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Friday, September 30, 2011


Eight gifted young performers displayed their skills in this the 40th National Youth Concerto Festival, presented by the KZN Philharmonic Orchestra in the Durban City Hall.

The festival was founded by Dr David Tidboald, who was for many years the principal conductor of the KZN Philharmonic. He is now 85 and looking well, and he was present in the City Hall for this concert.

The eight soloists were correctly described by Bongani Tembe, the orchestra’s chief executive, as the cream of young musical talent in South Africa. They are all students, and they gave a rather sparse audience much to enjoy.

With such a varied programme it would be invidious to make comparisons. Suffice it to say that the standard was uniformly high, and I was impressed by the poise and deportment of all these young musicians. Here are their names and their items on the programme:

Kgaugelo Mpyane, a viola player who grew up in a Pretoria township and is now a student at the University of the Free State, played a movement from a tuneful and attractive concerto written about 1790 by Franz Anton Hoffmeister.

Tatiana Thaele, flautist from Cape Town, a 1908 concerto movement by Carl Reinecke.

Bongiwe Nakani, mezzo soprano, grew up in Khayelitsha, now from Cape Town, a famous and beautiful aria from Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice.

Anna van der Merwe, violinist from Cape Town, movement from Saint-Saens’s violin concerto No. 3.

Joachim Muller-Crepon, cellist born and reared in Switzerland and now studying at Stellenbosch, first movement of Dvorak’s cello concerto.

Friedel Mitas, soprano, born and bred in Oudtshoorn, now from Cape Town, Depuis le jour from Charpentier’s opera Louise.

Talisa Symons, violinist from Cape Town, movement from Henryk Wieniawski’s second violin concerto.

Jessamie Jardim, pianist from Cape Town, Prokofiev’s one-movement first piano concerto.

Two of these players, Joachim Muller-Crepon and Jessamie Jardim, and the conductor of the evening, Lykele Temmingh, took part in a pre-concert lecture/discussion, the interviewer being Matthew Hoffman, a music student at the University of KZN.

All present were, I think, impressed by these educated, dedicated, modest and mature young people. “Quite different from some of the youth of today”, a man in the audiences said to me drily afterwards. – Michael Green