The 2017 Johannesburg International Mozart Festival programme is online at http://www.join-mozart-festival.org. Bookings at Computicket.
As usual this festival kicks off with a Viennese New Year Concert (repeated because it is too popular for just one performance). The theme of this year’s JIMF is Fairytales and Folk Stories. The annual theme is an important thread running throughout the festival and as one moves from one event to another one starts to understand the impact of the theme on the history and practice of western classical music particularly and music generally. It begins with the New Year Concert. Richard Cock is a superb raconteur, and he shares his knowledge so accessibly that one cannot help but be fascinated. Definitely not dry, dull or boring.
The composer in residence in 2017 is Neo Muyanga. He will be facilitating a FREE concert entitled New Music Collaboration at St Francis of Assisi in Tyrone Avenue, Parkview on 28 January 2017. His music will also feature at the closing concert on 5 February at St Mary’s School – entitled “Mozart to Muyanga”.
The festival has a large education programme as part of its responsibility pay back, including working with my alma mater, Parktown High School for Girls with their Marimba Band, an amateur Orchestra from Scratch FREE event, a Master Class event at Pretoria University with Klesie Kelly-Moog, an American soprano now resident in Cologne, Germany where she teaches at the Musikhochschule. There is a concert arising out of this at Northwards House on Friday 3 February.
Last year one of the innovations was the introduction of a concert where CEO’s choose a piece and then get coached by Maestro Richard Cock to conduct it. Sponsored by BASA, this is happening again. The CEOs get to work with the orchestra in a unique educational experience of teamwork. It is not too late to apply to Richard Cock to be one of the participants of this programme. Richard Cock shared some of the complexities of conducting with me and explained how this needs a great deal of team work, very clear non-verbal instructions, creating rapport with the orchestra . This concert will be held on 3 February at 14:00 and is one of the three FREE concerts.
My personal favourite is always the screening of a silent movie by The Bioscope to live accompaniment by Paul Hanmer (keyboard) and a collaborating artist. (SSoyaphi Louis Mhlanga on guitar this year). The movie is the 1916 version of Snow White. Booking for this is at The Bioscope in Maboneng. firstname.lastname@example.org or 010 007 0119. The Chalkboard Cafe serves drinks and pizzas and you are free to take those into the screening. It is a wonderfully relaxed and pleasant outing for those who like that kind of thing (nearly everyone who enjoys music).
The Family Concert is something new to the Johannesburg International Mozart Festival My now adult nieces still talk about how they enjoyed the children’s concerts of their childhood. This year “Pieter and the horrible hyena” will be presented. The music is that of Prokofiev, but the names of the characters have been localised so that Grandfather becomes “Oupa” and the wolf becomes a hyena and Peter becomes “Pieter”. Otherwise it is the story we all know and love. I cannot urge families strongly enough to attend this fabulous event. It will take place at the Linder Auditorium at 1100 on the last day of the Festival – Sunday 5 February 2017.
Be warned, many of these concerts get sold out, so once you have made your selection do not delay the booking process.