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NAF MUSIC (article first published : 2004-06-2)

Performance-starved lovers of classical and other musics go into their annual cultural feeding frenzy as scores of first-rate musicians converge on Grahamstown for the 2004 National Arts Festival which runs from July 1 to 10.

World-class locals are joined by a number of important internationals for a banquet of sound spanning six centuries. Concerts and recitals are scheduled for morning, noon and night throughout the Festival.

Orchestra in residence, the KwaZulu-Natal Philharmonic Orchestra (KZNPO), will perform under the baton of Justus Frantz, director of Germany's Philharmonie der Nationen. The KZNPO will also accompany the ballet Giselle presented by the South African Ballet Theatre Company, and Cape Town City Opera’s The Pearl Fishers.

The Rhodes University Centenary Celebration Concert sees the Eastern Cape Philharmonic Orchestra perform Mozart and Beethoven under the baton of David Scarr with pianist Catherine Foxcroft. The 20-strong ensemble, Baroque 2000, playing music from the court of Louis XIV at Versailles are joined by the choir Ars Nova Consort, courtesy of the Alliance Française, who will perform Charpentier’s magnificent Te Deum.

Cellos are in the spotlight with the six cellists of I Grandi Violoncellisti in two different programmes which range from Bach to the Beatles and beyond. A Bass-ically Brilliant recital brings two internationally-renowned performers together: Peter Martens on cello and London-based Leon Bosch on double bass. Russian-born cellist Boris Kerimov with Elena Kerimova (violin) and Christopher Duigan (piano) will play two programmes of chamber music on a Russian/Eastern European theme.

Duigan performs again in duet with Anneke Lamont – they share one piano for their two performances. A solo piano recital by rising star Inette Swart includes works by Bach, Chopin, Mozart and Ravel.

Two notable quartets complete the rich chamber music programme. Germany's young and vivacious Kuss Quartet has earned a special place on Europe's festival circuit. They have chosen works by Mozart, Bartok and Mendelssohn-Bartholdy for their National Arts Festival debut.

The Cape Town based Sontonga Quartet will present a concert with works by Van Dijk, Janacek and Dvorak. Their two late night sessions feature stimulating juxtapositions – Barber, Beethoven, Hendrix and Volans, all together! The Sontongas also form the core of the onstage orchestra for the tango opera, Maria de Buenos Aires.

Indigenous music is celebrated in a concert presented by the International Library of African Music (ILAM) to mark its 50th anniversary. In another recital, audiences enjoy the rare experience of hearing ancient African instruments played by virtuosos from remote rural areas.

A choral 'spectacular' features two prize-winning Eastern Cape choirs: the Gelvandale Police Choir and Port Elizabeth's Joy of Africa along with jazz instrumentalists from East London.

The main music programme is complemented by six days of performances during the New Music Indaba and jazz that won't miss a beat at the venue shared by the Standard Bank's Joy of Jazz and National Youth Jazz Festivals.

This entertainment is proudly brought to you by the Eastern Cape Government, Standard Bank, The National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund, SABC and the National Arts Council.

Booking kits are now available from Standard Bank branches and Computicket. For further information visit the website www.nafest.co.za or telephone 046 603 1103.




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