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The Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra 2018 Summer Season runs at the Linder Auditorium in Parktown between 28 February and 22 March.
One of four programmes will be presented each week during the season, with Wednesday evening performances reprised the following evening each Thursday. The season is presented as part of the renowned World Symphony Series (WSS) which was launched in Durban 22 years ago and was introduced to JPO audiences last season.
Book now! Season tickets for the JPO’s World Symphony Series 2018 Summer Season are available through Computicket. Call 0861 915 8000 or book online at www.computicket.com. For more information please log onto www.joburg.co.za/johannesburg-philharmonic-orchestra.
“We proudly continue to bring Gauteng audiences our World Symphony Series this season, ensuring we attract a wealth of the finest International conductors and soloists to our concert platforms, along with leading South African artists, whilst bearing in mind the Orchestra’s broad mission, and boldly developing its ever-evolving artistic vision,” says Bongani Tembe, Chief Executive and Artistic Director of the Johannesburg and KwaZulu-Natal Philharmonic Orchestras.
“The JPO’s primary mission continues to focus on bringing excellence in music-making to the city of Johannesburg. This goes hand in glove with our community engagement programmes which we will implement throughout the Gauteng Province. By presenting a world-class level of concerts, as well as promoting the transfer of skills to young musicians of all races, the Johannesburg Philharmonic remains committed to enriching the cultural life of South Africa’s diverse population.”
“Once again we are happy to take up artistic residence for the season in Johannesburg’s splendid Linder Auditorium, and you can certainly expect the wealth of fine performances you are accustomed to enjoying emanating from our concert stage, as we look forward to hosting a range of highly talented artists who are set to collaborate with the Orchestra in bringing our programmes to life.”
“This season’s roster marks the debut of two KZN Philharmonic Orchestra (KZN Phil) affiliated conductors: Israeli-American conductor Daniel Boico, who is KZN Phil’s Associate Guest Conductor for the past 3 years and Lykele Temmingh, resident conductor of the KZN Phil for the past 27 years. Also making his debut with the JPO is the highly accomplished Canadian-Caribbean conductor Kwamé Ryan. The Dutch maestro Arjan Tien makes his welcome return to close the season. The Summer season also features brilliant soloists: we welcome Germany’s celebrated new-generation violin luminary Daniel Röhn, accomplished Indian-American pianist Pallavi Mahidhara, South Africa’s own star flautist Liesl Stoltz and Britain’s charismatic father-son duo Alexander Baillie (cello) and Max Baillie (violin).”
Daniel Boico conducts two Russian masterworks for the JPO’s 2018 opening concerts on 28 February and 1 March. He opens his programme with Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto, one of the most challenging works in the world’s violin repertoire. This will be performed by Daniel Röhn, whose virtuosity is sure to wow JPO audiences with its viscerally electric appeal. The second half of the programme comprises a performance of Rachmaninoff Symphony No 2. One of the composer’s best-known works, along with his second and third Piano Concertos, it was written in 1906–07 and premiered in Saint Petersburg in February the following year, conducted by the composer himself. A measure of the Second Symphony’s popularity as a cornerstone work of the symphonic repertoire can be seen in the number of popular musical offshoots it has spawned over the years.
Kwamé Ryan takes the JPO’S podium for the second programme of the season, with a Handel, Mozart and Beethoven on the bill for 7 and 8 March. The evening opens with Handel’s sprightly sinfonia, The Arrival of the Queen of Sheba, from the oratorio, Solomon. This serves as it’s a refreshingly cheerful curtain-raiser, before storm clouds gather for the high drama of Mozart’s D minor Piano Concerto K466, one of the most revolutionary works of his entire oeuvre.
Written in 1785 and first performed in Vienna with the composer as the soloist and conductor, the concerto was greatly admired by the young Beethoven, who kept it in his repertoire, famously composing his own cadenzas for the stormy work, which became a signature piece of acclaimed pianists of each generation, not least our soloist, Pallavi Mahidhara. Our programme concludes with a performance of Beethoven’s great Hymn to Nature, his ‘Pastoral’ Symphony. First performed in Vienna in 1808 during a marathon concert which lasted four hours, Beethoven’s Sixth Symphony is one of few pieces containing explicitly programmatic content, each of its five movements notated to conjure a specific mood or scene evoking joyous or dramatic aspects of life in the Viennese countryside.
On 14 and 15 March, Lykele Temmingh conducts an all-French programme, opening with the Overture to Gabriel Fauré’s 1919 neo-classical Masques et Bergamasques Suite. South African flautist Liesl Stoltz, the evening’s soloist, is showcased in two contrasting short works: Cécile Chaminade’s decorative one-movement Flute Concertino in D major; and François Borne’s sultry Fantaisie brillante, based on themes from Bizet’s opera Carmen. Sandwiched between these two show pieces for a star flautist is Debussy’s Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun. Often cited as the beginning of modern music, this masterly ten-minute symphonic poem, inspired by Stéphane Mallarmé’s poem, L’après-midi d’un faune, conjures up the desires and dreams of the faun in the heat of the afternoon. After pursuing the timorous flight of nymphs and naiads, he succumbs to intoxicating sleep, and luxuriates in his dreams of possession in universal Nature.
After intermission Maestro Temmingh conducts Camille Saint-Saëns’s spectacular Symphony no 3 in C minor, a work with which he triumphed last season in Durban at the helm of the KZN Philharmonic Orchestra. Written in 1886, it is popularly known as the ‘Organ Symphony’ as two out of its four sections deploy a pipe organ. The composer, intuiting the splendid piece would be his last shot at the symphonic oeuvre, imbued it with key characteristics of his own career, including virtuoso piano passages in its dazzling orchestral writing, along with the mighty tones of a great pipe organ.
Arjan Tien brings the season to a close on 21 and 22 March with a dynamic programme of three superbly contrasting masterworks. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s dark-hued and sinisterly foreboding Don Giovanni Overture is geared create an atmosphere charged with suspense before the evening’s soloists, Max and Alexander Baillie, take the solo spot in a performance of Brahms’s A minor Concerto for Violin, Cello and Orchestra.
The introspective nature and finely nuanced characteristics of this great work, the composer’s final orchestral composition, offer a deeply rewarding experience for listeners as its many subtleties unfold during performance. Sibelius’s Second Symphony concludes the evening’s musical fare. The much-loved work marks the end of the great Finnish master’s early Romantic period. Its genesis can be traced to Sibelius’s trip to Italy in 1901, and some of his sketches from this trip surfaced in its wonderful score. Following its premiere in 1902, the work underwent several revisions before deservedly achieving lasting the popularity it enjoys today.