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Friday, September 30, 2016


(David Tidboald, founder of the National Youth Concerto Festival)

Standard of annual National Youth Concerto Festival uniformly high. (Review by Michael Green)

The annual National Youth Concerto Festival in the Durban City Hall was most enjoyable and encouraging as eight young performers appeared with the KZN Philharmonic Orchestra.

The standard was uniformly high, and it was gratifying evidence of the strong interest in classical music in an era with many alternative entertainments.

The festival was established 45 years ago by David Tidboald, former conductor of the KZNPO, and in recent years the tradition has been continued by Lykele Temmingh, the present resident conductor.

He chooses the performers, and this is a major undertaking. This year he spent a week visiting six South African cities and auditioning 65 young musicians. The age limit is 25 for instrumentalists and 35 for singers. The chosen few assembled in Durban for three days of rehearsals, and they were carefully coached by Temmingh; most of them are students who have never before played with a big orchestra.

Hard work, but the result is vastly rewarding. The audience much enjoyed a widely varied programme.

The orchestra, conducted by Lykele Temmingh himself, opened with Dvorak’s lively and lovely Carnival Overture, and this was followed by the young performers, who were:

Keamogetswe Magau from Bloemfontein, playing Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 5, first movement.

Mieke Struwig from Port Elizabeth, Weber’s Clarinet Concerto No. 2, first movement.

Tabiso Busani (baritone) from Port Elizabeth, Il Catalogo from Mozart’s Don Giovanni.

Yohan Chun from Cape Town, Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G major, first movement.

Lourens Fick from Stellenbosch, Chopin’s Grande Polonaise for piano, Op. 22.

Christiaan van Zyl from Bloemfontein, Tchaikovsky’s Pezzo Capriccioso for cello, Op. 62.

Rian Smit from Stellenbosch, Flute Concerto, first movement, by the contemporary American composer Lowell Liebermann.

Gyu-Min Kim from Cape Town, Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 1, first movement.

David Tidboald, founder of the Youth Festival, now lives in Cape Town but he was in the audience for this Durban concert. He had celebrated his 90th birthday a few days earlier, and the orchestra played “Happy Birthday” for him, amid much applause. - Michael Green

(To link direct to the KZN Philharmonic’s website click on the orchestra’s banner advert on the top right hand of the page)