The glorious KZN Philharmonic begins its year with a six-concert Summer Symphony Season taking place every Thursday in the Playhouse Opera.
The orchestra moves back to the Playhouse for this year – performing in the magnificent Opera House.
The soloists selected for this season represent some of the most exciting vibrant talent of the new generation of global music makers – marrying rock-star appeal and accessibility with heavy weight music credentials, applauded virtuosity. All have recently won major international music competitions.
The three featured conductors showcase diverse and rich backgrounds: Kwame Ryan is a Canadian of Trinidadian descent. Daniel Boico is an Israeli-American and associate guest conductor of the KZN Philharmonic, and Japanese maestro Yasuo Shinozaki.
“The KZN Philharmonic is committed to enriching the cultural life of South Africa’s diverse audiences by presenting world-class concerts which reflect the diverse heritage of our country,” says Bongani Tembe, Chief Executive and Artistic Director: KZN Philharmonic.
The first concert of the season features Joanna MacGregor on piano performing Shostakovich’s scintillating Piano Concerto No. 2 under the baton of Canadian-born Trinidadian conductor Kwame Ryan.
Joanna MacGregor OBE is one of the world’s most innovative musicians, appearing as a concert pianist, curator and collaborator. Head of Piano at the Royal Academy of Music and Professor of the University of London, Joanna MacGregor is also the Artistic Director of Dartington International Summer School and Festival. She was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the Queen’s Jubilee Honours in 2012.
Conductor Kwame Ryan will be making his debut with the KZN Philharmonic and will conduct the first two concerts. He has earned distinction over a broad spectrum of symphonic and operatic repertoires on both sides of the Atlantic and in the Far East.
On the programme is Beethoven’s Overture to the Creatures of Prometheus; Shostakovich’s Piano Concerto No. 2 and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 6 in F major, Pastoral.
The second concert (16 February) sees Kwame Ryan return to the podium. The soloist is Francesca Dego on violin, making her debut with the KZN Philharmonic. Dego is quickly developing into one of the most sought-after young violinists on the international scene. Signed since 2012 by Deutsche Grammophon, she regularly appears with the world’s leading orchestras and is the winner of numerous national and international competitions.
The programme opens with Mikhail Glinka’s Overture to Ruslan and Ludmilla followed by Italian composer Ermanno Wolf-Ferrari’s violin concerto and closes with Dvorak’s Symphony No.8 in G major.
The KZN Philharmonic’s associate guest conductor Daniel Boico joins us for the following two concerts. On 23 February he conducts multi award-winning young pianist Daniel Ciobanu from Rumania – winner of the 2015 UNISA international piano competition and the 2014 Scottish international piano competition in Glasgow. Ciobanu has been described as “impetuous” – with a love of the classical repertoire.
The all-Russian programme features at its centrepiece Prokofiev’s viscerally exciting Piano Concerto No.3. Either side of it are Borodin’s Overture to Prince Igor and Tchaikovsky’s Symphony Pathetique: No. 6 in B minor – the composer’s final completed magnum opus.
The March 2 concert features Mariam Batsashvili on piano as the soloist performing Franz Liszt’s virtuosic Piano Concerto No. 1.
At only 23 years old, Mariam Batsashvili already ranks among the most promising young pianists of her generation. She won the 10th international Franz Liszt competition, and was nominated by the European Concert Hall organisation as the Rising Star for the 2016 / 17 season.
Also on the mixed bag programme will be Mendelssohn’s The Hebrides Overture Fingal’s Cave, Rajna’s Adonai Ma-Adam Chorus No.1 and Brahms’ Symphony No.1 in C minor.
For the final two concerts of the Summer Season the baton is in the hands of Japanese conductor Yasuo Shinozaki. He opens the 9 March concert with Edvard Grieg’s Holberg Suite. The featured piece for the evening is the Trombone Concerto for Orchestra by Danish composer Launy Grondahl. Soloist is principal trombone player with the KZN Philharmonic, Italian trombonist Andrea Balocco – a master’s graduate from the Geneva University of Music.
The evening climaxes with Beethoven’s Symphony No.7 in A major – one of the composer’s most revered masterworks. It is a paean to heroic patriotism.
The final concert for the season on 16 March opens with Hector Berlioz’s overture to Beatrice et Benedict; followed by a technically exacting violin concerto in A minor by Aleksandr Glazunov, a Russian composer, music teacher and conductor of the late Russian romantic period, performed by St Petersburg-born Andrey Baranov – a prize-winner of more than 20 major international competitions.
The Summer Season’s closing work is Tchaikovsky’s Little Russian Symphony No.2
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