Take on the JPO

Take on the JPO

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Spain has gone home with the trophy. The buzz, the hype and the tourists are gone, and TV just isn’t the same. Even the easy conversations in queues, and with the salesmen and women at robots, has become more challenging. Instead of drifting back into old habits, and finding them less satisfying, think of planning some new activities.

One which is very worthwhile considering is the new season being presented by the Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra. No matter how good television and recordings may be there is nothing to compare with a live performance. The excited anticipation in the theatre beforehand, the magic moment when the conductor walks forward to take his place, the heart-stopping seconds of complete silence as he stands with baton raised, and then the dramatic opening notes that unleash the silken streams of melody, the thundering tremors of passion and the flowing fanfares of emotion and imagination – all belong to another world.

Not only will it be a wonderful experience but it will help ensure that Johannesburg remains a ‘World Class City’ with first class cultural facilities and presentations.

This year the JPO celebrates its 10th anniversary as a world class orchestra. It was established in May 2000 after the National Symphony Orchestra had come to an end. In 2007, the JPO became a full-time orchestra with permanent musicians on yearly contracts. It is managed by a Section 21 company owned by the musicians themselves. Since its inception, it has presented four seasons annually of symphonic music, mostly with the assistance of corporate sponsorship and individual donations and ticket sales. In 2009, it was awarded funding for a three-year period by the National Lottery.

That’s wonderful to know – but it is the end result that really interests us. In addition to its symphony concerts, the JPO has performed ‘Queen: the Concert’; ‘The Joburg Pops’; ‘La Traviata’ and ‘La Boheme’ for Opera Africa; ‘Carmina Burana’ for the German Government’s celebration of 10 years of democracy; and Fauré’s ‘Requiem’ for RAU. It performed for the inauguration of President Zuma, provided the recordings for the opening and closing ceremonies for the FIFA Confederations Cup and was asked to record for the FIFA World Cup opening and closing ceremonies.

The new season commences on 28 July 2010 and runs through to the 2 September 2010. The concerts are held at the Linder Auditorium, in Parktown, on Wednesday and Thursday evenings, starting at 20h00 and lasting for approximately two hours. The programmes include the Beethoven Symphony No 1, Rossini William Tell Overture, Tchaikovsky Nutcracker Suite, Mozart Piano Concerto no.20, Haydn Symphony no.104, Strauss Horn Concerto, Brahms Symphony no.2, Dvorak Piano Concerto, and Tchaikovsky Swan Lake Suite. The conductors will be Xu Zhong and Bernhard Gueller. Soloists include Malcolm Nay piano, Natasha Korsakova violin, Francois du Toit piano, Abel Pereira piano, and Vassily Primakov piano. The website has full details and much more information (see links alongside).

My personal preference is to sit upstairs in the middle front, where I can have an overview of the entire orchestra, watch the conductor and the different instruments, and see the hands of a pianist. It becomes a part of a total listening experience. Give it a try.

Music draws a curtain on today, and opens a window for tomorrow

Journey to the Moon

Join Vincent Nettmann, Maropeng’s resident astronomer, as he presents this popular illustrated talk. Using his scale model Apollo 11 rocket, he demonstrates how NASA made the first successful journey to the Moon’s surface.

What are the difficulties of human lunar exploration? How were they overcome? Did man really go to the Moon? The shorter than usual after dinner talk is followed by a 25 minute video featuring the best of the original NASA film clips.

Laser guided binocular tour and large aperture telescopic star-gazing afterwards are subject to weather conditions. (Bring your own binocs and dress warmly.)

Venue: Maropeng Hotel
Date: Saturday, 24th of July, 2010 at 18h00
Cost: R295 per person
Visit the Maropeng website

Please note: bookings are confirmed once paid for in full and are not refundable within 72hrs of arrival.

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