FOR the past 20 years Music Revival has been bringing the best classical performers to Pietermaritzburg – and to celebrate this special anniversary its founder, pianist, Christopher Duigan, is hosting a special Spring Festival in the city., writes ESTELLE SINKINS.
Running from Friday, October 6 to Friday, October 13 at different venues, the festival represents a flavour of all he has tried to achieve with his concert series over the past two decades.
“Music Revival was established on October 29, 1997,” Duigan, who was born and raised in the city, said. “I had just come back from overseas and had done a couple of performances at the Tatham Art Gallery on my own. I had also done a concert with a guitarist friend, Craig Ogden, from Austalia.
“But our first proper concert was hosted by Gilly Walters at the home of Brian and Meryl Kurz; and instead of just one concert we ended up having three. Gilly did all the catering and handled the ticket sales. Those performances were pivotal – they started the whole journey off.”
Conversations with my piano
The festival opens with Conversations with my Piano, featuring the jazz great, Darius Brubeck, and Duigan, at 7.30 pm at Casa Mexicana, 35 Montgomery Drive, Athlone.
Brubeck is most often heard as the leader of the Darius Brubeck Quartet or with his brothers playing the music of their father, the legendary pianist, Dave Brubeck, in Brubeck plays Brubeck.
For this concert the two musicians will play a ‘piano ping pong’, with Duigan spontaneously playing classical and popular solos, improvisations and original material off-setting Brubeck’s jazz offerings.
This conversational engagement will take place with, and around, the piano in an intimate and beautiful setting.
Tickets are R150, which includes a glass of wine from 7 pm and coffee afterwards.
Booking is essential – email firstname.lastname@example.org or send an SMS or WhatsApp to 083 417 4473. Please include your contact numbers in all email and telephone bookings. There is secure parking at the venue.
The second concert, titled Baroque 2000 in their 20th Year, will take place in the Victoria Hall at Maritzburg College at 7.30 pm on Saturday, October 7.
Baroque 2000 was founded in 1997 by a band of keen Baroque enthusiasts, under the leadership of KZN Philharmonic trumpeter, Michel Schneuwly. Since then they have provided the greater Durban area and those living in Pietermaritzburg with a delightful exploration of the vast Baroque repertoire.
With most performances now presented at the Marianhill Monastery near Pinetown, this 20th anniversary grand concert will be an unmissable treat for classical afficiandos.
The programme includes Charpentier’s Te Deum, featuring a choir of 30 and soloists, the overture to Rameau’s Zais, orchestral excerpts from Indes Galantes, Les Boreades and Platee, Lully’s Marche pour la Ceremonie des Turcs and music from Louis XIV court composers at the Court of Versailles.
Tickets are R150. Booking is essential – email email@example.com or send an SMS or WhatsApp to 083 417 4473. Please include your contact numbers in your booking. There is secure parking at the venue.
Cape Town-based guitarist, James Grace, will be launching his new album, Chilled, at a concert of the same name at the Tatham Art Gallery in Chief Albert Luthuli Street on Monday, October 9 at 7.30 pm.
His programme will include a selection of popular songs from The Beatles, Norah Jones, as well as classic songs like Perhaps Love and Vincent.
Tickets are R100. The concert will have a cafe setting, so make an evening of it and enjoy dinner at the Cafe Tatham from 6 pm.
Booking for dinner is essential – phone 033 342 8327. A cash bar will be available and there is secure parking next to the gallery. Book via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, send a WhatsApp or SMS to 083 417 4473 or phone Bryony at 033 392 2825 (mornings only).
Five vibrant musicians make up the Gypsy Strings, who will be playing a colourful and exciting selection of traditional Bulgarian, Rumanian, Russian and Greek music in the concert Gypsy Nights at the Tatham Art Gallery at 7.30 pm on Tuesday, October 10.
The quintet is led by Bulgarian-born violinist, Ralitza Matcheva, who has masters degrees in music from the Music Academy in Sofia, Bulgaria and the Music Conservatorium in Enschede, Netherlands.
She has been with the co-principal second violin for the KZN Philharmonic Orchestra since 2000 and is the concertmaster for the Baroque 2000 ensemble. She also collaborates with the Tinta Baroka group in Cape Town.
The other musicians are:
- Annamaria D’Andrea (viola), who was born in Roma, Italy, where she studied viola at the Santa Cecilia Conservatory. She has been with the KZNPO since 2006.
- Ralitza Todorova, who started playing the cello when she was nine years old in Pleven, Bulgaria. She has studied music in Bulgaria, Geneva and Roma and is now a permanent member of the KZNPO.
- Roberto Palma (violin) from Italy, who graduated Cum Laude with a masters degree from the Music Academy in Como, Italy. Since 2013 he has played first violin for the KZNPO and is also a member of Baroque 2000.
Completing the ensemble is percussionist Stephane Pechoux, from France, who has been playing the drums since he was eight years old. He studied in both Geneva and Paris and has been the KZNPO Principal Percussionist since 2009.
Tickets for the concert are R100. The concert will have a cafe setting, so make an evening of it and enjoy dinner at the Cafe Tatham from 6 pm. Booking for dinner is essential – phone 033 342 8327. A cash bar will be available and there is secure parking next to the gallery. Book via email at email@example.com, send a WhatsApp or SMS to 083 417 4473 or phone Bryony at 033 392 2825 (mornings only).
Clarinet, piano and viola concert
Duigan will be joined clarinettist, Junnan Sun, and David Snaith on viola for the concert, Music for Clarient and Viola Trio, at Casa Mexicana at 7.30 pm on Wednesday, October 11 at 7.30 pm.
The three men will play Mozart’s delightful Kegelstatt Trio, supposedly composed while he was playing skittles, as well as a selection of pieces by Max Bruch and solo pieces for each instrument.
Tickets are R120 including a glass of wine and coffee afterwards. Booking via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or send an SMS or WhatsApp to 083 417 4473.
My Favourite Things
Howick singer, Cat Simoni, will join Duigan for a performance of My Favourite Things at the Tatham Art Gallery at 7.30 pm on Thursday, October 12.
The collaboration will feature favourite songs from musicals, jazz standards, show tunes, and pop numbers performed in a way you have never heard.
Simoni spent 10 years in the United Kingdom, playing and singing for the international crème de la crème at the Steinways of London’s five-star venues and exclusive clubs, The Ritz, Carlton, Dorchester, Mayfair, and Park Lane Hotel. She now performs her music across South Africa.
Tickets are R120. The concert will have a cafe setting, so make an evening of it and enjoy dinner at the Cafe Tatham from 6 pm. Booking for dinner is essential – phone 033 342 8327. A cash bar will be available and there is secure parking next to the gallery. Book via email at email@example.com, send a WhatsApp or SMS to 083 417 4473 or phone Bryony at 033 392 2825 (mornings only).
Swing Into Spring
The final concert in the Spring Festival will be Swing Into Spring, in which the KZN Philharmonic Orchestra will play an elegant selection of Strauss waltzes, marches and grand melodies in the magnificent City Hall.
The programme includes a selection of Strauss waltzes, usually associated with that most elegant of cities, Vienna, a city also associated with its magnificent floral vistas.
This includes Johann Strauss II Tales from the Vienna Woods Waltz and Voices of Spring along with the Tristch Trasch Polka.
Edvard Grieg’s Wedding Day at Troldhaugen, Morning Mood from Peer Gynt and Norwegian Dances will also be performed by the sixty-player orchestra along with Tchaikovsky’s Waltz of the Flowers, a must for any floral-themed concert.
The grand sweep of Tchaikosvky’s music will carry through into the opening moment of his celebrated Piano Concerto No 1.
The work, which will be performed by Duigan, is regarded as one of the most dazzling piano compositions ever written, and renowned for its soaring opening melody.
The KZN Philharmonic Orchestra will be conducted by Naum Rousine.
The concert will take place in the Pietermaritzburg City Hall at 7.30 pm on Friday, October 13.
Tickets are R170 (R140 pensioners, R100 scholars) and R250 for premier seats. Tickets are available at Ticketpros.co.za.
For those who require assistance with online booking a representative will be available at Parklane SuperSpar. Phone 033 342 3487 to find out more.
“The festival is a real celebration and the variety of music and the desire to promote live music is what Music Revival is all about,” Duigan said.
- For more information about Music Revival go to or www.musicrevival.co.za