Making Musical History

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Making Musical History:  JPO and KZN Philharmonic in concert together

The KwaZulu-Natal Philharmonic Orchestra.
The KwaZulu-Natal Philharmonic Orchestra.

Music history will be made during two very special concerts due to take place in the Linder Auditorium on Wed 28 and Thursday 29 October – as the Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra will perform together with their KZN counterparts, the KwaZulu-Natal Philharmonic.

These upcoming concerts symbolically herald a new chapter for the Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra (JPO) and the start of a new relationship with their sister orchestra the KwaZulu-Natal Philharmonic as the result of a signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Boards of the KZNPO and the JPO last month.

The Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra
The Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra

The Viennas of Mozart and Mahler were separated by more than a century, and differed politically and culturally. However, the core of the compositional language was sustained. Now, the Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra and the KwaZulu-Natal Philharmonic will join forces to explore the Viennese musical language of Mozart and Mahler in an unforgettable joint concert.

Bongani Tembe: the tenured CEO and Artistic Director of the KZNPO  and the newly appointed Artistic Director of the JPO.
Bongani Tembe: the tenured CEO and Artistic Director of the KZNPO and the newly appointed Artistic Director of the JPO.

“I am delighted that the JPO and the KZN Philharmonic will, for the first time in their existences, make music together. It is true that there is strength in unity. This historic concert will also serve to affirm both orchestras’ commitment to delivering artistic excellence to the audiences of South Africa,” stated Bongani Tembe, the tenured CEO and Artistic Director of the KZN Philharmonic and the newly appointed Artistic Director of the JPO.

The concert begins with one of Mozart’s most famous works – the Concerto for Clarinet in A major. The concerto is best known for its use in the film Out of Africa starring Robert Redford and Meryl Streep, and it is a true masterpiece of the repertoire. Junnan Sun, the newly appointed principal clarinettist of the KZN Philharmonic, steps up to perform this virtuosic and sensual work.

Conductor: Daniel Raiskin
Conductor: Daniel Raiskin

Under the baton of Daniel Raiskin, the evening’s programme will feature the grand Mahler’s Symphony No.5 in C Sharp minor. “Mahler Five” is an epic piece in five movements scored for a large orchestra. It is considered to be a particularly ambitious symphony to perform, as the musical canvas and emotional scope of the work – which lasts approximately an hour – is huge.

It has been said that the Fifth is a great challenge; a symphony where you have to really search to find the centre. The orchestra has to have tremendous technique and sensitivity: there are extremes of happiness, sadness, loneliness, and hope in this work. Few compositions in the symphonic literature conjure the same sense of monolithic grandeur as the Fifth symphony. From the opening trumpet statements of the Trauermarsch, the virtuosic obligato horn solo of the Scherzo, the passion of the Adagietto, to the explosive power of the Finale, majesty pours out of every note. Mahler’s Fifth symphony has been a milestone for every great orchestra across the world as it tests the physical and emotional limits of the musicians and conductor in some of the most powerful music ever composed.

Soloist: Junnan Sun, the newly appointed principal clarinettist of the KZN Philharmonic
Soloist: Junnan Sun, the newly appointed principal clarinettist of the KZN Philharmonic

Raiskin cultivates a broad repertoire, often looking beyond the mainstream. The son of a prominent musicologist, he grew up in St Petersburg, and studied in Amsterdam and Freiburg and soon became one of Europe’s leading viola players. Since 2005 Raiskin has been the Chief Conductor of the Staatsorchestra Rheinishche Philharmonie in Koblenz, and since 2008 he has held the same title with the Artur Rubinstein Philharmonic Orchestra in the Polish city of Lodz. He has regular guest engagements across Europe and Asia His engagements for the 2014 / 15 season include debuts with Clasica Santa Cecilia in Madrid, Russian State Symphony Orchestra in Moscow, San Antonio Symphony, Winnipeg Symphony and return invitations as guest conductor with Belgrade Philharmonic, Jenaer Philharmnie, Marinsky Orchestra, RTV Slovenia Symphony Orchestra, Stuttgarter Philharmoniker and further afield with the Belgian National and Slovak Philharmonic Orchestras.

  • The KZN Philharmonic will be in Gauteng as guests of the Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality – performing at the Melting Pot Choral Competition.
  • The JPO and KZNPO will be in concert together at the Linder Auditorium on Wits Parktown Campus, Wed 28 at 8pm and Thurs 29 Oct at 8pm.

Public booking through Computicket outlets, telephonically at 0861 915 8000, or online at www.computicket.com.
Subscriber tickets through Nompilo Mtshali – 031 369 9477

  • The KZN Philharmonic is also performing Carl Orff’s grand Carmina Burana under the baton of Daniel Raiskin on Thursday 22 October in the Durban City Hall, as the final concert in their Spring Season.
  • The KZN Philharmonic is also performing in World Religions in Concert at the Emmanuel Cathedral / Denis Hurley Centre on Monday 9 November at 7pm to mark the Centenary of Archbishop Denis Hurley’s birth and the formal opening of the Denis Hurley Centre in Durban.

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