Belhar classical musician Dylan Tabisher and fellow classical musician Coila-Leah Enderstein will explore improvising on the vibraphone, piano and percussion in their performances tonight and tomorrow at the Theatre Admin Arts Collective in Observatory.

Tabisher is a 2016 Southern African Music Rights Organisation award winner with a Master’s degree in performance from Stellenbosch University.

He used the prize money from that award to study for three months in Japan last year with Keiko Abe, one of the leading figures in the classical percussion field.

Enderstein studied classical piano at UCT, where she won the Lionel Bowman prize for Beethoven playing and the Laura Searle prize for piano concerto playing.

Collaborating with Tabisher and Enderstein - to enhance their The New Project virtuoso performances with improvisational stage-lighting techniques and electronics at the Theatre Admin Arts Collective - will be stage manager and lighting designer Mandilakhe Zunguze.

Tabisher said The New Project involved the exploration of improvisational possibilities centred around the vibraphone and piano, and that he and Enderstein used those and other instruments to create a sonic event by making compositional decisions in real time.

“The New Project is the beginning of a long-term improvisation ensemble project connecting musician across Cape Town. 

"The project aims to cultivate links between musicians from different musical backgrounds through free improvisation, encouraging the development of refined improvisational skills across styles and across disciplines.”

Tabisher said both he and Enderstein had received classical training that included no improvisational technique. 

He added that Enderstein had begun using improvisation in interdisciplinary performance projects in 2015 and had fostered a collective improvisation practice with various performers from other disciplines.

Tabisher had been influenced by jazz since a young age and began improvising on the marimba and vibraphone in earnest during his study period with Abe in Japan.

He and Enderstein met in 2016. This year they felt compelled to collaborate, said Tabisher.

Tickets for the hour-long performances, which start at 7pm, cost R80 and are available at the door or book via email ([email protected]).