Newsletter October & November 2010

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Newsletter 28 October 2010

Spring Symphony Season upon us

The coming of Spring also means the Spring Symphony Season starts soon – on Thursday 28 October in the City Hall.
The season consists of six concerts including a repeat concert led by two of the orchestra’s regular guest conductors: Principal Guest Conductor Owain Arwel Hughes (28 October, 4, 11 & 18 November) and Arjan Tien (25 November & 2 December). The concert on 3 December is the Annual Huberte Rupert Memorial Concert which is held in honour of the late Mrs Huberte Rupert, who was the patron of music and the arts in South Africa. This concert takes place at the Endler Hall in Stellenbosch and is the repeat of the concert programme that takes place on 2 Dec.

The line-up of soloists is as follows:
· French cellist Yan Levionnois performing Dutilleux’s “Tout un monde lointain” for Cello and Orchestra,
· the young Italian pianist Mariangela Vacatello performing Beethoven’s 4th Piano Concerto,
· the prize-winning young German violinist Alexander Gilman performing Barber’s Violin Concert,
· saxophonist Ashu with Glazunov’s Concerto for Saxophone as well as Two Tangos for Soprano Saxophone by Piazzolla,
· Stellenbosch-based pianist Luis Magalhães performing Rachmaninov’s Fourth Piano Concerto and
· the prize-winning violinist Avigail Bushakevitz who performs Mendelssohn’s popular Violin Concerto.
The major works on the programmes for the season also include Sibelius’ first symphony, Brahms’ First and Fourth Symphonies, Bruckner’s Symphony No. 3 (the Wagner-Symphonie), Elgar’s First

Symphony and Prokofiev’s Fifth Symphony.

Book at Computicket or Artscape Dial-a-Seat at 021 421 7695. More details about the concerts can be found at


From left to right: Cellist Yan Levionnois; Pianist Mariangela Vacatello; Violinist Avigail Bushakevitz; Pianist Luis Magalhaes; Saxophonist Ashu; Principal Guest Conductor Owain Arwel Hughes; Conductor Arjan Tien

CPO in Mauritius

The orchestra recently participated in five performances of the opera Carmen by Georges Bizet at the brand new 2000-seater auditorium the Grace Foundation in Mauritius. Martin Wettges conducted and the main roles were sung by international guest singers, while the choir and children’s choir were local. Attendance figures totalled almost 10 000.

The CPO’s participation in the Opera Mauritius Festival 2010 followed the successful production of Bizet’s Pearl Fishers at last year’s festival. The orchestra also gave a symphony concert with Paula Fourie and Patrick Goodwin as soloists, who made their debut together in Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante. The other works were Wagner’s Overture to The Flying Dutchman and Beethoven’s 5th Symphony.
The orchestra gave two special schools concerts conducted by Brandon Phillips (right) in the town of Le Richelieu, Mauritius.


In addition, the orchestra gave two special schools concerts (conducted by Brandon Phillips) in the town of Le Richelieu and master classes with local musicians. The narrative The Musicians of Bremen by Péter Louis van Djik was specially translated into French for these schools concerts.
It is expected that after these successful performances, a third visit to Mauritius will follow in 2011.

Brandon going places


The young conductor Brandon Phillips made his official debut with the CPO on 2 October at the gala concert at the Klein Karoo Klassique in Oudtshoorn. This engagement is pat of his prize as a winner of the first Len van Zyl Conductors’ competition earlier this year.

At the age of 30, Phillips is one of the youngest conductors in South Africa. During the past 5 years, this multi-talented musician who is also the principal bassoonist of the CPO, has participated in conducting master classes with the well-known conductor and teacher, Prof. Victor Yampolsky. As part of the Len van Zyl Conductors’ prize, Phillips was invited to join Maestro Maestro Yampolsky’s senior conducting class at Northwestern University, Chicago, for further studies.
Phillips started making music at the age of 12. His first instrument was the trumpet, but later he also started playing the flute and viola.Other members of the Phillips family were members of the New Apostolic Church Orchestra in Athlone, and when the orchestra urgently needed a bassoonist, Brandon decided to take up another instrument. The bassoon soon became his favourite instrument and he made such rapid progress that he was appointed as full-time bassoonist with the CPO soon after completing his studies at the University of Cape Town – thus becoming the first person of colour to be appointed in such a position.
Brandon Phillip says that Victor Yampolsky is the ideal teacher. His minimalist technique, where every nuanced movement has meaning, is based on an international body language. This means that musicians immediately know what the conductor requires without needing verbal explanations.
However, Phillips also points out that a conductor’s most important work happens long before he stands before the orchestra for the first rehearsal: he has to study the score in detail, so that he understands the music and can clearly indicate every difficult entry to the sections of the orchestra.
He admits that it is not easy to appear on the podium in front of his colleagues at the CPO. However, he praises them for immediately accepting him and supporting him to achieve the best results.

Education, Development and Outreach news

CPYO at the Hugo Lambrechts Music Centre
The Cape Philharmonic Youth Orchestra was invited to perform at the Hugo Lambrechts Music Centre Strings Concert on 16 September – a very proud moment, especially for CPYO members who received tuition at the centre and who are now university students. This was the CPYO’s first performance at the venue, but since Leonore Ehlers, Head of Strings at the Centre, hopes to make this an annual event, further performances are possible in the future.

Spring Showcase Concerts

The CPYO and CPYWE Spring Showcases took place on 18 and 19 September at St. Mary’s Church, Woodstock and the Cape Peninsula University of Technology Hall, Bellville Campus, respectively. The next showcase concert will take place on 27 November 2010 in St George’s Cathedral at 7pm.
16th Yamaha International Music Festival
Henriette Weber has been invited to attend the 16th Yamaha International Music Festival in Manizales, Colombia from 3-6 November 2010, where she will make a presentation on the Wind Band movement in South Africa, with special reference to the CPYWE, the CPO Outreach and Education programme and the CPO.

International Honour

Herbert Glöckner, President of the Richard Wagner Society of South Africa, has been presented with the Golden W, the International Association of Wagner Societies’ most prestigious award.

The presentation took play in Bayreuth during the annual Wagner Festival, and was made by the president, Prof. Eva Märtson and the vice president Prof. Dr. Hans Michael Schneider.

The medal honours outstanding work in increasing awareness and deepening the understanding of Wagner’s music and classical music in general, as well as in assisting and promoting young artists.
For Glöckner, this reinforces one of the main aims of the South African Richard Wagner Society, which was formed in 1986, namely to further the careers of gifted singers.“We are thrilled that the work done here at the tip of Africa, the only society in Africa in fact, in fostering young singers in recital and opera, has been recognized,” he says.
He says in January 2011 it will be the third year that the society will present some of South Africa’s most talented young singers in an opera – in this case the gripping and gothic Wagner masterpiece, The Flying Dutchman. It will be sung at the Artscape Opera on January 27 and 29. The cast comprises six young singers, including Nkosazana Dimande, who is being brought back from Sweden where she is studying, for the demanding role of Senta. Kamal Khan will conduct the CPO.
Glöckner says that a great number of members of the other Wagner Societies around the world are coming to South Africa to attend the opera, which has not been heard in Cape Town for more than 20 years and which will form part of the 2011 Suidooster Festival.
More information about the society:

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