The Stellenbosch International Chamber Music Festival is a unique event where as if by magic the Konservatorium building is possessed by musical spirits drawing in students, artists and audience alike. Patrons come from far and wide to hear Mozart, Mendelssohn and Vivaldi alongside Bridge, Piazzolla and Bernofsky. But even when something like the well-known Mozart Clarinet Concerto is on the bill, the spirits of the others will come out to dance as they did last year when led by Gareth Lubbe on the viola, a handful of musicians appeared out of the woodwork to join soloist Ferdinand Steiner on stage for an improvised jazz-like cadenza.

The SICMF is a place where the familiar and not so familiar are programmed side by side. In so doing the SICMF has changed many a mind-set towards new music with the audience now looking forward to the lush and captivating tones of a new work played by the likes of Daniel Rowland and Luis Magalhães. With regard to new music, apprehension, even preconceived dislike, is making way for excited curiosity and keen anticipation.

For those who might like a heads-up on the music they will in all likelihood be hearing live for the first time, here are some of the newer works programmed for this year’s music fest.

Schoenberg Chamber Symphony no.1 (arranged by Webern); Piazzolla Bordel 1900, Café 1930 & Nightclub 1960 arranged by Caleb Hudson for flute, trumpet, cello, marimba and cajon; Schoenfield Café Music for piano, violin, cello; Bernofsky Trio for brass; Liebermann Trio no. 2, Op. 87 for flute, cello, piano; David Bruce Gumboots

Robert Fokkens A Darkness Insinuating – world première (commissioned by SICMF); George Hamilton Green Valse Brillante featuring Rob Knopper (xylophone solo), with wind band conducted by Joost Smeets; Kapustin Piano Concerto no. 2, Op. 14 featuring Luis Magalhães as soloist and conducted by Daniel Raiskin.

Although one can never be entirely sure that a particular work has never been performed in South Africa, the organizers of the SICMF are relatively confident that amongst these works, there are at least six South African premières!

Tickets for all 10 evening concerts are available now through Computicket and will be available at the door.


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