The Darling Music Experience started seven years ago as the brainchild of conductor David Tidboald, composer Hendrik Hofmeyr and music enthusiast Alfred Legner. The aim was, and still is, to organise small concerts in a rural setting for lovers of classical and more popular music.

Every year organisers choose a theme, and this year it is composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart who provides a unifying thread for the concerts which will happen at various venues such as wine farms, art galleries and even a church.

Mozart being the theme, piano music is a must and Kawai have sponsored the pianos which they have to move around the venues.

One of the highlights of the festival will be when pianists Francois du Toit and Andreas Kern play on two different pianos.

“It’s a duel and the audience will vote for a winner,” explained organiser Alfred Legner.

While all the musicians are very professional and serious about their work, there is also a lighter side to leaven what can sometimes be an overly serious music form.

“We want to throw in a bit of humour to make it more palatable for people who wouldn’t normally access classical music,” explained Legner.

In the same way they have taken Mozart’s most popular opera, Don Giovanni, and given it a modern spin by shortening it and adapting the story to a modern setting to allow a younger audience to identify with the characters.

Still, they kept the music and main arias intact, to provide members of the UCT School of Opera a chance to introduce a new audience to an old artform.

In addition to the music, the audience can also learn a bit more about Mozart the artist in a lecture about the composer, or at a lunch at which food the 18th century Austrian would’ve eaten, will be served. Of course, this includes not only schnitzel, but also potatoes and chocolate.

“We are presenting good classical music in a way to attract a younger audience,” said Legner.

The winner of last year’s Artscape National Youth Music Competition – pianist Sulayman Human – will also get to perform and this year’s commissioned composition is by Andrew Hoole.

Legner describes the piece (which receives its world premiere in Darling) as “jazzy, but borrowing from Mozart”.

• For the full programme see:

• Season tickets are available on request. All reservations and enquiries: Chanda 074 556 4032 or [email protected] Accommodation available for the duration of the festival. Call Dianne 022 492 3361, e-mail [email protected]