By now readers of this blog and visitors to my home page will know that I am a pianophile who suffers from constant attacks of piano mania. I am so enthusiastic and utterly in love with pianos and more specifically Steinway & Sons pianos that I do not even try and hide it.
Having grown up with a Steinway grand dating from 1911 has not only given me considerable respect for the elderly but also proven that old does by no means mean cold. Yes M’am I mean you! From as early as I can remember I was always fascinated by the piano tuner and later technicians visiting my piano and making it better each time. So the respect and love was there from the start and was shared by these magicians of the musical world.
My first performance in Stellenbosch on the Steinway at the Oude Libertas Amphitheater in the picturesque Cape Winelands was in 2002. During this visit I learned that the piano was selected by Vladimir Ashkenazy and was build in the same year I was born: 1977. Since this knowledge became known to me I have had a special relationship with this piano: robust and stable with varied tonal capabilities and given the harsh and extreme conditions it lives and works in, it is a masterpiece. (I am pictured here with this piano – both of us a bit younger). In the subsequent years I have had the pleasure of performing many times on this instrument.
On 16 February this year I will be as old as any living soul can be and still say I am in my thirties. On that day I will play music I grew up with and have loved ever since: Mozart. His youthful character and musical genius propelled me to create a production I call EINE KLEINE JAZZMUSIK. I took some of his most beloved works and arranged and changed and messed with the Master to produce something new that not only push my limits but also those of my colleagues on stage. Magdelene Minnaar is the soprano who not only sings crystal clear top F’s in the Queen of the Night aria, but can rock in my version of Non Piu Andrai with baritone Musanete Sakupwanya. A cool and suave jazz master of vocals Musa has been put through the paces having had to learn German and Italian arias for the first time ever. Combining the vocals with my trio’s bass and drum groove made all the difference. Like any good dish an even better sauce makes it unforgettable. With this goal in mind I asked my Cape Town friends to form a new string quartet for this concert. Ladies and Gentlemen I present: The Mozart String Quartet. (I expect a Nobel prize for originality in due course).
So I am very happy to play my favourite music with colleagues new and old on 16 February when two 39 year olds will have more birthday fun than anybody can dream of.