Thursday, October 6, 2011

More Concerts Coming Up

Concerts in November and January are being planned in Swellendam and Barrydale, following the success of the Garden Route Concert Series in Heidelberg. Marcelle Volckaert, soprano, and I will be performing in November in both towns, and in January it will be Brad Liebl, baritone, and myself at the same venues, both being in beautiful private homes with good pianos! When exact dates have been confirmed all round,I will post another notice. Beautiful programmes have been planned by both singers. I will add about 2 piano solos to each programme, giving the singers a bit of a breather!
By the way, to be informed about concerts or to advertise them go to Everybody who registers with them receives an email to announce events for the following two weeks. One can also advertise instruments and jobs, make announcements, join the forum etc.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Latest News

The Garden Route Concert Series came and went! They were all very successful as regards performance and much appreciated by the small but very warm audiences. Our hosts, Chris and Sally Nicholls provided a most welcoming ambience and the refreshments were absolutely super!
The day after the last concert I had to go to Johannesburg for two weeks to work with the Gauteng Choristers for their entry in the NCF competitions. They very kindly arranged for a chauffeur driven car to pick me up at home and take me to the Cape Town airport where I was flown to OR Tambo Airport. There was a Hyundai hire car for me to pick up and I was off to the National Bahá'í Centre where I was being accommodated. I was horrified to find that the Giluleys exchange on the N1/3 had been altered and I had no idea which road to take. Fortunately I took the right one and was relieved to see the familiar off ramps coming up. Rehearsals started the next day and I was very warmly welcomed by the Choristers! Good to see them all again and to work with Sidwell Mhlongo, their very talented conductor. I think it is three years since I was last with them. Then I caught a cold and cough, and after another couple of days unexplained pains in my leg kept me awake for three nights. In desperation I went to see a doctor who prescribed the usual drugs which I hate taking, but at least I got some much needed sleep. I had phoned many of my friends and was taken out for lunch and breakfast on several occasions. Great to see them all again. Driving up and down on the busy motorways almost every day was a strain but I got through it all, even the long drive into Soweto and out again after the competitions. I think it took me more than an hour that night to get back to the Bahá'í Centre. I flew back the next day rather the worse for wear! It has taken me nearly two weeks and several wonderful treatments from the outstanding chiropractor/kinesiologist, Dr. Zaida Rivené, to recover and am still a little weak! Piano students have been around for more coaching and things are gradually returning to normal. My lovely little dog Figo was beautifully looked after by Evelyn (my lovely domestic help who comes in three mornings a week normally) who sacrificed her home life to stay with him for the two weeks in my house. Needless to say, he was very pleased to see me and must have licked my face for at least 15 minutes to say Hello!

Well, that's my latest news but there are more concerts in the offing. In the meantime there are quite a few to attend and it will be nice to be part of the audience again.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Garden Route Concert Series

There are three concerts in this series. The first one was on Saturday 18th June with Marcelle Volckaert, soprano. They are taking place in Heidelberg, 50 kms from Swellendam, at the home of Chris Nicholls and his wife, Sally Presant. I am accompanying all three artists. We had a very small but most appreciative audience for this first concert which included Aria Antiche, Schubert, Berlioz and Villa Lobos for voice, and Chopin, Rachmaninov and Frank Bridge for piano solo.

The second concert will be on 16th July with Chris Nicholls, flautist. French composers predominate with Fauré, Poulenc, Debussy and one could include Chopin as French as well! But there are also Bach and Mozart in the programme.

The last of this series is with Brad Liebl, baritone. A good variety of composers in this programme: Schumann, Strauss, Liszt, Mozart, Menotti, Copland, Gershwin and Foster!

Tickets for more than one concert booked in advance are discounted but the opportunity for a really big reduction was for three concerts and now only two are left!

Anyone interested in booking for these last two concerts, contact me by email - or phone 028 514 2904 or cell 082 855 0534 (in South Africa, of course!)

Monday, March 7, 2011

Recital for the Wagner Society of South Africa

Some news about last night's recital:

6th March 2011 - Well, it came and went but what a wonderful experience. Brad Liebl and I gave a recital for the Wagner Society of South Africa last night in a private home in Cape Town which housed a super Yamaha grand piano. Such a joy to be able to use an instrument with a lovely tone, a great action and over which one can have complete control. And then to be making music with such a top-class super baritone - a great privilege. As an accompanist one does not often have the opportunity to be free to interpret at the same time as being sensitive to the needs of the soloist and allowing him also to be free. The programme consisted of 5 Heine Liederkreis songs by Schumann, Morgen and Heimliche Aufforderung by Richard Strauss, the E minor (posthmous) Waltz by Chopin, a Figaro recitative and aria by Mozart, O Du Mein Holder Abendstern by Wagner and Lieben, Hassen, Hoffen Zagen from Ariadne Auf Naxos by Richard Strauss, a Rachmaninov Prelude in G# minor and three outstanding songs Op. 10 by Samuel Barber - After the Rain, Sleep Now and I Hear an Army. As an encore Brad sang "Not While I'm Around" from Sweeny Todd by Stephen Sondheim. The small but appreciative audience were full of praise for the performance which was followed by drinks and snacks. I also managed to sell a few of my CD's! Here is what the Chairman of the Wagner Society wrote to me today:
"First of all let me say how much I (and everybody else, without exception, I am sure) loved yesterday’s recital. It was one of those magic evenings where everything went well. Brad sang so beautifully, you are a most sensitive and attentive accompanist with a fabulous feeling of timing and nuances. And your solo pieces were played so freshly as well." Brad himself wrote the following to me, "The concert went so smoothly and I felt so very comfortable with you!" This is what I had written to him: "What an inspiration you are! I can’t remember when last I felt so able to really perform! This does not easily happen working with lesser artists than yourself. Thank you so much."
As you see, we are a mutual admiration society!!!

Someone else said it was a "memorable" evening - so all in all, although it was exceedingly warm weather and pretty uncomfortable whilst performing, I am very pleased with the success of the recital.

The owners of the house where it took place have two lovely dogs, one of which sings when the piano is played. Whilst I was practising before the recital I heard her howling in another room and wondered where they would put her during the recital. They must have found another place because we had no doggie accompaniments when the time came!