Concerts showcase young musicians

Conductor Brandon Phillips and the Cape Town Philharmonic Youth Orchestra.

The Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra (CPO) will host two events at the Hugo Lambrechts Music Centre in Parow next month.

The finals of the 5th SA Conductors’ Competition takes place on Sunday August 7, at 6pm, and the first full symphony concert by the Cape Town Philharmonic Youth Orchestra (CPYO) on Saturday August 13, at 7.30pm.

Master classes and the selection of six candidates last year for the semi-finals of the SA Conductors’ Competition (formerly the Len van Zyl Conductors’ Competition) will culminate in the final round on Sunday August 7, after more master classes and the selection of the final three candidates.

Arjan Tien, who took over at the helm of the competition from Victor Yampolsky, will return to South Africa to give master classes to Jason Atherton, Dane Coetzee, Jacobus de Jager, Mieke-Marie Kunz, Reghard Kuhn and Chevonne Plaatjies. Tien will be joined by Bernhard Gueller, Richard Cock, Brandon Phillips, Chad Hendricks and the CEO of the CPO, Louis Heyneman, in selecting three candidates.

The three finalists will rehearse and conduct one overture (Beethoven’s Coriolan, Weber’s Freischutz or Mozart’s Magic Flute) as well as first the movement of the Mozart Clarinet Concerto, K 622; Mendelssohn Violin Concerto in E minor, Op. 64; or Mozart Piano Concerto no 20 in D minor, K466.

First prize is time in the Netherlands assisting Maestro Tien and attending his conservatoire conducting classes.

The competition is part of the CPO’s mission to develop young musicians across all facets of music from instrumental performance to arts management and conducting.

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The second event on Saturday August 13 showcases the Cape Town Philharmonic Youth Orchestra and its conductor, Brandon Phillips, who is also resident conductor of the CPO.

Mike Wang, the award-winning South African soloist, will perform the Mendelssohn Piano Concerto No 1, while the CPYO will perform Elgar Pomp and Circumstance March and the Symphony No. 5 by Beethoven.

For Phillips, this is really something to be proud of: “For 18 years we have been aiming for this, and each year as we lose players and gain new ones we have not felt ready until now. The CPYO members all attend CPO symphony concerts and while many of them have been performing as ad hoc musicians with the CPO this is our first time. I am so proud of our young musicians. It has been exciting, even a challenge, but we are ready to stand up and be counted. This concert is going to make many dreams come true.”

Tickets cost from R150. Book through Quicket.