Dynamic partnership marks Johannesburg's Mozart Festival

Jan 26, 2012

For the past four years, South African and German artists have shaped the Johannesburg International Mozart Festival into a much-awaited and successful event. This year, from January 27 to February 19, classical meets jazz as the festival puts a new twist on the old classics, featuring artists from both countries in the program. The Goethe Institut adds to this partnership, sponsoring the festival for yet another year.

Paul Hanmer Enlarge image JIMF 2012 composer-in-residence Paul Hanmer (© Katrin Kusmierz) "Quasi Improvisando", is the underlying theme of the festival this year, which  will offer jazz concerts into the programme. This musical tweak demonstrates how the lines between the genres are constantly being blurred and allows the festival to offer classical music lovers the chance to experience jazz and vice versa.

Over the past fours years, the Johannesburg International Mozart Festival (JIMF) has earned a deservedly noteworthy reputation under the guidance of South African Richard Cock as Music Director and German pianist Florian Uhling as Artistic Director. Originally organized in 2006 in commemoration of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's 250th birthday anniversary, the festival has developed into a highly successful and well-loved annual classical music event.

The 2012 opening concert is on January 27 and will feature Quattro Fusion, the
jazz/classical combo of Melanie Scholtz (vocals) and Samson Diamond (violin), both previous Standard Bank Young Artists Award winners. They are joined by the duo of Melvin Peters (piano) and Godfrey Mgcina (percussion).

The Goethe Institute is a long-term sponsor of the event and this year will jointly present with JIMF an Improvisation Weekend at the University of Johannesburg Theatre. It will consist of a series of informal concerts, workshops, presentations and open panel discussions on February 11 and 12,  and will include leading South African jazz musicians and composers.

Benjamin Schaefer Enlarge image German pianist Benjamin Schaefer (© Benjamin Schaefer) The culmination of the many activities will be a jam session concert on Sunday, February 12. The performers and speakers include musicologists Chats Devroop and Marc Duby, JIMF-2012-composer-in-residence Paul Hanmer, JIMF-2011-composer-in-residence Mokale Koapeng, musicians Pops Mohamed and Tinashe Chidanyika, violinist Waldo Alexander, cellist Hans Huyssen, lutenist Uwe Grosser, the percussion duo Magda de Vries and Frank Mallows, as well as a group of young jazz pianists participating in a workshop with Paul Hanmer.

Also on the festival's program is a concert of trio music by Cologne-based pianist Benjamin Schaefer and Melanie Scholtz. The pieces performed are exclusively of original compositions placed in the modern jazz idiom, influenced by both the jazz tradition and European classical music.

The final concert of the JIMF will take place on February 19 and speak yet again to the fusion and partnership of German and South African musical talent. It will be a unique jazz/classical collaboration, featuring internationally renowned conductor Kristjan Järvi. He has an innovative approach to programming and is known for his dynamic performances of mainstream and crossover repertoires. This concert will include one of the world's greatest flautists Massimo Mercelli, Misha Simonyan (violin), and South African jazz trumpeter Feya Faku, with Florian Uhlig on piano.

For more detailed information about the festival, please download Johannesburg International Mozart Festival Programme 2012 [pdf, 675.5k]
For more information about the Improvisation Weekend


Mozart Festival 2012

Goethe Institut South Africa

Goethe Institut logo

The Goethe-Institut is the German cultural institute. It promotes knowledge of the German language and of Germany and fosters international cultural cooperation. The regional office in Johannesburg coordinates the work of its 11 institutes and 14 smaller offices in Sub-Saharan Africa. It also offers a diverse range of cultural programmes, German lessons, supports German teaching and has a library/Information Centre on it premises.