Always a popular presence on the KZN Philharmonic’s guest roster, Japanese conductor Yasuo Shinozaki returns to our podium for the final two concerts of the season. He opens this evening’s programme with Edvard Grieg’s Holberg Suite. Originally composed for solo piano, the work consists of five movements for string orchestra based on 18th-century dance forms written by the composer in 1884 to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the birth of Danish-Norwegian humanist playwright Ludvig Holberg. Danish composer Launy Grøndahl (1886-1960) is best known for his Trombone Concerto, composed in 1924 and premièred in Copenhagen by the Orchestra of the Casino Theater with soloist Vilhelm Aarkrogh. It is scored for solo trombone, pairs of woodwinds, horn, two trumpets, piano and strings. Italian trombonist Andrea Balocco, who is the current principal trombone player of the KZN Philharmonic, graces the evening with suave capability, exploiting to the full Grøndahl’s exalted tunes.
Balocco, a master’s graduate from the Geneva University of Music, has performed with the Tiroler Festspiele Orchestra under music director Gustav Kuhn, the Geneva Radio Orchestra and the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande. He has worked with iconic trombone players of the 21st century such as Joseph Alessi (New York Philharmonic), Ian Bousfield (Vienna Philharmonic) and Jorgen Va Rijen (Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra). The evening climaxes with a return to the mighty heights of Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony in A major, one of the composer’s most revered masterworks. A conscious paean to heroic patriotism, the work was first performed to tumultuous applause in Vienna in December 1813 with Beethoven himself conducting at a charity concert for soldiers wounded in the battle of Hanau. The ripple effects of that famous premiére have echoed down the ages, leaving today’s audiences as ever swayed by the music’s emotional pull.
Single tickets are priced from R65 – R230 and are available at Computicket. All concerts commence at 19:30 at the Playhouse Opera Theatre. Pre-concert talks are held from 18:00 – 18:40. The playhouse precinct, including surrounding parking garages, is patrolled by a dedicated security team. For more information visit KZN Philharmonic, and to book other Summer Season tickets visit Computicket.