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Monday, August 25, 2014


(Superstar violinist Pinchas Zukerman & his wife, cellist Amanda Forsyth)
(Pic by V Tony Hauser)

(Extract from William Charlton-Perkins’ Classical Notes. Courtesy of The Mercury)

Hats off to music entrepreneur Charl van Heyningen for bringing two classical superstars to this country within months of each other. In May, South African audiences were treated to Britain’s phenomenally gifted bass baritone, Bryn Terfel, performing on our stages. Now another star of equal magnitude, the legendary violinist Pinchas Zuckerman, is about to tour.

Parklane Superspar, in collaboration with Christopher Duigan’s Music Revival, has announced a performance in Pietermaritzburg by Zukerman. He will appear with his wife, South African-born Amanda Forsyth, Canada’s pre-eminent cellist, and Canadian pianist Angela Cheng. Zukerman’s trio will perform a bumper programme built around two cornerstone works of the world’s chamber music repertoire – Beethoven’s magnificent Trio for Piano, Violin and Cello No 6 in B flat Opus 97 Archduke, and Dvořák’s much-loved Dumky Trio No 4 in E Minor, Opus 90, B 166.

This not-event-missed event, billed as the one of the most illustrious musical happenings in KwaZulu-Natal’s capital for the last 30 years, takes place in the Pietermaritzburg City Hall on August 30 at 19h30.

Born in Tel Aviv, Zukerman began his musical studies at age four. Isaac Stern and Pablo Casals learned of Zukerman's violin talent during a 1962 visit to Israel. Zukerman subsequently moved to the United States to study at the Juilliard School where under the tutelage of Stern he made his New York début in 1963. In 1967, he shared the Leventritt Prize with the Korean violinist Kyung-Wha Chung. His 1969 debut recordings of the concerti by Tchaikovsky (under the direction of Antal Dorati, with the London Symphony Orchestra) and Mendelssohn (with Leonard Bernstein and the New York Philharmonic) launched a hugely successful recording career that continues to the present day and boasts over 110 releases.

Zukerman plays the "Dushkin" Guarnerius del Gesù violin of 1742. His recordings have received 21 Grammy nominations, and two Grammy wins. He has collaborated with filmmaker Christopher Nupen on several projects, and was the subject of Nupen's Pinchas Zukerman: Here to Make Music documentary of 1974. In 2003 he founded a string quintet, the Zukerman Chamber Players, which has released three CD recordings in addition to its roster of live performances.

Zukerman’s wife Amanda is the daughter of the composer Malcolm Forsyth (1936 - 2011) who was born in Pietermaritzburg. He was named Canadian Composer of the Year (1989), and in 2003 was made a Member of the Order of Canada.

While audiences in Cape Town, Stellenbosch and Johannesburg will hear Pinchas Zukerman partnered by South African orchestras, no orchestral concert is scheduled in KwaZulu-Natal. So enthusiasts are strongly advised to make an evening of it and treat themselves to the rare opportunity of hearing one of the great musicians of our age performing in the acoustically superb ambience of the Pietermaritzburg City Hall.

Booking is open at Parklane Superspar Coffee Shop and patrons are encouraged to book early for this gala affair. For telephonic bookings call 033 342 3487. Tickets range from R200 to R250 with discounts on selected seats for students and pensioners. Tickets include refreshments and secure parking is provided in the City Hall precinct.  – William Charlton-Perkins