Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra Winter Symphony Season 2024

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Under the direction of Artistic Director Bongani Tembe, the symphonic concerts at Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra continue to be immensely popular. The orchestra is back to warm the autumn evenings with an elegant series of popular and rarely-heard compositions from 30 May to 20 June. As usual, world-renowned soloists and conductors will touch down at Joburg and bring top-notch interpretations to the Linder Auditorium.

We list all the chamber music works and talents you can look forward to for the next few weeks.

Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra
Jan Bartoš and Conrad van Alphen

Week 1

The first concert of Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra’s Winter Symphony Season starts with a graceful and sensitive performance of Mendelssohn’s Piano Concerto No.2 Opus 40 in D minor. Visiting pianist Jan Bartoš has been described as “one of the finest European pianists” and “an emotional and sophisticated interpreter.” Jan has appeared in solo recitals with major orchestras and in chamber music concerts worldwide. His album recordings of the music of Janáček, Mozart, Beethoven and Novák have earned international critical praise from critics at Gramophone, Diapason, BBC Music Magazine, The Times, American Record Guide and The Guardian among other outlets.

Also on the evening programme is Elgar’s Enigma Variations, a heartbreaking work that is full of love, beauty, passion and all the lovely emotions you can think of. The romantic mood of the evening is rounded out by the incidental music of L’Arlesienne Suite No.2 by Georges Bizet, to accompany a story of doomed lovers.

Joburgers are in for the rare opportunity to see the masterful craft of conductor Conrad van Alphen in person. Conrad has gained tremendous popularity with orchestras and audiences alike for his energetic, efficient, and communicative performance style.

He remains chief conductor and artistic director of the Sinfonia Rotterdam, whose orchestra presents successful concert series at de Doelen in Rotterdam, Amare in The Hague and at the Royal Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, and tours to Mexico, Brazil, Columbia, Chile, China and Russia.

Cost: From R170pp to R400pp, book via Quicket

When: Thursday, 30 May at 7:30pm
Where: Linder Auditorium, 27 St Andrews Road, Parktown, Johannesburg

Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra
Bronwyn Forbay and Yasuo Shinozaki

Week 2

There’s something special in store for the second concert! Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra is putting on a sumptuous sonic affair where Durban-born soprano and proud Fulbrighter Bronwyn Forbay takes centre stage. An Associate Professor of Voice at Furman University (Greenville, SC), Dr. Forbay served on faculty at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (Durban, South Africa) while fulfilling her Fulbright two-year homestay requirement. In addition, she has taught at leading universities across the globe.

Arias planned for the evening include the seductive and coquettish charm of Bizet’s Carmen, a nostalgic interlude with Faure’s Pavanne, Adriana Lecouver by Cilea that transports to the golden age of opera, and high emotions with Charles Gounod’s Romeo et Juliette. Closing the programme with a full orchestra is one of Tschaikovsky’s more underrated compositions, the sophisticated Symphony No.3.

Your guest conductor for the concert is Japanese conductor Yasuo Shinozaki who has acquired a truly international reputation for his emotionally direct style of music-making and his musical knowledge.

A strong proponent of a wide range of repertoire, Yasuo is a keen supporter of contemporary works. His programmes often fuse cultures, from East and West, encompassing works from Mozart, Mahler and Stravinsky to Takemitsu and John Adams. He has given numerous premières throughout his career, including works by Karen Tanaka and Osvaldo Golijov in Finland.

Cost: From R170pp to R400pp, book via Quicket

When: Thursday, 6 June at 7:30pm
Where: Linder Auditorium, 27 St Andrews Road, Parktown, Johannesburg

Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra
James Austin Smith and Daniel Boico

Week 3

Experience the fantasy and brilliance of César Frank’s Les Eolides for the third concert of Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra’s Winter Symphony Season. The visiting soloist is performer, curator and on-stage host, James Austin Smith will showcase the overlooked importance and musical value of the oboe musical instrument. 

James will put his oboist talent to the test with the Oboe Concerto Trv 292 in D major by Strauss which is a beautifully charming work that requires incredible balance from the oboe.

Praised for his “virtuosic,” “dazzling,” and “brilliant” performances (New York Times), James appears regularly at the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center in New York City and leading national and international chamber music festivals, at Carnegie Hall and on tour as Co-Principal Oboe of the conductor-less Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, and as an artist of the International Contemporary Ensemble. 

Conductor Daniel Boico returns to lead the Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra for the evening into the smooth ebb and flow of Mozart’s Symphony No.41 K 551 in C major. From its very opening, this symphony has quite a bold character that sets it apart from most other symphonies by Mozart or his contemporaries. And it is the finale that is most famous.  

Daniel Boico is arguably one of the foremost conductors in South Africa at the moment. He currently holds the role of Artistic Director and CEO designate of the Free State Symphony Orchestra in Bloemfontein.

Cost: From R170pp to R400pp, book via Quicket

When: Thursday, 13 June at 7:30pm
Where: Linder Auditorium, 27 St Andrews Road, Parktown, Johannesburg

Ben Schoeman and Daniel Raiskin

Week 4

What sets Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra’s programming apart from the rest is its beautiful assembly of both popular and more obscure classical compositions. Concertgoers will have the chance to take in the Concerto Overture in D major by one of the few female composers, Elfrida Andree. 

If you’re keenly interested in the South African chamber music scene, you’re certainly familiar with the deft talent of pianist and Steinway Artist Ben Schoeman.

Ben is a senior lecturer in piano and musicology at the University of Pretoria, where he received the Laureate Award, among many others. He will perform one of Beethoven’s large-scale and ambitious compositions, the Piano Concerto No.4 Op.58 in G major. Also on the programme is the lesser-known Symphony in C minor by Norwegian composer, Edvard Grieg.

Eminent conductor Daniel Raiskin heads to South African shores for a once-off concert in Joburg. Daniel has become one of the most recognized conductors of his generation and has developed a broad repertoire beyond the mainstream in his strikingly conceived programmes.

“Daniel Raiskin is clearly a musician of sensibility, well versed in his craft; a further example perhaps of one last great gift of the old Soviet Union, the rigour and distinction of its conducting schools,” says David Gutman at Gramophone magazine.

Cost: From R170pp to R400pp, book via Quicket

When: Thursday, 20 June at 7:30pm
Where: Linder Auditorium, 27 St Andrews Road, Parktown, Johannesburg

Get there early for the informative Pre-Concert Talks 

Plan your evening carefully and be sure to join the Pre-Concert Talks that run before each concert at 6:30pm. Deano Maduramuthu, previously from the Morning Drive on Classic 1027 hosts an informative and engaging way to learn about the music before your concert. 

The talks touch on music theory, guided listening and the program’s historical and cultural context. Entrance to the talks is free and all patrons are welcome.   

27 Degrees restaurant right next to Linder Auditorium serves dinner from 5pm and secure and convenient parking is available. 

More about Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra

The Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra (JPO) is a not-for-profit company that is invested in identifying and nurturing local talent and skills in the city’s creative community. Their seasonal concerts and regular collaborations are prime markers of using classical music to bring people together.

When: From 30 May to 20 June 2024, every Thursday from 7:30pm
Where: Linder Auditorium, 27 St Andrews Road, Parktown, Johannesburg

Website: jpo.co.za
Email: info@jpo.co.za
Tel: 011 484 0446
Facebook: @JohannesburgPhilharmonicOrchestra
Instagram: @johannesburgphilharmonic

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