The JPO Winter Season

The music has not stopped for our great musicians of the Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra at the Linder Auditorium in Parktown, the home of the JPO. After the much-celebrated relaunch in August last year, the concert hall is full and an enthusiastic audience is giving its full support throughout the seasons.

     The upcoming 2018 JPO Winter Season has it all, a programme of wonderful music, an exciting line-up of famous conductors and soloists and it starts on 30 and 31 May, covering four weeks until 20 and 21 June. The season will be presented as part of the renowned World Symphony Series (WSS), which was launched in Durban 22 years ago and was introduced to JPO audiences late last year. One of four programmes will be presented each week during the season, with Wednesday evening performances reprised the following Thursday evening.

JPO Winter Season
From left: CEO and Artistic Director of the JPO Bongani Tembe, American Indian pianist Pallavi Mahidhara, First Lady Dr Tshepo Motsepe and Canadian Trinidadian conductor Kwamé Ryan

‘We are excited to continue with the second leg of our 2018 World Symphony Series, presenting an array of top-flight international conductors and soloists to our concert platforms, along with prominent South African artists, whilst continuing to carry out the Orchestra’s broad mission of developing its dynamic artistic vision,’ says Bongani Tembe, Chief Executive and Artistic Director of the Johannesburg and KwaZulu-Natal Philharmonic Orchestras.
     ‘We continue to focus on offering music-making of the highest excellence to the city of Johannesburg. This endeavour dovetails with our community engagement programmes. By presenting a series of world-class concerts, as well as promoting the transfer of skills to young musicians, the Johannesburg Philharmonic remains committed to enriching the cultural life of all South Africa’s citizens.
     ‘As before, our season runs at Johannesburg’s beautifully appointed Linder Auditorium and our audiences are assured of a feast of fine music-making by the gifted artists who will collaborate with the JPO in bringing our programmes to life.’

JPO Winter Season
The Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra performing at the Linder Auditorium

The 2018 Winter Season starts with conductor Daniel Boico and soloist Charl du Plessis who will be performing George Gershwin’s Piano Concerto in F major.
     Described by critics as ‘Dynamic, vigorous, exciting and imaginative – an undisputed star who combines magnetic charisma with a skilled technique,’ conductor Daniel Boico is the newly appointed Associate Guest Conductor of the KZN Philharmonic Orchestra, Durban. His innate musical sensitivity paired with a keen ear and deep musicianship have produced exciting performances with orchestras in the US, Europe, Central and South America, Africa and Asia. His debut with the New York Philharmonic took place in 2009, sharing the podium with Riccardo Muti, and was followed by his subscription debut in April 2011, when he replaced Kurt Masur on short notice in what the New York Times called ‘a smoldering performance’ of Sofia Gubaidulina’s Two Paths (A Dedication to Mary and Martha for two violas and orchestra).

JPO Winter Season
Daniel Boico

     Charl du Plessis rose to fame as the youngest pianist in Africa to be named a Steinway Artist. He has since embarked on an international career working simultaneously as a classical and jazz pianist who illuminates music from Bach to Billy Joel for a new generation of listeners.
     After debut performances in London’s Royal Albert Hall, Berliner Philharmonie (with Chick Corea) and Shanghai’s Oriental Arts Centre, Du Plessis became the first pianist to perform on top of Table Mountain in 2017. He was also invited to perform at the opening of Steinway Hall (Beijing) with fellow Steinway Artist Lang Lang. Concert tours to the USA, Europe and the Far East have contributed to the press hailing him as a ‘cult pianist’, an ‘edutainer’ and a pianist with the ‘x-factor’.
     The second programme of the season will be a special concert on 6 and 7 June with conductor Brandon Phillips and soloist Alexander Buzlov performing Édouard Lalo’s Cello Concerto in D minor.

JPO Winter Season
Alexander Buzlov

     Winner of the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra’s inaugural Len van Zyl Conductor’s Competition in 2010, Brandon Phillips began his music career in the New Apostolic Church where he learned various instruments and also choral training. He studied bassoon and viola at the University of Cape Town, receiving his Diploma for orchestral studies and BMus Honours in solo bassoon in 2005. Phillips currently is also principal bassoon of the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra (CPO).
     As a result of the Len Van Zyl competition, Phillips studied conducting in the United States at the Northwestern University in Chicago under Maestro Victor Yampolsky in 2010. While in the US, Phillips was a conducting intern with the Philadelphia Symphony Orchestra.
     He works with many of South Africa’s orchestras and choirs and has also become a sought-after conductor of ballet, conducting Cape Town City Ballet in various productions and will debut in his first opera, The Magic Flute, for Cape Town Opera/University of Cape Town in December.

JPO Winter Season
Conrad van Alphen PHOTO Rogier Bos

     Phillips was appointed resident conductor of the CPO in 2015, and is supported by RMB Starlight Classics. He shares the stage with Richard Cock in the RMB Starlight Classics each year in Cape Town and Johannesburg.
     Alexander Buzlov has been described by the New York Times as ‘a cellist of true Russian tradition, possessing a great gift to make an instrument sing, bewitching the audience with his sound.’
     He was born in Moscow in 1983 and studied at the Moscow Conservatoire with Natalia Gutman and at the Musikhochschule Köln, Germany with Frans Helmerson. Through master-classes, he has worked with such renowned cellists such as Mstislav Rostropovich, Daniil Shafran and Bernard Greenhouse. He teaches at the Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatoire.

JPO Winter Season
Spencer Myer

     Alexander Buzlov performs throughout Russia and as well as at venues abroad such as the Berliner Philharmonie, Carnegie Hall, Herkulessaal Munich, Lincoln Center, Santa Cecilia, La Scala, and Théâtre des Champs-Élysées. He has appeared with many renowned ensembles, among them the Mariinsky Theatre Symphony Orchestra, Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Orchestra of St. Luke’s, Deutsche Radio Philharmonie Saarbrücken, The Svetlanov State Academic Symphony Orchestra, the Moscow Soloists chamber ensemble, Munich Chamber Ensemble, ‘New Russia’ Symphony Orchestra, the National Philharmonic Orchestra of Russia, the Grand Tchaikovsky Symphony Orchestra, Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra, the Saint Petersburg Academic Philharmonic and numerous others.
     For week three on 13 and 14 June, the conductor will be much-loved Conrad van Alphen while Nikita Boriso-Glebsky will be performing Jean Sibelius’ Violin Concerto in D minor, Op. 47.

JPO Winter Season
Cathrine Winnes PHOTO John Andresen

     South African born Conrad van Alphen is known as much for his entrepreneurial spirit and depth of preparation as he his is for performances that combine exceptional sensitivity, vision and freshness.
     He enjoys a particularly close association with the Russian National Orchestra and is currently an artist of the Moscow Philharmonic Society, in which capacity he regularly conducts the major Moscow orchestras and many more throughout Russia. For four years he was chief conductor of the State Safonov Philharmonic Orchestra.
     At the turn of the new millennium, Van Alphen founded Sinfonia Rotterdam, of which he remains chief conductor and artistic director. The orchestra presents concert series at de Doelen in Rotterdam, at the Nieuwe Kerk in The Hague and at the Royal Concertgebouw in Amsterdam. Under his leadership, it has become an internationally recognised ensemble, has made acclaimed recordings, and has toured Mexico, Brazil, Colombia Chile and Russia.

JPO Winter Season
Nikita Boriso-Glebsky

     Brilliant Russian violinist Nikita Boriso-Glebsky was born in 1985 in Volgodonsk, Southern Russia and attended the Moscow State Tchaikovsky Conservatory. At only 18, he became the youngest solo violinist in the Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra. The way to the world’s best concert halls was paved for Boriso-Glebsky by the series of successful performances at international contests, including the Tchaikovsky in Moscow (2007) and the Queen Elisabeth (2009) competitions. He took first prizes of the Jean Sibelius and the Fritz Kreisler Violin and in 2013 won the Monte Carlo Violin Masters in Monaco. After gaining eleven awards in different competitions, he decided to start developing a career on the international stage.
     The ensembles he plays with include the National Orchestra of Belgium, the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, the São Paulo Symphony Orchestra, the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, the Helsinki Philharmonic, the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, NHK Symphony Orchestra.

JPO Winter Season
Brandon Phillips

     Boriso-Glebsky has performed under the baton of renowned conductors such as Valery Gergiev, Vladimir Fedoseyev, Krzysztof Penderecki, Yuri Simonov, Sakari Oramo, David Afkham and Hannu Lintu. When playing chamber music he collaborated with Rodion Shchedrin, Natalia Gutman, Yuri Bashmet, Boris Berezovsky, András Schiff, Vadim Repin, Alexander Rudin.
     The final concert of the season on 20 and 21 June will see Cathrine Winnes conducting soloist Spencer Myer performing Edvard Greig’s Piano Concerto in A minor, Op.16.
     Cathrine Winnes is a conductor of rare communicative gifts, outstanding precision and uncompromising musicianship. She is known in Norway and beyond for her work on the podium and also for her pioneering work as a broadcaster.
     Winnes’ conducting career in Scandinavia has seen her work with the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra, Kristiansand Symphony Orchestra and Nörrkopping Symphony Orchestra among other ensembles. She will soon return to the Oslo Philharmonic and debut with the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra and at the Royal Swedish Opera in Stockholm. Future engagements will also take her to the Malmö, Jönköpping and Stavanger Symphony Orchestras. Winnes is currently Artistic Director and Chief Conductor of the Östgöta Blåsarsymfoniker and at the start of the 2016-17 season took up a new position as Chief Conductor of the Stockholm Blåsarsymfonikerna.
     Winnes’ energetic musical style has seen her transcend classical music’s usual boundaries and reach new audiences. She appeared as both conductor and presenter for the Norwegian state broadcaster NRK’s Art and Regime series, examining the life and works of Dmitri Shostakovich. She reunited with the Kristiansand Symphony Orchestra for their 2013 TV production marking the centenary of women’s voting rights in Norway, uncovering lost works by female composers from the era.
     Winnes’ interest in contemporary music and has seen her lead a number of world and Scandinavian premieres. She was the conductor for the contemporary group KammarensenmbleN’s Inversion programme for Swedish television broadcaster SVT, and in 2015 she conducted the premiere of Cecilie Ore’s opera Adam and Eve at the Bergen International Festival and at Ultima Festival in Oslo. In August 2015 Winnes’ recording of music by Klas Backman with the Norrkoping Symphony Orchestra was released on the Naxos label.

JPO Winter Season     Lauded for ‘superb playing’ and ‘poised, alert musicianship’ by the Boston Globe, and labelled ‘definitely a man to watch’ by London’s The Independent, American pianist Spencer Myer is one of the most respected and sought-after artists on today’s concert stage.
     An in-demand chamber musician, he has appeared the past four summers at the Lev Aronson Legacy Festival in Dallas with cellists Lynn Harrell, Ralph Kirshbaum, Amit Peled and Brian Thornton, and has enjoyed a recurring partnership with the Miami String Quartet at the Kent/Blossom Music Festival. Other artistic partners include clarinettist David Shifrin, sopranos Nicole Cabell, Martha Guth and Erin Wall, the Jupiter and Pacifica string quartets and the Dorian Wind Quintet.
     Spencer Myer’s career was launched with three important prizes: First Prize in the 2004 UNISA International Piano Competition in South Africa, the 2006 Christel DeHaan Classical Fellowship from the American Pianists Association and the Gold Medal from the 2008 New Orleans International Piano Competition. He is also a laureate of the 2007 William Kapell, 2005 Cleveland and 2005 Busoni international piano competitions.