Virtual Spring Symphony Season 2020 – Concert 1

This concert will be available for viewing as follows:

Wednesday 11 (19h30) – Friday 13 (19h30) November


Gluck: Dance of the Blessed Spirits, from Orpheo ed Euridice, op. 40
Beethoven: Romance no. 2 in F, op. 50
Mozart: Symphony no. 40, K 550

Duration: 55 minutes

We start our programme with Gluck’s Dance of the Blessed Spirits, an excerpt from the opera Orfeus and Euridice, which is based on the story of Orpheus from the Greek mythology, one of the most famous mythical love stories in world literature.

This performance is followed by Beethoven’s Romance No 2, in which the sweet, innocent melodies belie the altogether more painful events of the composer’s personal life at the time.   Beethoven’s ability to easily create astonishing music allows us to forget the cruel experience of his suffering from gradual deafness. At the same time as writing this work, Beethoven was forced to come to terms with his condition, probably for the first time.  The delicate, youthful phrasing of the violin line suggests a composer finding some brief respite through the escapism of writing music.  Indeed, Beethoven seems to have continually found solace in this way, when his awareness of his deteriorating hearing was at its most acute.

The final piece is Mozart’s Symphony No 40, reflects darker and stronger emotions, and is one of the composer’s last three symphonies.   It is said that Mozart created them out of an inner desire to provide a symphonic last will and testament, however nothing could be farther from the truth.   This work is one of his most original and has had the greatest influence on future composers.   Symphony No. 40 is one of Mozart’s most frequently performed works and brings concert to an exciting and emphatic end.

Conductor: Brandon Phillips

Winner of the Cape Philharmonic Orchestra’s Inaugural Len van Zyl Conductor’s Competition in 2010, Brandon Phillips began his music career in the New Apostolic Church where he learned various instruments and also choral training. He studied bassoon and viola at the University of Cape Town, receiving his Diploma for orchestral studies and B Mus Honours in solo bassoon in 2005. Phillips currently is also principal bassoon of the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra.

As a result of the Len Van Zyl competition, Phillips studied conducting in the United States at the Northwestern University in Chicago under Maestro Victor Yampolsky in 2010.  While in the US, Phillips was a conducting intern with the Philadelphia Symphony Orchestra.  In 2014, he conducted the Miagi Orchestra in Berlin and Amsterdam to critical acclaim.

Phillips is regularly invited as an adjudicator and conductor for various competitions such as the ATKV, Artscape National Youth, Unisa Winds and the Schock Singing competitions.

Phillips was appointed resident conductor of the CPO in 2015, and is supported by RMB Starlight Classics. He shares the stage with Richard Cock in the RMB Starlight Classics each year in Cape Town and Johannesburg.   He is the Artistic Director and Conductor of the Cape Philharmonic Youth Orchestra and resident conductor the Cape Philharmonic Orchstra.

Soloist – Zanta Hofmeyr  (Violin)

Zanta Hofmeyr was born and raised in Johannesburg and is the eldest of eight children.  Zanta is one of South Africa’s most renowned violinists. She first started with piano lessons at the age of 7 and at 10 she started violin lessons. Her first concerto appearance was at 14.

She left for the United States at the age of 17, made possible by her winning several competitions, to study at the Juilliard School of Music in New York. After graduating from Juilliard she made her New York debut as winner of the Artists International competition in 1985 at the Weill recital Hall (part of the Carnegie Hall).

Since her return from the United States later that year, she has been a prolific performer and teacher in South Africa and abroad. Apart from performing annually in recitals with various pianists she also appears regularly as soloist with the different symphony orchestras in South Africa.   Chamber music also forms a substantial part of her career and she has collaborated with some of South Africa’s foremost jazz musicians.

She is committed to supporting young talent and has taught violin ever since she finished her own studies. She served on the faculties of the Universities of North-West, the Witwatersrand and from 2000, as associate professor at the University of Pretoria. She resigned in order to better balance her concert and teaching careers and since 2006 she has taught in a part-time capacity at Pretoria and Wits Universities. She is currently the patron of the Thabang ka Mmino music project in Soweto.

Zanta is the recipient of several awards including the Rapport/City Press Woman of the Year in 2004, and was particularly honoured when rose cultivator Ludwig Tassner presented her with a new ‘Zanta Homeyr’ rose in 2003.

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