Across the world there are many thousands of artists who – though maybe engineers, office workers or teachers by day – share an extraordinary passion and skill for playing the piano. For many of them, to perform with a full orchestra would be a dream come true.
Les Amateurs Virtuoses is a rare festival that is based not on a competition but on a sheer love for performance. The acclaimed French piano festival, which has been running for 10 years, offers a performance platform to many of the best amateur (and professional) pianists in the world.
In celebration of its 10th anniversary season it is heading to Cape Town, fresh from festivals in Paris and Shanghai.
Its Cape Town run involves 24 pianists from nearly 10 countries, and includes master classes and chamber music concerts in the City, townships and Stellenbosch.
The festival’s grand finale sees six pianists performing movements from five piano concertos, accompanied by the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra under the direction of Daniel Boico at Cape Town City Hall at 6pm on Sunday 18 November. Concerts are scheduled daily from 10 to 18 November, mainly at 7.30pm at the Baxter Concert Hall, with concerts at 10am and 4.30pm on Sunday 11 November at Endler Hall.
One of the special events is Saint-Saëns‘ Carnival of the Animals for four hands performed by Du Toit and Thomas Yu at the Guga S’thebe Cultural Centre in Langa at 2.30pm on Saturday 17 November.
Two concerts – one on each Saturday of the festival – features a group of 40 from the NPO Muzukidz, which teaches violin to children from disadvantaged townships around the Cape Town.
Works on the recital programmes cover the spectrum from sonatas, nocturnes, partitas and more from Bach to Chopin, Haydn to Milhaud and Mussorgsky, Brubeck and Gershwin to Prokofiev’s Cinderella.
The final concert features Julien Kurtz (France) playing the 1st movement of Chopin’s Piano Concerto No 1, June Wu (USA) performing the 1st movement of Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto n°1 and Xavier Aymonod (France) performing Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No.1, followed by Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue performed by Thierry Goldwaser (France) and Poulenc’s Concerto for Two Pianos, performed by Thomas Yu (Canada) and South African pianist and doctor Bernard Linde, from Stellenbosch.
Date: 10 to 18 November 2018
Venue: Baxter Theatre, Endler Hall, City Hall, Guga S’thebe Cultural Centre