Enjoy vibrant music

2013-10-16 00:00

UNITED states conductor Daniel Walshaw is making his South African debut with the KwaZulu-Natal Philharmonic Orchestra at this weekend’s Symphony in the City: Tchaikovsky Spectacular in the Pietermaritzburg City Hall.

Walshaw has just joined the orchestra in an administrative position where he will manage artistic production and new music, as well as lead the orchestra library.

Described as a “model 21st-century inter-disciplinary musician”, he has conducted and performed with ensembles across the United States.

He is sought after particularly for his knowledge and skills with new music, and music of the baroque and renaissance periods.

His dedication to scholarship led him to work as an exhibition curator for the music division at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. — the youngest person to do so in its history.

His exhibition, Danny Kaye and Sylvia Fine: Two Kids from Brooklyn, has been on display in both Washington and in Los Angeles, and has received press coverage in the New York Times, Washington Post and Los Angeles Times.

In addition to curatorial work, Walshaw has given two lectures at the Library of Congress: Schoenberg and Early Music and Czech Music Then and Now. His analytical and thematic guide to Arnold Schoenberg’s Kammersinfonie op. 9 has been used at Conductors’ Guild workshops in the United States.

As a composer, Walshaw has written works for both large and small ensembles.

Recently, the Inscape Chamber Orchestra of Washington, D.C. performed his Lament, Chorale and Fughetta and the University of Maryland Repertoire Orchestra performed his Prelude, Fugue and Chorale.

Education is one of his main interests and he believes the path to sustainable arts is community connection.

In his former position as music director and conductor of the National Institutes of Health Community Orchestra in Bethesda, Maryland, he expanded the ensemble from 30 members to over 80.

His efforts led the orchestra to become the most successful community ensemble in the Washington, D.C. area.

Walshaw also volunteers as a conductor and ensemble coach at rural grade school music programmes in mid-Michigan.

For Saturday’s symphony concert, he will be conducting a programme that includes Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto, one of the repertoire’s most treasured and passionate pieces, which will be performed by Joanna Frankel, concert master of the KZN Philharmonic Society.

Frankel, who is Walshaw’s wife, delighted the audience in the Pietermaritzburg City Hall in February this year with her rendition of the Meditation from Massenet’s Thais.

Her prowess as a concert soloist has been proven in her playing four concerti with the orchestra in the past 12 months in Durban and at the Grahamstown National Arts Festival, all garnering rave reviews.

Complementing the Violin Concerto will be Tchaikovsky’s two compositions that showcase the symphonic splendour of the orchestra: Capriccio Italie n and Waltz and Polonaise from Eugene Onegin.

Other items set to delight the audience include:

• Max Bruch’s haunting exploration on Jewish chants Kol Nidrei , featuring cellist Boris Kerimov as the soloist;

• local pianist and Steinway virtuoso Christopher Duigan, who plays the Scherzo from Henri Litolff’s Concerto Symphonique;

• percussionist Nicholas Stone, who will be playing Peter Klatzow’s Marimba Concerto Third Movement ; and

• harpist Marina Solomon, who will be joined by Theo Venter on flute, in the Andante from Mozart’s Concerto for Flute and Harp.

The Symphony in the City: Tchaikovsky Spectacular — which is presented by Parklane SuperSpar in association with the KZN Philharmonic Orchestra and Duigan’s Music Revival, with the support of The Witness and C.P.W Printers — will be taking place in the Pietermaritzburg City Hall at 7.30 pm on Saturday.

Tickets range from R100 to R160 and can be bought from Dulce Coffee Shop at Parklane SuperSpar at 033 342 3487. Discounts are available for pensioners, pupils and students.

Opening hours for Dulce are today, tomorrow and Friday from 7 am to 5 pm, and Saturday from 7 am to 3.30 pm.

Parking is secure and patrolled in the city hall, Tatham Art Gallery and Bessie Head Library precincts.

• arts@witness.co.za

THE KwaZulu-Natal Philharmonic Orchestra will be hosting another of its Spring Symphony Season concerts in the Durban City Hall at 7.30 pm tomorrow.

Conducted by Arjan Tien and featuring soloist Alexandra Dariescu on piano, the programme for the evening includes Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 4 and Mahler’s Symphony No. 4.

Tickets range from R45 to R200 at Computicket. For more details, log on to www.kznpo.co.za

Safe parking is available at the Royal Hotel.

Before the concert, there will be a lecture by Michael Green. Hosted by the Friends of Music, the talk takes place at 6.15 pm in the Playhouse Alhambra Room. Tickets cost R10 at the door.

— Arts Editor.

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