Saturday, September 19, 2015

It's a long time since I posted anything. My niece Lorraine Schulman who is a brilliant clarinetist with the Oxford Philomusica in England came out here and we had been practising separately for some months to do three concerts the weekend after she arrived in April. Unfortunately I tripped in the car park at the airport when fetching her and fractured my wrist. That put paid to the concerts. I had arranged also to have a music appreciation evening at my house before the concerts and we were going to play some of the pieces. The music appreciation group came and we did some playing with me using only my right hand! There was also load-shedding so we all had a lot of fun by candlelight and torches! My arm was bound up for 5 weeks and then I could take the bandages and splint off. I was so sorry for Lorraine who could only come for 10 days just for the concerts. She hopes to be able to come again and do those concerts with me! My 90th birthday was coming up on 21st May and I was arranging a big concert for that - 3 days later so as to have it at the weekend - with about 12 or 13 people performing. These were all musicians I had worked with in the past and present who were still around! This had to be postponed and we are now hoping to do it on 29th November. In the meantime, Marcelle Volckaert who is a soprano I have done many concerts with, asked me to play for her at two concerts this month. I love challenges so was determined to do them. As soon as the bandages came off, I began practising exercises at the piano, very cautiously at first, and learning the new music. It was a great programme of Spanish and Portuguese songs and I also had to play a Spanish solo piece. We did these concerts on 6th September in Barrydale at Tim and Clive's house where we have played many times before, and on 12th September at the Old Town House in Greenmarket Square, Cape Town, for the Friends of the Michaelis Collection. Both went off very well and we had extremely enthusiastic audiences.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Recital at Wahnfried, McGregor

On 7th December 2014 Brad Liebl and I will be performing at Wahnfried, McGregor with almost the same programme as at Casa Labia a week earlier. It will be slightly longer and will include songs by Glück and Strauss to recognise their anniversaries.

Wahnfried is also a beautiful venue in a small town in the Western Cape inhabited by many artistic people! Booking for this is also essential. Phone 072 601 1616.

Brad Liebl and I will be performing at this beautiful venue, Casa Labia in Muizenberg, Cape Town, South Africa, on 30th November 2014.
The programme includes the Gellert Lieder of Beethoven, Bach Preludes, Gounod's Ave Maria, plus others and featuring Brad's Christmas Fantasia - a selection of Christmas Carols interspersed with excerpts from Debussy's Clair de Lune.
Booking is essential by phoning Casa Labia - see their website

Friday, April 26, 2013

 SONG RECITAL  AT  WAHNFRIED, McGREGOR Sunday 28th April, 3:30 for 4:00 p.m.

Two song cycles will be performed at the excellent venue in McGregor known as Wahnfried at the end (or beginning!) of Bree Street.  Berlioz wrote the first piece “Les Nuits d’Été” for piano but later orchestrated it. It is more often performed with orchestra but the piano version is very beautiful. The second cycle is by Turina which has 5 pieces, the first being for solo piano. The music is extremely Spanish and runs a whole gamut of emotions. It is called “Poema en forma de canciones”. There will also be a solo piano piece by Manuel da FallaDanse du Meunier which is part of the ballet “The Three-Cornered Hat” and of course, was originally written for orchestra. A very “flamenco” piece! There is also a beautiful Brazilian song.
The programme will be performed by Marcelle Volckaert, soprano and Sylvia Schulman, pianist.
Seats are R80 and booking can be made by phoning 072 601 1616

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Piano Life Saver System

News of the Piano Life Saver System has just reached me and may interest those of you who have valuable acoustic pianos needing to be humidified. My Steinway has had a basin filled with water on the floor under the piano for years, that being the only method I knew to try to keep the soundboard humidified! I will now invest in one of these systems that have had an unrivalled reputation since the 1950's! The suppliers have fitted them to pianos all over South Africa with consistently excellent results. There has been a dramatic improvement in the tone and tuning stability of these pianos, from small uprights to new Model D concert grand Steinways. Contact me for more information. Phone 028 514 2904 or 082 855 0534. You may also email me at


I've learnt over the years that the adage "You are what you eat" is absolutely true! Here I am, at the age of 87+, moving into a further career as a concert solo and accompanying pianist with recitals becoming more and more frequent, teaching piano, secretary of the Bahá'í Assembly of Swellendam, treasurer of the Swellendam Heritage Association, bookkeeping for a chiropractic clinic and generally enjoying life in a beautiful part of the world. I thought I would just put this information out in case there are those who would like to know how to achieve such a state of health and well-being in what is called "old age"! If you are one of those people, follow my blog and write to me in the comment section. If there are quite a few requests I will post another message to this blog.

Thursday, November 15, 2012


I've been rather backward in keeping the blog up to date and I notice that 6 months has flown past since my last posting. It's been quite hectic for me - various concerts, rehearsals, organising fund raising for the purchase of a new Kawai grand piano for the Swellendam High School, various Bahá'í activities, bookkeeping jobs, teaching etc. etc. In the last few months it has been necessary to get down to some heavy practising for a solo recital at the new concert venue, Wahnfried, in McGregor on 2nd December. I have resuscitated my old programme called "Sylvia Schulman Plays Piano Music for You (from W.A. Mozart to Billy Mayerl)" which I have not played for several years. It consists of 15 pieces with a fair amount of talking in between, sometimes linking different pieces by a common denominator, but generally giving some interesting information about them and/or the composers. Then I decided to present the programme as one of the Country Classics series in Swellendam, this time at my house, a week beforehand. For singing and flute the acoustics here are not good because the room has wall-to-wall carpeting; so we have used other venues for the Country Classics concerts which have been with Marcelle Volckaert, soprano, Brad Liebl, baritone and Chris Nicholls, flute. However, the acoustic is satisfactory for piano so it is very convenient for me to do the solo recital on my own piano! On 9th December Brad Liebl and I will be giving a recital in Barrydale - that lovely drive from Swellendam through the beautiful Tradouws Pass - which includes a Christmas Fantasia on a Theme of Debussy, arranged by Brad Liebl. Going forward into next year, Brad and I will be performing at Wahnfried on 10th February, the programme for which will include songs by Wagner and Verdi as 2013 is the 200th Anniversary of their birth. Later in the year, as near winter as possible, we will do a recital in Barrydale to include some of Die Winterreise of Schubert at the request of our hosts, Tim Teale and Clive Strawbridge. Marcelle Volckaert and I will also be performing in Barrydale with  Turina and Berlioz song cycles. No doubt these recitals will also be presented in Swellendam.