Virtual Winter Symphony Season 2021- Concert 2

This concert will be available for viewing as follows:

Thursday 26 August (midday) – Saturday 28 August (midnight)

Conductor: Jeremy Silver
Soloists: Miro Chakaryan (violin) and Susan Mouton (cello)


Johannes Brahms: Concerto for violin and cello, op.102 in a minor
Jean Sibelius: Symphony no2, op.43 in D major

Duration: 70 minutes

This week, we start the programme with Brahms’ Concerto for violin and cello – his final work for orchestra. It was no ordinary solo concerto, but rather a composition which united for the first time, in the form the violin and cello. Brahms approached the project with anxiety over writing for instruments that were not his own. The concerto was, in part, a gesture of reconciliation towards his friend and violinist, Joachim, after their long friendship had ruptured.

Our next performance is Jean Sibelius’ Symphony no2, op.43 in D major. It was during a visit to Italy, that Sibelius jotted down the first notes to his second symphony. More than a year after the first ideas were penned, the second symphony was premiered to three sold-out performances, with the composer conducting.

Conductor: Jeremy Silver

Jeremy Silver studied languages and music at Clare College, Cambridge and conducting at the Royal College of Music in London. He furthered his operatic studies at the UK’s National Opera Studio where, fifteen years later, he formed part of the artistic leadership team.

Jeremy has worked extensively in South Africa with all the country’s major symphony orchestras, as well as conducting La bohème (2012 and 2020) and Le nozze di Figaro (2014) for Cape Town Opera and Lucia di Lammermoor with Gauteng Opera. As principal conductor of Opera Africa (2004-2007), he conducted productions of I Capuleti e i Montecchi, La traviata and ‘Rigoletto at the State Theatre, Pretoria, as well the South African opera Princess Magogo at Het Muziektheater, Amsterdam.

A selection of other productions includes Anna Bolena, Rinaldo, Serse, Alcina, Orfeo ed Euridice, L’incoronazione di Poppea and the Mozart Da Ponte operas (Longborough Festival Opera); Pelléas et Mélisande (Glyndebourne Touring Opera); Madama Butterfly (English National Opera); Ariadne auf Naxos (English Touring Opera); Aida, Carmen (Royal Albert Hall); La Rondine, Lucia di Lammermoor, Le Nozze di Figaro (Opera Holland Park); Les Huguenots, Tosca (Opéra-Théâtre de Metz), Turandot (National Theatre, Malaysia) and Die Fledermaus (Yale Opera). For English Touring Opera he also conducted two exciting Donizetti rediscoveries, L’assedio di Calais and Il furioso all’isola di San Domingo in performing editions resulting from his considerable editorial work on both scores.

Jeremy served on the resident music staffs of English National Opera and Scottish Opera, and worked in addition as assistant conductor with Glyndebourne Festival Opera and Opera North.

Jeremy is currently Director of the Opera School at the University of Cape Town and is an Associate Artist at Longborough Festival Opera.

Soloist – Miro Chakaryan (violin)

Miroslav was born in Sofia, Bulgaria, and comes from a family of musicians. His father was the Principal viola of the Bulgarian Radio Symphony Orchestra for many years. Miroslav started violin lessons at the age of 6, and made his first public appearance at the age of 8, playing concertos by Vivaldi and Bach. He graduated from the Sofia Music School in 1984, and after a very tough selection process, was accepted into the National Music Academy in Sofia, from which he graduated in 1990. Since 1982 he has been performing regularly as a soloist in Bulgaria, and has worked with the best Bulgarian orchestras and chamber music groups, touring with them worldwide.

Miro came to South Africa in 1991, where he was the concertmaster of the Bophuthatswana Chamber Orchestra. After completing his 2-year contract, he then joined the National Symphony Orchestra in Johannesburg. In 1995 he was appointed as assistant concertmaster. After the demise of the NSO in 2000, he was one of the founding members of the Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra, of which he became the concertmaster in 2001. He was a soloist with the JPO on 3 occasions, and has been involved in numerous solo recitals and chamber music concerts throughout South Africa. In 2019, together with Zanta Hofmeyr, he won a Fiesta award for the best Classical Music Performance. Miro is also very involved in teaching, and has had a lot of success with many of his students winning awards. One of his students was the first South African student to be accepted to study music at the Moscow Conservatoire in Russia. He is presently still serving as Concertmaster of the JPO.

Soloist – Susan Mouton (cello)

Susan Mouton grew up in Durban, where she began cello lessons at the age of 10. She studied at the University of Pretoria under Professor Gerard van de Geest. Here she was the recipient of the Pretorium Trust bursary on three occasions, as well one of the winners of the Unisa SA Music Scholarship. During her studies she often appeared as soloist with the University Orchestra, and in 1981 she was one of the soloists in the CAPAB Music Festival. After she graduated, she joined the National Symphony Orchestra in 1983, and was appointed Principal cellist in 1987. She studied with Marian Lewin while completing her Performer’s Diploma at Wits University, and was one of the winners of the Unisa Overseas Study Bursaries in 1987, which she used to spend three months attending master classes in Europe with a number of esteemed cellists, including Arto Noras, William Pleeth, Johannes Goritski and Wolfang Laufer. She was also fortunate enough to attend a Cello Congress in Washington at this time, where she was able to meet one of her heroes, Mstislav Rostropovich.

Since 2000 she has been Principal cellist of the Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra. in addition to her orchestral playing, she is active as a chamber musician, and is thrilled to have joined the Wits trio in the past few years. In 2001, she was on the jury for the National String Competition, and in 2010, she was honoured to be chosen as the only South African string specialist on the jury for the International String Competition.

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