The hype around the Stellenbosch International Chamber Music Festival faculty concerts is justified as no other classical music festival in South Africa can boast quite such a line-up of internationally acclaimed artists. The programme is also varied and exciting with a number of South African premieres alongside audience favourites by Mendelssohn, Mozart and Tchaikovsky.
However, the knowledge and ‘giving potential’ of the international faculty is extensive and it would be a lost opportunity not to tap into it for the benefit of the +/- 300 student participants that signup for the SICMF each year. This is why, for the greater part of each day at the SICMF, the faculty is engaged in rehearsals, coaching sessions, public master classes and in some cases, private lessons too.
Most of this activity takes place behind the scenes, but the bond formed between students and faculty during the tough daily coaching sessions is tangible when in the evening, a small group of world-class artists take to the stage of the Endler hall and the enthusiastic student applause signifies the appreciation, awe and admiration of their role models.
The public master classes showcase the tip of the iceberg where the top SICMF students are taught in a public forum. It is more often than not these students who are ready to further their musical education abroad and it is at the SICMF that so many of our talented students make the connections that eventually see them spreading their wings.
We should also not forget the SICMF educational impact at a more basic level. In the words of Festival Director, Peter Martens, “a silver flute in the hands of a township student is a means to an end. Where a student from an impoverished family may not have had a formal education, music education may well nurture an innate musical talent to the point that the student learns a profession that then launches him or her into the class of employable South Africans.”
Tickets for the evening faculty concerts (6 to 15 July) have more often than not sold out in years past. Buy tickets early from Computicket to avoid disappointment.