KZN Philharmonic celebrate the music of Gershwin in Maritzburg’s City Hall

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Christopher Duigan and David Salleras. Photo: Val Adamson

THE music of George Gershwin takes centre stage when the KwaZulu-Natal Philharmonic Orchestra takes to the stage of the Pietermaritzburg City Hall on Saturday, March 19 at 7.30 pm.

Presented in association with Parklane SUPERSPAR, Rhapsody in Blue will feature solo performances by David Salleras (saxophone ) and renowned concert pianist, Christopher Duigan (piano). The orchestra will be conducted by James Ross, director of orchestral activities at the University of Maryland in the United States.

“It’s a really exciting programme,” said Duigan, “because it is it mainly a Gershwin programme. I will be playing Rhapsody in Blue on the rebuilt Steinway and Sons Concert Grand Piano and the orchestra will be doing a suite for his opera Porgy and Bess, which includes songs like the hugely popular Summertime.”

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The concert will feature the full KZN Philharmonic Orchestra (pictured), as well as extra saxophone players and a banjo player. “It is just beautiful music and the symphonic splendour of the whole Gershwin Suite is going to be amazing,” Duigan said.

Porgy and Bess is an English-language opera composed in 1934 by Gershwin, with a libretto written by DuBose Heyward and Ira Gershwin from Heyward’s novel Porgy and later play of the same title.

The opera tells the story of Porgy, a disabled street-beggar living in the slums of Charleston, South Carolina, and his attempts to rescue Bess from the clutches of Crown, her violent and possessive lover, and Sportin’ Life the drug dealer.

Porgy and Bess: A Symphonic Picture was arranged by Gershwin’s good friend and sometimes assistant, Robert Russell Bennett, in 1942 and includes most of the best-known songs from the opera.

Also on the programme is a performance of Japanese composer, Takashi Yoshimatsu’s Saxophone Concerto “Cyber Bird”, Op. 59 (1994). It will include solos by saxophone maestro David Salleras, Duigan and Stéphane Péchoux, the orchestra’s principal percussionist.

“It’s a very jazzy piece, Eastern with a Japanese feel. It’s fresh, exciting and unique,” Duigan said of the work.

Yoshimatsu, one of the most prolific and popular of contemporary Japanese composers, draws from a vast range of musical influences, including rock and jazz. His cultural influences include his native Japan.

Salleras, who teaches at the National Conservatoire of Girona (Spain), and Duigan – one of South Africa’s leading concert pianists and a Steinway artist – will also join forces to perform the second and third nocturnes from Duigan’s Four Nocturnes (2015) for solo sax and piano with orchestra.

“The Four Nocturnes and four other pieces are on my new album, Midnight Blue, which will be released the same week,” said Duigan of his follow-up to Indigo, which he also recorded with Salleras.

The saxophonist is the recipient of numerous international awards. His compositions are performed and recorded by sax players from around the world.

Tickets for Rhapsody in Blue, presented by KZN Philharmonic in association with Parklane SUPERSPAR, and with the support of the Msunduzi Municipality, Christopher Duigan’s Music Revival and CPW Printers are R130 (R120 pensioners, R80 scholars) and R200 for premier seats.

To book tickets for this musical spectacle call in at the Parklane SUPERSPAR Coffee Shop or phone Jennifer at 033 342 3487.

There is secure parking in City Hall, Bessie Head Library and Tatham Art Gallery precincts.

OTHER PLACES YOU CAN SEE CHRISTOPHER DUIGAN AND DAVID SALLERAS

  • MARITZBURG concert pianist, Christopher Duigan, and Spanish saxophonist, David Salleras, will be performing at the Friends of Music concert at 7.30 pm on Tuesday, March 15 at Durban Jewish Centre, 44 K.E. Kasinga (Old Fort) Road. Durban. Inquiries: Vera Dubin at 031 202 7822 or 031 201 0711 from 9 am to 12 noon Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Alternatively email: friendsofmusic@webmail.co.za
  • The KwaZulu-Natal Philharmonic Orchestra is also presenting a similar Gershwin-themed concert as part of the World Symphony Series Summer Season in the Durban City Hall at 7.30 pm on Thursday, March 17. The concert, conducted by James Ross, will feature soloists, David Salleras (saxophone), Christopher Duigan and Stephane Pechaux (percussion). The programme includes Gershwin’s American in Paris and Rhapsody in Blue, Yoshimatsu’s Saxophone Concerto, op. 59, “Cyber Bird” and Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess – A Symphonic Picture. Booking is at Computicket.
  • David Salleras and Christopher Duigan will be launching their new album, Midnight Blue at 7.30 pm on Tuesday, March 22 at ‘Casa Mexicana’, 35 Montgomery Drive, Athlone, Pietermaritzburg. Tickets R150 which includes refreshments and wine on arrival.Booking is essential via email at booking@musicrevival.co.za or SMS 083 417 4473. Secure parking. Featuring eight new compositions from Duigan, copies of the album will be on sale.

 

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