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Playing with the Concertgebouw orchestra is like playing football for Real Madrid
by Ansie de Swardt “A dream come true,” said Arno Piters, out from Amsterdam to tutor the young clarinettists of the Sanyo at their summer camp, about playing in the famous Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. “It’s like football: The game is nice, but it is even nicer if you play with Real Madrid or Manchester United.” The Concertgebouw attracts illustrious conductors. Piters played with the former chief conductor Bernard Haitink (now retired). “He is not demanding you to play; he is always inviting you to play. Some conductors give you this [makes a pointing gesture], he always gives you this [makes an open hand inviting gesture].” The current resident conductor is Daniele Gatti and Piters has great admiration for his technical and listening skills, and his interpretation of pieces. “He does not listen to many recordings, he says, as he wants to re-create each piece for himself.” Claudio Abbado, who is in the top three of most ‘best conductor’ lists, was another story: Piters auditioned for the Gustav Mahler youth orchestra but then got the (permanent) job at the Concertgebouw; on the same day as he got accepted for Abbado’s orchestra. Under pressure from the former he declined the latter, to […]
South Africa’s Appetite for its Orchestras’ Future
by Isha Ranchod   It is lunch-time when we meet, but Arndt Auhagen agrees to forgo nourishment in favour of conversation. A further interlude is provided by an impromptu brass performance on the open sports field –   “This will be too lovely to miss!”   We eventually settle outside on the couches, where Auhagen explains how he came to be a tutor for SANYO’s young violinists.   The Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra (RCO), for which Auhagen plays second violin, visited South Africa in 2013 on their 125th anniversary world tour, and that was when, with a kind of contract-signing, a very active collaboration was created.  Musicians from RCO come here to work with and tutor the SANYO members; and young musicians from SANYO go to Amsterdam to join the RCO in listening to the rehearsals, making chamber music, receiving lessons, and being involved in all that happens in the orchestra.     Western classical music, Auhagen thinks, is good for everybody, whether they are South African or not:   “Because it’s so international and is played around the whole world in orchestras and ensembles, if we bring young people from South Africa together playing this same music, we put them […]
SANYO’s Cooking Pot
By Jiba Xulu   Celebrating over 25 years in the music industry, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra trombonist Dutchman Raymond Munnecom (49) joins the 2017 South African National Youth Orchestra at Parktown Boys High School as the brass section tutor.   Munnecom talks about his ‘Cooking-pot’ teaching philosophy. It is about giving solutions, not criticism, he says.   “If it works, great; if it doesn’t, we move on. I like giving them creative options.”   Munnecom always reminds his students that they should take nothing for granted.   “My main goal is to instil complete musicianship. That includes effectively contributing and listening to fellow sections. Ultimately that adds to the colour, and to a holistic sound where everything comes together.”   Munnecom uses South African songs as part of his warm-up sessions; sometimes he also lets them sing their orchestral parts with invented works.   “I want them to be active musicians and develop initiative. This adds to the creativity and makes a safe working environment.   “They understand their responsibility for the quality. You can see that these kids are really hungry, which makes this work beyond success.”   Munnecom speaks of the importance of focus as a philosophical part of […]
Sarah Ioannides
Sarah Ioannides on diversity on the conductor’s podium and in the orchestra: “There’s definitely diversity in the orchestra, but what’s wonderful is, you know, there was a young lady who came up to me and started talking about conducting and how she’d like to conduct, and how she’d just tried it the other day and it’s tricky.  And I was like, ‘Yeah, it’s tricky!’ You don’t just pick up an instrument and just play it, you know? You have to be patient.  To learn to conduct requires the same patience as learning to play an instrument, and a lot of hard work.  And certainly, with this wonderful diversity, everybody has a chance in this orchestra.  And we’ll see what they want to do with their lives and careers from here, but they’ll remember this experience forever. That’s what I’m convinced of.”
Leon Bosch
Our conductor for the Winter Course 2018 in Bloemfontein For twenty years principal double bass with the Academy of St Martin in the Fields, Leon Bosch left the orchestra in 2014, devoting himself to his musical interests elsewhere: performing and recording as a soloist, setting up his chamber ensemble I Musicanti and teaching in the UK and internationally. Encouraged by his former colleague at the ASMF, Sir Neville Marriner, and having directed orchestras from the solo double bass many times, he also took up conducting and now appears regularly on the podium and as soloist/director. Born in Cape Town, although now a British citizen, he graduated from the University of Cape Town before completing his double bass studies at the Royal Northern College of Music. As soloist, Leon Bosch has so far recorded ten CDs, including the world premiere recording of music by the Catalan virtuoso Josep Cervera whose work he rediscovered and has been instrumental in reviving. He has commissioned dozens of works for the instrument.

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Concert Broadcast on RSG
The National Youth Orchestra concert on 16 December last year, with Sarah Ioannides conducting, will be broadcast on 7 March 2018 at 21:20 on RSG in Dit is Klassiek. http://www.rsg.co.za/
VRYSTAAT KUNSTEFEES CONCERT
The National Youth Orchestra conducted by Leon Bosch will make our debut at the Vrystaat Kunstefees
Winter Course 2018
Course details: Repertoire: Sibelius Symphony No. 2, Copland Rodeo Suite and a new commission generously supported by the SAMRO Foundation “The Stars’ Road and Mazanendaba” by Melissa van der Spuy Conductor: Leon Bosch Performances: at the Vrystaat Kunstefees Second part of this course will be the Minnesota Orchestra Immersion Experience in Gauteng from 14-19 August where the National Youth Orchestra will do side-by-side rehearsals with Osmo Vanska conducting, play chamber music, have master classes and get to find out what it’s like to play in one of the world’s best orchestras. The SA National Youth Orchestra’s study pathway really works. More than 70% of South African musicians working in South African orchestras are SANYO alumni. Our alumni are also members of some of the finest professional orchestras worldwide. The program encompasses all aspects of the preparation and rehearsal of full-scale symphonic orchestra repertoire in the National Youth Orchestra. The culminating concerts are sure to bring the house down, and the buzz of it will stay with you forever.

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VRYSTAAT KUNSTEFEES CONCERT
The National Youth Orchestra conducted by Leon Bosch will make our debut at the Vrystaat Kunstefees
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