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KZNPO WORLD SYMPHONY SERIES (article first published : 2004-02-16)

The KZN Philharmonic Orchestra’s World Symphony Series (WSS) is renowned for featuring an impressive line-up of international artistes and the cream of South Africa’s classical musicians. The forthcoming Summer Season, which begins on February 26, is no exception and the six concerts which make up the season simply sizzle with exciting music.

“At the start of 2003, we had promised you a very special year filled to the brim with glorious music to commemorate our 20th Anniversary, and judging from the overwhelming positive feedback that we have received from you – we certainly didn’t disappoint you, “ said Bongani Tembe, the Orchestra’s Chief Executive and Artistic Director. “We are confident that we have put together a Summer Season that will appeal to all tastes. 2004 is a significant year for all South Africans as we celebrate 10 years of democracy in our country. In addition to the three World Symphony Seasons throughout the year, we are delighted to announce that we have some exciting events planned which include a return to Grahamstown in July, where we will form part of their 30th Anniversary festivities, and a unique collaboration with the London Symphony Orchestra who will be celebrating their centenary this year.”

Acclaimed London-based Chinese conductor En Shao, returns to lead the first three concerts of the season on February 26. Young Scottish violinist Nicola Benedetti, lauded by critics for her "prodigious talent" and "technical sophistication", performs Beethoven's popular Romances in G major and F major. Brahms's idyllic Second Symphony and Schubert’s Symphony No 8 –“Unfinished” completes the evening's programme.

Making a welcome return to Durban on March 4 is South African pianist Jonathan Oshry, now based in London. He has played to critical acclaim throughout South Africa and Europe, and will perform Rachmaninov's demanding and majestic Piano Concerto No 3. Tchaikovsky's optimistic and popular Fifth Symphony is featured in the second half of the concert.

On March 11, versatile Irish violinist Darragh Morgan performs Barber's moody and exuberant Violin Concerto, which will be heard for the first time on the KZN Philharmonic stage. The composer's popular masterpiece, Adagio for Strings, opens the concert. The concert closes with Berlioz's revolutionary Symphonie Fantastique. This concert will be En Shao’s last appearance on the KZN Philharmonic podium for this visit.

Making his début with the KZN Philharmonic on March 18 is accomplished American-based Austrian conductor Nicholas Uljanov. He will be joined by leading South African cellist Cobus Swanepoel, who is based in Switzerland, in a performance of Haydn's Cello Concerto in D. Completing the programme will be Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony, hailed by some as one of the most perfect symphonies ever written and Mozart’s Così Fan Tutte will be the overture.

On March 25, concertgoers are in for a rare treat with an Opera Gala Concert performed in association with Den Norske Opera. “This will be an evening for the opera buffs and a gala event which shouldn’t be missed,” said Bongani Tembe. The opera company will be in South Africa to take part in various events to mark the 10th Anniversary of South African democracy. The concert forms part of these festivities. The programme includes popular arias and ensembles from Puccini's Tosca, Verdi's Rigoletto and Don Carlos, Bizet's Carmen, Gounod’s Faust, as well as works by Delibes, Leoncavallo, Wagner and Bernstein. Conductor Terje Boye Hansen will be on the podium and the world-class soloists from Norway accompanying him are Raghnhild Heiland Sørensen (soprano), Ingebjørg Kosmo (mezzo soprano), Henrik Engelsviken (tenor) and Ole Jørgen Kristiansen (baritone).

The final concert of the summer season on April 1 features South African-born conductor and composer Bongani Ndodana on the rostrum. Executive and Artistic Director of the Ensemble Noir in Toronto, Canada, he will be making his début with the KZN Philharmonic. April 1 marks the beginning of Democracy Month in South Africa and it is fitting therefore that the concert begins with a piece of music especially composed by Ndodana entitled Praise for Madiba. Teaming up with him will be talented local pianist Christopher Duigan who will perform Shostakovich’s spirited Second Piano Concerto. Sibelius’s Symphony No.2 provides a fitting end to the concert with its picturesque themes.

The KZN Philharmonic is always mindful of the prevailing economic situation and have kept their ticket prices at an affordable level. Depending on the choice of subscription package, there are significant savings on single ticket prices by booking for multiple concerts. Those interested in subscriptions can phone 031 369 9404 or 369 9477 or email: kznposub@africa.com Public booking is now open at Computicket for individual concerts in the season.

A date for music lovers to diarise is the KZN Philharmonic’s Starlight Pop Opera sponsored by FNB Corporate which will take place at the Durban Country Club on June 6.

You can access the orchestra’s website through artSMart – click on the advert which will appear either on this page, the next or the one thereafter.




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