Baroque 2000 celebrates 20 years of music-making

We salute Michel Schneuwly, director of Durban’s Baroque 2000, on the announcement that the ground-breaking ensemble which he founded in October 1998 will present a special celebratory programme to mark the launch of its 20th anniversary year. This will be performed at the Lutheran Church in Wartburg on Saturday October 7 at 2:30pm, and repeated the same day in the Victoria Hall at Maritzburg College at 7:30pm. A final performance takes place at the Church of the Mariannhill Monastery on Sunday October 8 at 3pm.


Devoted to music of the French baroque era, and conducted by Lance Phillip, the first half of the programme is a selection of instrumental pieces by Jean Philippe Rameau (1683 – 1764), Court Composer to Louis XIV at the palace of Versailles. The Te Deum by Marc Antoine Charpentier (1643 —1704) concludes the hour-long programme, which will be given without an interval. Baroque 2000’s instrumental players will consist of 15 musicians, including flutes, oboes, bassoon, trumpet and timpani. They will be joined by the Durban Chamber Choir, complemented by eight voices from the University of the Free State’s Odeon Choir, and five soloists from Cape Town.


Schneuwly has single-handedly managed Baroque 2000 since its formation, mounting its annual eight concert seasons at the Church of the Mariannhill Monastery.  “We have also been regular guests of the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown, the Hilton Festival, the Festival of Music in the Mountains organized by the Drakensberg Boys Choir, the HIFA Arts Festival in Harare, and the Kulungwana Arts Festival in Maputo,” Schneuwly proudly recalls.


“Almost every concert programme has introduced new discoveries to our audiences, extracted from the vast repertoire of Baroque music, a period that lasted barely 75 years. The musicians are mainly part of the KZN Philharmonic Orchestra, and specialize in period music. Baroque 2000 is mostly sponsored by Die Rupert Musiekstigting and by the KZN Performing Arts Trust. Regular series subscribers also contribute to the success of this ensemble, whose concerts are regularly recorded live by SAFM and broadcast by the same.”


Swiss-born Schneuwly is Principal Trumpet with the KZN Philharmonic, a post he has held since joining the then Natal Philharmonic Orchestra as a founder member in 1983.


Meanwhile, Friends of Music presents the Latvian pianist Agnese Eglina in recital on Tuesday (October 3) at the Durban Jewish Centre, 44 KE Masinga Road, starting at 7.30pm. Her programme, engagingly titled Invitation to Dance, highlights dance inspired keyboard works across three centuries - including music by Bach, Ravel, Granados, Albeniz, Gershwin, Ginastera and Piazzolla.  Tickets available at the door are R80 (members) R100 (non-members). 


The KZNPO’s four-concert Late Spring Season opens in the Durban City Hall on Thursday, October 19.  Lykele Temmingh takes the podium for a programme that includes: the Donna Diana Overture by Řezníček; Dvořák’s Cello Concerto in B minor (played by the American cellist, Zuill Bailey): and Saint-Saëns’s ‘Organ’ Symphony No.3 in C Minor.


Justus Frantz is the KZNPO’s guest conductor on November 2. The programme opens with two works by Mozart, his Le nozze di Figaro Overture, followed by the Violin Concerto No 5 in A Major K219, performed by BBC Young Musician of the Year Competition winner, Rafal Zambrzycki-Payne. The evening concludes with Schubert’s ‘Great’ Symphony No 9 in C Major.


The German maestro returns to the podium the following Thursday (November 9) for a programme that opens with Šárka from Smetana’s symphonic suite, Má vlast (From My Country); followed by Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No.2 in C minor, played by the sensational Ukrainian-American pianist, Valentina Lisitsa; climaxing with Dvořák’s symphonic magnum opus, the Symphony No.9 in E minor ‘From The New World’.


The season closes on a high note on November 16 with the KZNPO’s associate guest conductor back in the spotlight. Rossini’s Semiramide Overture and Saint-Saëns’s Cello Concerto no 1, with soloist Aristide du Plessis, fill the first half of the bill. The programme concludes after intermission with excerpts from Haydn’s oratorio, The Creation, sung by the Clermont Community Choir and soloists.


The KZNPO’s symphony concerts start at 7.30pm. Booking for individual concerts is through Computicket on 0861 915 8000, or online at To secure season subscriptions at reduced rates, call 031-369 9348, or email

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