Musicians join forces for live concerts

David Bester, Stéphanie Lawrenson, Petrus Coetzee, Jeffrey Armstrong, Paul van Zuilenburg, Nicola McLachlan, Graham du Plessis and Joshua Louis will perform a work by Romanian composer, George Enescu.

Eight classical musicians are joining forces to celebrate the new normal triggered by the global coronavirus pandemic with three live concerts in association with the National Youth Music Foundation (NYMF) on Friday October 9 and Saturday October 10 in Rondebosch and Wellington.

Called a Socially Distant Enescu Octet, the series will premiere at 6pm tomorrow, Friday October 9, at Erin Hall in Rondebosch. It will then move to the Old Tannery in Wellington for two performances at 3pm and 6pm on Saturday October 10.

Violinist Jeffrey Armstrong, 23, the overall winner and gold medallist of the 2014 National Youth Music Competition (NYMC) also a former concertmaster of the Cape Town Youth Philharmonic Orchestra (CPYO), is one of the eight music stars who will collaborate to perform the Octet for Strings in C major, Op. 7 by Romanian composer and conductor George Enescu.

These concerts mark the resumption of the Young Artists’ Concert Series of the NYMF, following the national lockdown in March this year.

It took Enescu 18 months to complete the complex work for four violins, two violas and two cellos. After initially being described as too risky, it finally premiered in December 1909 in Paris.

The octet consists of classmates, teachers and students, and co-contestants in the annual NYMC.

The four who were involved in the NYMC are Jeffrey, David Bester, 29, and Nicola McLachlan, 21, who are all ad hoc players in the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra (CPO) and Joshua Louis, 23, CPYO concertmaster. The other four musicians are Petrus Coetzee, 35, principal viola of the CPO, Stephanie Lawrenson, 23, principal viola of the CPYO, Graham du Plessis, 36 and Paul Loeb van Zuilenberg IV, 24, ad hoc players of the CPO,

“This programmes is rarely performed. The Covid-19 lockdown created the opportunity for the musicians to rehearse and work together intensively on a rarely-performed programme. We are glad to be performing and rehearsing chamber music again,” says Jeffrey.

The concerts will be run in strict accordance with the Covid-19 regulations. These include individual screening, compulsory wearing of masks and the correct social distancing.

Only 50 people are allowed per performance. Bookings are essential and can be done at Quicket. Ticket prices for the Cape Town premiere are R150 and R120 for pensioners and students. For Wellington, the ticket prices are R120, including refreshments after the performances.

Tickets are available Quicket.