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KZNPO CONCERT: 14 OCTOBER 2004 (article first published : 2004-10-16)

The National Youth Concerto Festival was founded by David Tidboald 20 years ago and has become a regular annual feature of KZN Philharmonic concerts. Dr Tidboald, the orchestraís conductor-laureate, was present this week to hear, with the Durban City Hall audience, a dozen gifted young performers chosen from 109 who were auditioned for the concert.

Lykele Temmingh, who has taken over from David Tidboald as selector for the youth festival, conducted the orchestra in a programme ranging from piano concertos to operatic arias. The soloists, from various parts of South Africa, displayed an imposing array of talents. I will not try to assess them in any kind of order of merit, but here are brief comments on some of the performances:

Avigail Bushakovitz, a 16-year-old immigrant from Israel now living in George, beguiled a Friends of Music audience some time ago with her attractive combination of innocence and aplomb, and she did likewise in this concert with a skilful account of the first movement of Max Bruchís celebrated Violin Concerto No. 1.

Her elder brother, Ammiel Bushakovitz, played the somewhat neglected one-movement Piano Concerto No. 3 in E flat by Tchaikovsky.

Jan Hugo of Pretoria, who is only 13 but looks older, is a tall, lean lad with large hands which created something of a sensation with the flying octaves of the third movement of Saint-Saensís Piano Concerto No. 5. He looks and sounds like a big talent for the future.

The best of the singers was Bulelani Madikizela, whose appearance on stage was greeted with great excitement from part of the audience and whose resonant bass-baritone was shown to excellent effect in an aria from Mozartís Marriage of Figaro.

Sibusiso Mkhize (tenor) was not far behind in an aria from Verdiís La Traviata, showing good intonation and good breath control.

A Grade 9 pupil from Bloemfontein, Leana Alkema, tackled the formidable first movement of the Saint-Saens Cello Concerto No. 1 with artistry and composure. Another young player who looks as if she will go far.

A symbol for the entire festival was the first item, Cimarosaís Concerto for Two Flutes (first movement) played by Cobus du Toit and Khanyisile Mthetwa. As I listened to this graceful, elegant eighteenth century music, played by two young South Africans from very different backgrounds, I reflected that in a sense it encapsulated our hopes for the future. May our intertwined destinies be as harmonious as this. - Michael Green




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