Chamber Music Festival delivers nine South African premières

The Stellenbosch International Chamber Music Festival will be held this year from 8 to 17 July at the Music Department of Stellenbosch University. The evening faculty concerts are renowned for their excellent performances and innovative programming.

“Our Artistic Director, Nina Schumann, collects suggestions from all the faculty members and puts together the most interesting programmes. Many of the faculty members use this opportunity to put forward repertoire that they would ordinarily not get the opportunity to play, so in-between the great works of Bach, Schubert, Mendelssohn and Tchaikovsky, etcetera you will be sure to find some totally unknown gems well worth a hearing,” says Peter Martens, Festival Director, about the process of choosing the repertoire.

Casper de Vries

This year the Festival is presenting no less than nine South African premières. Coupled with the well-loved “Trout” quintet by Schubert, the first concert will also feature a South African first in the Octet-Serenade in E major, Op.22, by Dvořák, arranged by Nicholas Ingman. This piece is commonly known in its string orchestra guise, but this new arrangement will include piano, clarinet, horn and bassoon as well.

The second concert includes the Grande Serenade Concertante Op.126 by Carl Czerny, a contemporary and student of Beethoven. Then, remaining in the Beethoven era, the third faculty concert contains a beautiful, sparkling piano quintet by Louise Farrenc, the only woman composer represented this year.

In the fourth concert, Siegfried Idyll by Richard Wagner will be performed in its original version for 13 instruments. In the fifth concert, Frank Stadler, who mesmerised audiences with his profound and stylish performance of Beethoven’s violin concerto two years ago, will give a unique performance of the Mendelssohn violin concerto in a special arrangement for solo violin and string quintet.

After the interval, Stadler and the other string players will be joined by Daniel Rowland (violin), back by popular demand, and Nina Schumann (piano) in a performance of Mozart’s Pantomime K.446 completed by Vladimir Mendelssohn. This will be followed by a bit of fun in a piece called “Playing with Style” by Russell Peck.

In the sixth faculty concert the strings will be joined by Luis Magalhães in Korngold’s Piano Quintet in E major, Op.15. And finally the Festival Concert Orchestra will present the world première of Hendrik Hofmeyr’s “Kasi” with a surprise text delivered by Casper de Vries.

Faculty and orchestral concerts take place every evening between 8 and 17 July in the Endler Hall at Stellenbosch University and concert goers are requested to book early to avoid disappointment. Tickets are available at Computicket and enquiries can be addressed to the Festival Director, Peter Martens, on 021 808 2343 / martensp@sun.ac.za or Production Administrator, Louise Howlett, on 021 808 2358 / howlett@sun.ac.za.

A Festival Pass (20% discount on all evening concerts) is available from the Festival office. This Pass also entitles the holder to attend master classes, student concerts and lectures for free.