This concert will be available for viewing as follows:
Wednesday 2 (19h30) – Friday 4 (19h30) December
Mozart: Concerto for Flute and Harp in C, K. 299
Mendelssohn: Symphony No. 3 in A, “Scottish”, op. 56
Duration: 70 minutes
This week, our programme includes works by Mozart and Mendelssohn.
This Concerto for Flute, Harp, and Orchestra in C major, is only one of two true double concertos that Mozart wrote, as well as the only piece of music he wrote for the harp. At this time, the harp was still in development, and was not considered a standard orchestral instrument. So the harp and flute was considered an extremely unusual combination.
This is followed by Mendelssohn’s Symphony No 3, which was his final symphony. Mendelssohn was initially inspired to compose this symphony during a visit to Scotland – which is why it is also known as the Scottish Symphony. Although Mendelssohn never publicly called attention to the symphony’s Scottish inspiration, ever since the origin became known following the composer’s death, audiences have found it hard not to hear the piece as evoking the wild Romantic landscapes of the north.
Conductor: Schalk van der Merwe
Schalk van der Merwe started his undergraduate music studies in 2011 at the University of Pretoria, majoring in orchestral conducting. Besides orchestral conducting, his BMus studies also included violin, voice, composition, theory and choral conducting. In 2019 he won the 4th Len van Zyl Conductor’s competition and was awarded with an internship at the Nashville Symphony Orchestra in the United States and the opportunity to study with Russian Conductor Victor Yampolsky at the Northwestern University in Chicago, USA.
Schalk has been active as conductor since 2011 and currently holds the positions of principal conductor of the Capital Chamber Orchestra, principal conductor of the Symphony Chorus of Pretoria, and artistic director of the Sempre Opera Company. He has also served as the interim conductor for the University of Pretoria Symphony Orchestra and associate conductor of the Pretoria Symphony Orchestra.
Schalk has conducted orchestras such as the Johannesburg Symphony Orchestra, the Gauteng Philharmonic Orchestra, the Cape Town Philharmonic and the South African National Youth Orchestra in concert. Schalk is a passionate educator and teaches violin, piano and voice. He believes that investing in young people from an early age cultivates an appreciation for the arts and contributes to a balanced, educated society. In 2016 he launched his own production company, Mustro Productions, which assembles orchestras and ensembles, stages operas and other classical music concerts in order to provide job opportunities for young South African musicians.
Soloist – Khanyi Mthethwa (Flute)
Khanyisile Mthetwa has been named by the Mail and Guardian Newspaper as one of the top 200 young South Africans. Khanyisile rose to international acclaim in 2019 when she made headlines across the world for being the first African in history to be the winner of the Myrna Brown international scholarship awarded by the National flute association of America. In 2019 she went on an extensive tour of the United States performing a programme of only South African music which was received to critical acclaim. She has been described by critics as being ‘a revelation on how to play the flute’.
Khanyisile was born in Orlando West- Soweto in 1985 when South Africa was in a state of emergency during apartheid rule. She attended high school at the National School of the Arts, and went on to study at the University of Pretoria and finished her Masters at Nice conservatoire in France. She currently holds a Licentiate and Fellowship diploma in flute performance from Trinity College of London.
Khanyisile is currently the Principal flute of the Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra. She was appointed as the flute lecturer at Wits University in 2017. She is a passionate teacher and has had her articles published in internationally distributed publications. She has served on the jury for various competitions and is considered one of the leading performers and pedagogues of flute performance.
Soloist – Gaylen Sales (Harp)
Harpist Gaylen-Rose Sales was born in Pretoria and started piano lessons at the age of six and harp lessons at the age of 10. She matriculated at the Pro Arte High School and later obtained a B Mus degree in Performing Arts at the University of the Witwatersrand. Her main instruments were harp and organ which she studied under Kathleen Alistair and Prof. Henk Temmingh respectively. She has performed as soloist with the National Symphony Orchestra, Pro-Musica Orchestra, Transvaal Philharmonic Orchestra and more recently with the Johannesburg Festival Orchestra and the Chamber Orchestra of South Africa.
Gaylen has been the recipient of many awards and bursaries, including the Unisa Buy-Aid Bursary (1981), the SAMRO Undergraduate Music Bursary (1982-1984), the Olga Lipman Bursary (1982,1984, 1985). From 1986-1988 she worked as repetiteur and Principal Harpist for PACOFS. In 1993 she joined the Transvaal Philharmonic Orchestra (later known as The New Arts Philharmonic Orchestra of Pretoria) as Principal Harpist until its closure. Amongst her varied solo, freelance, and chamber performing, she currently serves as Principal Harpist for the Johannesburg Festival Orchestra and Guest Principal Harpist for the Free State Symphony Orchestra.