The financial woes of the Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra are a disgrace to the city which bills itself as a ‘world class African city’. World class cities fund their world class professional orchestras.
However the dark clouds gathering round the JPO do have a silver lining. They have had to look at their programming policy for the Fourth Season for 2012 and come up with something more affordable. This is good news for those of us who like to hear more of our own excellent soloists. It is also good news for young and new listeners who are not yet familiar with the standards of the orchestral repertoire. Seasoned listeners should use this as an opportunity to invite those who have less experience with classical music to come and hear it played live.
In the first week audiences were able to hear Cape Town conductor/composer Allan Stephenson conduct his own Concerto Grosso for two violins and strings played by the leader of the orchestra, Miroslav Chakaryan, and the principal second violinist, the Standard Bank Young Artist award-winning and internationally acclaimed Samson Diamond. It was an awesome combination and undoubtedly the highlight of the evening.
The little known Concertone for two violins by Mozart is not a very exciting work, but it was a showcase for the talents of Chakaryan and Diamond. Mozart’s Symphony No 40 is always great for new listeners, and it is a pretty work even for those of us who find ourselves listening to it for the umpteenth time. There is a reason that it is so well loved. It is great music.
Next week Robert Maxym, the Pretoria based conductor, will lead the JPO when Pieter Schoeman, concert master of the London Philharmonic Orchestra, performs the world premiere of the Violin Concerto by South African composer Roelof Temmingh who died earlier this year. Temmingh dedicated this work to Schoeman.
Michal Dworzynski is still conducting Svetlin Roussev in the Sibelius Violin Concero and American Claire Huangci playing Rachmaninov’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini in weeks three and four of the season. Bernhard Gueller will conduct our own principal bassoonist, Penelope Ives, in the Mozart Bassoon Concerto, and the French Jewish pianist, Inon Barnaton, in Saint-Saens Piano Concerto no 2 in the final two weeks of the 2012 seasons.
The orchestra for the fourth season comprises the following: Miroslav Chakaryan, Elbe Roberts, Dorota Swart, Melale Mantu, Juanita du Plessis, Nelly Shmukler, Mary Tennant, Lizelle le Roux, Ginger Neff, Elena Zlatkova, Bongane Pandeka, Pascali Mokadi, Samson Diamond, Daline Wilson, Olga Maraba, Milena Toma, Bernard Madumo, Kabelo Motlhomi, Willem van der Walt, Marla Branco, Dineo Matsepe, Mlungisi Zulu, Vladimir Ivanov, Esther Spies, Andrea Erasmus, Martie Botha, Kate Moore, Annemie du Plessis, Jean-Louise Nel, Bafana Mthembu, Susan Mouton, Peta Ann Holdcroft, Sonja Bass, Wessel Beukes, Daliwonga Tshangela, Toni Ivanova, Christi-Louise Swanepoel, Regomoditswe Thothela, Zanelle Britz, Cecilia Kriegler, Ventura Rosenthal, Merryl Monard, Melane Hofmeyr-Burger, Handri Loots, Gary Roberts, Lesley Stansell, Peter Jaspan, Andrew Moroosi, Phillip Coetzee, Morne van Heerden, Leagh Rankin, Penelope Ives, Brahm Henkins, Kgothatso Kekana, Shannon Armer, Christopher Bishop, Peter Griffiths, Jaco van Staden, Donald Bower, Michael Magner, Bernt Baumann, Alexander Urban, Berwyn Roberts, Nathan Thomas, Alexander Hitzeroth, George Fombe, Rudolf van Dyk, Matthew Downey, Joshua Kim, Gerben Grooten, Diane Coutts.
The Linder Auditorium is situated at the Education campus of the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits), 27 St Andrews Road, Parktown. Telephone for the venue is 011 717 3223 and telephone for the JPO is 011 789 2733. GPS co-ordinates: 26° 10′ 54.6456″ S, 28° 2′ 29.8932″ E. Website: http://www.jpo.co.za. There is plenty of parking in front of the venue, with more to the sides and behind the auditorium. Facilities for physically disabled patrons are available. The Olives and Plates Cafe is open before the concert, during interval and the bar is open after the concert.