KZN Philharmonic’s 2023 Summer Season

The KwaZulu-Natal Philharmonic Orchestra’s 2023 Summer Season, featuring a superb line-up of international and local talent runs in The Playhouse Opera every Thursday from 2 to 23 March, each World Symphony Series concert starting at 19h00.
“We are overjoyed to join hands once again with our special family of music lovers for our four-concert Summer Symphony Season,” says Bongani Tembe, KZN Philharmonic’s Chief Executive and Artistic Director. “As always, we proudly uphold grand traditions of our World Symphony Series, as we bring you a guest roster featuring an array of international stars, who are set to join our dedicated orchestral musicians in bring our audiences many hours of sheer musical magic. The season dovetails with our ongoing work in the spheres of community engagement and skills transfer among new-generation artists and learners.”
“We are proud to host the South African debuts of the noted young conductor Hossein Pishkar and pianist Danae Dörken; as well as the welcome return appearances to our podium of our much-loved associated guest conductor, Daniel Boico, and the deeply respected Cape Town based maestro, Berhard Gueller,” Mr Tembe continues.
“Our soloist roster will be graced by the return of the magnificently gifted young violinist, Rachel Lee Priday; as well as the celebrated French horn virtuoso, Shannon Thebus, and the noted South African-Portuguese pianist, Luis Magalhaes, piano.”
With young maestro Pishkar on the podium, the opening programme on 2 March features an enticingly compilation of music. This opens with Sibelius’ Pelléas et Mélisande and will be followed by Mendelssohn Piano Concerto No 1 in G minor performed by Danae Dörken. Beethoven’s Symphony No I rounds off the evening.
The second week’s fare sees maestro Boico on the podium, opening with Richard Wagner’s mesmerizing Siegfried Idyll, and closing with that much loved staple of 19th century Romantism, Schumann’s Symphony No 3 ‘The Rhenish”. Of note is the evening’s centre piece, the seldom performed Violin Concerto in F-sharp minor by the Cuban French composer/violinist, José White Lafitte (1836 – 1918). This rarity will be performed by the gifted young American virtuoso, Rachel Lee Priday.
Maestro Gueller takes the podium for the third concert on 16 March. This opens with that most magnificent of curtain-raisers, Felix Mendelssohn’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream Overture. Written when the composer was just 17 years of age, the work was described by the great music scholar Donald Tovey as ‘the greatest marvel of early maturity that the world has ever seen in music. A hard act to follow, the marvel will give way to a performance of Richard Strauss’s enchanting Concerto for French Horn No 1, played by the prodigiously accomplished American soloist, Shannon Thebus. Brahms’s monumental Symphony No 4, widely regarded as ‘a giant among giants’, brings the evening to a thrilling climax.
Maestro Boico returns to the podium to close the season on 23 March, opening with Beethoven’s Fidelio Overture. The Portuguese South African pianist, Luis Magalhaes, then takes centre-stage to give his rendering of Beethoven’s so-called Piano Concerto No 6 (the composer’s own transcription of his Violin Concerto in D). Of special note after intermission is the much-anticipated world premiere of the Canadian born SA composer Warren Bessey’s latest magnum opus: iNkosi uShaka: Umbono, Isizwe, Isiphetho (King Shaka: A Vision, A Nation, A Destiny).
Conceived on the grandest of scales, this monumental work for vocal soloists, chorus and orchestra forms a proud new edition to the growing symphonic literature dedicated to the proud heritage of the Zulu Nation. As its title indicates, the work centres around the iconic historic person of the mighty warrior King Shaka, also embracing a coterie of other historic figures such as the beautiful Queen Nandi, Shaka’s adored mother.
KZN Philharmonic Season tickets, and bookings for individual concerts, are available at Quicket outlets. For more information call 031-369 9438, email or visit
Tea and symphony – final rehearsal on Thursday morning at 10am, R50 per person. Tickets at the door.
Concerts are for the next four Thursdays in the Playhouse Opera starting at 7pm.

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