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Friday, February 15, 2013


(American violinist Joanna Frankel, the KZNPO’s new concert master)

William Charlton-Perkins’ Classical Notes are produced courtesy of The Mercury.

The KZN Philharmonic will introduce its new concert master, Joanna Frankel, to the audience at this evening’s Valentine’s Day symphony concert in the Durban City Hall.

A top prize winner in several young artists’ competitions, Ms Frankel is from Philadelphia in the United States. As a soloist, she has performed across the US and Europe at such major venues as Carnegie Hall, Concertgebouw Amsterdam, Rachmaninoff Hall, Glazunov Hall, Suk Hall, Rudolfinum, Slovak Philharmonic Hall, Vanemuise Hall, and The Sibelius Academy’s Chamber Music Hall, and has appeared with many other orchestras.

Announcing her appointment, Bongani Tembe, KZNPO chief executive says: “I believe Joanna Frankel will prove to be a significant asset to the KZN Philharmonic.  We are proud to have secured a violinist of her high calibre as our new Concert Master. Joanna who was trained at the Juilliard School, my alma mater, is a serious musician endowed with a good technique. Her approach to musical phrasing and articulation is fantastic.”

Tembe commended Hristo Kardjiev, the outgoing Concert Master of the orchestra, by saying: “Hristo has dedicated a good measure of his life to the KZN Philharmonic Orchestra as our Concert Master for the past 22 years - for this we are most grateful.  I am delighted that our relationship with him will continue into his retirement so that we will still benefit from his experience and beautiful tone.”

Daniel Boico will be on the podium for this evening’s programme which opens with Mozart’s Overture to The Marriage of Figaro, followed by Bruch’s Violin Concerto in G minor with soloist Anna Tifu, considered one of the most talented Italian artists of her generation.

After interval the Spanish classical guitarist Pablo Sáinz Villegas takes centrestage in a performance of Rodrigo’s Concerto de Aranjuez. After capturing the Gold Medal at the inaugural Christopher Parkening International Guitar Competition, Villegas quickly established himself as one of the world's leading classical guitarists. He has performed in over twenty countries around the globe on such prestigious stages as New York’s Carnegie Hall, Milan’s Sala Verdi and Moscow’s Tchaikovsky Theater.

The recipient of more than 25 international awards including the Andrés Segovia award, Villegas has appeared as soloist with many leading chamber orchestras around the world, and has participated in a host of international festivals. He has worked with prominent composers including George Crumb, Cristóbal Halffter and Helmut Lachenmann. Villegas has appeared with ABC, The BBC, Radio 2 Clásica RNE, TVE, Radio France and Euroradio.

Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake Suite brings the evening’s concert to a close.

Next Thursday evening Daniel Boico returns to the Durban City Hall podium for performances of Cesar Frank’s Symphonic Variations, Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. 2 and Bizet’s Symphony in C major The evening’s soloist will be the young Russian virtuoso, Yulianna Avdeeva, who received international recognition in 2010 as the winner of First Prize of the 16th International Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw  - the competition that launched the legendary Martha Argerich’s career in 1965. Avdeeva started piano lessons at the age of five, studied at the Gnessin Special School of Music in Moscow, and graduated from Zürcher Hochschule der Künste.

The fourth concert in the KZNPO’s current Summer Season takes place on February 28. This sees Bernard Gueller returning the City Hall podium. The evening’s first half will feature two works by Benjamin Britten to mark the centenary of great British composer’s birth in 1913. Opening the programme will be The Four Sea Interludes from Peter Grimes, the first masterpiece in Britten’s operatic canon to achieve international recognition after its 1945 premiere at Sadler’s Wells in London.

Britten’s Violin Concerto Opus 15, which pre-dated Peter Grimes by five years, will then be given a relatively rare performance by the distinguished French violinist, Philippe Graffin, making a welcome return to the KZNPO’s concert platform. Beethoven’s Prometheus Overture and his Symphony No 8 will fill the second half of the evening’s programme.

Pre-concert lectures starting at 6.15pm are given under the aegis of Friends of Music in the Alhambra Room at the Playhouse during the KZNPO’s Symphony Season. – William Charlton-Perkins