Sometimes the gold of Egoli can be found in the most inconspicuous places – like the one I visited one Sunday afternoon some weeks ago.
A private house in the leafy suburb of Melville, the gate opens quietly and invites us to pass through the most enchanted garden – as if lit by moonlight in a fairy tale. Two barking Airedale Terriers show us the way to the house, across the veranda and past a glass wall, beyond which our host waits in front of her two grand pianos.
Jill Richards is one of the greatest South African pianists – and surely one of the most versatile and experimental. To enjoy her playing, one usually has to travel to Europe to one of the major concert venues in Berlin, London or Zurich. Today, this amazing woman welcomes us with her infectious laugh, barefoot.
Jill’s living room is her practice space and is dominated by her most precious material possessions. As a Steinway artist, she boasts a D-274 concert piano. Last year, she added a Shigeru Kawai that was specially built to honour her mastery. She travelled to Japan to inspect its completion.
In 2018, Jill introduced her house concerts and lovers of her music regularly gather at her house to listen to her perform with her colleagues, and to engage in conversation with the musicians after the concert. The mix of the casual atmosphere and the perfection of the music makes these events so special. As it is also a playground for Jill and her fellow artists to experiment, many new and unexpected pieces of music and ideas are shared.
This performance is sold out and I join 30 other guests – many of whom I have seen before as they are as addicted to this format as I am. We listen to Jill perform with violinist Waldo Alexander and experimental musician João Orecchia.
To read more about Joburg’s hidden musical treasures, purchase the June 2019 issue of Creative Feel or, to continue supporting our role in the South African arts and culture sector, subscribe to our monthly magazine from only R180.00 to R365.00 per year! SUBSCRIBE HERE!