UKZN’s Centre for Jazz and Popular Music (CJPM) hosted the Piano Passion Project who presented a Thanksgiving concert to celebrate the recovery from the coronavirus of the Centre’s founder Professor Darius Brubeck.
Proceeds were donated to the Denis Hurley Centre in Durban.
The Thanksgiving concert – featuring 20 pianists from South Africa, the United Kingdom, the United States and the Netherlands – was part of the weekly CJPM and iSupport Creative Business’ Music Unlocked Sessions.
The COVID-19 virus recently came close to home for pianists in the Project, when Brubeck – their former teacher, friend, mentor and colleague -contracted the virus, and was put on a ventilator in intensive care, with doctors giving him a 50/50 chance of survival.
He survived and continues to make a steady recovery at home in the United States
‘The news about Prof Darius Brubeck’s contracting COVID-19 and his life and death battle, really made a huge impact on the music and academic community in Durban, of which he was a part for so many years,’ said UKZN jazz lecturer Mr Neil Gonsalves. ‘The Piano Passion Project, an open-ended, multi-generational collective of pianists who are former students of his, felt it fitting to present a Thanksgiving concert to celebrate his recovery, and to donate all proceeds from the concert to the Denis Hurley Centre which is doing incredible work to care for the most vulnerable in our community. It is a story of hope and connection, which is vital in this time of social distance.’
The two-hour concert featured a wealth of piano talent that is, in many ways, part of Brubeck’s legacy in KwaZulu-Natal. Pianists included Melvin Peters, Burton Naidoo, Andile Yenana, Susan Barry, Sibusiso Mashiloane, Neil Gonsalves and Nduduzo Makhathini.