October 09, Newsletter 2018

 In Newsletter Archive
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Full Newsletter: Spring Symphony season/Masidlale and more

09 October, 2018 Newsletter

Sally is a UCT graduate under the tutelage of Bridget Rennie-Salonen, then a MA with merit graduate from the Royal Academy of Music in London where she studied with Paul Edmund-Davies. While at UCT, Sally won several scholarships and prizes, including the class medal for three consecutive years. She has performed as a soloist with all the major orchestras in South Africa and won the FMR Award in 2011. As the runner-up in the prestigious SAMRO Overseas Scholarship Competition in 2016, Sally was able to attend a flute summer school in Italy under Hansgeorg Schmeiser in 2018 and had lessons in London with Michael Cox. Despite being young, she brings a wealth of experience with her. She has played as an hoc musician with the CPO and also in the Cape Town Festival Orchestra, the Eastern Cape Philharmonic and the Free State Symphony Orchestra. While in the UK, she performed with the Royal Academy orchestra under the baton of conductors such as Marin Alsop and Semyon Bychkov. Sally regularly performs around Cape Town with various chamber music ensembles, including Avanti, her duo with pianist Coila-Leah Enderstein. Focused on engaging with audiences in intimate venues and new performance spaces, the duo presents captivating programmes and commissions new works. The duo released its debut album “Avanti Live in Concert” in 2018, available online at https://itunes.apple.com/za/album/avanti-live-in-concert/1412234055 or as a CD from its website www.avantiduo.com.
Stewart was a great friend and mentor to me for many years, writes Peter Martens. When my parents were selecting a high school for me to go to, they chose Bergvliet High School because the then head of the Music Department was Stewart Young, a reputable piano teacher, but also notable Beethoven scholar and vibrant departmental head. This meant that the Music Department at Bergvliet High not only had good piano students, but a school orchestra with some excellent orchestral instrument students and a very good choir. I remember one year in the 1980s where the chamber choir toured abroad and no less than five Bergvliet High students got into the National Youth Orchestra. At one of my earliest piano lessons, Stewart objected to my calling him Dr Young. After that, then I called him Stewart in my lessons and we became friends. I was not particularly talented at the piano despite having a good teacher at the time. My first instrument was cello and I just loved coming to my piano lessons with my cello and playing through Beethoven sonatas (cello and piano) with him. He became my regular accompanist in this period and we worked through a great deal of repertoire together. He was incredibly learned about a lot of music and I learnt a great deal from him. He also loved music, which made him the kind of musicologist that other performing musicians could relate to and learn from. He had a gentle but commanding and supportive personality, and I know that many of his pupils and colleagues regarded him as far more than just a teacher or colleague. I would say that he was a life coach to me, because in addition to music, we discussed philosophy, religion and life in general. After leaving school, I kept contact with Stewart. It always meant a lot to me when he attended my concerts. His opinion was always welcomed afterwards, even when not solicited nor complimentary! His kind and knowledgeable approach was always constructive with the result that I recently asked him to attend rehearsals for our Beethoven Quartet project. In the last three years, he sat through quite a number of rehearsals engaging with David Juritz and my wife Suzanne (violins), Karin Gaertner (viola) and me as we pursued our mission to learn and perform all of Beethoven’s string quartets. We are only about half way through the 16 quartets that Beethoven wrote. It will be strange to finish the project without Stewart – his seemingly unending pit of knowledge about all things Beethoven and his genuine ecstasy when we got something just right were just two of the pleasures of working with him. Stewart’s own PhD research was on the effect of Tempo on the mood and character of Beethoven’s and Schumann’s symphonies. This largely inspired and formed the basis of my own PhD research. Stewart never stopped being a scholar. With the same attention to detail he delved into the music of Brahms and more recently Sibelius and Berlioz. He was a very good pianist in his day having performed concerti with the Cape Town Symphony Orchestra on a few occasions (I think he played the Liszt Eb major concerto three times with them – Liszt was another composer he really loved!). I remember sharing a lecture on Beethoven tempi with Stewart at Stellenbosch University not so long ago at which he (already in his 70s) whipped around to the piano to demonstrate a passage in the Egmont Overture. Although he kept himself in practice at home, he had not performed publicly for years. His little demonstration (from memory I might add) was so assured and so musical that I was immediately transported to my school days where I was in awe of his piano playing. Other than music, Stewart was very interested in the theory that Shakespeare was not the sole author of some the works attributed to him. At one point Stewart showed me some incredible subliminal messages encoded in the text of one of Shakespeare’s plays that suggested (proved if you like) Christopher Marlowe was its author. Stewart wanted to make a film about this… Stewart was also a very keen squash player. He coached the boys at Bergvliet High and although he was a large man, could outplay even the most athletic school boy. He continued playing squash right to the end. I was away last week when Stewart fell ill. The day after I returned I wanted to visit him in hospital. I called the hospital and arranged a visit for that evening. I was too late. He died at around midday… The music world is so much poorer with the passing of a great man. Stewart’s work on tempo and in particular on Beethoven at the tip of Africa foreshadowed similar work published by the likes of Clive Brown, Badura Skoda and Jonathan Del Mar. What they supposedly discovered and published, Stewart already knew. Stewart was a humble man. This came out in his recent interaction with Ben Zander, the world famous conductor who has recently recorded a new interpretation of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony with the Philharmonia Orchestra in London. Stewart went to London to advise Ben during the making of this recording and much of what has now been released on CD is the culmination of Stewart’s life’s work. Stewart believed that his life on earth was part of a much larger journey. Rest in Peace Stewart, wherever you may now be going…
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