The South African Society of Music Teachers (SASMT) together with UKZN Music discipline (School of Arts) hosted a gala concert at the Howard College Theatre to celebrate the society’s centenary.
The concert took place alongside the Society’s Centenary conference held at various venues in Durban.
The Society was established to create a network for the promotion of a high standard of professional competence in music teaching and to promote the continuous development of music educators. The UKZN music discipline and its lecturers have been a part of the society since its inception.
Headlining the concert were UKZN lecturers and pianists Mr Andrew Warburton and Dr Christopher Cockburn. The concert featured Beethoven Bagatelles Op.126 for solo piano, Brahms Zigeunerlieder Op.103, Ravel La Valse for two pianos and Brahms Trio for piano, violin and horn Op. 40.
Four UKZN music lecturers presented at the conference – Dr Patricia Opondo who spoke on: Appreciating the Diversity of African Musics; Mr Andrew Warburton on Chamber Music with Piano; Professor Chatradari Devroop on Contemporary Music Education, and Dr Andrew-John Bethke on the Sociology of Music.
Speaking about the creative potential music (either listening or performing) has in trauma recovery and in reconciliation, Bethke focused on his experience as director of two choirs in Grahamstown.
The first is the Rhodes University Chamber Choir which produced a programme of music including an original group composition to address the rape crisis at the university and the fall-out from the university-wide protests surrounding the issue.
The second is the Grahamstown Cathedral Choir where the programme of transformation focused on music and the use of language. ‘In this case the choir composed its own multilingual and musically transcultural Christmas Carol in four languages, and included references to local music traditions and Xhosa traditional dance patterns,’ said Bethke.
Warburton, whose address was titled: Chamber Music with Piano: An Investigation into a Relatively Unknown Repertoire, explored the vast repertoire of music written for various combinations of instruments, but always including the piano. Genres such as the Duo, Piano Trio, Piano Quartet and Quintet were explained, their roots investigated, and examples of great works by leading composers given. Various recordings of these works were compared, and the merits of each explained.
‘The lecture redressed the imbalance between the concert going public’s familiarity with larger scale symphonic works such as encountered in the City Hall at a symphony concert, and the far lesser known chamber works which were meant to be performed in more intimate venues, thus not reaching so wide a public,’ said Warburton. ‘This notwithstanding, these works often contain their composers’ most profound and idiosyncratic writing and should not be neglected.’