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Sunday, May 7, 2017


(Elena Kerimova & Tonya Koenderman with some of the Young Performers: Andrew Ward, Leia Poona, Fiona Nomvelo McIlroy and Weiren Amy Lou in front)

A highlight for budding music and vocal students is the annual KZN Young Performers Concert with the KZN Philharmonic Orchestra which takes place on May 20, 2017.

The KZN Philharmonic Orchestra in association with the South African Society of Music Teachers once more presents a very special once-off concert to showcase the solo skills of 15 of the most promising young KZN orchestral performers and vocalists in a variety concert type format performing an eclectic repertoire of classical highlights, opera arias, and even crossover opera/pop.

The concert features the KZN Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Naum Rousine. It is a red letter day for many of the orchestra players, who have the opportunity of performing publicly with their music students.

The KZN Philharmonic, in association with the South African Society of Music Teachers, held open auditions to talent-scout for young soloists, facilitated by a judging panel of respected musical professionals. Vocalists have to be under the age of 25 and instrumentalists under 23 to qualify. The annual Young Performers concerts have been running for at least a decade.

After a rigorous audition process during which 15 performers were chosen from the original 37 who auditioned, the following soloists have been selected to perform: trumpet player Brendon o'Loughlin (14) from Thomas More College and Andrew Ward (11) from Chelsea Prep School both of whom study with KZN Philharmonic’s Cathy Peacock; Rachel Luyt (15) from St Mary’s, who studies the saxophone with KZN Philharmonic’s Kirsten Sayers; Esihle Mthethwa (12) from Wykeham Collegiate, who is studying flute with Jennifer du Plessis from Pietermaritzburg, and Weien Amy Luo (9) who is at Crawford Prep and is studying piano with Philippa Greenwood;

Benjamin Burton (13) and Sabastian Marimuthu (12) are both Highbury learners, studying violin with KZN Philharmonic’s Petya Koleva; Leia Poona (15) is a Crawford College student and plays the violin with KZN Philharmonic’s Elena Kerimova; Ethan Mackenzie (14) studies piano with Melissa Greyvenstein; Siyolisa Nyondo (a fellowship player with the KZN Philharmonic) studies with principal double bass player Simon Milliken, and Morgan Coackley (15) who is home-schooled and studies cello with KZN Phil’s co-principal Aristide du Plessis.

Budding vocalists will also take to the stage: Robyn Gillespie (17), a learner at Crawford College North Coast, studying voice with Ros Conrad; Avuya Ngcaweni (20) and Luxolo Mahlasela (22), both studying voice under Lionel Mkhwanazi at UKZN Howard College; and Fiona Nomvelo McIlroy (16) at Reddam House, uMhlanga, is being mentored by acclaimed musical theatre performer Tonya Koenderman.

“For many of the young performers, this is a hugely significant opportunity for them as it is their first opportunity to perform with a professional orchestra, and it is often the springboard to their future musical careers,” said Bongani Tembe, Chief Executive and Artistic Director of the KZN Philharmonic.

“While serving South Africa with top-drawer professional orchestra concerts, the busy KZN Philharmonic also dedicates much of its time and energy to enriching the community through its far-reaching Education and Development programme. The Young Performers initiative is in keeping with this transference of skills which allows industry professionals to engage with our up-and-coming stars and work with the KZN Philharmonic to enable them to benefit from a  once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and live their dreams,” Tembe adds.

The KZN Young Performers Concert takes place in the Playhouse Drama on May 20 at 19h00. Tickets R40 (R25 scholars / students) available through Computicket / / 0861 915 8000 / Shoprite Checkers Money Market Counters.

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