Two pianos, one captivating new world of South African music

Two of South Africa’s most renowned pianists, Kathleen Tagg and Andre Petersen, have joined forces to create a kaleidoscope of sonic colour, exploding the concept of what two pianos can do and sound like. They will perform in Where Worlds Collide: Kathleen Tagg and Andre Petersen on Friday 18 March at the Baxter Concert Hall at 8pm, when they will also launch their CD of the same name. Produced by Dre & Chan Music Concepts and Spotted Kat Music, Where Worlds Collide draws from the rich sonic tapestries of classical music, South African jazz and traditional musics from sub­Saharan Africa, to explore the diverse realms of music that can be created with a piano.

More than just a meeting place of jazz and classical music, Where Worlds Collide employs a spectacular array of additional elements, such as techniques Tagg has developed, using the piano from the inside out, including plucking, bowing and stopping the strings to create a magical world of new sounds. Petersen combines his classical training with his jazz career, while Tagg is a classical musician who improvises and writes music that crosses genres. The result is a bold, vital and highly entertaining mix of South African music, the likes of which have never been heard before.

The evening features original compositions by Tagg, a classical pianist who has branched out as a sonic experimenter and Petersen, a jazz pianist, as well as works by iconic South African jazz composers such asAbdullah Ibrahim, Bheki Mseleku, Moses Molelekwa. On their highly successful national tour, Cue described Where Worlds Collide as the “Sonic essence of Africa”and commented, “Captivating for its exploration of a myriad of sonorities…technical virtuosity and perfecting synchronized rhythmical complexity”.

It was divine intervention and arrangement… The original compositions from both Kathy and I were complimentary in the overall structure and concept of the duo, and we had the same vision, wanting to create a new South African sound, painting with sonic colours rather than genres. We wanted to bring all these elements together to create an entertaining and accessible evening of music, while remaining true to the technique, intelligence and artistry of the original genres.

Tagg and Petersen are longstanding friends and colleagues, having met at the South African College of Music twenty years ago. The collaboration arose when Petersen had the idea to create a sonic world where diverse musical experiences could co-exist comfortably in an organic way. He approached Tagg, who having been based in New York City for fifteen years, had been influenced by the contemporary music scene, inspiring her to think of the piano in a totally different way. She had independently been writing new work to find a channel to combine the range of different aspects of her musical life.

“For this project, Andre and I were able to look into our combined treasure troves of experiences and put them all together,” says Tagg. “This CD and concert is the musical intersection point of who we both are – personally and professionally. We wanted to create something that both classical and jazz audiences will enjoy, and we feel we have truly imagined a new musical world.”

“We have both worked with a huge array of people in many different genres, and we bring all of these influences to this project- a project which could not come from anywhere else but South Africa, but also couldn’t exist without all the things to which we have been exposed.”

A 2014 SAMA­nominee for best classical/instrumental album, Tagg has performed on four continents with some of the world’s leading musicians, including Grammy­nominated duo partner David Krakauer; 12-times Grammy winner PaquitoD’Rivera and Grammy winner Matt Haimovitz. She is well-known for her cross genre work, mixing classical with world music, elements of jazz, rock, musical theatre, electronica and more.  Her performances include appearances at prestigious venues such as Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall,  where she gave her acclaimed solo debut. Tagg’s recorded work can be heard on NAXOS, Universal, Gallo Africa, Ossia Records and Table Pounding Records labels.

Petersen’s years of working with the finest South African and international jazz musicians are combined with his experience on the European and international jazz scene. In addition to performing with his own groups and iconic South African musicians such as Winston Mankunku, Feya Faku, Robbie Jansen and many others, being based in Belgium for a few years, Andre has also worked with a musically diverse group of artists such as Grammy award winning World music group Zap Mama, Jazz musicians Reggie Washington (Roy Hargrove/Branford Marsalis), Dre Pallemaerts  (Joe Lovano/Toots Thielemans), Stefon Harris (Wynton Marsalis, Kenny Barron) and many others.

To view a clip of this unique music experience, visit www.taggpetersenduo.com

Where Worlds Collide: the Kathleen Tagg and Andre PetersenDuo will be performed for one night only on Friday 18 March 2016 in the Baxter Concert Hall at R8pm. Tickets cost R120 or R85 for groups of ten or more. Pensioners and students cost R50. Bookings can be made at Computicket 0861 915 8000, online at www.computicket.com or at any Shoprite Checkers outlet.

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