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WORLD PREMIERE (article first published : 2004-05-12)

The latest composition by internationally-renowned South African composer Kevin Volans will be given its world-premiere performance by distinguished pianist Jill Richards in Howard College Theatre on May 19 at 19h30.

The work is the second set of Etudes for piano. Like the first set, it was specially commissioned by the School of Music at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, where Volans taught composition in the early 1980s.

Kevin Volans was reared in Pietermaritzburg but has lived largely in Europe for decades, now dividing his time between Europe and South Africa. His work became associated with the beginnings of post-modernism in music when, following several field recording trips in South and southern Africa in the late 1970ís, he embarked on a series of pieces based on African compositional techniques. This quickly established him as a distinctive voice on the European and American new-music circuit.

In the 1990's Volans gave increasing attention to writing for dance, collaborating with several international artists. In 1999 the South Bank hosted a fiftieth birthday celebration of his work in the Queen Elizabeth Hall, London.

Latterly, he has turned his attention to writing for orchestra and to collaborating with visual artists. Other recent commissions include a double string quartet (for the Duke Quartet, London) and a concerto for double orchestra (for the BBC Symphony Orchestra).

Jill Richards, currently based in Johannesburg, has performed internationally and is one of the few South African pianists who has been involved in the recording and promotion of South African contemporary piano music. She performs as a chamber musician and soloist and works with a variety of instrumentalists. Richards has had numerous works dedicated to her, and has given many first performances of South African works in South Africa and abroad. She will also perform Kurtag's Pieces from Jatekok, Feldman's Piano piece 1963 and Piano Piece XI by Stockhausen

The concert is sponsored by the Distell Foundation for the Performing Arts. Tickets R40/R20. Bookings or enquiries on 031 260 3353.




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