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KZNPO CONCERT: SEPTEMBER 14 2006 (article first published : 2006-09-19)

The spring season of the KZN Philharmonic Orchestra opened with the annual National Youth Concerto Festival. This is always an interesting event but inevitably it consists of a variety of fairly short and unrelated items rather than the three or four substantial compositions of a normal symphony programme.

It seems that a fair number of concertgoers do not care for this format; the audience in the Durban City Hall was rather sparse. A pity, because some exceptional talent was on display, selected by the conductor of the night, Lykele Temmingh, after considering 68 applications from young performers in many parts of South Africa.

Altogether twelve instrumentalists and singers aged 13 to 23 appeared in a programme ranging from Mozart to a work by 54-year-old Dr Nhlanhla Brian Thusi, who runs a music teaching centre in Umlazi. A well-known trumpeter, Brian is involved with jazz festivals and is one of the unsung heroes of the never-ending campaign to spread the knowledge and love of music in our country.

The soloists were Louisa Theart (flute), Hesti Lourens (clarinet), Golda Schultz (soprano), Megan-Geoffrey Prins (piano), Bokani Macha (piano), Matthew Willis (trombone), Chris Engel (tenor sax), S’Thembele Gumede (drums), Prince Bulo (bass guitar), Sarah-Jane Brandon (soprano), Jacqueline Wedderburn-Maxwell (violin) and Pieter Crathorne (piano).

They all did well and at least two showed that they are already mature concert artists. These were Golda Schultz, from the Free State but now a student in Cape Town, who displayed a full, rich, expressive soprano voice; and Megan-Geoffrey Prins from Stellenbosch, who handled with great confidence the thundering octaves of Liszt’s Piano Concerto No.2 in A major, the only full-scale work on the programme.

Lykele Temmingh conducted with skill and discretion and showed his empathy with the performers by embracing them after each item. A heart-warming evening. - Michael Green




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