Halfway through his South African tour, American pianist Spencer Myer says it’s been “thrilling” so far ahead of this weekend’s recitals in Gauteng.
This is Myer’s eighth visit to the country since winning the Unisa International Piano Competition in 2004, effectively launching his stellar international career. In addition to performing, he currently lectures at Boston’s Longy School of Music of Bard College.
Reflecting on the first two weeks of his current nationwide tour of concert recitals and orchestral performances, Myer says he has been buoyed by the warm welcome he has received in South Africa, declaring: “I love it more and more every time.”
He will give a recital for the Johannesburg Musical Society at Johannesburg’s Linder Auditorium on Saturday 9 June 2018 at 20:00, and will perform at Pretoria’s Brooklyn Theatre on Sunday 10 June 2018 at 11:00.
The final leg of his tour will see Myer giving recitals in Pietermaritzburg and Durban, and performing with the Cape Town and Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestras, wrapping up his month-long tour on 21 June 2018.
Returning to old, familiar haunts while also encountering fascinating new ones on this tour, Myer says he was impressed by the “outstanding natural acoustics” in the Moravian Church in Greyton and enjoyed teaching master classes to “extremely talented” students in Stellenbosch. He then travelled inland to perform for the first time in 13 years at the North West University’s Conservatory in Potchefstroom.
“When I walked into the concert hall, it seemed like no time had passed,” Myer remarks. “I remember performing Chopin’s Polonaise-Fantaisie then, and here I was to perform the Four Scherzi this time around. The acoustics in the Conservatory’s recital hall are spectacular, and I was greeted with such warmth from the audience.”
Last weekend, he taught master classes at the Hugo Lambrechts school in Parow, where he had played Beethoven’s Emperor Concerto with the school orchestra during his first South African tour in 2005, under the direction of the late Leon Hartshorne.
“The students, of all ages, were receptive, talented and engaged. It is so encouraging to me to see great music education happening in all corners of the world.” He went on to give a recital in the school’s auditorium – “a total acoustic marvel, it is absolutely one of my favourite spaces to perform in the world. The piano is also one of the most beautiful in South Africa, so it was a joy all around.”
Another hearty reception awaited him at the Helderberg Village Music Society (with its distinctive Bechstein piano) in Somerset West, again tinged with nostalgia, as this was his first stop on his 2015 tour.
Says an appreciative Myer: “The audiences in South Africa all remind me of exactly what I felt from the Pretoria audience throughout the 2004 competition: pure welcome. With well over two weeks left in the tour, I’m looking forward to every minute!”
Myer’s piano recital programme will include the Sonata in E Major by Haydn, two triptychs by Debussy (Estampes as well as D’un cahier d’esquisses, Masques and L’isle joyeuse), plus Chopin’s Four Scherzi.
Don’t miss the rest of Spencer Myer’s 2018 South African tour dates:
- 9 June: Concert recital for the Johannesburg Musical Society, Linder Auditorium, Johannesburg, at 20:00
- 10 June: Concert recital at the Brooklyn Theatre, Pretoria, at 11:00
- 14 June: Performance with the Cape Philharmonic Orchestra, Artscape Opera House, Cape Town, at 20:00
- 16 June: Concert recital for Music Revival, Pietermaritzburg, at 19:00
- 18 June: Concert recital for Friends of Music, Durban, at 19:30
- 20 and 21 June: Performances with the Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra, Linder Auditorium, Johannesburg, at 20:00
Book directly through the respective venues and organisers or Computicket. For general and media enquiries, contact Spencer Myer’s South African agent and tour promoter, Hannie Hefer Promotions, at firstname.lastname@example.org