Duncan Ward - MIAGI Youth Orchestra conductor 2013
Photo: Rachel Shakespeare
British conductor Duncan Ward, recently appointed on the recommendation of Sir Simon Rattle as Conducting Scholar of the Berliner Philharmoniker Orchester-Akademie is rapidly emerging as one of the most exciting talents of his generation.
Plans for 2012/13 season include debuts with Lucerne Symphony and Ludwigsburger Schlossfestspiele, assisting Maestro Rattle in Baden-Baden (Die Zauberflöte) and leading an education project with Britten Sinfonia. Plans in Berlin involve assisting for a special commission by Benedict Mason for the Berliner Philharmoniker Orchester Akademie’s 40th anniversary, Haas’ masterpiece “in vain” and Britten’s War Requiem, as well as conducting a Boulez programme with the Orchester-Akademie. In 2013 Duncan is further Music Director of the critically-acclaimed charity Streetwise Opera’s 10th anniversary production.
Recent highlights include debuts with the Bamberg Symphony, International Contemporary Ensemble in New York, London Symphony Orchestra strings, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, National Youth Orchestra, Barbican Young Orchestra, Liverpool Mozart Orchestra and Tallis Chamber Orchestra. In Summer 2012, he conducted at the Royal Opera House as part of the London 2012 Festival with members of Streetwise Opera and he assisted Sir Simon Rattle with the Berliner Philharmoniker for concert performances of Die Walkure.
In masterclass, he has recently worked with the Staatskapelle Berlin under the instruction of Daniel Barenboim, the London Symphony Orchestra with Valery Gergiev, and the Tonhalle Orchestra with David Zinman and was selected for the Lucerne Festival Academy masterclass with Pierre Boulez.
Following a month working in India in 2006, Duncan subsequently co-founded the WAM Foundation which sends young UK musicians each year to teach in schools across Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Kerala.
The charity has since attracted the attention of the great late Ravi Shankar, who invited Duncan to study with him in California in 2010.
Also an accomplished composer - winner of the 2005 BBC Young Composer of the Year – Duncan is now published by Peters Edition.
Anders Paulsson, soprano saxophone - MIAGI Youth Orchestra soloist and composer 2013
Anders Paulsson (soprano saxophone). After classical saxophone studies at the Royal College of Music in Stockholm and with Jean-Marie Londeix in France, a Fulbright ITT International Fellowship enabled Paulsson to study with Joseph Allard and Bob Mintzer at Manhattan School of Music, New York City.
Since his Carnegie Hall début in 1992, Paulsson has performed extensively as a soloist in 25 countries and released 16 CDs. The soprano saxophone is a rare and exotic voice in the classical world but Paulsson’s musicianship has inspired a succession of 50 composers to write solo concertos and chamber music for him. As a composer, Paulsson was awarded ‘The Golden Clapperboard’ for best original film music in 1994. A very special honour for Paulsson was to perform for Nelson Mandela at the Nobel festivities in 1993 in connection with the Nobel Peace Prize award ceremonies.
2011 and 2012: Christian Muthspiel conducted the MIAGI Youth Orchestra and the New Skool Orchestra. Together with the young South African composer, clarinetist and saxophonist Tsheop Tsotetsi, he also composed a new MIAGI commissioned work: 'Out of South Africa Symphonic Poem on themes by Tshepo Tsotetsi'.
Listen to this work on Youtube - MIAGI Youth Orchestra and Daniel Hope, solo violin conducted by Christian Muthspiel at Ludwigsburger Schlossfestspiele during the MIAGI 'Orchestral Odyssey' to Europe that took place in July/August 2012 with support of the South African Department of Arts and Culture. 'Out of South Africa' is a MIAGI commissioned work - since 2001 MIAGI brings musicians and audiences together, among others by commissioning composers to create works uniting different music cultures and genres.
Christian Muthspiel, one of Austria’s foremost jazz musicians, is internationally active in the areas of both jazz/improvised music and new classical music. He is passionate about exploring the combination of improvised and composed music and his field of activity reaches from small jazz bands to symphony orchestras and electronic multi-media operas. To mention just a few of Muthspiel’s major projects as a composer and conductor: The ‘Concerto for Violin, Cello and Orchestra’, premiered in 2002 by Benjamin Schmid (violin) and Clemens Hagen (cello) together with Camerata Salzburg. In 2005, a series of concerts with Camerata Salzburg and Münchener Kammerorchester uniting different styles of jazz and pop, took place at the Wiener Musikverein, the Brucknerhaus Linz, and the Essen Philharmonie. In 2008, the premiere of a large commissioned composition for the Wiener Musikverein ‘150. Jubiläum Wiener Singverein’, was followed by the premiere of a song cycle for world acclaimed mezzo soprano Angelika Kirchschlager. Muthspiel regularly appears in concerts at nearly all major venues and festivals in the world as a conductor, trombone soloist, pianist, or as member of the Christian Muthspiel Trio together with his brother, guitarist Wolfgang Muthspiel, as the Muthspiel & Muthspiel duo. Muthspiel has an impressive list of CD releases and is recipient of an array of prestigious awards and accolades.
Tshepo Tsotetsi is a young aspiring clarinettist and saxophonist from Benoni, South Africa. He has had the privilege to receive his earliest formal musical training at both the East Rand School of the Arts as well as The National School of the Arts where he studied clarinet and saxophone. From an early age, Tshepo has shown a keen interest in composition and arrangement alongside being a performer. He has played for a variety of orchestras including the National School of the Arts orchestra, Johannesburg Youth orchestra, Johannesburg youth symphonic wind band, Johannesburg Philharmonic Academy orchestra, National youth orchestra, National youth Wind band, Miagi orchestra and Big Band just to name a few. Tshepo is the founder and director of The New Skool orchestra based in Pretoria and they host regular shows in and outside of Pretoria. He has performed with the likes of Sizwe Mashinini, Ebony Ncobo, Sama award winning producer Mark Montgomery, Silvester Mazinyane, Kunle Ayo, Nhlanhla Nciza, Simpiwe Dana, the South African renown, Barbora Tellinger, John Fresk, Mark Dube, Dave Reynolds among others.
2010 - MIAGI would like to thank Ingo Metzmacher for his generous acceptance to come to South Africa to conduct the MYO & MYBB. For our young players to miss out on this unique opportunity, due to our unfortunately necessary cancellation of the Concert at the Cape Town City Hall on 25 September is extremely sad and disappointing - we hope to be able to welcome Maestro Metzmacher to join us and the MYO & MYBB at a later stage!
Photo: Anja Frers
Please visit Maestro Metzmacher's home page at http://www.ingometzmacher.com/ for more information on the artist!
Sasha Mäkilä conducted the MYO & MYBB April/May 2010 Course in Johannesburg with the Concert in the Linder Auditorium on 1 May.
Sasha Mäkilä and Zihle Ndika from the MIAGI Youth Orchestra, after the concert in the Linder Auditorium on 1 May, 2010
Sasha Mäkilä began his musical studies on the cello and holds a BMA degree in cello performance from the Helsinki Conservatory. Following cello studies, he turned to studying conducting at the St. Petersburg State Conservatory with Leonid Korchmar, and finished his MMA degree in conducting at the Sibelius Academy in Finland where his teacher was Leif Segerstam. In 2009, he was a conducting fellow at the American Academy of Conducting at Aspen, studying with David Zinman. After winning third prize in the Sixth Vakhtang Jordania International Conducting Competition in the United States, Mäkilä has been in growing demand as a guest conductor. Besides his native Finland, he has guest-conducting engagements in Russia, Denmark and the UK. His conducting debut in South Africa, took place during the 37th International Viola Congress in Stellenbosch where Mäkilä, engaged by MIAGI, conducted two concerts featuring some of the top violists in the world. Following the success of these concerts, he was engaged to appear as guest conductor with the Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra. Currently Mäkilä is in his final season as an assistant conductor to Kurt Masur at the Orchestre National de France. At the end of this year, he will take up his new post as First Assistant Conductor with the Cleveland Orchestra.
The National Youth Orchestra - Bundesjugendorchester - Germany's Youngest Top Orchestra touring South Africa in August/September 2009, conducted by Berndt Ruf - soloist: Caspar Frantz (piano)
The German National Youth Orchestra is one of the world’s leading youth orchestras. The concerts it gives are of unusually high quality and delight the ears and eyes of concertgoers everywhere. The orchestra’s youthful dynamism has a stunning effect on audiences and its sparkle and exuberance are inspirational.
The National Youth Orchestra brings together the best of the younger generation of musicians from all over Germany to demonstrate their skill in national and international concert tours under the direction of celebrated conductors such as Kurt Masur, Gerd Albrecht, Yakov Kreizberg or Andrey Boreyko. The young musicians aged between 14 and 20 qualify for selection for the National Youth Orchestra before an expert jury. With a team of instructors and alternating conductors and in an environment of intensive work phases, the orchestra devotes itself to exacting orchestral works from all epochs - 100 like-minded, young talented people, working on an ambitious programme and presenting it on tour – this is a defining experience for the young people involved, both from the musical and human angle.
The National Youth Orchestra has performed in numerous projects of epochal impact. These include concerts in Israel led by Gary Bertini, in 1995 the memorial concerts for the victims of the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki or the performance of Verdi’s Requiem in 1997 in the former concentration camp in Theresienstadt. in 1998 the “Thank You America!” tour led by Kurt Masur, marked the 50th anniversary of the Berlin airlift, with concerts in New York, Washington, Boston and Berlin. In the summer of 2006 the National Youth Orchestra, performed in Venezuela at the invitation of Maestro José Antonio Abreu, the revolutionary of Venezuela’s orchestral scene and MIAGI’s world renowned inspirational patron. After four days of rehearsals in Caracas and a concert together with the Young Venezuelan Philharmonic and Gustavo Dudamel, the orchestra embarked on a tour through the western part of the country. In 2007 the orchestra was appointed as music ambassador of the German EU Council Presidency. For this occasion, it toured through Great Britain, central and South-eastern Europe. The South Africa tour will be the orchestra’s first appearance on the African continent.
"I have been blessed with enormous rewards in my life through music, but of all of the things I do in this field, none is more satisfying than to work with talented young people. The Youth Orchestra of Germany comprises some of our most promising musical talents" (Kurt Masur).
The versatile conductor Bernd Ruf, studied conducting and clarinet, as well as the genres classical, jazz and pop music at the universities of music in Stuttgart and in Frankfurt. Today Ruf, as one of the most interesting and accomplished representatives of “Classical Crossover” is regularly conducting orchestras such as the Stuttgarter Philharmoniker, the Stuttgarter Kammerorchester, Staatskapelle Halle, the ORF Orchester Wien, and the Philharmonia Virtuosi New York (the chamber orchestra of the Metropolitan Museum of Art).
Equally at home in the genres folk- rock- pop- classical- and world music, Ruf has collaborated with artists such as Christian Lindbergh, Gwyneth Jones, Paul McCartney, Kim Kashkashian, Richie Beirach, Jon Lord, Chulunbaat Munkh-Erdene and Charlie Mariano. In 2001, Ruf’s CD Paquito d´Rivera, The Clarinetist / Volume One was nominated for a Grammy award in the category ‘Best Crossover Album’. Ruf teaches at the high school of music in Lübeck, as professor of pop, jazz & world music.
Pianist - Caspar Frantz
Caspar Frantz (29) is considered one of the most eminent young German pianists, since his success debut at the Rheingau Music Festival.
Frantz has appeared as soloist with numerous orchestras, such as the Neue Philharmonie Westfalen and the the philharmonic orchestras in Kiel and Rostock. Frantz chamber music partners include the star violinist Chloe Hanslip, the singer Bryn Terfel, clarinetist Sabine Mayer and the young cellist Julian Arp.
Frantz is a recipient of numerous prizes, awards and scholarships such as the Horst-Rahe Foundation scholarship, first prize in the Mendelssohn Competition, first prize in the Deutscher Musikwettbewerb and the Premio Vittorio Gui (together with Julian Arp). Numerous first prizes at the Jugend musiziert national competition in Germany brought him to the awareness of the Deutsche Stiftung Musikleben. This foundation has since then furthered Frantz carreer through scholarships and concert opportunities such as performances at the Schleswig-Holstein and the Mecklenburg-Vorpommern and Nordhessen festivals.
Marino Formenti (pianist/conductor and conductor of the MYO & MYBB HeronBridge orchestra course in April/May 2009) is widely recognised as one of the foremost interpreters of contemporary music.
In January 2008, Formenti received rave reviews for his debut performance of Messiaen’s Des Canyons aux Etoiles, together with Esa Pekka Salonen and the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra.
"…a Glenn Gould for the 21st century, a visionary for whom the usual limitations of either technique or tradition are not an issue." - Los Angeles Times.
In 2004 Formenti had made his debut as a soloist with the Cleveland Orchestra and Franz Welser-Möst. In 2003, he had played alongside Pierre Boulez at the Ojai Festival and in 2001, returned to the legendary Monday Evening Concerts at LACMA in Los Angeles, with a 4-recital series Piano Trips. The Los Angeles Weekly described this event as “a state of exhilaration beyond any experience... his sheer power pinned you to your seat.” The same year, Piano Trips was performed at the Lincoln Centre in New York, in the Great Performers Series, at the Vienna Konzerthaus and for the Edinburgh Festival.
Apart from the triumphant debut with the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, recent highlights have included CD projects with Simon Rattle and the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra and with the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, and acclaimed appearances at the Lucerne Festival and the Golden Hall of the Musikverein in Vienna.
He was both conductor and main soloist of a huge Music Party he conceived for Riccardo Muti's Ravenna Festival. Maurizio Pollini invited him to conduct his Pollini Prospettive concert at the Accademia di Santa Cecilia in Rome; this very successful collaboration will be repeated in further concerts at Teatro la Scala in Milan and at the Citè de la Musique in Paris in 2009.
Born in 1965 in Milan, Italy, Marino Formenti studied piano, conducting and composition in Milan, Stuttgart and Vienna. He made his debut as a conductor with the Lockenhaus Festival Orchestra, featuring Gidon Kremer as soloist. As assistant to Kent Nagano and to Sylvain Cambreling, Formenti performed at the Wiener Staatsoper, the Opera de Paris and the Los Angeles Opera. He has since worked with many orchestras and ensembles, among them the Klangforum Wien, the Ensemble Online Vienna, the Webern Symphony Vienna and the Curva Minore in Palermo, for which he conceived and conducted one of his acclaimed Music Parties. He has also worked with many youth orchestras, such as the Seikei University Orchestra in Tokyo and the Junior Orchestra in Kobe. Formenti who has established himself as one of the foremost interpreters in the world of contemporary music, has given many works their world premières at festivals and venues such as the Konzerthaus in Vienna, the Accademia di Santa Cecilia in Rome, the Wiener Festwochen and the Festival Wien Modern. He has also led several stage productions including the Austrian première of Kurt Weill's opera, The Protagonist.
Formenti is since many years a frequent guest at major festivals and institutions around the world, including the Lincoln Centre for the Performing Arts New York, the Salzburg Festival, the Mozartwoche Salzburg, the Lucerne Festival, the Edinburgh Festival, the Schleswig-Holstein Festival, the Ojai Festival, the Ravinia and Aspen music festivals, the Bregenz Festival, Gidon Kremer’s Lockenhaus Festival, the AGORA Festival of the IRCAM in Paris, the Festival Musica in Strasbourg, Ars Musica Bruxelles, the Berliner Festwochen, the Philharmonie and the Konzerthaus in Berlin, the Musikverein and Konzerthaus in Vienna, the Mozarteum in Salzburg, the Philharmonie in Cologne, the Tonhalle Zurich, Severance Hall Cleveland, the Philharmonie in Budapest, the Suntory, Oji and Casals halls in Tokyo, the Rachmaninoff Hall in Moscow, the Philharmonic in St. Petersburg and Riccardo Muti’s festival in Ravenna. Apart from MIAGI 2009 in South Africa, some upcoming performances include appearances both as a soloist and as a conductor with members of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra (again at the MEC in Los Angeles) and with the Saint Paul's Chamber Orchestra, a performance of Messiaen’s Des Canyons aux Etoiles with Kent Nagano and the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra, as well as a return to New York City for master-classes at the Manhattan School of Music.
Marino Formenti has collaborated with some of the most important living composers, including Helmut Lachenmann, György Kurtág, Salvatore Sciarrino, Olga Neuwirth and Beat Furrer. He has recorded for several labels including Kairos, Col Legno and BIS. The recordings have been enthusiastically reviewed by both the European and American press and won various awards.
Marino Formenti is the nominated prize-winner of the Forberg-Schneider Stiftung’s Belmont Award for 2009.
Haydn Trio Eisenstadt - Harald Kosik, piano - Verena Stourzh, violin - Hannes Gradwohl, cello
Founded in 1992, The Haydn Trio Eisenstadt is one of Austria’s leading chamber music ensembles. The musicians studied at the Vienna Academy of Music in the chamber music class of Georg Ebert, and took part in master classes given by the Trio di Trieste. In 1994, the renowned Accademia Chigiana rewarded the Haydn Trio Eisenstadt the Honorary Diploma ‘Best Piano Trio’. This distinction was followed by two intensive years of studies at the Scuola Internazionale di Musica da Camera del Trio di Trieste. In addition to regular concerts all over Austria the Haydn Trio Eisenstadt is often on tour abroad. Concerts have taken them to Germany, Italy, France, Belgium, England, Scotland, Ireland, Switzerland, Denmark, Hungary, Turkey, Russia, Israel, Japan and the USA. The ensemble has also given guest performances at the Vienna Konzerthaus, the Musikverein in Vienna, the Haydn Biennale Vlaanderen in Belgium, at the Sanssouci Music Festival, the Schlosskonzerte in Brühl, the Beethoven Festival in Bonn, the Haydn Festival in Japan and at the prestigious concert hall of the Pushkin Museum in Moscow. A large number of CD recordings are further proof of the trio’s outstanding reputation. In May 2008, the ensemble launched their complete recording of piano trios by Ludwig van Beethoven, recorded in the Haydn Hall of the Esterházy Castle in Eisenstadt, on a total of 4 CDs.
South African Composer and conductor Bongani Ndodana-Breen (* 1975) has written a wide range of music encompassing symphonic work, opera, chamber music and vocal music. According to the New York Times his “delicately made music - airy, spacious, terribly complex but never convoluted - has a lot to teach the Western wizards of metric modulation and layered rhythms about grace and balance”. Performers around the world including the Belgian National Orchestra, Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra, Vancouver Opera Orchestra, Symphony Nova Scotia, Natal Philharmonic, New York City’s Vox Vocal Ensemble have performed his music.
Raffaele Trevisani born in Milan, Italy, is a frequent guest at many major concert venues and festivals all over the world, where he appears both as soloist with orchestras, and as a recitalist and chamber musician. Trevisani, praised consistently for his style and musicality by the public and the critics, was for many years one of the very few students of James Galway and he received unanimous appreciations also from his other teachers, Jean Pierre Rampal, Julius Baker and Maxence Larrieu (read more about the artist at www.raffaeletrevisani.com).
"I have known Raffaele Trevisani over a period of years and do not hesitate to say that he belongs to the best of the flautist of the day.
His perfect technique, beautiful singing tone and dedication to the art of music will ensure him a place of honor with the public and his colleagues."
Spring Concert 2008
Patrick Lange German conductor Patrick Lange (27), newly appointed music director of Orchestre de Chambre de Genève and Kapellmeister at the Komische Oper Berlin has emerged as one of the most talented conductors of his generation.
In 2005 Lange was appointed assistant conductor of the Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester,which marked the beginning of a close association with Claudio Abbado.Since then he has assisted Maestro Abbado with the Berliner Philharmoniker, the Orchestra Mozart Bologna and the Lucerne Festival Orchestra. Patrick Lange has further appeared as a guest conductor with the Hamburg and the Bochum Symphony Orchestras,the Beethoven Orchester Bonn, the MDR Symphony Orchestra, the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, the Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra of Venezuela and the Deutsches Bundesjugendorchester.
The concert at the Linder Auditorium on 08 September together with the MIAGI Youth Orchestra, was Lange's debut apperance in South Africa.
Patrick Lange and the MYO - Spring Concert, 2008
Jannie 'Hanepoot'van Tonder
South African first-rate jazz trombonist, drummer, composer and teacher, van Tonder’s work across many musical genres has taken him throughout Southern Africa and Europe. He has performed and recorded with the likes of James Phillips, Johannes Kerkorrel, Winston's Jive Mixup, Wasamata, Mzwake Mbuli, The Victor Ntoni Big Band, Winston’s Jive Mixup, Die Gereformeerde Blues Band, Delicious Monsters and many others, and notably spent a year on the road with the African Jazz Pioneers under the leadership of the late Ntemi Piliso. Over the years, van Tonder has developed a proven methodology, covering the teaching of brass instruments from a beginner level to advanced improvisation and performance. In 2001, he started his own Biggish Band in Cape Town, as a platform for developing indigenous South African Jazz for the standard big-band format. Now in their second year together, ‘Hanepoot’ and the MIAGI Youth Big Band have already established a reputation as an exciting, worth-listening-to, line-up. iiinggridhedlundheohlkhjkljkhsgdhkjhhhh
2008 Festival - Guest Artists
(in alphabetical order)
Pianist, composer and conductor Ralf Gothóni is well-known for his unconventional way of music-making, not only as a pianist (in 1994 he was honored with one of the world’s most prestigious awards for pianists, the Gilmore Artist Award), but as a musician with unusual thinking about music and the wholeness of musicianship. In 2007 he initiated a musical bridge between Finland and Egypt by organizing a festival where his northern colleagues perform with Egyptian musicians. He says "Classical music is a stairway to a growing individual and social understanding of life and human desires". Gothóni’s dedicated collaboration with MIAGI dates back to 2001, the year of MIAGI’s inception. Gothóni, holds (and has held) many artistic posts: chief conductor of the Finlandia Sinfonietta, principal guest conductor of the Turku Philharmonic, music director of the Northwest Chamber Orchestra in Seattle, guest conductor of Deutsche Kammerakademie artistic director of the Savonlinna Opera Festival. In 1996 and 1998 he was the initiator and the artistic director of the Forbidden City Music Festival in Beijing and in 2001, appointed principal conductor of the English Chamber Orchestra. His performances as a pianist include appearances at prestigious music festivals such as Salzburg, Berlin, Prague, Aldeburgh, Edinburgh, La Roque de Antheron, Ravinia, Tanglewood and performances with the Berlin, Warsaw and Japan Philharmonic Orchestras as well as with the Bavarian Radio Symphony and the Chicago, Detroit and Toronto Symphony Orchestras, to mention just a few.
Born in Istanbul, Cem Mansur studied in London, graduating from the City University and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. He was awarded the Ricordi Prize and later studied with Leonard Bernstein at the Los Angeles Philharmonic Institute.
As conductor of the Istanbul State Opera between 1981 and1989, Mansur conducted a large operatic repertoire in addition to his concert work. In 1985 he made a highly successful London debut with the English Chamber Orchestra. Between 1989 and 1996 Cem Mansur was Principal Conductor of the City of Oxford Orchestra and became Artistic Director of the Akbank Chamber Orchestra in 1998, winning special recognition for his creative programming. His successes were followed by further engagements with the English Chamber Orchestra, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the George Enescu Philharmonic Orchestra in Bucharest, the Hungarian State Orchestra and many more. Recent engagements include concerts with the Mexico City Philharmonic Orchestra, the London Mozart Players, the City of London Sinfonia, the BBC Concert Orchestra and the Manchester Camerata at venues such as the Royal Albert Hall, the Barbican, St.John's, Smith Square and Auditorio Nacional in Madrid. Further highlights include opera productions for the City of London Festival and frequent guesting as conductor with the Kirov Opera at the invitation of Valery Gergiev. Mansur has worked with many world-renowned soloists such as Janos Starker, Midori, Dmitri Alexeev, Galina Gorchakova. Natalia Gutman, Murray Perahia and Håkan Hardenberger, and in 2007 with Sergei Nakariakov, during the Total MIAGI Festival 2007. Mansur is President of the Ipswich Choral Society, the second oldest such institution in England, and the founding musical director of the Turkish National Youth Orchestra. He is Artistic Director (music and opera) of Istanbul 2010; European Capital of Culture.
Cem Mansur and the MIAGI Orchestra with soloist Sergei Nakariakov at the MIAGI Festival 2007.
After completing his studies with Professor Yrjo Selin at the Sibelius Academy, Arto Noras studied with Paul Tortelier at the Paris Conservatoire where he gained the coveted Premier Prix diploma in 1964. Two years later he was awarded second prize in the Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow, which immediately opened his way to the most important concert halls in the world, and where he has performed regularly ever since. Noras regularly performs with major orchestras, conductors and some of the finest instrumentalists of today and is known as an expressive and technically brilliant soloist and as an intensive and sensitive chamber musician. His repertoire covers all the principal works that have been written for his instrument, including those by contemporary composers and he has an extensive list of recordings to his name, comprising several pieces written especially for him. Noras is a member of the jury at competitions such as the Tchaikovsky, Casals and Cassado competitions and he gives master classes all over the world. He is the founder and Artistic Director of both the Naantali Music Festival and the International Paulo Cello Competition, and since 1970 also Professor of Cello at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki.
It was violinist and conductor Maxim Vengerov (33), a Unicef Goodwill Ambassador and MIAGI patron, who in 2003 baptised MIAGI (at that time known as ICMF - International Classical Music Festival) during his first visit to South Africa. He repeated the following phrase in which he believes firmly to the media: ‘Music Is a Great Investment’ – MIAGI.
Widely regarded as one of the world’s most dynamic artists, Maxim Vengerov has performed sold out concerts with the world’s most eminent orchestras in every major city in the world. Steeped in the celebrated Russian tradition of music making, Maestro enjoys international acclaim as a musician of the highest order, tireless in his search for new means of creative expression.
Having reached the pinnacle of the musical world as an instrumentalist, Vengerov followed in the footsteps of his mentor, the late Mstislav Rostropovich and turned his attention to conducting, bringing his sensitivity and keen musicianship to the podium. Maestro took his first conducting classes from Professor Vag Papian, who himself studied with the legendary Ilya Musin in St. Petersburg. At the invitation of Valery Gergiev, Maestro Vengerov has conducted the Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra, earning accolades both from the critics and the public. Over the past few seasons, he has developed close relationships with Verbier Festival Orchestra, Bergen Philharmonic, Sinfonietta Cracovia, et al. Maestro Vengerov’s Carnegie Hall debut as a conductor, which took place during the 2007 Verbier Festival Orchestra tour of North America, received critical acclaim. “The musicians responded magnetically to him”, wrote Vivien Schweitzer of The New York Times.
There are many exciting projects in store for the next two seasons, including a North American tour (Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Montreal Symphony Orchestra, etc), a Russian tour with the Moscow Philharmonic, a series of performances with Kammerorchester Basel and a conducting debut with the Jerusalem Symphony. Maestro Vengerov will return to the Bucharest Philharmonic Orchestra, the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, and the Oslo Philharmonic. He will also make his debut with the Moscow Virtuosi in Moscow and St. Petersburg. His programs will feature works by Mozart, Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Brahms, Bruckner, Tchaikovsky, Prokofiev and Shostakovich.
Maestro Vengerov has been profiled in a series of documentaries, including Playing by Heart, which was recorded by Channel Four Television and screened at the Cannes Television Festival in 1999, and Living the Dream, which was released worldwide and received the Gramophone Award for Best Documentary 2008. In September 2008 he was invited by the BBC to conduct the BBC concert orchestra and be a member of the jury in the Maestro Series, a program designed to give general public an insight into the fascinating profession of a conductor. Maestro regularly serves on juries, most recently at the Yehudi Menuhin Violin Competition and the Donatella Flick Conducting Competition.
Beginning his career as a solo violinist at the age of 5, Vengerov has won prestigious international competitions, collaborated with the world’s finest conductors and recorded the entire violin repertoire for a number of high-profile labels, including Teldec Classics and EMI, receiving many prestigious awards and nominations including Grammy and Gramophone Artist of the Year. Hungry for experience that lies outside a standard track record of a musical prodigy, Maestro has let himself be inspired by many different styles of music, including baroque, jazz and rock. He has taken the time to learn how to tango and premiered Benjamin Yusupov’s Viola Tango Rock Concerto, exploring the physicality of music and making a powerful statement about the diversity of cultural influences in the 21st century.
Along with Rostropovich and Gergiev, Maxim Vengerov counts Daniel Barenboim among his mentors, not only from the purely musical point of view but also in terms of their commitment to philanthropy, education and talent development. Maestro enjoys creative partnerships and friendships with some of the most prominent instrumentalists, such as Ida Haendel, Joshua Bell and Alexander Toradze, to name but a few. At the same time, he makes it a point to feature young promising soloists who benefit greatly from his extensive experience and rare generosity. Educational activities such as music forums, lectures and conferences are an integral part of Maxim Vengerov’s work. Maestro holds Honorary Professorships from many top conservatories around the world, including the Royal Academy of Music in London.
In 1997, Vengerov became the first classical musician to be appointed Envoy for Music by UNICEF, which provided him with the unique opportunity to inspire children worldwide through music. As a UNICEF ambassador, Vengerov performed for underprivileged kids in Uganda, Thailand and the Balkans, and helped raise funds for UNICEF assisted programs. Since 2007 Maestro has been an Ambassador for Zegna & Music project, which was founded by the luxury men’s clothing label Ermenegildo Zegna in 1997 as a philanthropic activity to promote classical music. Maestro is a patron of the MIGDAL Project in Northern Israel designed to give disadvantaged children a chance to learn how to play a musical instrument and to improvise in classical and ethnic styles, harnessing the healing power of music and promoting humanitarian and cultural values.
Maxim Vengerov and MIAGI Executive Director Robert Brooks turning the sod for the MIAGI Music Centre at the Morris Isaacson School in Soweto.
Maxim Vengerov, the MIAGI Youth Orchestra and Abel Selaocoe (cello) at the Linder Auditorium, 18 May, 2008.
Born in the United States and raised in Finland, violinist Elina Vähälä studied among others with Zinaida Gilels, Ilja Grubert and Pavel Vernikov. Already at the age of 15, she won prizes at the Lipinsky-Wieniawski competition in Poland and in 1999, first prize at the Young Concert Artists International Auditions in New York. Vähälä, who has appeared as a soloist with all the top orchestras of her home country, including the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Helsinki, Turku and Tampere Philharmonics, Tapiola Sinfonietta and Virtuosi di Kuhmo, is since 1999 active as a soloist and chamber musician all over the world. Recent highlights have included appearances with the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Minnesota orchestra, and the Oregon Symphony Orchestras, a series of solo recitals in the United States and a music cruise with the English Chamber Orchestra. Vähälä’s wide repertoire consists of works from baroque to contemporary. As a devoted chamber musician, Vähälä’s partners include Juri Bashmet, Ana Chumachenco, Patrick Gallois, Itamar Golan, Ivry Gitlis, Bruno Giuranna, Jan-Erik Gustafsson, Steven Isserlis and Frans Helmerson to mention just a few.
Festival 2008 - South African Artists
(in alphabetical order)
Born in South Africa (KwaZulu-Natal), Robert Brooks matriculated from Dundee High School. He completed his professional studies in Europe, first at the Salzburg Mozarteum and later the University for Music and Dramatic Art in Vienna. In 1986, he won first prize in the International Lied Competition held by the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde (Musikverein) in Vienna. Robert has since been active as a singer, mainly in Europe, singing everything from the Classics (German Lied, Opera, Concert) to Contemporary Music and Tangos from Argentina. He performed at Festivals such as the Salzburg Festival, Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, Wiener Festwochen, Wien Modern, András Schiff’s Festival in Mondsee and many others. The Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, the Vienna Symphonic Orchestra, Orchestra National du Paris, Tonhalle Orchester Zürich, are among the orchestras with which Robert has sung, under the baton of conductors such as Herbert von Karajan, Yehudi Menuhin, Charles Dutoit, Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, Hanz Zender, Charles Macerras, Heinz Holliger and Adam Fischer. In 2001 he established the non-profit organisation, MIAGI – ‘Music Is A Great Investment’. Since the inception of MIAGI, Robert is realising his visions as Director of MIAGI together with Finnish pianist, Ingrid Hedlund whom he married in 1986.
The Cape Philharmonic Orchestra
The Cape Philharmonic Orchestra, South Africa’s “orchestra for all seasons”, is a financially and culturally sustainable, multi-functional orchestra delivering a world-class musical experience to all communities of the Western Cape. The CPO is one of only three full-time professional symphony orchestras in South Africa and continues a long and proud history of symphonic music since Cape Town’s first symphony orchestra was formed in 1914. Apart from traditional symphony concerts presented in the historic City Hall with its excellent acoustics for orchestral music, the CPO also performs at the Artscape Theatre Centre with Cape Town Opera and Cape Town City Ballet for their opera and ballet seasons. Further engagements include performing with prestigious visiting ballet companies such as the St Petersburg Ballet, charity galas, lighter “symphonic pops” music for special occasions and collaboration with community musicians and choirs. These performances all add up to a staggering 160 performances a year. Some performances are given at other venues in Cape Town and the Western Cape such as the Baxter Theatre, the historical Groote Kerk, St George’s Cathedral, the Endler Hall in Stellenbosch and the Bellville Velodrome. Other venues include popular tourist destinations such as the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, Oude Libertas, Vergelegen wine estate and leading hotels. However, the orchestra does not only play in the Cape’s premier venues, but also visit smaller venues in previously disadvantaged communities. Together with the Cape Town Opera, the CPO has visited Europe, notably for two seasons of Show Boat (during 2005 and 2006) in Nuremberg, Germany.
Chamber Orchestra of Johannesburg
The Chamber Orchestra of Johannesburg (COJ) was founded in 2007 by Kutlwano Masote and Julian Abrahams - arts administrator and producer - as well as marketing and communications specialist Tshebo Mokoena. The COJ has since performed at high profiled events such as the Department of Arts and Culture-sponsored Todd Matshikiza Tribute Concert,The SA Jazz Foundation’s Jazz Meets Symphony 2007 and at numerous corporate events. The COJ is a registered as a Section 21 company. The orchestra aims to develop the level of music appreciation through its diverse nature of performances. The focus is embodied in the orchestra’s mission statement: ‘Sustaining orchestral music through broad-based participation’. The COJ is also at the vanguard of transforming orchestras through mentoring younger musicians breaking into the profession in the craft of orchestral playing to ensure sustainability of the profession.
Ensemble Uthingo – Kudu-Horns
Ensemble Uthingo is a group of musicians and dancers specialising in different genres of music, mainly Jazz, African music and Opera. The members represent different cultural backgrounds. They have a wide repertoire that covers traditional African music and dance to contemporary and they play many different African instruments as well as Western instruments. Ensemble Uthingo has taken part in many outstanding intercultural projects, such as the production of Hans Huyssen’s African opera, Masque.
After having lived and studied in Europe for 14 years, South African-born Hans Huyssen returned home in pursuit of a relevant local form of contemporary music. His ongoing relationship with early music – as a Baroque cellist he has been a member of various period instrument ensembles – gives him a very personal approach. He sees contemporary music as the period music of our time and strives to reconnect it to its historical and geographical roots, creating and recreating specific contexts and relationships, attempting to free it from an isolated l’art pour l’art status. He has consciously contextualized elements of African music and time-perception in a variety of ways in several projects. Two of his major compositions in this field ‘The Songs of Madosini’ and ‘Ciacona & Tshikona – Dance from North and South’ were commissioned by MIAGI for its 2002 and 2007 festivals. In his first opera, Masque (produced in co-operation with MIAGI in Cape Town in 2005), he assembled large forces from the realms of traditional and contemporary African and European music to tackle the specific challenges of intercultural art forms. Huyssen’s compositions have been performed by numerous major European and South African orchestras and ensembles, he has directed various Baroque opera productions and he made his conducting debut in Germany with the Kammerphilharmonie Bremen in 2002. Since the beginning of 2007 he has been a senior lecturer in the music department at the University of the Free State.
Sibongile Khumalo’s immense musical capacity launched her into the limelight when she won the Standard Bank Young Artist Award at the Grahamstown Festival in 1993. Since then, her dynamic and soulful interpretations have enchanted audiences all over the world. She moves from one genre to the next with virtuosic ease - classical opera and oratorio to South African traditional and jazz. Khumalo has appeared with the London Philharmonic Orchestra; she was the alto soloist in the Messiah with Lord Yehudi Menuhin, and the London Bach Choir under Sir David Willcocks. She was the alto soloist in the world premiere of Mzilikazi Khumalo's African epic oratorio UShaka ka Senzangakhona and In 2004, she took part in the MIAGI ‘UShaka’ tour of Europe, organised in collaboration with the Department of Foreign Affairs and the European Union, ‘Celebrating 10 Years of Democracy’. The oratorio was performed in six European countries by the Gauteng and Bonisudumo Choristers, eight South African soloists, celebrated conductor Dennis Russel-Davies, and renowned European orchestras such as Bruckner Orchester Linz and Kammerorchester Basel. Other concert highlights have included guest appearances with the former National Symphony Orchestra, locally and abroad, Cape Town Symphony, and the KZN Philharmonic. In opera Khumalo has sung the title role in Carmen,for Opera Africa, Amneris in Aida and Ulrica in Un Ballo in Maschera for Cape Town Opera, and Azucena in Il Trovatore for Cape Town Opera and Den Norske Opera (Oslo). She has also played the title role of Princess Magogo ka Dinuzulu for Opera Africa. Sibongile has also been heard at the Royal Albert Hall, the Royal Festival Hall, the Barbican Center and at Ronnie Scott's in London, and at the Kennedy Center, Washington DC.
MIAGI Youth Big Band, MIAGI Youth Chamber Orchestra,
MIAGI Youth Orchestra
The early development of the movement that was to evolve into the now fully fledged MIAGI Youth Orchestra took place largely through the periodic MIAGI ‘Orchestra Camps’ which were made possible financially through the generous funding received for this purpose from the Embassy of Finland and others. These camps provided an opportunity for a coming together of the various education initiatives that were receiving financial and other support through MIAGI. Here was an opportunity for young people, almost exclusively from economically depressed backgrounds, to come together in a musically rich environment and to share in each others knowledge and experiences. As the MIAGI International Festival grew over time to bring some of the greatest musicians to South Africa, so did the opportunities for these young people begin to expand. The festival created a platform for interaction with highly acclaimed international artists, either during the camps or else at ad hoc workshops and / or masterclasses arranged to coincide with visits from visiting performers and educators. The early camps always culminated in a highly emotive concert, in which end results were shared between the participants and their tutors. In 2007 for the first time this concert was brought to the general public in the form of a free concert in Johannesburg’s Linder Auditorium. Here the MIAGI Youth Orchestra together with the MIAGI Youth Big Band made its mark as a competent and inspired body of young players representing a broad spectrum of South Africa’s people.
Thikundwi kha Sialala – Venda Ngoma Drummers and Dancers
Thikundwi kha Sialala is an exceptionally skilled Venda traditional dance and ngoma drum ensemble. It is made up of 40 women and two men. The group hails from Limpopo where, with the encouragement of Chief Vho-A.M Madzivhandila it has won numerous regional dance competitions. Music plays and important role in shaping the social fabric of the Venda and is not separated from dance: dancing and drumming form a unity that conveys emotions, wisdom, history and spiritual interaction. Thikundwi kha Sialala has worked with MIAGI since the 2003 African Heritage concert, receiving much deserved national recognition. Performances have included numerous MIAGI Festival events, as well as performances at the MIAGI produced trilateral IBSA Summit cultural evening (involving the South African, Indian and Brazilian governments) and at the IPU (International Organization of Parliaments of Sovereign States) conference cultural evening.
As an 8 year-old Stellenbosch scholar, Maree experienced his first public performance as a singer at an Eisteddfod, tasting the first thrill of success by earning a gold diploma. Later he won more acclaim also through excellent piano skills, and actually turned ‘pro’ by the age of 15 by performing in a professional variety show in the Queenstown City Hall. This was followed by exposure to radio recording and broadcasting at age 16 for Radio Port Natal in the ‘Skatkis van die Skrywers’ series. During this time he studied voice with Xenia Belmas in Durban for a year before choosing light contemporary music above classical as his genre. His was also actively developing his acting skills during these years and in his second year at university he auditioned for the Brickhill-Burke team in Johannesburg and so permanently entered the world of theatre and entertainment. Maree is most probably best known as a member of South Africa’s first ‘boyband’, The Soft Shoes, singing and dancing themselves into the hearts and minds of an admiring South Africa, especially after having won the TV talent competition Follow that Star. Their first single Elvis Astaire reached gold status within its first week of release. They subsequently recorded three albums, toured the country, appeared in numerous television shows and had their own television special. After the inevitable parting of the ways, Maree again excelled as a solo performer. Maree is today known as one of South Africa’s most versatile and popular entertainers. He is equally at home as a singer, a ‘song and dance’ man, a self-accompanied piano- vocalist or cabaret artist, appearing regularly in various prestigious shows produced for the theatres and television. Maree has shared the stage with top artists like Yvonne Chaka-Chaka, Amanda Strydom, Nataniel, Judy Page, Joseph Clarke, Zayne Adams and Malie Kelly to name but a few.
Kutlwano Masote, musician and arts administrator, was born in Soweto into a musical family. His father Michael, a highly respected figure in the music community, was his first music teacher. At the age of eleven he began playing the cello and his talent soon captured the attention of some of Johannesburg’s leading music teachers which resulted in a music scholarship to attend the St. John’s College in Johannesburg. He then furthered his studies at the University of the Witwatersrand and later at the International Menuhin Music Academy in Switzerland, after Yehudi Menuhin had heard him and awarded him a scholarship. Upon his return to South Africa, Masote joined the National Symphony Orchestra. He was instrumental in the founding of the Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra and served on its board in 2001. Masote’s passion for music education and audience development led him to become a co-founder of the Johannesburg Music Initiative. He is currently chairman of the Arts and Culture Trust, of which he has been a trustee since 2005. Since 2004 Masote has been a judge in the instrumental and composition categories of the South African Music Awards and since 1999, host of a daily radio programme, Classic SA, on Classic fm.
Masote is a member of the Motswako String Quartet, an ensemble often heard at high-profile governmental and corporate functions. In 2006 he made his debut as a conductor at the Opening Mayoral Function of Joburg Arts Alive conducting Ladysmith Black Mambazo, the Gauteng Choristers and the MIAGI Orchestra. In 2007 Masote conducted the Chamber Orchestra of Johannesburg, featuring soloists Lira and Sibongile Mngoma, in a Todd Matshikiza tribute concert. His orchestra conducting engagements for 2008 include Händel’s The Messiah, the Technology Top 100 Awards as well as the world-premier of Coming Home by Isak Roux. Masote also runs a musicians’ booking agency and is the Artistic Director of the Chamber Orchestra of Johannesburg.
Soweto born Sibongile Mngoma completed a BA degree at the University of Cape Town, and went on to receive honors in Drama Education. She furthered her opera studies at the UCT College of Music, under the tutelage of Sarita Stern and Angelo Gobbato, attending masterclasses held by Mirella Freni and Shirley Verritt at the Accademia Musicale Chigiana in Italy. She has since won further acclaim in Italy playing such roles as Didon in Puccinni's Didon and Donna Elvira in Mozart's Don Giovanni. Mngoma has performed in every principal opera house in South Africa, and with most major orchestras. She is also one of the country's few, true, crossover artists - often moving from opera to classical to jazz, and as here for MIAGI, showcasing her skills as actress/narrator. Mngoma has the Standard Bank Young Artist Award and the FNB Vita Award for best opera female lead. Her 2004 CD release, Glimmer of Hope, has earned two SAMA award nominations. On MIAGI Director Robert Brooks’ recommendation, she was one the finalists in the Rolex Foundation Mentor\Protégé programme for 2004\2005 with Jessye Norman.
(1959- ), pianist, composer and arranger. Roux’s works include over eighty compositions and arrangements, ranging from the avant-garde to the choral and orchestral that are regularly performed and recorded by himself and others in South Africa and abroad, with his discography thereby also constantly expanding locally and internationally.
Roux’s collaboration with MIAGI has brought him together with musicians such as the late penny whistle genius Jake ‘Big Voice’ Lerole, with Ladysmith Black Mambazo and the English Chamber Orchestra, and with the penny whistle group Kwela Tebza. Recent commissions have focused on a synthesis of classical Western and traditional African rhythms and instrumentation.The latest include his Tekweni Suite on Saxofourte's CD We are not Alone, and Ladysmith Black Mambazo's MIAGI produced CD No Boundaries nominated for a Grammy Award in 2006. His present commission for MIAGI, a full gospel cantata in the modern style entitled Coming Home, is his major opus to date; a vocal and orchestral fusion of African, Western and Afro-American spiritual aspirations.
16 year old cellist Abel Selaocoe’s love for classical music grew out of his admiration for a sibling. Selaocoe’s brother played bassoon at the African Cultural Organisation of SA Conservatory in Soweto (ACOSA). When his brother encouraged him to join, he jumped at the chance, first playing recorder, and at 11 moving to the cello.
Abel is currently a student of Carel Henn at St. Johns College where he is a scholarship student. He has passed the Trinity grade 7 cello exam with merit, was a finalist in the Roedean Schools Competition twice, and was also a semifinalist in the Phillip H. Moore Competition. He has appeared as soloist with the Randburg City Orchestra as well as the Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra. He has participated in the Landes Jugend Ochestra in Germany, and played in the Reserve National Youth Orchestra three times.
In 2007, he was invited to join the MIAGI Youth Orchestra and has now been selected as the soloist in the 2008 programme.
(22) was born in Taiwan and moved to South Africa when he was six. He began violin studies at the age of eight under the guidance of Dr. Eugenia Doina Bruno in Port Elizabeth. He then had lessons with Gabrielle Stebbins in 2000, acquiring the ABRSM Advanced Certificate, and in 2002 began studies with Prof. Jürgen Schwietering, then Head of Strings at UCT. During this time, he played in the first violin section of the East Cape Philharmonic Orchestra.
In 2005, Tzu-Fan moved to Cape Town and began his studies with A/Prof. Farida Bacharova at the South African College of Music at UCT. At the end of his first and second years, he won the Gerry Meyer Memorial Prize for the best instrumental student at the college, and attended a masterclass with international French violinist Philippe Graffin. He went on to win the Percy Ould Memorial Prize, the I Musicanti Orchestra Award and the Stephanie Garnett Memorial Prize. He has been on the Dean’s Merit list every year. Since 2006, he has been the leader of the UCT Symphony Orchestra three times. He performed as soloist, playing the Wieniawski 2nd Violin Concerto under the baton of Alexander Fokkens, and later the Bach Double Concerto with the UCT String Ensemble, under the direction of Anmari van der Westhuizen. In 2006, Tzu-Fan toured Germany as a member of the SA National Youth Orchestra, and last year he was a member of the Britten-Pears Orchestra at the Aldeburgh Festival in England with guest conductor Alexander Polianichko. Tzu-Fan has had masterclasses with Daniel Rowland at the Stellenbosch International Chamber Music Festival. Tzu-Fan performs with various chamber music ensembles around the country, including a concert with James Grace in the Baxter Concert Hall and again at the Franschhoek Festival.
Jannie ‘Hanepoot’ van Tonder
South African first-rate jazz trombonist, drummer, composer and teacher, van Tonder’s work across many musical genres has taken him throughout Southern Africa and Europe. He has performed and recorded with the likes of James Phillips, Johannes Kerkorrel, Winston's Jive Mixup, Wasmata, Mzwake Mbuli, The Victor Ntoni Big Band, Winston’s Jive Mixup, Die Gereformeerde Blues Band, Delicious Monsters, The African Jazz Pioneers and many others, and notably spent a year on the road with the early African Jazz Pioneers under the leadership of the late Ntemi Piliso. Over the years van Tonder has developed a proven methodology, covering the teaching of brass instruments from a beginner level to advanced improvisation and performance. Part of this methodology has been documented in a book form as a Theory of Music Tutor, containing text, diagrams and exercises. This book aims at covering the theory of music from the point of view of the eventual Jazz performer, who would not necessarily be required to read music but still have to understand the theoretical background on an advanced level in order to be able to become a Jazz soloist. In 2001 he started his own Biggish Band in Cape Town, as a platform to develop indigenous South African Jazz for the standard big band format. In 2007 van Tonder, noted for his effective methods of instructing aspiring musicians to make the most of their skills as performers/improvisers, joined MIAGI as leader of the MIAGI Youth Big Band. In the same year, at the MIAGI Youth Concert, this newborn MIAGI 17-piece line-up gave a veritable rave-debut.
UCT Symphony Orchestra
The UCT Symphony Orchestra was formed in 1991 when Jurgen Schwietering took over the UCT String Orchestra form Noel Travers. It has developed over the years to a fully-fledged orchestra that is considered to be one of the foremost orchestras in the Western Cape. The UCTSO is now administered by Associate Professor Farida Bacharova, head of orchestral studies and strings at UCT. The orchestra performs three symphony concerts annually, and stages one opera production, as well as several outside engagements such as Kirstenbosch Sunset Concerts with Richard Cock, and in the Cape Town City Hall with Bernard Gueller.
Since winning the solo voice category in the 2002 Tirisano School Choral Eisteddfod, the soprano Pretty Yende (born in 1985) has dedicated herself to professional vocal studies. She is enrolled at the University of Cape Town for the Performer's Diploma in Opera, studying with Virginia Davids. Apart from being involved in all student productions, she has won several national singing competitions and in 2004 and 2005 she was also one of the prize winners and runner up in the prestigious Schock Competition for Singers at UCT. Her many opera roles include Countess in The Marriage of Figaro, Fiordiligi in Cosí fan Tutte, Pamina in The Magic Flute and Helena in Britten’s Midsummer Night’s Dream, and she also has sung many oratorios including Mozart’s Requiem, Solemn Vespers, Coronation Mass, Vivaldi's Magnificat and Beethoven's Mass in C to mention just a few. Since 2005 Pretty Yende has been involved in the MIAGI Mentor and Protégé Programme. During the MIAGI Festival 2005 she performed in the MIAGI Schubertiade, in 2006, at the Gala Concert, she sang excerpts from Mozart's The Magic Flute accompanied by the Kammerphilharmonie Amadé Orchestra from Germany. In 2007 she represented MIAGI at the International l’Orfeo Competition arranged by l’Istituto Internationale per l’Opera e la Poesia in Verona, Italy in collaboration with among others UNESCO, the Hungarian State Opera and MIAGI, South Africa. Pretty Yende was recipient of first prize in the role of La Musica and took part in the final Gala commemoration performance in Mantua, Teatro Bibiena, on the day 400 years after the first L’Orfeo performancein the same hall. Also in 2007, MIAGI facilitated a bursary for her to partake in the master-class of star-soprano Raina Kabaivanska which included a final concert with the Bulgarian State Philharmonic Orchestra.