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With orchestras seemingly disappearing as quickly as musical protégés, it’s exciting news that Pretoria’s Brooklyn Theatre is currently in the process of establishing a professional symphony orchestra – the Gauteng Philharmonic Orchestra.
“The orchestra will initially be featured in three concerts a month, varying from symphony concerts, oratorios, opera galas and pops concerts,” said artistic director Willem Vogel.
And following the success of the Beethoven Choral Fantasy and Triple Concerto for the celebration of the theatre’s third birthday, they are staging a special symphony concert, the Beethoven Emperor Concerto, with the Gauteng Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of their conductor, Nic Nicolaidis, at 8pm on Friday and at 3pm on Sunday.
It’s a triple feast with three top soloists in the line-up – the operatic soprano Ilze Coetzee, who will be singing the famous solo motet Exsultate, jubilate (Mozart), followed by the aria Laudate Dominum from Vesperae Solennes with choir; clarinettist Lizet Smith will be featured as soloist in one of Mozart’s, Concerto for Clarinet and Orchestra in A Major K622, a work which was used in Out of Africa; and finally Canadian pianist Wonny Song (pictured) with Beethoven’s Fifth Piano Concerto and Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition on October 23 at the opening of an art exhibition at Brooklyn Theatre.
Song is one of Canada’s most outstanding young concert pianists.
He is widely praised for his wonderfully poetic touch, depth of musical insight and charismatic personality.
He is the winner of the 2010 Canadian Musician Award as well as the 2002 Galaxie Rising Star Award and has appeared with more than 40 orchestras.
As the team behind Brooklyn Theatre and this newly established orchestra, Salon Music (who also have had their own music store, iSalon in Brooklyn Centre for the past nine years) has spent almost two decades staging classical concerts, promoting classical music, creating work for classical musicians and recording 29 albums.
“The next logical step seemed to be the founding of a symphony orchestra in a Gauteng which has now been left deprived of symphonic concerts since the closure of the Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra,” said Vogel, who is assisted by executive director Daniël Vos as well as orchestra steward Carina Barnard.
With the three concerts they aim to stage a month, it might be on their own or with soloists or choirs presenting a variety of concerts in different genres.
They’re hoping that ticket sales will form the basis of the income generated to keep the orchestra afloat, and Brooklyn Theatre will provide the premises for all rehearsals and concerts.
In an attempt to make the orchestra accessible, all dress rehearsals will be open to schoolchildren and students at a nomi- nal fee.
Musicians will be appointed on a year-to-year contract basis and projects, including oratorio performances, will be negotiated with Gauteng adult and children’s choirs to create opportunities for the community to become actively involved with the orchestra.
Local musicians and singers will be contracted to perform as soloists with the orchestra, as well as those living and performing abroad.
They will also be approached to act as honorary directors for the orchestra.
The basic orchestra is the standard combination of instruments needed to perform music from the Baroque and Classical era.
When necessary, additional instrumentalists will be contracted.
In a similar move to that used so successfully by Gauteng Opera, possible patrons for the orchestra will be approached to either adopt a player or a section of the orchestra.
The plans are ambitious, but Salon Music has a history of walking the walk.
• For further information call 012 460 6033 or visit www.brooklyntheatre.co.za