The Johannesburg Musical Society steps ahead in 2015 with a bright and buzzy concert programme. After 111 years on the job, the JMS certainly knows how to put together an exciting season of music. A veritable United Nations of performers has been gathered for 2015, with artists from Singapore, Canada, America and Russia promising a variety of performing skills and a wide range of music. [GARD align=”center”]
Singapore-born pianist Melvyn Tan plays the opening concert on Saturday 7 February. Melvyn Tan is a pioneering musician who has investigated performance practise on the fortepiano (the predecessor to the modern pianoforte). A musician who is respected from New York to London, his performances are illuminated by his specialist knowledge. This particular concert is a co-production with the International Johannesburg Mozart Festival (JIMF).
On the last Saturday of February, a glamorous Canadian violinist will carry the series forward. Yi-Jia Susanne Hou, who plays on the last Saturday of the month (February 28), is known as ‘Little Miss Violin’ and was described by Yehudi Menuhin as ‘absolutely phenomenal’. She will be accompanied by American pianist Bryan Wallick. Several Americans are featured: pianists Spencer Myer (March) and Awadagin Pratt (May), as well as cellist Ben Capps (September). [GARD align=”center”]
In October, Armenian violinist Hrachya Avanesyan, known to be one of the most inspiring artists of his generation, will take to the JMS platform.
Several star South African performers are added to this mix. Charl du Plessis and his trio will play a “Classic Broadway” programme (Sunday August 16). This superb cross-over ensemble plays with sophistication and panache and will offer Cole Porter, Kurt Weill and Leonard Bernstein. Joined by tenor Musamete, their programme is sure to be a great favourite.
In April, the Odeion String Quartet will play the annual Nabarro Chamber Concert. This fine quartet is now led by Samson Diamond, a graduate of the Royal College of Music, and the addition of a male performer to this previously all-girl band has aroused much interest. In June, pianist Ben Schoeman – one of South Africa’s foremost pianists – teams up with cellist Anzel Gerber. The duo has already made its debut in Carnegie Hall, New York, to excellent reviews. [GARD align=”center”]
Finally, the Percy Baneshik Memorial Concert takes place on Saturday 14 November, bringing the year to a scintillating close. The all-Russian piano duo of Vassily Primakov and Natalia Lavrova will provide a dazzling year-end piano extravanganza. Both are superb technicians as well as fine musicians, and this concert will bring the year to a close on a note of high excitement.
All concerts take place in the Linder Auditorium on the Wits Education Campus in Parktown, and all concerts are open to the public, who can book for individual events through Computicket. However, it is worth noting that the yearly membership fee works out very affordably, giving JMS members a 30% discount on ticket prices, free concert programmes and the assurance of their chosen seat at all concerts. In addition, the adjoining Siyafunda Cafe provides an excellent cappuccino, glass of wine or tea and cake.
For more details about the Johannesburg Musical Society, phone Avril on 011 728 5492, Herman on 083 228 2917, or consult the website www.jms.org.za