Concert pianist, Christopher Duigan, performs Chopin in Cape Town

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CELEBRATED concert pianist, Christopher Duigan, will be performing the music of Frédéric Chopin at St Andrew’s Church in Greenpoint, Cape Town at 3 pm on Saturday, August 20.

He will be playing the composer’s Ballade No 3, waltzes in E-flat, A minor and B minor, three Etudes from Op. 10, Scherzo No. 1, and a selection of Nocturnes.

The Pietermaritzburg-based pianist will also be discussing the insight he gained into Chopin and his music on a trip to Warsaw in Poland and the Chopin Museum last year.

Duigan, a Steinway Artist, has devoted much time to the study and performance of Chopin’s music in his professional career over the last 25 years and was invited to give two recital programmes of his music at the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown in 2010 on the 200th anniversary of the composer’s birth.

Asked what he loved about playing Chopin’s music, Duigan said: “In the many years that I have played for audiences, many of them new, I’ve found Chopin’s music to have a unique ability in having an immediate and powerful response.

“Chopin’s music speaks so directly to the heart. It is a result of a very sincere personal expression at the piano, from one individual to another.  It is also perfectly crafted, covers an extraordinary range of very succinctly presented emotions and ideas, and always seems perfectly natural.  It’s also quite sensual.”

Duigan said his trip to Warsaw had been hugely educational, adding: “I was amazed at how the Polish people have embraced the composer as national icon.

“From landing at the Fryderyk Chopin International Airport in Warsaw to the state of the art Chopin Museum, which is obviously highly funded, to the numerous monuments, plaques and detailed information offered as to where he played and lived in old Warsaw.

“When I was there, we encountered organised stages with pianists playing his music on magnificent grand pianos, from morning to night, in several squares around the city.”

Tickets for the concert are R150 (R100 concessions) at www.quicket.co.za.

 

DID YOU KNOW?

Widely regarded as one of South Africa’s leading concert pianists, Christopher Duigan has been recognised as a ‘South African piano icon’ and ‘national musical treasure’ (Classic Feel June 2009).

He has performed extensively with all leading South African orchestras in a repertoire of more than 25 concerti. In recital he has developed a popular following through his innovative presentation and programming of a broad and eclectic taste in music.

In recent years he has been a featured soloist in several concerto performances in the Pietermaritzburg and Durban City Halls with the KwaZulu-Natal Philharmonic Orchestra.

In March 2007 he shared the stage with the cream of South African pianists for the launch of Steinway and Sons in South Africa. Three years later he became one of only six pianists in South African history to be invited to be a ‘Steinway Artist’, joining an exclusive company of renowned international musicians.

Based in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands he is committed to promoting concert performance, both his own and those of others, locally and further afield. As producer and impresario he is the director of the widely acclaimed Music Revival which he established in 1997.

Major projects now include the Concert Series at the Hilton Arts Festival, the Franschhoek Classic Music Festival and a series of performances by the Kwa-Zulu Natal Philharmonic Orchestra. In addition Music Revival brings numerous recitals and chamber music performances to various communities in KZN and the Cape Winelands.

Christopher Duigan began piano studies with Anette Kerkovius in Pietermaritzburg at the age of seven. He contined his studies at the University of Natal with Isabella Stengel from age 14 and later graduated with a B;Mus (cum laude). He also attended the University of Cape Town with Lamar Crowson and Albie van Schalkwyk, graduating with an M Mus (Performance) in 1994, and at the Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM) in Manchester with Brazilian virtuoso Arnaldo Cohen.

At the RNCM he was awarded the Professional Performer’s Diploma (PPRNCM) and won first prize in the prestigious RNCM Recital Prize for Pianists.

In addition he received the UNISA Overseas Scholarship Competition (1994), Crossly/Kramer Scholarships for International Study from UCT, 1st prize in the Adolph Hallis Piano Competition (1996), awards for the best South African pianist in the UNISA International Piano Competition (1996), Gold medal in the Pan-African Concours de Musique,  and the Cape Town Symphony’s  prestigious Joseph Lan Award for his performance of the Bartok Piano Concerto No 3 (1994).

 

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