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More than two weeks of glorious music is in store with the Johannesburg International Mozart Festival, featuring concerts, master classes and workshops.
Lovers of classical music will start 2011 on a high note with the third annual Johannesburg International Mozart Festival (JIMF), which promises a myriad of piano recitals, chamber, symphony and solo concerts.

Rolf Beck will give master classes for young soloistsRolf Beck will give master classes for young soloistsThe JIMF is billed to run from Thursday, 27 January to Sunday, 13 February at the Linder Auditorium at Wits University in Parktown. Organisers say it will be about celebrating Mozart’s “innovative spirit”.

The festival line-up features two symphony concerts, two choral concerts, three song recitals, two chamber concerts, master classes, a symposium on music and exile, and a number of concerts and workshops for budding artists. It is themed “On Wings of Song”.

The opening symphony concert will feature a debut performance by Mokale Koapeng performing his new choral piece Dipesalema tsa Dafita, commissioned specially for the JIMF. Koapeng is the JIMF’s first composer-in-residence.

“I look forward very much to the 2011 edition of the festival. Not only will we host even more events than last year, but we have many more fascinating intersections. We are interpreting Mozart both in his own works and in a much wider sense, as a creative mind and as an innovator,” says Florian Uhlig, the JIMF’s artistic director.

Mozart’s grand Requiem in D minor K 626 will also be performed during the opening concert. Featured soloists include Caroline Nkwe, Lucia Duchonová, Sunnyboy Dladla and Tomas Selc. They will be joined by the Chanticleer singers, the Chamber Choir of South Africa, members of the Symphony Choir of Johannesburg and the Johannesburg Festival Orchestra, directed by Rolf Beck and Richard Cock.

MokaleMokale Koapeng will perform his new choral pieceAs part of the festival programme Rolf Beck will give a three-day master class for young soloists, from 28 to 30 January. This will be followed by a concert and oratorio recital on 30 January in Northwards House by the participants.

The first chamber concert, on 29 January in Northwards House, will see cellist Gabriel Schwabe and pianist Florian Uhlig performing works by Beethoven, Bloch, Koapeng, Schumann and Mendelssohn. The second and final chamber concert features clarinettist Robert Pickup with the Casal Quartet, performing pieces by Hanmer, Volans, Schnyder, Schulhoff and Mozart.

The first song recital will be on 3 February with soprano Lucia Duchonová and pianist Florian Uhlig, with a programme entitled “Folk Idioms and Folk Songs”. They will perform classics by Dvorák, Brahms, Liszt, Koapeng and others.

The second song recital showcases vocalist Eva Meier and pianist Paul Cibis on “Café Berlin”, an exciting programme of 1920s and 30s cabaret songs from Berlin. The final song recital will be held on 9 February with baritone Stephan Lodges and pianist Florian Uhlig, performing Schubert’s Winterreise D 911.

The final symphony concert will be hosted on Saturday 12 February in the Linder Auditorium with soprano Magdalene Minnaar and baritone Stephan Loges, performing a compilation of operatic arias and duets by Mozart with the Johannesburg Festival Orchestra.

MagdaleneSoprano Magdalene MinaarMany of the 2011 JIMF projects are workshop-based, including a workshop for young composers and performers led by Mokale Koapeng on 6 February. The Melodi music workshop concerts are set for 5 and 6 February and will feature tenor Bernard Loonen, with the Melodi Music Ensemble directed by Nimrod Moloto. Bryan Wallick’s piano recital on 6 February in Northwards House will feature works by Mozart, Schubert and Liszt.

In previous years the JIMF has hosted various workshops and school concerts which benefited youngsters in Soweto and Alexandra.

The JIMF started in 2006 to commemorate Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s 250th birthday anniversary and has grown into a well loved classical music festival. It is an annual highlight on South Africa’s classical music calendar.

Tickets for concerts at the Linder Auditorium range in price from R100 to R180. Tickets at the Northwards House, at R170, include a glass of wine and supper on Sundays only. There is a 10 percent discount for students under 21 and pensioners over 65, and for block bookings of more than 10 people. Telephone 011 447 9264 or email to make a booking. All tickets are sold at Computicket.

For more information visit the JIMF website or join its Facebook group for regular updates and competitions.

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