As Bruce Dennill points out in his review, the annual Viennese New Year Concerts always mark the start of the classical music programme for Johannesburg. (Well, Theatre on the Square’s Friday lunchtime concerts started on Friday as well).
These light classical music concerts featuring the JFO, Joburg Ballet and selected soloists are tremendously popular and two houses at the Linder Auditorium are a;ways respectably full, if not actually sold out. The concerts are fun and accessible. They are officially the forerunners of the Johannesburg International Mozart Festival. I love them.
The nature of the programme for JIMF is now established and there are no surprises this year. One knows what to expect. The same concerts that were oversubscribed in 2017 will be oversubscribed in 2018. Book early to avoid disappointment. Computicket and the JIMF office 011 447 9264.
The festival theme is Papageno/Papagena and opposites will be explored in this year’s programming.
On Friday 26th there will be a piano recital at Northwards featuring festival artistic director Florian Uhlig and Olga Scheps.
Mozart’s birth anniversary falls on a Saturday this year and there is a busy programme for this day, 27 January. At 15:00 there is a new music collaboration programme at the Goethe Institute. At 18:00 there is a movie about Lina Amato Kantor’s escape from the Holocaust due to a righteous Turk in Malta. (It is also Holocaust Rememberance Day). This movie screening is free but booking is essential because seating is limited. This will be followed by the opening concert at the Linder Auditorium.
The very popular Orchestra from Scratch rehearses and plays on Sunday 28 January 2018 at the Scott Gym, Wits Education Campus. The concert is at 15:00. This is followed by a concert at Northwards featuring the Bloemfontein based Odeion String Quartet with Florian Uhlig on piano (additional to the string quartet which doesn’t have a piano as part of it).
On Monday 29 January there is another concert at Northwards House, this time featuring Jolente de Maeyer on violin and Nikolaas Kende on piano.
On Tuesday 30 January the Italian piano duo of Michelle Benignetti and Eleanora Spina will play at St Francis of Assisi Anglican Church in Parkview. On that same night the jazz improvisation to a silent movie will take place at The Bioscope. This improvisation is always a highlight of the festival for me.
On Wednesday 31st there is another concert at St Francis of Assissi. This will feature Paul Hanmer’s Mass for the First Peoples. Faure’s Requiem will follow. Difficult decision making comes into play here because at Northwards House on the same evening the Charl du Plessis Trio will be performing.
On 1 February there is a clarinet recital at Northwards with Michel Lethiec on clarinet and Florian Uhlig on piano.
On 2 February at 14:00 the annual Conduct the Orchestra workshop takes place. This is free but pre-booking is essential because space is limited. The Deutsche Schule is hosting a child-friendly version of The Magic Flute at 19:00. It is also the evening of the ever popular Vocal Masterclass Finals at Northwards House.
On Saturday 3 February Buskaid is performing at the Trinity Catholic Church in Braamfontein at 16:00. The Johannesburg Musical Society joins JIMF with Russian pianist Musa Rubackyte on piano. Seriously consider getting a season ticket for the whole year to the Johannesburg Musical Society recitals.
The JIMF programme concludes with a children’s concert on 4 February at 11:00 at the Linder Auditorium and the official closing concert at 15:00.