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YOUNG TALENT ON PARADE (article first published : 2007-10-10)

Spring is well and truly launched on Durbanís official cultural front, and in the wake of Ethekwini Municipalityís jam-packed Celebrate Durban campaign many may be feeling slightly dazed. Nonetheless the high season of classical music is in full stride, with a wealth of new talent taking the spot light in the days and weeks ahead, so do stay in pro-active support mode.

Next Monday (October 8) the UKZN School of Music honours one of our cityís cultural icons when it presents A Piano Celebration at Howard College Theatre in celebration of the 90th Birthday of Moira (Kearney) Birks. Renowned for her formidable technique and for the crystalline clarity of her playing, Birks thrilled concert goers during her heyday in the 1960s, and she continued to share her skills with generations of students for many years.

This writer (a long lapsed wannabe pianist) was among the beneficiaries of the Birks musical heritage, having studied privately for a number of years with two of her senior pupils, Louna Louw neť Davis, and briefly with the pianistís daughter Annette Kearney (herself a fine concert pianist). UKZNís tribute will feature current students from the School of Music who will perform works for piano. Admission is free and the concert is from 12h15 to 13h00.

Next up in the same campus venue, a note for opera-starved enthusiasts, the UKZN School of Music presents OSCA Voice students specialising in Performance in selections of their repertoire. This is on Wednesday October 10 from 12h15 to 13h00 and entrance is free. For more info contact Debbie Mari: on 031260 3353 or e-mail: marid1@ukzn.ac.za.

On the chamber music front, a reminder that Durbanís Friends of Music promises a memorable evening with South African pianist Pieter Jacobs at the Durban Jewish Centre at 44 Old Fort Road on October 16. Jacobs studied piano abroad on a Fulbright Scholarship and other bursaries including the Ernest Oppenheimer Memorial Trust. He has performed extensively in South Africa, the USA, Britain and Belgium, winning critical accolades along the way.

His FOM programme will feature Mozartís Piano Sonata in F Major K332 and his A Major Rondo K511, and Prokofievís Ten Pieces for Piano from Romeo and Juliet Opus 75. The eveningís Prelude Performer will be the young singer Quincy Jansen, a member of the Kearsney College Choir.

Next on FOMís roster, the acclaimed duo Jan PŠleniček (cello) and Jitka Cechova (piano) appear in the same venue on November 6, performing Schumannís Fantasiestűcke Op. 73, Brahmsís Sonata in F major Op. 99, Beethovenís Sonata in A major Op. 69 and Martinuís Variation on a Slovak Folk Song. Prelude performer is the young violinist Yea Kyung Kim. FOM recitals start at 19h45, safe parking is provided and booking is through Computicket.

This eveningís KZNPO Youth Concerto Festival in the Durban City Hall is under the baton of Lykele Temmingh who some years ago inherited the mantle of this annual event from its founder, Dr David Tidboald. It continues to offer audiences the thrill of hearing some of South Africaís finest new talent on the cusp of concert careers. Appearing this evening are the soprano Khumbuzile Dhlamini (currently enrolled at OSCA) singing Un bel di from Pucciniís Madama Butterfly; Clinton Claasen (a pupil of Francois du Toit in Cape Town) performing the First Movement of Rachmaninoffís Piano Concerto No 1; Cape Town cellist Leana Alkema playing Bruchís Kol Nid Re; MornŤ Giani (another Cape Town pianist) playing Lisztís Totentanz; Esthea Kruger (a Nina Schuman pupil) playing the Third Movement of Rachmaninovís Piano Concerto No 3; Cherilee Adams playing the 2nd Movement of the Mayuzumi Xylophone Concertino; JC Jacobs performing the First Movement of the Dvorak Cello Concerto; and Matthew Lombard playing Glazunovís Saxophone Concerto.

Next Thursday the noted South African flautist Dawid Venter debuts with the KZNPO under the baton of seasoned guest conductor Victor Yampolsky. The programme includes Schumannís Genoveva Overture, Reineckeís Flute Concerto and Schubertís Ninth Symphony ďThe GreatĒ.

Then its back briefly to operatic excerpts when Cape Town soprano Angela Gilbert appears on our World Symphony Series roster on October 18, with Victor Yampolsky. Included in the progarmme are Caro Nome from Verdiís Rigoletto, Depuis le jour from Charpentierís Louise, E strano...Sempre libera from Verdiís La Traviata and Ah non credea miratiÖAh non giunge from Belliniís La Sonnambula.




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