It’s a classical theatrical takeover in Durban this weekend

Aristide du Plessis. Picture: Supplied

Aristide du Plessis. Picture: Supplied

Published Jan 24, 2024


Co-principal cellist of the KZN Philharmonic Orchestra, Aristide du Plessis, is eager to perform his upcoming solo concert at St Thomas’s Church.

After establishing himself as one of South Africa’s leading cellists, the renowned musician will be serenading audience with the likes of Bach’s “Cello Suite No 1”, Ligeti’s “Solo Sonata” and Cassadó’s “Suite for Solo Cello”.

He explained that these pieces are “purely instrumental music” and, when written well, it is magic to the ears.

“It is wonderful because what the audience hear, where they travel in their minds, is not limited to lyrics,” said Plessis.

“There is always a mystery and one’s mind goes to so many places as one listens. There's always something for everyone.”

He added that he chose the church for this recital because the acoustics and the reverb allow for a solo and unaccompanied single line instrument to vibrate effortlessly and be heard well.

And having played the instrument for over two decades - since the age of 11 - Du Plessis said he can’t think of doing anything else he loves as much.

Aristide du Plessis. Picture: Supplied

“My parents could see how much I loved the instrument. Before me asking, one day after school, my mother said ‘now we’re going to your first cello lesson’.”

And waiting for him at that lesson was Du Plessis’s first teacher, Kolio Kolev, who still remains a cellist in the KZN Philharmonic Orchestra.

“It seemed after a few lessons that this was what I wanted to do with my life.”

In a bid to become a professional cellist, Du Plessis went on to earn his Master’s degree in 2014 from the Zürich University of the Arts in Switzerland.

He has also since performed as a soloist and chamber musician in some of the world’s most renowned concert halls.

This includes the Zürich Tonhalle, the Vienna Musikverein, the Herkulessaal, Wiener Konzerthaus and the Berliner Philharmonie.

Despite achieving many successes, Du Plessis said his career-defining moment was when a world-famous artist paid him a compliment.

“A world renowned cellist that I respect very much told me that the work I had been doing for the past seven years (since I got my job with the KZN Philharmonic) had been incredible, and that I was a good player.

“When one is down here in South Africa, sometimes the general isolation can prevent one from getting constructive feedback from these ‘musical giants’.”

He added that he was determined to use his time at KZNPO, while he was still young, to earn a salary doing what he loves.

“I always wondered whether it was enough, what I was doing day after day. And it paid off – many prospects have since revealed themselves to me.”

Du Plessis also stressed that while he feels the pressure while performing, he never allows himself to be overcome by anxiety.

“I often feel a ‘sense of extreme responsibility’, never nervous, more like eagerness or impatience to get on stage.”

Offering some advice to upcoming students practising this art form, he said, “Stick to the basics. Then you can work hard, play hard, and ultimately enjoy what you're doing.”

“Even if it’s just for fun, continuing to work on the basics will make you technically free and allow for you to just concentrate on the music.”

Where: St Thomas Church, Musgrave Road.

When: Sunday, January 28, at 11am.

Cost: Tickets are R100. Pensioners and students pay R80. To book WhatsApp Du Plessis on 076 159 5771.

Youth Piano Recital

Fifteen of KZN’s top young pianists will serenade audiences at the Young Performers Piano Recital at the The Pencil Club this weekend.

Guests will be treated to an evening with works spanning the baroque, classical, romantic and impressionist periods.

The performer line-up also includes many familiar faces and some newcomers, which are bound to impress with their musicality.

Where: The Ballroom, The Pencil Club, uMhlanga.

When: January 26 at 6pm.

Cost: R100 via Quicket.

Hugues Leclère Piano Recital

Well travelled French pianist, Hugues Leclère will continue the classical musical celebration on Sunday, (January 28) with his solo performance.

Leclère perfected his playing with Catherine Collard, before entering the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique de Paris.

Throughout his career as a soloist and with orchestras, he has performed at prestigious venues like the Philharmonie de Paris, Festival d’Ile-de-France, Festival Présences de Radio France, and Festival Chopin in Nohant.

His discography contains 13 recordings, including world premières like “Ladurner Sonatas Opus 4” on classical instruments.

Where: The Ballroom, The Pencil Club, uMhlanga.

When: January 28 at 3pm.

Cost: R150 via Quicket.

Mr & Mrs Normal”

Lisa Bobbert and Aaron McIlroy. Picture: Supplied

Lisa Bobbert and Aaron McIlroy return with their hugely popular festive offering only for this weekend.

The comedy two-hander sees the husband and wife duo navigate the “new normal”.

They have chosen some fabulous show tunes, familiar clap-alongs, top hits, and timeless ballads in their musical comedy cabaret, which is directed and choreographed by the multi-talented Daisy Spencer.

“This all-you-can-eat comedy buffet is a zany musical smorgasbord to cater for all theatrical tastes,” said Roland Stansell of The Rhumbelow Theatre.

“Featuring new characters and a few old favourites and show-stopping music, ‘Mr & Mrs Normal’ is the perfect comedic cleanse to start your new year with a bang,” he added.

Where: Rhumbelow Theatre Umbilo.

When: January 26- 28.

Cost: R200 via Computicket. No under fives allowed.