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KZNPO WWS SPRING SEASON (article first published : 2007-09-21)

The KZN Philharmonic’s 2007 WSS Spring Season features premiere performances and timeless classics from September 13. With front ranking artists from the international circuit, as well as some of South Africa’s finest musicians, it is set to be one of the most memorable to date. KZNPO Chief Executive and Artistic Director, Bongani Tembe said, “It is always with pleasure, and anticipation, that we introduce new works to our patrons. In planning our programmes it is our aim to broaden both their experiences and that of our musicians. The skill, however, lies in balancing this with a mix of timeless classics – those beloved pieces that no music lover would want to miss. Our WSS Spring Season presents just such a programme, with premiere performances alongside some favourite works. We also celebrate South Africa’s talented young musicians with the prestigious annual National Youth Concerto Festival, so, there is undoubtedly something to suit every taste on our WSS season menu.”

A high note during this season is the inauguration of the Giya South Africa Festival. This exciting event encompasses the last two symphony concerts of the season, as well as other complementary performances that are designed to provide a feast of musical entertainment. Included in the concert programme is the world premiere of accomplished South African composer Christopher James’s Paradise Regained, which is a powerful musical tribute to Nelson Mandela. The KZNPO is also pleased to once again work with acclaimed South African choirs, who always add great value to the concerts.

The season opens on September 13 with a performance of Chopin’s poignant Piano Concerto No.2 by Margarita Shevchenko who has been lauded for her “…interpretative power and virtuosic technique…”. Considered to be one of the most beautiful of piano concertos, this work complements a programme that includes Tchaikovsky’s dramatic Sixth Symphony. On the podium is maestro Naum Rousine.

On September 20, the KZNPO welcomes notable French violinist Jean-Marc Phillips-Varjabédian, a finalist in the prestigious Tchaikovsky International Competition and winner of the SACEM George Enescu Prize, as he performs Khachaturian’s unaffectedly expressive Violin Concerto. On the podium, for the first of a two-week engagement, is illustrious conductor François-Xavier Roth. Concluding the concert is Rachmaninoff’s Symphonic Dances; his last composition and also recognised as one of his finest, the Dances combine energetic rhythmic sections with some of the composer's most lush melodies.

Celebrated Polish pianist Ewa Poblocka performs Beethoven’s First Piano Concerto, known for its beautiful clarinet duo with the piano and its rollicking finale, in a programme that celebrates the work of this master composer on September 27. The concert opens with the musical drama of his Coriolan Overture and closes with his bright and joyful Eighth Symphony. Written in tandem with his expansive Seventh, it is one of his shortest symphonies and contain some of his most subtly comical musical moments – making it one of his most remarkable as it is unlike any of his others. This concert forms part of the Celebrate Durban festivities.

A sought-after vehicle for young musicians wanting to make their mark, the National Youth Concerto Festival sets a high standard of performance. On October 4, conductor Lykele Temmingh puts the cream of young South African artists through their paces, with a programme that offers a feast of classical fare. Join the KZNPO in celebrating the talents of this country’s youth in a concert that is often a springboard for broadening horizons and a launching pad for careers. The programme includes the first movement of Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 1, Bruch’s Kol Nidrei, Un bel di vedremo from Puccini’s Madama Butterfly, Mayuzumi’s Concertino for Xylophone and Glazunov’s Concerto for Alto Saxophone.

Notable South African flautist Dawid Venter debuts with the KZNPO under the baton of commended American conductor Victor Yampolsky on October 11. The concert opens with the arresting music of Schumann’s overture to his only opera, Genoveva, followed by Reinecke’s lyrical Flute Concerto. Brimming with beautiful melodies and tastefully developed passages of virtuosic display, this concerto, written in Romantic style, provides the soloist with many richly expressive opportunities. The second half features Schubert’s Ninth Symphony – aptly titled “The Great” as it remains his greatest symphonic composition, it is described as “bright, fascinating and original”.

Acclaimed South African soprano Angela Gilbert performs a veritable feast of adored operatic arias on October 18, under the baton of Victor Yampolsky. Included in the progarmme are Caro Nome from Verdi’s Rigoletto, Depuis le jour from Charpentier’s Louise, E strano...Sempre libera from Verdi’s La Traviata and Ah non credea mirati…Ah non giunge from Bellini’s La Sonnambula.

Mozart’s astonishing Seventeenth Piano Concerto offers applauded pianist Ali Hiréche the ideal vehicle for his debut performance with the KNZPO on October 25. With its remarkable wealth of ideas and contrasting themes, this concerto takes the listener on a breathtaking journey of beautiful music. Notable British conductor Nicholas Cleobury leads the concert, which closes with Sibelius’s optimistic and luminous Fifth Symphony.

On the programme for November 1 is Juilliard graduate and Grammy Award nominee Philippe Quint. Often acclaimed for his “searingly poetic lyricism” and the “the brilliance of his playing”, he performs Tchaikovsky’s demanding Violin Concerto – considered to be among the most technically difficult works for violin. This masterpiece ranges from classical poise to red-blooded romantic virtuosity, finishing with spine-tingling Russian temperament. In celebration of the 150th anniversary of Elgar’s birth, the concert opens with the timeless Enigma Variations: Nimrod and closes with his masterful First Symphony. Resident KZNPO conductor Lykele Temmingh is on the podium.

November 8 marks the return of admired pianist Jitka Cechova, performing Dvorák’s infectious Piano Concerto, and the debut of one of the foremost Czech cellists Jan Pálenicek, who performs Tchaikovsky’s charming and graceful Rococo Variations. Under the baton of popular American conductor Leslie B. Dunner, the concert concludes with Stravinsky’s richly textured The Fairy’s Kiss. One of his most tender scores with its haunting melodies, it is based on songs and piano works by Tchaikovsky.

For the concert on November 15 the undeniable flair and power of Grieg and Ravel combine in a programme featuring two of their most popular works: Grieg’s commanding Piano Concerto and Ravel’s engaging Bolero. Also included in the programme is the world premiere performance of Christopher James’s Paradise Regained, a powerful musical tribute to Nelson Mandela.

The season comes to a spectacular conclusion on November 22 with a performance of Mozart’s Exsultate Jubilate and Orff’s masterpiece Carmina Burana. Under the baton of Leslie B. Dunner, the Durban stage comes alive with a wealth of talented South African musicians – soprano Bronwen Forbay, baritone Andre Howard and the combined might of the acclaimed Durban Serenade Choral Society and Durban Symphonic Choir.

All the KZNPO WSS concerts take place in the Durban City Hall at 19h30. Single tickets are available at any Computicket outlet or at the door. Discounted rates for seniors and students are also available at the door. Contact the KZNPO Subscription/Sales Office on 031 369 9404/369 9477 or fax 031 9403, or email on bookings@kznpo.co.za or visit www.kznpo.co.za




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