a member of the Board of Directors of the CPO.
“Solly was that rare breed of educator with a wide range of interests in sport and cultural affairs. Losing a man with a vision like Solly’s is indeed a great loss to the arts world in the Western Cape and especially to us at the CPO where his wisdom and support always meant a lot to his fellow board members,” says Louis Heyneman, CEO of the CPO.


August ended with the long-awaited Shostakovich Centenary Gala under world-famous Maestro Alexander Lazarev. The sold-out concert consisting entirely of works by Shostakovich included a breathtaking performance of the epic Seventh Symphony (the Leningrad) and a stirring rendition by soloist François du Toit (piano) of the Second Piano Concerto. The standing ovations were well deserved and this concert will be remembered for a long time. (One of the pictures accompanying this newsletter was taken during this concert.)
Early in September, the orchestra’s engagements started with an all-Mozart concert in Oudtshoorn with Peter Valentovičconducting and local pianist John Theodore as soloist. This was followed by the Youth Music Festival on 9 September, with George Michie conducting and 13 young soloists showcasing their talent.
The orchestra is currently in rehearsal for Cape Town Opera’s production of George Gershwin’s popular opera Porgy & Bess taking place at Artscape from 21 to 30 September.
On Friday 29 September the Desmond Tutu 75th Birthday Gala Concert in St George’s Cathedral with Barry Smith as conductor takes place. The CPO will perform with Cape Town Opera’s Vocal Ensemble and the St George’s Singers and the programme consists of the Overture to Marriage ofFigaro (Mozart), Jesu, joy of man’s desiring (J. S. Bach), theEaster Hymn from Cavalleria Rusticana (Mascagni) and the Symphony No 5 in B flat major by Schubert. The popular Evita Bezuidenhoutwill make a guest appearance during the concert.
During October the orchestra will be primarily engaged in performances with Cape Town City Ballet (CTCB). Six performances of Ballets Nouveaux, a programme of new works by local and international choreographers, as well as guest artists from The Cuban National Ballet, take place between 7 and 15 October. This will be followed by a season of Giselle from 24 October to 2 November, staged and produced by CTCB’s Executive Director, Elizabeth Triegaardt and featuring the popular partnerships of Tracy Li with Daniel Rajna and Marianne Bauer with real-life husband Coert Grobbelaar in the leading roles.

Extra concert for Cape Town International Summer Music Festival

A concert has been added to the schedule of the Cape Town International Summer Music Festival Programme. The all-Mozart concert taking place on 1 December in the City Hall, which includes the seldom-performed Concert for Orchestra and Three Pianos, will be repeated in the Endler Hall in Stellenbosch on 2 December. The only difference in the programme is that the “Exsultate, jubilate’, K. 165 will not be performed on 2 December. The conductor is Vladimir Kern and the soloists are François du Toit, Albie van Schalkwyk & Wessel van Wyk (pianos). This concert is held as a tribute to the memory of Mrs Huberte Rupert, a long-time valued supporter of the arts in general and the CPO in particular.
“Music is my life” – Sergei Burdukov
We recently spoke to Sergei Burdukov. Artistic Executive of the CPO, about his career and also about planning the first Cape Town International Summer Music Festival. We publish the story in two parts, and will concentrate on Sergei’s thoughts about the festival in our next newsletter.

Sergei says he was not born into a musical family – in fact, both his parents were engineers in Leningrad (known today again as St Petersburg). He entered the district music school in Leningrad at age 12 and immediately took up the oboe – the instrument he still plays as Principal Oboe of the CPO. Four years of college at the Leningrad Conservatoire of Music, were followed by five years of study at the Russian Music Academy. During his last year of study, he also joined the Leningrad Chamber Orchestra and later the Radio Symphony Orchestra as Principal Oboe. His future wife, Olga, was a fellow student at the Academy and they married when Sergei was only 21 years old. After a year-long stint in the Soviet army, Sergei joined the Bolshoi in 1978 as Principal Oboe and also became one of the administrative directors at the Bolshoi. He held these positions until he and Olga decided to come to South Africa in 1991.
“Olga had given up playing professionally for a number of years to raise our two children, Polina and Lisa. Despite the fact that I made a reasonable income at the Bolshoi, economic conditions were simply too tough and we wanted a better life for our family.”
How did he come to be involved with the CPO? His first job in South Africa was at the former National Orchestra of the SABC and he later played in what was then known as the PACT orchestra for 18 months in Gauteng. The family moved to Cape Town in 1993 when both Sergei and Olga accepted appointments into the old Capab Orchestra. They both joined the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra, and when the CPO was formed, they were appointed as Principal Oboe and Sub Principal Oboe, with Sergei taking on the additional role as Artistic Executive.
Sergei says music has been his life. Today he is very proud to be a South African citizen, but he adds that the world of musicians is one of almost a “separate nationality of musicians. Musicians all over the world understand one another and think differently from other people, irrespective of their nationality.”
Both Sergei and Olga have taught many students throughout the years. He says he would be very happy if “one of my students were to replace me when the day comes that I stop playing in the orchestra.”
As Artistic Executive his main duties include planning the concert programmes and the overall year plan in collaboration with the CEO, Louis Heyneman. “Teamwork makes it much more viable and successful.”
Sergei also invites all the soloists and conductors and deals with all the resulting negotiations. He reminds us that the schedule includes fitting in the CPO’s own concert series, as well as opera and ballet seasons, gala concerts, corporate functions and lighter music concerts and events at venues such as Kirstenbosch, Spier and Oude Libertas. The list of engagements also includes invitations to play at more distant venues, such as in Oudtshoorn earlier this month and the overseas visits to Germany and France during 2005 and 2006.
“You can imagine that the logistics alone are a major task.” Sergei adds that an artistic executive needs to know a lot of things about many issues relating to the music world, both nationally and internationally. You also need to be well organised from an administrative point of view and keep good records.
“Today it is also important to have a knowledge of business and management, and a business course that I took some time ago has been very valuable.”
Lastly, what does he enjoy most about his duties as artistic executive? “Making new contacts,” he answers immediately. “Although the negotiations are often tough, all these people become my friends.”

Youth Orchestra news

Henriette Weber has been appointed as Outreach and Education Manager from 1 August. This position evolved out of her responsibilities as the CPO’s Outreach and Development Co-ordinator.
Heinrich Arrison has been offered an internship by Artscape. He will be mentored by Henriette Weber and will be part of the CPO Outreach and Education programme until February 2007.
The Outreach and Education programme is starting a Junior String Orchestra. Young string players from Grade 1-3 will be invited to join this junior ensemble. As these members develop, opportunities could open for them to join the CPYO.

In short…

On Sunday 8 October the Friends of Orchestral Music (FOM) present a Salon Soirée at Old Mutual House in Constantia/Bishops Court. Time: 18h00 for a glass of wine or sherry and a light finger supper followed by the concert at 18h30. It consists of words and music by Ivor Novello, Noël Coward, Sir Arthur Sullivan, J. Milton Hayes and George R Sims. Artists include actor Michael Atkinson, soprano Aviva Pelham, mezzo soprano Evelyn Dalberg, as well as Magdelene Minnaar (soprano/viola), Wallace Botha (tenor), Lisa Garson (piano), Gabriele von Dürckheim (flute) and Esté Visser (violin/piano). Price: R150 per person. Contact the FOM secretary, Francisca Louw at 021 461 8312, 082 447 0570 or
The Sanlam National Music Competition for primary school learners takes place from 18 to 22 September 2006 at the Auditorium of the Hugo Lambrechts Music Centre in Parow. The competition is in its 18th year and is presented by the South African Society for Music Teachers. This year 61 young musicians will participate. No booking is required and entrance is free, except for the final night, when a modest donation to the Competition Bursary Fund will be charged. Enquiries: Leon Hartshorne 021 939 9105 (10:00 – 17:00 on schooldays).

In our next edition…

… we will continue the interview with Sergei Burdukov and will report on other news, including the latest about the Cape Town International Summer Music Festival.

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