Stellenbosch International Chamber Music Festival Highlights

There is an air of magic in the air as the Stellenbosch International Chamber Music Festival (SICMF) returns from an epidemic induced hiatus. This chamber music showcase features an international roster of acclaimed artists along with students from South Africa, USA, Switzerland, Indonesia and more, at the Stellenbosch Konservatorium 30 June to 9 July.

The festival also hosts public master classes, and interview and lecture series called and student and faculty chamber music concerts culminating in concerts performed by the Festival Symphony and Festival Concert Orchestras.

SICMF highlights

SICMF has invited Rebecca Tong, one of very few up-and-coming international women conductors to conduct the Festival Symphony Orchestra that will perform on 7 and 9 July respectively. Since winning the First, ARTE and Orchestra Prizes at the inaugural La Maestra conducting competition in 2020, Tong has conducted the Orchestre de Paris, Tampere Philharmonic, Orquestra Sinfónica do Porto, Orchestre national de Lyon and Manchester Camerata amongst others. Born in Indonesia, Tong is Resident Conductor of Jakarta Simfonia Orchestra and Artistic Director and Music Director of Ensemble Kontempore.

The concert on 4 July will open with a world premiere by New York based SA composer Mikhaila Alyssa Smith. Smith has written extensively for film and television, supplying scores and orchestration for productions by Netflix, Disney, HBO and PBS. Lighting our Stories: Tapestries of the Invisible is a collaboration with jazz singer and songwriter Tina Schouw – a musical depiction of Schouw’s life and work, in particular, her experiences and personal journey during South Africa’s the transition to democracy.

Allison Loggins-Hull is also a USA based female composer who has written for a variety of media, from television and film to radio and the concert stage. Her piece Hammers for the unlikely combination of flute and percussion will also be performed on 4 July by Demarre McGill (flute) and Jauvon Gilliam (percussion).

Other high- profile women artists on the faculty include our two top local violinists, Suzanne Martens and Farida Bacharova. Acclaimed violinists and violists from abroad include Gwendolyn Masin, Jennifer Stumm, Frederieke Saeijs, and Karolina Errera. In the brass department, Stellenbosch University is represented by French horn pedagogue Pamela Kierman. In the piano division, the international award winning pianist, Anastasia Markina, will be performing Rachmaninoff’s grand Trio Élégiac on 3 July and Grieg’s much loved piano concerto with the Festival Concert Orchestra on 8 July.

Of special significance is the woman whose brainchild the SICMF is. Nina Schumann, the artistic Director of the SICMF needs no introduction to South African audiences. Schumann deserves credit for the amazing line-up of artists as well as the spectacular programmes. She will be performing herself on 1 July (Vaughan Williams piano quintet) and on 5 July (Taneyev piano quartet).

And amongst the 150 or so women in the student participant body is Colette Brand, who will be attending with her string quartet. Brand says, “As a female string quartet based in Switzerland, the Eleas Quartet is building up a versatile repertoire which ranges from classical to jazz to contemporary music. We are very excited to make music together with the international artists and the South African students at the SICMF and are eager to see what the festival has to offer.”

Full programme

13:00 Guest Ensemble Lunch Hour Concert: SU Brass Quintet
15:00 Public Masterclass: Frederieke Saeijs (violin)
17:00 Guest Ensemble Afternoon Concert: Prof Aida-Carmen Soanea Viola Studio (Austria)
18:00 Festival Opening
20:00 Faculty Concert 1, Endler Hall
BACH (arr. D. Sitkovetsky) Goldberg Variations, BWV 988 MENDELSSOHN String Symphony No. 10 in B minor VAN DIJK Sarabande for Strings * PERAPASKERO (arr. Ljova & O. Golijov) Turceasca

13:00 Guest Ensemble Lunch Hour Concert: FAK Youth Symphony Orchestra
15:00 Public Masterclass: Jennifer Stumm (viola)
17:00 Guest Ensemble Afternoon Concert: Lineage Percussion (USA)
19:00 Julien Benichou in conversation with Rebecca Tong
20:00 Faculty Concert 2, Endler Hall STANFORD Serenade in F major “Nonet”, Op.

13:00 Guest Ensemble Lunch Hour: Eleas Quartet (Switzerland)
15:00 Public Masterclass: Joshua Elmore (bassoon)
17:00 Guest Ensemble Afternoon Concert: Coastal Brass Collective
19:00 Xandi van Dijk in conversation with Jennifer Stumm
20:00 Faculty Concert 3, Endler Hall WEBER Quintet in B-flat major, Op. 34 SCHUBERT String Quintet in C major, D. 956

13:00 Guest Ensemble Lunch Hour Concert: ARCO Project
15:00 Public Masterclass: Boris Andrianov (cello)
17:00 Student Ensemble: Concert 1
19:00 Andrew Lilley in conversation with Mikhaila Alyssa Smith and Tina Schouw
20:00 Faculty Concert 4, Endler Hall ** SMITH Lighting Our Stories: Tapestries of the Invisible Soloist: Tina Schouw Conductor: Jacobus de Jager
RACHMANINOFF Trio Élégiac No. 2 in D minor, Op. 9

13:00 Student Ensemble: Concert 2
15:00 Public Masterclass: Andrey Baranov (violin)
17:00 Student Ensemble: Concert 3
19:00 Nicolas Dautricourt in conversation with Andrey Baranov
20:00 Faculty Concert 5, Endler Hall:

  • LOGGINS-HULL “Hammers” for Flute and Percussion Trio
  • BALAKIREV Octet for Piano, Winds and Strings, Op. 3
  • RAVEL (arr. I. Farrington) Mother Goose Suite
  • MENDELSSOHN Quintet No. 1 in A major, Op. 18

13:00 Student Ensemble: Concert 4
15:00 Public Masterclass: Mark Hampson (trombone)
17:00 Student Ensemble: Concert 5
19:00 Geoffrey Pilkington in conversation with Mark Hampson
20:00 Faculty Concert 6, Endler Hall TANEYEV Piano Quartet in E major, Op. 20 RAFF Octet in C major, Op. 176

13:00 Student Ensemble: Concert 6
15:00 Public Master Class: Anastasia Markina (piano)
17:00 Student Ensemble: Concert 7
19:00 Nina Schumann in conversation with Anastasia Markina
20:00 Faculty Concert 7, Endler Hall BOTTESINI Elegy and Tarantella
Soloist: Knut Erik Sundquist Conductor: Rebecca Tong TCHAIKOVSKY Andante Cantabile for Cello and Strings, Op. Posth.
Soloist: Boris Andrianov Conductor: Chevonne Plaatjies
JOLIVET Trumpet Concerto No. 2 Soloist: Marco Silva Conductor: Julien Benichou

MACKEY Fanfare for Full Fathom Five, Jacobus de Jager (conductor)
PLAATJIES & VAN DIJK Concerto for uhadi, umrhubhe, violin and strings ‘for those who can’t sleep but still dream of dancing’
Soloists: David Bester, Dizu Plaatjies
Conductor: Xandi van Dijk

13:00 Student Ensemble: Concert 8
15:00 Public Master Class: Julien Benichou (conducting)
17:00 Student Ensemble Concert: Percussion Groups
19:00 Farida Bacharova in conversation with Gwendolyn Masin
Fismer Fismer Fismer Jannasch 20:00 Festival Symphony Orchestra, Endler Hall Conductor: Rebecca Tong Soloist: Andrey Baranov MOZART Marriage of Figaro Overture, K. 492 TCHAIKOVSKY Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 35 RACHMANINOFF Symphonic Dances, Op. 45

13:00 Student Ensemble: Concert 9
15:00 Public Master Class: YaoGuang Zhai (clarinet)
17:00 Student Ensemble: Concert 10
19:00 Dwight Parry in conversation with YaoGuang Zhai
Fismer Fismer Fismer Jannasch 20:00 Festival Concert Orchestra, Endler Hall
Conductor: Julien Benichou Soloist: Anastasia Markina LISZT Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2 in C-sharp minor GRIEG Piano Concerto in A minor, Op. 16
MUSSORGSKY (orch. D. Shostakovich) Prelude to “Khovantchina”
RESPIGHI Pines of Rome

12:00 Festival Concert Orchestra, Community Concert: Silvertown Auditorium
Conductor: Julien Benichou, Selections from the 8 July programme

13:00 Student Ensemble: Concert 11

16:30 Festival Symphony Orchestra, Endler Hall Conductor: Rebecca Tong Soloist: YaoGuang Zhai RAVEL Alborada del Gracioso in D minor, M. 43 WEBER Clarinet Concerto No. 2 in E-flat major, Op. 74 RACHMANINOFF Symphonic Dances, Op. 45


Click here for the full SICMF 2023 programme. Tickets are available through WebTickets.