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Sunday, June 8, 2014


(Njabulo Madlala, 2014 Standard Bank Young Artist for Music)

The 40th National Arts Festival will be held in Grahamstown from July 3 to 13, 2014. The programme offers an awe-inspiring number of events across the arts. Herewith information on the Main Festival’s Music programme:

The 2014 Standard Bank Young Artist for Music Njabulo Madlala, accompanied by William Vann, will showcase his talents in a varied programme including the likes of Rodgers and Hammerstein, Schubert and Strauss and the South African Songbook.
Durban-born Madlala studied at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London. Upon the completion of his studies he went on to the opera studio at the Cardiff International Academy of Voice and trained under the tenor Dennis O'Neill.
Madlala recently appeared at the Royal Opera House London in the première of How the Whale Became by Julian Philips. Other engagements have included the Opera Highlights tour for Scottish Opera, the role of Scarpia in Tosca for Grange Park Opera “Rising Stars”, the title role in Don Giovanni for Mid Wales Opera, Aeneas in Dido and Aeneas at the Wimbledon Festival and Mozart’s Requiem with the English Chamber Orchestra. With the leading recitalist Sarah Walker, he has made a special study of the recital repertoire, appearing at the Oxford Lieder Festival, at Wigmore Hall and also participating in the Steans Young Artists Programme at Chicago’s Ravinia Festival. Concert highlights have included J S Bach’s Ich habe genug with the Ten Tors Orchestra, Mahler’s Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen for the London Philharmonic Orchestra’s Foyles First series conducted by Vladimir Jurowski.

Celebrating two Standard Bank Young Artists for Music, Baritone Njabulo Madlala (2014) and Violinist Samson Diamond (2008), the programme talks to the following events: World War I, 450 years since the birth of Shakespeare, and 300 years since the birth of Christoph Willibald Gluck. Conducted by Richard Cock, with the KwaZulu-Natal Philharmonic; this concert is an annual highlight on the programme. 

The KZN Philharmonic gets straight into the Festival mood with American mezzo-soprano Krysty Swann and conductor Daniel Boico in a rousing concert of opera excerpts, including from: George Bizet’s Carme, Jules Massenet’s Werther, Giuseppe Verdi’s La forza del destino and Don Carlo, Camille Saint-Saëns’s Samson et Delila, Gaetano Donizetti’s La Favorita. Krysty Swann will sing such famous arias as “O mio Fernando” from La Favorita, “O don Fatale” from Don Carlo and “En vain pour eviter” from Carmen. At the helm is Daniel Boico, who will lead the orchestra through these challenging arias as well as instrumental favourites from the opera repertoire such as the overture to La forza del destino. Opera and vocal music is a South African tradition and the KZN Philharmonic is proud to be celebrating the National Arts Festival’s 40th anniversary with this special programme.

Presented by members of the KZN Philharmonic: Simon Miliken (double bass), Albie van Schalkwyk (piano), Boris Kerimov (cello), Annelize de Villiers (clarinet), Violeta Osorhean (violin), Sorin Osorhean (French horn), Jonas Brolin (trumpet), Vessela Minkova (bassoon), Sabine Baird (flute), Nuria Cabezas Castano (oboe).
They will be playing a work by Johann Nepomuk Hummel (1778 – 1837) Septet in C major, Op.114 – The Military for flute, clarinet, trumpet, violin, cello, double bass and piano: Allegro con brio, Adagio, Menuetto Allegro, Finale: Vivace; and a work by Francis Poulenc (1899 - 1963) - Sextet (for Piano and Wind quintet), Op. 10 for flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, horn and piano: Allegro vivace. Très vite et emporte, Divertissement. Andantino, Finale. Prestissimo.

Following the success of the last two concerts for children (of all ages!) Richard Cock and members of the KZN Philharmonic once again present a programme of fun and learning. Apart from meeting all the instruments of the orchestra in a very interactive way, this year the orchestra will perform Peter and the Wolf, Prokofiev’s famous story which brilliantly uses the orchestra to bring the story to life in full audio-colour. The piece has helped introduce generations of children to the instruments of the orchestra and the concept of telling a story through music.

Richard Cock and the KZN Philharmonic continue their series of hugely successful concerts at the National Arts Festival with a programme featuring some of the greatest songs of the 20th Century. Famous songwriters George and Ira Gershwin and Irving Berlin (born 125 years ago) join the evergreen Cole Porter in a number of famous songs. Featuring Nic Nicolaidis and Magdalene Minnaar, the concert is conducted and narrated by Richard Cock in his own special way, which brings audiences to a closer understanding of a huge variety of brilliant music.

Benjamin Fourie will present two piano recitals. Fourie is a former recipient of the SAMRO Overseas Study, and numerous degrees. After his return to South Africa, he lectured in piano at the College of the Arts in Windhoek, Namibia, and the University of KwaZulu-Natal in Durban. Since the end of 2004 he has been residing in Bethulie at the Gariep Dam, Free State, from where he focuses on freelance work and gives regular soirees to South African and overseas tourists. In 2000, he was nominated as an ‘Outstanding Man of the 20th Century’ by the American Biographical Institute – one of 500 people worldwide to have been honoured in this way. Romantic Russian will feature works by Sergei Rachmaninoff and Modest Mussorgsky. Conflict and Resolution is a lecture-recital based on works by South African composers, composed between 1988 and 2006, including Etienne van Rensburg, Peter Klatzow, and Ilse-Mari Lee.

English pianist James Redfern and Romanian born South African Laura Pauna have performed extensively across Europe and Africa, playing both four-hands and solo.
Prestigious performances by each of the musicians include the Purcell Room and St John’s Smith Square, London; Zaagreb City Hall, Croatia; Piazza Georg Enescu, Bucharest; Salzburg Grosse Saal; Jerusalem Theatre, Jerusalem; Concertgebouw, Amsterdam; and Carnegie Hall, New York. In 2012 they had their debut at St Martin-in-the-Fields, London, for the Beethoven Society of Europe, performing works by Schubert, Beethoven and Ravel, to great critical acclaim.
Their combined list of prizes includes first prizes at the Greig Competition in Oslo; the Liszt Competition, Weimar and the IBLA Grand Prize in Sicily as well as the top prize at the Valentino Bucchi in Rome; overall winner of the European Piano Teachers Association (EPTA), Croatia; and the Mozarteum Prize in Salzburg.
They have appeared at festivals such as the 50th Anniversary Liszt Festival, Weimar; Piano Fortissimo Festival in Croatia; the Manchester Keyboard Festival, and the UNISA Concert Series.

South African guitarist Derek Gripper has arranged and performed the compositions of legendary Malian musicians Toumani Diabaté, Ali Farka Touré and Ballaké Sissoke. The extraordinary feat of this recording, One Night on Earth: Music from the Strings of Mali, can only be imagined when one considers that this music was originally composed for and played on the kora, a 21 string African harp-lute, one of Africa’s most beautiful of instruments. UK’s top world music publication Songlines Magazine called the album “a staggering achievement,” selecting the recording as a Top of the World album in March 2013.
Gripper’s output also extends beyond Africa to include original compositions, interpretations of the works of Brazilian composer Egberto Gismonti, collaborations with classical Indian tabla, innovation of South African folk sounds, and arrangements of J S Bach’s solo violin works. His latest work included an eight-speaker sound installation based on elements of kora compositions for a permanent architectural installation in Stockholm, which will première at the Venice Architecture Biennale in 2014, as well as a new series of kora transcriptions of compositions by legendary kora masters, Amadou Bansang Jobarteh, Sidiki Diabaté and Sekou Batourou Kouyaté.
The response to Gripper’s latest recorded work has seen him invited to music festivals and concerts in Sweden, Denmark, Ireland, Switzerland, Holland, Norway, the UK, the US, Zimbabwe and Swaziland, and a special invitation to perform with legendary classical guitarist John Williams at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in London this year.

CHRISTOPHER DUIGAN: on piano in Good Company with Ludwig van Beethoven & Abdullah Ibrahim:
This programme juxtaposes six of the most popular of the 32 Piano Sonatas of Ludwig van Beethoven (1770 – 1827) alongside the piano music of the great South African jazz pianist and composer, Abdullah Ibrahim (b. 1934).
Juxtapositions can be highly suggestive, sometimes even revelatory. Though these two composers are widely separated in both time and place, what they share – and what underpins their juxtaposition in this programme in South Africa today – is a profound commitment to the liberation of humanity from oppression of all kinds. In short, both composers lived during periods of enormous struggle for social change: Europe around the time of the French Revolution and South Africa in the final decades of apartheid, and after. Both Beethoven and Ibrahim were quite explicit about enlisting their music in these struggles. Indeed, their music imagines, and strives towards, an emancipated future.
Christopher Duigan hopes to illuminate something of what is shared by the music of these two composers, and to draw more closely together what convention would regard as 'incompatible' repertoires. The performance thus breaks the boundaries of traditional performance modes, and seeks to find the common ground in two seemingly disparate, but wonderfully universal, voices. If we listen carefully, we might find that these voices have something important to say to a South Africa at the beginning of its third decade of democracy.

Rituals are found in our everyday lives, but are also traditionally found in purifications, rights of passage and celebrations of significant life events. The term 'ritual' also indicates formalism, traditionalism, rule-governance and performance – all of which are found in the practice of classical music.
Celebrated South African performers Magdalene Minnaar (soprano) and Magda de Vries (Marimba and percussion) constantly strive towards creating new performance styles, challenging both their art form and their artistry. They have commissioned eight South African composers to write new works for marimba/percussion and soprano on the theme of 'rituals'. The theme was open for interpretation by the composer, and they could choose the text and instrumentation. These new works are performed alongside existing pieces composed by established local composers (both living and deceased), spanning over a century of indigenous history. By commissioning these pieces, they are creating a wealth of new works to benefit the ever-growing legacy of original South African music.

For over a decade, baritone Federico Freschi and pianist Christopher Duigan have thrilled audiences nationwide with their particular blend of classical and popular music. The style of presentation is dynamic, engaging and elegantly sophisticated, with both musicians contextualising the pieces with light-hearted but informative introductions. From the vocal gymnastics of Rossini to nostalgic, old-world operetta, to popular songs and hits from Broadway musicals, interspersed with virtuoso pieces for the piano, this programme cannot fail to delight. With a wealth of repertoire to draw from, the programme is tailored to suit the audience and context.

In this programme the Odeion String Quartet pay ‘homage’ with a retrospective programme of South African chamber music works featuring some of the most celebrated South African composers. 2010 Standard Bank Young Artist Samson Diamond (First Violin), Sharon de Kock (Second Violin), Jeanne-Louise Moolman (Viola), and Anmari van der Westhuizen (Cello) will be joined by 2008 Standard Bank Young Artist Zanne Stapelberg (Soprano). They will present works composed by Mokale Koapeng, Michael Blake, Bongani Ndodana-Breen, Kevin Volans and Hendrik Hofmeyr.

Celebrating 40 years of the National Arts Festival and 30 years of the Standard Bank Young Artist Awards, Divalicious features Standard Bank Young Artist Award winners Gloria Bosman (2000), Zanne Stapleberg (2008) and Melanie Scholtz (2010), who in their diverse styles will bring together the best of Jazz, Opera and Afro Blues in a show of musical diversity and colour. Directed by Janine Neethling, the band includes Standard Bank Young Artists Concord Nkabinde (2006), Samson Diamond (2010) and Bonkani Dyer (2011) as well as Juan Oostuuizen and Godfrey Mgcina. There will be a strong African thread running through the show as South Africa celebrates 20 years of democracy.

The Mzansi Youth Choir was established in July 2003 with the aim of affording talented, underprivileged teenagers and young adults (14-24 years) the opportunity to proficiently perform locally and abroad. The choir consists of 45 choristers from Soweto and other areas in and around Johannesburg. The word ‘Mzansi’ means south in isiZulu and is also the township slang word for South Africa. The choir’s repertoire is an exciting assortment of South African music which incorporates elements of traditional music, pop and jazz. The Mzansi Youth Choir is regarded as one of the top show choirs in the country with its youthful sound, pulsating energy and devotion to South African Music. They will present a programme of mostly locally-focussed music, with a couple of surprises.

Arno Carstens and Francois van Coke, two of the country’s most accomplished and recognisable rock musicians with multiple awards and accolades between them, join forces in this amazing tribute to the last two decades of rock music. Together they will perform a selection of hits from the Springbok Nude Girls, Fokofpolisiekar, Van Coke Kartel and Arno’s solo career, as well as SA Rock songs that have influenced and inspired them over the last 20 years.

Founded in 1956 during the height of the Civil Rights Movement the Chicago Children’s Choir is a non-profit organisation committed to peacefully uniting a diverse world through education, musical expression and excellence. Accompanied by John Goodwin( Principal Accompanist), Dave Hiltebrand (Bass), Jim Tashjian (Guitar) and Christian Euman (Percussion), they will present a varied programme including music from all over the world. Their performance at the Festival is sponsored by the US Diplomatic Mission to South Africa.

Italian born violin wizard Luca Ciarla owns the stage with his fiddle, an ocarina, and a few toy instruments. With a loop pedal he plays layers of music over each other, creating an astonishing orchestral texture. Step by step Luca unfolds new virtuoso passages and unique sounds, playing the violin like a guitar, a cello or a percussive instrument. In this imaginative landscape Luca sings, whistles, plays the ocarina and other little instruments; music is continuously evolving into a dazzling solo violin orchestra. Fiddler in the Loop features music by L Ciarla, D Reinhardt, The Beatles, P Conte and Traditional. This performance is sponsored by the Italian Institute of Culture.

Jamie MacDowell and Tom Thum form a musical duo who come from two different worlds: one is good with his fingers, the other is good with his mouth. When Jamie‘s award- and heart- winning approach to words and melodies meets Tom‘s world-class beatboxing, the outcome sounds fresh and one of a kind. Song writing has never met beatboxing in this way before.

Jazz at Dakawa is an annual programme presented by the Eastern Cape Department of Sports, Recreation, Arts & Culture aimed at showcasing and catapulting emerging talents from the Eastern Cape onto a national stage. Jazz groups are drawn from each of the seven regions of the province.  This year’s programme will feature the Queenstown Arts Centre Jazz band, Strikers from the Mthatha Community Arts Centre and the Msaki AfroTeens, amongst others, in a showcase that celebrate the partnerships between the groups and the Eastern Cape Audio Visual Centre (ECAVC). The programme will also showcase the vintage Kouga Jazz Ensemble featuring the likes of Xolani Faku and other greats from the Eastern Cape.

Lira is a multi-platinum award-winning South African singer/songwriter who refers to her music as a fusion of soul and funk with elements of jazz and African music. She has graced the covers of numerous fashion and lifestyle magazines and won a multitude of accolades from South African Music Awards, MTV Africa Awards, Channel O, Metro FM and MOJO Awards as well as being Glamour Magazine South Africa's "Woman of the Year." Lira is the first African artist to release a full HD DVD in Blu Ray (3x Platinum) and she is the highest selling vocalist in South Africa. She has released five platinum selling albums on Sony Africa, including All My Love (2003), Feel Good (2006), Soul in Mind (2008), Live in Concert; A Celebration (2009), Return to Love (2011) and Rise Again (2012). She will perform with Petrus Mngomezulu (keyboard), Kenton Windvogel (guitar), Earl Baartman (bass), Joshua Zacheus (drums).

“To call Schneider the most important woman in jazz,” insisted Time magazine in their feature article on her, “is missing the point two ways. She is a major composer – period.”
This multi-Grammy Award winning composer/arranger/conductor/performer from New York has consistently won coveted awards from Down Beat and the Jazz Journals Association that include Best Jazz Album of the Year, Best Arranger of the Year, Best Composer of the Year and Best Large Ensemble of the Year (for seven years running). This year Maria Schneider dominated the Classical Music categories at the 2014 Grammy Awards for her album Winter Morning Walks which won three Grammys and features soprano Dawn Upshaw with the Australian Chamber Orchestra and the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra.
She is a compelling musical force whose music brims with depth, power and intrigue and who has influenced the direction of modern Jazz. She performs her music in South Africa for the first time with a Jazz Orchestra that combines South African and Norwegian musicians in an exchange supported by East Norway Jazz Centre and Concerts SA.

Two of South Africa’s freshest and most talented singer/songwriters take the stage in an unforgettable intimate evening that will take your breath away.  Born in Alice, just down the road from Grahamstown, 26-year-old Nakhane Toure has become one of the country’s most celebrated newcomers. Joining him in this one-night-only performance is Capetonian Matthew Mole, the first South African artist to top the iTunes charts and already a radio favourite with his folk-pop sensibilities and endearing style. These are two of the most talked-about young artists in South Africa – and this concert will showcase them at their best. Make sure you’re there at the start of what will undoubtedly be stellar careers.

Bookings for the 2014 National Arts Festival can now be made online through the website- click on the banner advert above or go to Programmes are available on the website or free printed copies are available at selected Exclusive Books and Standard Bank branches.

The National Arts Festival is sponsored by Standard Bank, The National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund, Eastern Cape Government, Department of Arts and Culture, City Press and M Net.