Cellist, Aristide du Plessis, to perform at the Hilton Arts Festival


Cellist, Aristide du Plessis, will be performing at the Hilton Arts Festival. Photo: Supplied

CELLIST, Aristide du Plessis, will be joining ‘Maritzburg pianist, Christopher Duigan, and clarinettist, Junnan Sun, to perform a Beethoven-themed concert at the Hilton Arts Festival, writes TheLuvvie.com’s Estelle Sinkins.

The three musicians will be playing Beethoven’s Trio in B-flat Op. 11 at 4 pm on Sunday, September 18 in the Hilton College Chapel as part of the Music Revival series.

The work was written by Beethoven in 1797 at the request of Joseph Beer, a noted, who, however, considered it an insufficiently flashy vehicle for his talents and may never have performed it.

Beethoven used a melody drawn from Joseph Weigl’s opera L’Amor mariner in the variations of the finale. The tune was all the rage in Vienna at the time, to the point where it was hummed and whistled in the city’s streets, and gave the trio the nickname “Gassenhauer” (street tune).

Durban-born Du Plessis, who has played the work several times in the course of his career, says it changes which every performance.

“The music is ever changing. The more I play it, the more I discover about it; how the instruments blend, the direction of the phrasing etc,” he added.

Asked what he enjoyed about playing the music of Beethoven, the cellist said it was the fact that it is so universal. He added: “Anybody can be moved by it. It’s for everybody.”

Du Plessis and Duigan will also perform Beethoven’s ebullient Sonata in A major Op 69 – a tour de force of lyricism and brilliance that signals one of the first major compositions for this piano cello combination, and sees Beethoven at his most optimistic.

“The Sonata is one of the best works written for the instrumental combination of cello and piano,” says du Plessis. “It also covers a very broad spectrum of emotions – drama, beauty, urgency, joy…”

Du Plessis – the co-principal cellist with the KwaZulu-Natal Philharmonic Orchestar – has performed in some of the world’s most renowned concert halls, including the Zürich Tonhalle and Vienna Musikverein and the Berliner Philharmonie, but he’s just as excited to be performing in the intimate Hilton College Chapel.

“I love the fact that we in KwaZulu-Natal have such a diverse and intense arts festival right on our doorstep, and that every year presents new opportunities to perform great music for an engaging audience,” he says.

Tickets for the concert are R120. To book email tickets@hiltoncollege.com

There are three other concerts in the Beethoven series at the Hilton Arts Festival. In the first recital, Joanna Frankel and Duigan will be performing Beethoven’s Violin Sonata in A Op.47 ‘ Kreutzer’ and Sonata in A major by Belgian-French Cesar Franck at 8 pm on Friday, September 16.

In the second concert, at 4 pm on Saturday, September 17, Duigan will be joined by the KZN Philharmonic Quartet to perform elections Mozart’s Concertos, in C major K415, and Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No 3 in C minor.

And at 10 am on Sunday, September 18, Duigan will perform three sonatas from the canon of Beethoven’s 32 Piano Sonatas.

To book for these concerts email tickets@hiltoncollege.com

For more information about the concerts and the Hilton Arts Festival in general, log on to http://www.hiltonfestival.co.za, like the Facebook page: Hilton Arts Festival or follow the festival on Twitter @HiltonFest.

Inquiries: 033 383 0126/7 or email festival@hiltoncollege.com


Aristide du Plessis has won numerous prizes including the Kiwanis Chamber Music Prize (Switzerland), ATKV Musiq, FMR/Nussbaum, and the Stellenbosch National Ensemble Competition.

He has done chamber music collaborations with Nina Schumann, Peter Martens, Keiko Tamura, Frank Stadler, Daniel Rowland, Marian Lewin and Gareth Lübbe.

As a soloist he has performed since the age of 15 with all of the country’s leading orchestras including the KZN Philharmonic, the Cape Philharmonic, and Camerata Tinta Barocca (Cape Town), under the batons of conductors Naum Rousine, Lykele Temmingh, Alexander Fokkens and Brandon Phillips.

A graduate of the University of Cape Town, his initial training was with Kolio Kolev and later Boris Kerimov. A scholarship from the prestigious Oppenheimer Memorial Trust enabled him to further his studies at the Zürich University of the Arts, where he studied with the renowned pedagogue and Principal cellist of the Tonhalle Orchestra, Thomas Grossenbacher.

Du Plessis plays on a cello made for him in 2009 by P. Petkov in Kazanlak, Bulgaria.


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