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Saturday, February 19, 2022


Celebrating the longed-for revival of live music-making in our community, the KZN Philharmonic Orchestra is proud to announce details of its new Summer Season. This launches in The Playhouse Opera in Durban on February 24 at 19h00, with the German-born maestro Bernhard Gueller conducting three works by Beethoven, Bruch and Brahms.

Concerts take place at 19h00 in the Playhouse Opera Theatre on February 24 and March 3, 10 and 17. 

(Right: Hyeyoon Park & Bernhard Gueller)


February 24:

Bernhard Gueller, conductor

Hyeyoon Park, violin

Beethoven: Leonore Overture No. 3, Op. 72b

Bruch: Violin Concerto No. 1, Op. 26 in g minor

Brahms: Symphony No. 2, Op. 73 in D Major

Few composers - Mozart aside - achieved both symphonic and operatic greatness in equal measure. Beethoven, perhaps the most idolised of all composers, was no exception. His one lasting contribution to the world’s operatic stage, originally named Leonore, underwent rigorous changes before attaining its final heroic identity as Fidelio. Each revision saw the birth of a new overture. Of these, the mighty Leonore Overture No. 3 soon went on to find a permanent home on the world concert stage. It stands here as an uplifting curtain raiser to this evening’s exhilarating event.

The internationally acclaimed young Korean violinist Hyeyoon Park takes centre-stage as soloist in a performance of Max Bruch’s much-loved g minor Violin Concerto, another work which had a protracted gestation before claiming its place in the world’s core symphonic repertoire. Maestro Gueller ends the evening on a joyous note with Johannes Brahms’s richly rewarding Second Symphony. Composed in 1877 while Brahms was spending the summer at the lakeside town of Pörtschach on Lake Wörth in southern Austria, the beautiful work is often dubbed “Brahms’ Pastoral Symphony.” Its creation marked a sharp contrast to the protracted birth of the composer’s dark-hued first symphony which took years on the drawing board. Indeed, his second Symphony’s composition flowed swiftly from Brahms’s pen, its characteristics infused with the dappled sunlight and exquisite natural beauty of the Austrian Alps.  

(Left: Boris Kerimov & Bernhard Gueller)

 March 3:

Bernhard Gueller, conductor

Boris Kerimov, cello

Mozart: Eine kleine Nachtmusik, K.525 

Schumann: Cello Concerto, Op. 129 in a minor

Mozart: Symphony No. 39, K. 543 in E-flat Major

Returning to the podium on March 3, Bernhard Gueller ushers in his second programme with one of Mozart’s most emblematic works, the Serenade K.525, Eine Kleine Nachtmusik. Universally admired for its lively, joyful quality and its memorable melodies, the famous work was written for an ensemble of two violins, viola, cello and double bass, but is usually performed by string orchestras. The serenade was completed in Vienna on August 10, 1787, while Mozart was working on the second act of his opera Don Giovanni. Today, it retains strong claims to being the most widely performed and recorded piece in the entire Mozart oeuvre. Of the music, the critic Hildesheimer wrote, “Even if we hear it on every street corner, its high quality is undisputed, an occasional piece from a light but happy pen.”

Filling out the first half of the programme, Boris Kerimov is the evening’s soloist in Schumann’s Cello Concerto in a minor. A late work in the German Romantic master’s canon of orchestral works, this is considered one of his more enigmatic pieces due to its unorthodox structure, the length of its exposition, and the transcendental quality of the opening as well as the intense lyricism of the second movement. Indeed, Schumann’s inscription on the autographed score carries the title Konzertstück (concert piece) rather than Konzert (concerto), which suggested he intended to depart from the traditional conventions of a concerto from the outset.

Maestro Gueller brings the evening to a close with Mozart’s Symphony No. 39. One of the three towering symphonic masterworks – along with its famous g Minor and “Jupiter” siblings - that crowned the great Austrian composer’s symphonic oeuvre, the E-flat Major symphony is an inspired work whose warm, autumnal characteristics are offset by a dazzling display of contrapuntal wizardry, and a miraculous feat of writing in which the composer seamlessly conceals his art.


(Right: Roelof Temmingh Jr & Lyk Temmingh)

 March 10

Lyk Temmingh, conductor

Roelof Temmingh Jr, piano

Janáček: Adagio for Orchestra

Temmingh: Piano Concerto

Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 6, Op. 74, b minor, “Pathetique”

The KZN Philharmonic’s Netherlands born Resident Conductor Lykele Temmingh will be on the podium for the third concert of the season on March 10, performing an eclectic selection of Czech, South African and Russian classics. Maestro Temmingh opens his programme on a mysterious note with a rare account of Leoš Janáček’s exquisitely crafted Adagio for Orchestra (1891). Alongside his more famous Sinfonietta, this short orchestral work holds a proud if rarefied place in the symphonic oeuvre of the Czech composer, whose reputation in international music circles rests predominantly around his operatic masterpieces - with works such as Jenůfa, Káťa Kabanová and The Cunning Little Vixen.

Maestro Temmingh is then joined onstage by his nephew, the gifted young South African pianist Roelof Temmingh Jr, for a 10th anniversary salute to the passing his father, with a performance of the late South African composer Roelof Temmingh’s Piano Concerto.

Conductor Temmingh brings the evening to a climax with an all-stops-out account of Tchaikovsky’s emotive Symphony No. 6 in b minor, Op. 74, known as the Pathétique Symphony. This was Tchaikovsky’s final completed symphony, written between February and the end of August 1893. The composer entitled the work “The Passionate Symphony”, leading the first performance in Saint Petersburg in October of that year, nine days before his death. The second performance, conducted by Eduard Nápravník, took place at a memorial concert on November 6. It included some minor corrections that Tchaikovsky had made after the première, and was thus the first performance of the work in the exact form in which it is known today - a sublime testament to its creator’s genius.


(Below: Ilya Friedberg & Daniel Boico)

 March 17

Daniel Boico, conductor

Ilya Friedberg, piano

Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 1, Op. 15 in C Major

Beethoven: Symphony No. 3, Op. 55 in E-flat Major, “Eroica”


The widely admired Israeli-American maestro Daniel Boico, KZN Philharmonic’s Associate Guest Conductor, makes a long overdue return to the South African concert platform to close the season on March 17 with one of his signature all-Beethoven programmes. The first half of the evening sees the conductor joined onstage by the renowned American soloist, Ilya Friedberg, for a performance of Beethoven’s grandly statuesque Piano Concerto No. 1 in C Major.

The second half of the evening’s programme features a performance of Beethoven’s iconic “Eroica” Symphony, always an event to be keenly anticipated by conductor Boico’s loyal South African following. Beethoven dedicated his Third Symphony to his friend and patron, Prince Lobkowitz. He had originally conceived the composition in honour Napoleon Bonaparte, only sixteen months his senior in age, whose rise to fame in the wake of the French Revolution the composer had followed with admiration and interest. Having written to his publisher in August 1804 telling him he was naming the work, “Bonaparte”, Beethoven was enraged when Napoleon betrayed his revolutionary ideals by having himself declared Emperor of France. The composer tore the original title page from his score, renaming it “Sinfonia Éroica” - thus rendering the hero he had depicted in his powerful new work anonymous. Be that as it may, the symphony was performed to wide acclaim at its première in 1805, going on to consolidate its phenomenal fame which deservedly abides to this day.

Beethoven’s Eroica Symphony is grounded in the Classical symphonic tradition, while also stretching boundaries of form, length, harmony and emotional content. This monumental landmark, which bestrides the transition between the Classical period and the Romantic era, brings the evening to a rousing close.


“Your safety is of paramount importance to us. Our security team will be stationed around the Playhouse / parking precinct. All COVID protocols will be strictly followed,” says Bongani Tembe, Chief Executive and Artistic Director of the KwaZulu-Natal Philharmonic Orchestra

Season and single tickets are now available through the KwaZulu-Natal Philharmonic Orchestra offices. Email or call 031 369 9438

General booking through Quicket.

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