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‘Celebrating the music of our times’
2013-07-25

 

25 July 2013

The Odeion School of Music’s (OSM) New Music Week, hosted from 17–20 July 2013, offered an experience of profundity.

This was the second week-long festival of its kind to be hosted by the OSM – last year the 90th birthday of the South African composer, Stefans Grové, was celebrated with concerts and a symposium. This year the New Music Week focused on the visit of Ensemble Trans-Z under the artistic leadership of former OSM student, Alfred Vorster, a composer living in Zürich. The Order of the Odeion School of Music was bestowed upon Vorster during the festival. The members of the ensemble are the Belgian pianist Lukas Huisman, Danré Strydom (currently an OSM doctoral student in clarinet, based in Ghent), the Argentinian violinist Juan Braceras and the Swedish cellist Karolina Öhman (both currently living in Basel, Switzerland).

The week included three lectures. Lukas Huisman elucidated his doctoral project, Alfred Vorster offered an analytical perspective on the work of Helmut Lachenmann and Hannes Taljaard (Potchefstroom) delivered a commentary on his own composition practice. In addition to presenting masters’ classes in their individual instruments, Ensemble Trans-Z also hosted two workshops – one for the Mangaung String Project and another for OSM students and staff. These workshops focused on creative improvisation practices within an avant-garde style.

The highlight of the festival was two gala concerts that were held on 19 and 20 July. The first concert was hosted by Ensemble Trans-Z themselves, with a selection of compositions in the avant-garde style. The programme included challenging listening material and was creatively presented with unconventional lighting techniques and visual material.

The concert on 20 July consisted of New Music of a more conventional nature. The Odeion String Quartet offered a varied presentation which consisted of a rich mix of talent. OSM postgraduate students Marianne Cilliers, Karol Legierski and Eljee du Plooy formed part of this spectacular performance. The OSM flute lecturer, Handri Loots and the members of Ensemble Trans-Z supplied additional depth to the concert. The experience was made extra special by the recently-formed New Music Ensemble of the School of Music at the North-West University – led by Augusto Arias. Under conductorship of Jan-Moritz Onken, the OSM Camerata completed this impressive collaboration.

The Camerata’s recital of Hendrik Hofmeyr’s Phantom Waltz, which the composer newly arranged especially for this ensemble, was but one of the artistic highlights of an inspiring presentation.

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