Style that still lets the bride shine...
SHOWCASING the best of South Africa’s composers and performers is one of the main aims of this year’s New Music Indaba Festival.
The event runs from tomorrow to Sunday at the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Howard College campus, with the theme being The Riot of Spring, in recognition of the 100th anniversary of Stravinsky’s iconic Rite of Spring.
It also aims to encourage young performers through the institution of a cadet programme and to provide opportunities for developing composers to receive instruction and feedback on their work through master classes with leading composers.
It is curated and co-ordinated by Fiona Tozer, who shared the importance of the festival: “It’s about presenting contemporary art music to the public and giving composers and performers the opportunity to be heard.
“The festival also gives us a bridge to international stages and we can bring international performers here and send our performers overseas and have an exchange of ideas.
“When people go to concerts, they have a certain expectation, so it’s harder for music to change because people are so resistant to change, because they like what they are used to. So new music is a challenge and it’s getting people to listen to it and play it which is the tricky part.”
In terms of this year’s theme, The Riot of Spring, I ask Tozer what initiated the idea.
She says: “This is the 100th anniversary of the premiere performance of the Rite of Spring. It’s kind of a landmark in music history because there was such a riot in the audience. That comes back to change, people are resistant to change.
“A hundred years ago they rioted when they put the ballet on, and now Stravinsky is considered to be one if the icons of contemporary music because he took the steps that made the change.
“So because it’s the 100th anniversary, we sort of did a little pun of the Rite of Spring and called it The Riot of Spring. We are trying to show that some of the music we are going to present is kind of rioters’ music.”
With a great programme, the opening concert will be a piano duet of Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring performed by Jill Richards and Michael Watt.
Other concerts will include the premiere performance of the SA New Music Ensemble, a second concert by sub-groups from the ensemble, and performances by DuoFourIVTwo, Into, and the KZN Youth Choir.
Besides the exciting concerts to look forward to over the next few days, the festival also runs workshops with additional composition workshops as well.
“The idea is to create the opportunity for young and up-and-coming composers and performers, so this year we are focusing on workshops for performers as well to introduce them to new music they haven’t come across before, and show them how it’s done and can be enjoyed,” says Tozer.
According to her, people should attend the festival because it is something new and different: “It’s not something they will find every day. I’d really like people to come to the concert on Sunday, because that’s young performers, the cadet players from KZNPO.
“I’d like lots of people to support the young players and make them feel they’re going in the right direction and what they’re doing is worthwhile. People should definitely expect to be challenged and entertained.”