The KwaZulu-Natal Philharmonic proudly returns to Grahamstown for the fifth year in a row as the resident orchestra of the National Arts Festival.
From 4 to 8 July the orchestra performs seven dazzling concerts. CEO Bongani Tembe reflects on the festival, “For almost half of a century the National Arts Festival has been an important platform for South African artists. It also attracts international artists from all disciplines. This combining of cultures in the small, picturesque South African town celebrates our rich diversity and soothes the soul of our country.”
The KwaZulu-Natal Philharmonic begins its 2015 NAF concerts series on 4 July with a traditional symphony concert of mostly masterworks and a splash of something new. The concert opens with Preludio and Umsindo by South African composer Hendrik Hofmeyr. KZN Philharmonic concertmaster, Joanna Frankel, then joins the orchestra to perform Tchaikovsky’s violin concerto. Since moving to Durban in 2013, Frankel—a Julliard School trained American violinist—has successfully toured South Africa in recitals, and has been featured as a concerto soloist with the KZN Philharmonic on multiple concerts. The concert, conducted by Bernhard Gueller then closes with the rustic and vibrant 8th symphony by Czech composer Antonín Dvoøák.
Richard Cock, a household name in the South African music community, joins the orchestra for three concerts of variety, nationalism, fun, and frivolity. On the 5th of July, baritone Musa Ngqungwana, horn player Sorin Osorhean, cellist Boris Kerimov, and percussionist Magdalene de Vries join the KZN Philharmonic in a Gala concert of light and sensual classics. Then on the 6th of July, Richard Cock and the orchestra are joined by singers Este Meerkotter, Tim Moloi, and Nicholas Nicholaidis in two pops concerts of Jazz and Broadway tunes. In between the pops concerts will be a special children’s concert in the foyer of the Guy Butler theatre.
Members of the KwaZulu-Natal Philharmonic also present a chamber music concert inspired by African sounds. The concert opens with a performance of Ravel’s String Quartet in F major by the KZN Philharmonic String Quartet. The percussion section of the orchestra then takes the stage to perform Drumming by composer Steve Reich. The minimalist work, performed on four bongo drums, was inspired by the composer’s trip to Africa. The concert then closes with Gumboots by British composer David Bruce. The spirited piece evokes the tradition and stories of “gumboot dancing” through the use of South African song and dance rhythms.
KZN Philharmonic National Arts Festival Concerts:
Symphony Concert 4 July 2015 at 6pm Guy Butler Theatre
Gala Concert 5 July 2015 at 3pm Guy Butler Theatre
Pops Concert 6 July 2015 at 2pm and 7:30pm Guy Butler Theatre
Children’s Concert 6 July 2015 at 5pm Guy Butler Theatre foyer
Chamber Music Concert 1 5 July 2015 at 7pm Rhodes Chapel
Chamber Music Concert 2 7 July 2015 at 3pm Rhodes Chapel