Indian pianist, Pallavi Mahidhara, to perform with the KwaZulu-Natal Philharmonic Orchestra

Pallavi Mahidhara  2

Pallavi Mahidhara

The third concert of the KZN Philharmonic’s World Symphony Series Spring Season features Dutch conductor, Arjan Tien, leading the orchestra in a programme of music from France, with famed Indian pianist, Pallavi Mahindhara, as the soloist for the evening. The concert takes place in the Durban City Hall on Thursday, September 8.
“In this season, we introduce the ‘Passport Series’ as the orchestra takes audiences on a global tour from Russia to Europe to Scandinavia and to South Africa,” says Bongani Tembe, chief executive officer and artistic director of the KZN Philharmonic. “The season includes concerts acknowledging Heritage Month and the National Youth Concerto Festival.”

The evening begins with the Symphony in D major by the little-known composer Joseph Boulogne, before Pallavi performs Maurice Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G major. The work is a mix between the French impressionism of Debussy and Ravel and jazz textures that Ravel encountered when he travelled through the United States of America in 1928 on invitation from George Gershwin.

A genre of music that is often neglected in modern concert halls is French Baroque. This is partly due to the fact that composers of the period such as Jean-Baptiste Lully, Marin Marais and Jean-Philippe Rameau were focused on composing operas for the courts.

The concert closes with one of Joseph Haydn’s Paris symphonies – Symphony No. 83 in G minor, which has been given the nickname ‘La Poule’ or ‘The Hen’ due to the apparent sound of clucking in the first movement.

Pallavi Mahidhara is known for her artistic versatility. She combines mature musical insight, an astounding technique and a charismatic stage presence; and has appeared in solo and orchestral concerts across North and South America, Europe, Asia and Africa.

The Spring season concerts take place at the Durban City Hall every Thursday until October 13. To subscribe phone 031 369 9438 or get single tickets from, 0861 915 8000 or Shoprite Checkers Money Market counters.

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Below is the progamme for the remainder of the season:

September 15 – In Arjan Tien’s second concert the orchestra embarks on a tour of Scandinavia (with a little zest of France mixed in).

The programme begins with Valse Triste (or Sad Waltz) by the Finnish composer Jean Sibelius. The music continues with Wedding Day at Troldhaugen by the Norwegian composer Edvard Grieg.

KZN Philharmonic principal flautist Sabine Baird then joins Tien and the orchestra to perform the exotic and evocative Flute Concerto by the French composer Jacques Ibert.

The concert closes with Jean Sibelius’s Symphony No. 1 in E minor. The lush and romantic symphony is packed with bubbling excitement and tender melodies.

September 22 – In this concert, the KZN Philharmonic celebrates Heritage Day with a unique set of pieces all composed by South African composers, performed by South African soloists and choirs and conducted by Naum Rousine.

The orchestra honours 40 years of output by one of South African’s pofilic composers, Professor Phelelani Mnomiya with excerpts from his new operatic masterpiece – uZiyankomo. The programme continues with a concerto for marimba and string orchestra by one of the country’s legacy composers, Hendrik Hoymeyr.

Following intermission the orchestra premieres a new work by Durban based artist Warren Bessey, titled Nandi, iNdlovukazi yesiNdlovukazi (Queen of Queens) which is a celebration of the life of uShaka’s mother, Queen Nandi.

September 29 – The National Youth Concerto Festival has been a tradition in South Africa for over 40 years.

Founded by David Tidboald in 1971 in Cape Town and brought to Durban in 1983 as part of the inaugural year of the Natal Philharmonic Orchestra, the concert has provided an annual stage for South Africa’s emerging musical talent.

South African international classical music stars such as Ben Schoeman, Anton Nel and François du Toit all received their first taste of performing in front of an orchestra through the National Youth Concerto Festival.

2016 will feature a diverse selection of soloists performing repertoire from Mozart to Ravel to Liebermann. These young musicians worked through a rigorous audition process in order to share the stage with the musicians of the KZN Philharmonic on this special evening.

October 6 – Justus Frantz returns to conduct two concerts with the KwaZulu-Natal Philharmonic, the first of which focuses on England.

The brass band is among the oldest community-based musical traditions in Great Britain. The KZN Philharmonic begins the evening with the brass section of the orchestra performing a work by the Italian Baroque composer Domenico Gabrielli.

The traditional concert structure is flipped as the KZN Philharmonic performs a concerto at the end. Russian violinist Sergey Malov joins Frantz and the orchestra to perform one of the giants of the violin concerto repertoire – Edward Elgar’s Violin Concerto in B minor.

Composed for the legendary violinist Fritz Kreisler, it is one of his longest and most powerful works for violin and orchestra. Malov has performed as a soloist with the London Philharmonic, BBC Symphony, St Petersburg Philharmonic and others. He excites audiences with repertoires ranging from the baroque to modern.

October 13 – The season closes with a concert of magnum opuses that were left incomplete by their composers.

The programme begins with Franz Schubert’s Symphony No. 8 “Unfinished”. Schubert finished two movements of the symphony and then abandoned work on it. Those movements were gifted to a friend but never performed until 37 years after the composer’s death. Since then it has become known as one of the first truly romantic symphonies. It is a work full of passion and lyricism, as the crisp phrases of classical period music are set aside in favour of the new lush style of composition.

Also on the programme is Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s final (incomplete) composition – his Requiem Mass in D minor. From the beginning of his work on the piece in October of 1791 Mozart was already quite ill. Mozart succumbed to illness on the 5th of December of that year, leaving only one complete movement and numerous excerpts and scraps of movements (including a lacrimosa that eerily trails off after only eight bars).

The work was completed through manuscripts and notes the following year by Mozart’s copyist Franz Xaver Süssmayr. It represents some of Mozart’s finest and most intimate music and is the perfect end to a year of music with the KwaZulu-Natal Philharmonic.


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