Doing it Steinway

2010-04-22 00:00

PIETERMARITZBURG pianist Christopher Duigan has just been named a Steinway Artist, joining what the ­piano company calls an “exquisite ­circle of pianists” that includes Vladimir Horowitz, Arthur Rubinstein, Alfred Brendel, Martha Argerich, Lang Lang and Diana Krall.

“We are delighted to welcome Christopher Duigan to our band of ­‘local heroes’ as a member of the Steinway family,” says Deon van ­Vuuren, owner of Pianoforte Steinway SA in Cape Town.

Steinway & Sons has previously added five South African names to its worldwide artist roster — Abdullah Ibrahim, Bheki Mseleku, Anton Nel, Charl du Plessis and Jill Richards.

Speaking to The Witness about the accolade, Duigan said: “I am thrilled. It is an enormous privilege to be recognised by such an iconic group and a premium international brand such as Steinway & Sons. The level of commitment in the manufacture of these instruments is itself an inspiration.”

He added that as a musician it is a wonderful affirmation, which recognises both his commitment to promoting music in South Africa and the ­artistic level he is constantly striving for.

“It is unsolicited and comes from a very ‘real world’ organisation,” Duigan said. “As a freelance musician who works largely in isolation it is a hugely important acknowledgment for me.”

Asked if he had known Steinway & Sons, which returned to South Africa in March 2007, was planning to recognise him, he said: “I have been aware for some time that they had an eye on my work and the profile I enjoy as a concert pianist performing around South Africa.

“Deon van Vuuren attended several of my concerts in recent years and invited me to perform in the launch concerts in Cape Town and Johannesburg. [And] James Ledgerwood, ­district sales manager for overseas territories in the Steinway & Sons Hamburg head office, also noted my performances at these events.”

Duigan, who owns a Steinway ­piano, also considers it a privilege to be given the opportunity to be associated with the company and its instruments on such a public platform. “In my testimonial I mention the notion that only a Steinway can produce the unique ‘sound’ that I call my own. And music is all about sound,” he said.

Widely regarded as one of South ­Africa’s most innovative concert ­pianists, Duigan has maintained an active performing schedule since his professional debut with the Cape Town Symphony Orchestra in 1991.

He has performed extensively with all leading South African orchestras, including the KwaZulu-Natal Philharmonic, Cape Philharmonic and Johannesburg Philharmonic orchestras, and internationally at St Martin- in-the-Fields, St James’s Piccadilly and South Africa House in London, and at the Edinburgh Festival in Scotland in 2001 and 2003, where his performance was broadcast live on BBC Radio 3.

Locally he hosts the popular Music Revival concerts at his home in Athlone, as well as the concert series at The Witness Hilton Arts Festival.

Later this year Duigan will be performing Celebrating Chopin, a recital programme marking the 200th ­anniversary of Fr é d é ric Chopin’s birth, at the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown, and concerto performances with the KZNPO in the ­Pietermaritzburg City Hall and at the World Symphony Series concerts in the Durban City Hall.


PIANIST Christopher Duigan has two concerts at 35 Montgomery Road, Athlone, this weekend: at 7.30 pm on Saturday and 11 am on Sunday. Focusing on sparkling classical moods, the Music Revival programme includes sonatas by Scarlatti, Liszt’s Reminiscences di Lucia de Lammermoor , Rachmaninoff’s Prelude in B-flat major , music by Debussy and Mozart’s Sonata in F major K 331 . Tickets for the Saturday concert are R100, and include Cap Classique on arrival and coffee. On Sunday, tickets are R90, and include scones and coffee served from 10.30 am.

On April 27, Duigan celebrates Chopin in a lunch-time programme of music at Tumble Downs on the Curry’s Post Road at 12.30 pm. Tickets are R230, which includes a three-course meal. Booking is essential — phone 033 330 8099 or 082 802 2837. Tables of four or more preferred.

At 7 pm on April 28, Duigan hosts Saronsberg – A Passage to All Senses at 35 Montgomery Drive when Saronsberg Wine Estate presents a selection of its best wines, paired with a tasting menu and music. Tickets are R230.

Lastly, Duigan hosts Brutal Tunes starring Anthony Stonier, Lisa Bobbert and Andrew Warburton, at 35 Montgomery Drive. This music revue is filled with comedy, clever (and brutal) lyrics and outrageous fun. See it on April 30 at 7.30 pm. Tickets at R230, include the cabaret and a meal. Take your own wine.

To book for the Music Revival concerts, e-mail or phone 033 342 3051.

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