Ever forwards!

Resourceful music entrepreneur Christopher Duigan forges ahead from one high to the next…

Christopher Duigan’s ever-enterprising Music Revival initiative never ceases to come up with fresh new ways of getting music out to new audiences of all ages, not only around our province but indeed further afield, as far south as Franschhoek in the Western Cape.


One of Duigan’s latest ventures sees the launch a new series of concerts being presented in association with Durban Girls College in Musgrave Road, Berea. The first concert in the series takes place in DGC’s New Functions Room this evening, starting at 19h30. Duigan will partner the widely esteemed American violinist, Joanna Frankel, in a delightful programme of music by Mozart, Ravel, Gershwin, Saint-Saëns and Ginastera.  The concert will begin with Prelude Performers from DGC Music Department.


As many readers will know, Durban-based Frankel, a graduate of the famed Julliard School of Music in New York, currently divides her time between her role as concert-master of  the KZN Philharmonic, and  obligations as part of Carnegie Hall's Young Artists programme "The Academy' in New York.  Duigan, for many years a familiar name on the South African concert circuit, and in particular in KZN due to his ground-breaking work as concert pianist and music  entrepreneur, holds the rare honour of being named a Steinway Artist (one of six pianists in South African history) and is one of the most prolific concert artists in South Africa.


Their  programme includes two rarely played single movement works by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, the Adagio K261 and the Rondo K373,  a selection from George Gerswin’s opera, Porgy and Bess,  along with  salon favourites by Edward Elgar, Maurice Ravel's Sonata for Violin and Piano and Alberto Ginastera's Pampaeno No 1.


Secure parking is provided for this evening’s concert on the field adjacent to the building - entrance via Miller Grove off Musgrave Road.  Tickets are R100 which includes refreshments. To book call  Tania  083 797 2121 or tborman@dgc.co.za.  Payment is in cash only at the door.  Visit www.musicrevival.co.za  for more. Frankel will reprise this programme with pianist Liesl Maret Jacobs for Friends of Music at the Durban Jewish Club on 5 May, starting at 19h30. And Duigan and Frankel will perform part of this evening’s programme at the first Michaelhouse Music Festival in Balgowan this Saturday when they will appear at 12 noon (see www.michaelhouse.org).


Duigan says he plans to run the new series in tandem with DGC on a quarterly basis. But if the new project generates enough support, these concerts will be presented monthly, in line with his concert series presented to his established audiences in the KZN Midlands and Pietermaritzburg, with DGC becoming  the Durban base for the series.


Duigan goes onto elaborate about his series of recital programmes mentioned above: “As Music Revival I have created a monthly cycle of concerts - one programme that I repeat in the last week of each month.  These start in Howick at Amber Valley, then Hilton, before playing at the Tatham Art Gallery or my home in Pietermaritzburg, then onto St Agnes’ Church  in Kloof. Each month features  a new programme or guest artist.”


“This month I am doing a programme I have called Pianology -  a pianistic  intersection  of popular  and classical  music.  This includes classical works with origins in popular music  like folk dances (Schubert’s Landler compositions, Chopin’s Mazurkas and Polonaises ). Also  classical pieces that ended up as  household popular melodies (Liebetraum,  Fur Elise),  popular compositions in the classical style by contemporary composers like Ludicoco Einaudi,  plus pianistic  novelty solos like Nola and even The  Warsaw Concerto.  It promises to be a big hit.”


“At the end of April, in the same series, I feature guitarist James Grace  in our joint programme of classical, and Latino music including jazz inspired improvisations. And in June, Spanish saxephonist David Salleras visits for the launch of my new CD. The Cd is a very exciting new project for me in that it is entirely of my own compositions - something David has been very encouraging about.  I have been secretly composing for years and through the very tentative outing of this music we recorded this last year.” 


“On a recent trip to Barcelona, where David lives, we had two days where he organized workshops with his students and gave them my pieces to play and work on with me.  I am the only one who knows the piano parts as are they in my head.  These both culminated in public concerts. It was an amazing experience. David is working on publishing these scores on his new website and edition. He is quite famous himself in the saxophone world for his own advanced sax piece and quartets.”


“I am working on some serious classical programmes too with concerts coming up soon of music by Scarlatti and Haydn and 'water themed' pieces by Ravel, Debussy and Liszt.  This is also to be repeated at my annual Music Weekend in Franschhoek in May, along with concerts by Joanna, and mezzo soprano Violina Anguelov and an amazing tenor I worked with last year.” 


“Also on the promotion side I have a new project to present and host a series of concerts of my own at the University of Johannesburg with guest artists starting  in May.  And I am hosting Darius Brubeck and Mike Rossi in a special jazz duo concert  (piano and sax) in April at the Tatham - I think it is their only KZN gig this tour.  And in May we are having a grand concert for the PMB City Hall Organ with four organists and guest artists, that promises to be a big event, presented in association with my principal sponsor Parklane Superspar.”


If there more such fecund entrepreneurial forces at work in our music industry as Christopher Duigan’s Music Revival,  it would be a considerably more vibrant environment than it currently is.

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