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Saturday, November 3, 2012


(Christopher Duigan, who celebrates the 15th anniversary of his brainchild, Music Revival)

Enthusiasts can enjoy a spectacular music bonanza with the KwaZulu-Natal Philharmonic Orchestra and no less than seven soloists performing under the baton of KZNPO resident conductor, Naum Rousine, at the annual Symphony in the City: Playing with Fire in the Pietermaritzburg City Hall on November 8.

Subtitled Playing with Fire as a reference to the instrumental concert pieces and concertos featured, the concert is presented by Parklane Superspar in association with the KZNPO and Christopher Duigan’s Music Revival, with support from The Witness and CPW Printers.

“Part of any standard symphony concert is the introduction of a featured soloist. In this concert we have seven!” says artistic director Christopher Duigan. “Since the origins of instrumental music, the element of skill, the overt show of ability, has played an important part in generating the excitement of a live concert. When amalgamated with a symphony orchestra, as a supporting or opposing musical energy, this individual skill is driven to a whole new level. Our concert features a variety of solo instruments in a riveting selection of music.”

Concert-goers can expect to hear Pietermaritzburg-born clarinettist Kirsten Sayers playing the Solo de Concours by Andre Messager. Sayers, who began her music studies at Wykeham Collegiate, has been a member of the KZNPO since 2005. This is her debut performance as soloist with the orchestra and local audiences will no doubt support her on this prestigious occasion.

Another local resident featured in this concert is cellist Nigel Fish who held the position of Principal Cellist with the KZNPO before leaving to work in Germany for several years. On this occasion he will take up the position of cello soloist to play Faure’s haunting Elegy.

Charismatic Russian violinist Elena Kerimova, who won a large following locally with her exciting performances as member of the Kerimov Trio, will be featured in Camille Saint-Saens’ showstopper, Introduction and Rondo and Capriccioso, one of the standard virtuoso pieces for concert violinists. Much-loved guitarist and SAM-nominee James Grace plays the popular Adagio from Rodrigo’s Concierto de Aranjuez, one of the most haunting melodies of the classical repertoire.

Two further KZN musicians, Magrit Deppe and Nidhi Gangan, both members of the KZNPO, have been offered a time to shine in this prestigious concert. Deppe will play a movement from Mozart’s Concerto for Oboe and Gangan will perform part of Sarmiento’s Concerto for Marimba. The latter will give audiences a unique opportunity to see the concert-marimba in performance. Gangan was invited to play following her inclusion in the recent KZNPO Youth Concerto Festival in Durban.

Ending the programme, Christopher Duigan plays Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto no 2. This major piano work, celebrated for its fiery virtuosity coupled with passionate lyricism, is one of the world’s most popular compositions for piano and orchestra. Rachmaninoff wrote this magnum opus after his recovery from a bout of depression brought about by the disastrous premier of his First Symphony. Convinced he would never compose again, and subsequent to extensive treatment by hypnosis, he penned a number of major works in the space of a few short weeks. These included his Piano Concerto No 2. It is dedicated to his therapist Nicolai Dahl. Duigan has built a major following throughout South Africa with his extraordinary brand of pianism, committed musicianship and his engaging concert stage presence. Symphony in The City forms form part the 15th Birthday of his brainchild, Music Revival.

Symphony in the City: Playing with Fire takes place on November 8 at 19h30 in the Pietermaritzburg City Hall. Tickets range from R100 to R160 with discounts for pensioners, scholars and students available from Parklane Superspar on 033 342 3487. Parking is secure and patrolled in the City Hall, Tatham Art Gallery and Bessie Head Library precincts.