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 at the Stellenbosch Konservatorium 5 to 14 July.

The concerts schedule features a star-studded lineup of internationally acclaimed artists in various combinations.

For those who enjoy Baroque, Vivaldi’s concerto for violin, cello and string orchestra will feature the formidable couple of Daniel Rowland (violin) and Maja Bogdanović (cello) as soloists.

A newly published arrangement from Beethoven’s day of his fourth piano concerto will be played for the first time in South Africa by the award-winning pianist, Emanuil Ivanov. Ivanov, who wowed local audiences in SA last year, first attracted international attention after winning the 2019 Ferruccio Busoni Piano Competition in Italy. Other gems from the Classical and early Romantic era include Mendelssohn’s third string quartet, Schubert’s “Trockne Blumen” and a seldom heard, but beautiful octet by Woldemar Bargiel.

The great late Romantic period will be represented by the likes of Dvořák’s second piano quintet, Saint-Saëns Caprice for winds and piano, and Taneyev’s momentous piano quintet in G minor.

SIMCF Artistic Director Nina Schumann.

Nina Schumann prides herself in presenting new music each year to the extent that the SICMF has secured an exclusive new music sponsor in the Ernst von Siemens Foundation in Switzerland. This year the SICMF has commissioned a world premiere from Pieter Bezuidenhout, which together with works by Caroline Shaw, Oswaldo Golijov, Jörg Windemann and Garth Knox will receive their South African premieres.

Returning stars from the past include Nicolas Dautricourt, Madeline Adkins and Andrey Baranov (violin), Boris Andrianov (cello), YaoGuang Zhai (clarinet), Dwight Parry (oboe), Marco Silva (trumpet) and Jauvon Gilliam (percussion). Newcomers include the sensational Russian flute virtuoso Ekaterina Kornishina, Ivy Ringel, the principal bassoonist of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, Fedor Belugin, violist of the internationally acclaimed David Oistrakh String Quartet, and the celebrated double bass player, Zoran Marković to name a few.

The Festival Concert Orchestras will perform under the baton of Michael Repper.

The last three concerts feature performances by the Festival Symphony and Festival Concert orchestras. The FSO under the baton of Michael Repper will perform Borodin’s great second symphony as well as accompanying the duo of Andrey Baranov and Boris Andrianov in the Brahms Double concerto on Friday 12 July and Jennifer Stumm in Bartok’s viola concerto on Sunday 15 July. Maestro Repper will be making his debut in South Africa. His album with the New York Youth Symphony, featuring debut recordings of works by Florence Price, Jessie Montgomery, and Valerie Coleman reached #1 on the Billboard Chart, and won a Grammy® Award, marking the first time a youth orchestra has achieved this milestone. The main work on the FCO programme is Dvořák’s eighth symphony, one of the most beloved symphonies of all time. FCO conductor, Simeone Tartaglione, currently holds a number of positions in and around Washington DC. He will also be making his South African debut at the SICMF.

Whilst the coveted evening concerts of the SICMF attract the lion’s share of public attention, it is the rest of the daily programme that really speaks to the mission and vision of the festival. The SICMF is after all, a project of the Department of Music in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at Stellenbosch University. More than 90 student ensembles will partake at this year`s festival. 


Every day after lunch, the full programme of chamber music activities is open to the public with one hour student ensemble concerts taking place every day at 13:00 and 17:00, public master classes taking center stage at 15:00 and the vibrant and interactive “in Conversation with” lecture series at 19:00 just prior to the evening concert at 20:00. This year the SICMF will also be hosting a free student composers jam session after the 20:00 concert on 10 July. Click here for the full programme of student concerts, master classes and lectures.

The student concerts, master classes and lectures take place in the Fismer and Janasch halls and are free of charge for Festival Pass holders. For daily patrons, tickets for R30 per session are available at the door only. Tickets for the concerts that take place in the Endler Hall from 5 to 14 July are available online through Webtickets.


Click here for the full SICMF 2024 programme. Tickets are available through WebTickets.