Joining the violin section in 2018 wasn’t Samantha Durrant’s introduction to the orchestra. She has been playing as an ad hoc musician since the end of 2014. Samantha grew up in Durban, and took her mother’s advice to heart to have an all-round education and play an instrument. Literally. For it was when she saw “Music of the Heart” in which Merryl Streep’s character inspired a generation of young musicians that she knew she would choose the violin. Her mother had grounded her in classical music which was always playing at home, and she wasn’t interested in the piano (“maybe it was the terrible recordings we had!”) or the school’s recorder band because the players weren’t taught to read music.
Her mother enquired about teachers at the local music shop and chose Vicenzo lo Castro as her first teacher, “because she liked the idea of an Italian teaching me because she figured Italians were best suited to the violin!” She began lessons with Lo Castro in 2002. At the end of 2005, she was accepted into Jack de Wet’s studio, where she remained until the end of her school years. Samantha then went on to UCT to study under Farida Bacharova.
Aged 23 now, Samantha has already had a busy musical life, which has consisted of a number of masterclasses with such fantastic violinists as Olivier Charlier and Maria Solozobova. She has been a soloist in the Artscape Youth Music and a prize-winner in the UNISA Bursary and Schock Foundation Chamber Music Competitions. She has also played as a soloist with several orchestras including the CPO, KZN Philharmonic and Johannesburg Philharmonic. This September she will play in the KZN Philharmonic’s Concerto Festival and compete in the ATKV Muziq Competition in Cape Town later this year. Samantha plays chamber music, often with a friend and violist Maja van Dyk, a regular ad-hoc musician with the CPO and would like to do more because it is music that consumes her.
Samantha does regret not ever having had the time to join the CPYO because of her prior commitments to lessons with Jack de Wet.
“The CPO has been my family, my musical home for the last few years. In this great working environment, I constantly learn from my colleagues and am delighted that there is space for the younger generation.”