SPOTLIGHT: Acclaimed cello maestro Zuill Bailey will perform at the concert.
The Friends of Orchestral Music’s (FOM) annual gala fundraiser for the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra (CPO) takes place this year at Cape Town City Hall on Thursday Triple Grammy award-winning cellist, Zuill Bailey is returning to perform the Saint-Saëns Cello Concerto no 1 in A minor plus the Meditation for cello by Massenet from his opera, Thaïs.

The gala concert will be under the direction of principal guest conductor Bernhard Gueller, and the CPO will also play the sparkling overture to Reznicek’s Donna Diana and the majestic Second Symphony by Sibelius.

Bailey is a highly charismatic cellist, bringing audiences to their feet before the last notes have been played. This is his only performance in Cape Town on this national tour. His rare combination of celebrated artistry, technical wizardry and engaging personality have secured his place as one of the most sought after and active cellists in the world today. 

 Following his acclaimed performance of Dvorak’s Cello Concerto on Saturday, October 14, the Washington Post wrote, “Soul and nuance are what cellist Zuill Bailey excels in, digging into the slow movement with luscious tone and spinning long, ardent lines that captured all the inwardness and rhapsody Dvorak wrote into the score. And that sensitivity didn’t preclude a joyous virtuosity in the outer movements that was just as dazzling”

Gueller, who is flying in from Canada where he is music director of Symphony Nova Scotia, is acclaimed for the passion he brings to the podium - his spellbinding interpretations and “his carefully prepared but always musically rewarding performances”.

Rod Stevens, chairperson of FOM, says that the voluntary organisation’s main aim is to support the CPO - and its youth orchestra and development programmes in particular. This includes scholarships for tertiary education for deserving young musicians.

“This annual fundraiser has become a highlight of the orchestral calendar and FOM usually presents a celebrity soloist. Paid-up FOM members as well as CPO subscribers need to book as early as possible as this is not a subscription concert which means their usual seats are not reserved,” says Stevens.

The FOM, which as been in existence for 50 years, has according to Stevens, grown from a small organisation to one that raises considerable amounts of money for beneficiaries. Its objectives are to assist in developing, generating and promoting awareness of orchestral music in greater Cape Town and surrounding areas in the Western Cape especially to the previously disadvantaged communities so that access to the participation in performances is ensured for all communities.

In addition, FOM also raises funds to assist orchestras, directly or indirectly to promote orchestral playing and to assist existing or potential orchestral players with specific emphasis on fostering the playing of classical music among the previously disadvantaged communities. Through their financial contributions and scholarships, deserving students, especially from previously disadvantaged communities, are enabled to further their musical and instrumental studies with a view to pursuing a professional orchestral career.

“We have had the privilege of hearing exceptional soloists in concert with the orchestra and of witnessing the growth of new and exciting local artists through the orchestra’s extensive outreach programme. Moreover, the Cape Town Philharmonic Youth Orchestra (CTPYO) is an example of how the outreach programme has led to the coming into being of a superb youth orchestra that consists predominantly of persons from previously disadvantaged communities. FOM also regularly funds deserving students and members of the CTPYO,” says the FOM.

The Gala Concert takes place this year tomorrow at the Cape Town City Hall at 8pm.

Tickets for the concert are available at Artscape Dial-A-Seat on 0214217695 or online at Computicket. More on the FOM is available online at www.fomct.com