Music and exile looked at in depth

Imperial College Choir and Symphony Concert - December 2008
Cadogan Hall
Imperial College Choir and Symphony Concert - December 2008 Cadogan Hall

ANS of classical music will have a great time at the Linder Auditorium in Johannesburg on January 27.

ANS of classical music will have a great time at the Linder Auditorium in Johannesburg on January 27.

Besides the concert on January 27 at the Johannesburg International Mozart Festival itself, the organisers have added a two-day music workshop that will explore the issue of music and exile, with leading scholars giving lectures on the subject.

Another extra benefit is a ticket giveaway for those who will join a Facebook group the organisers have put together, giving people a chance to enjoy a feast of music.

The Music and Exile: North-South Narratives Symposium, hosted by the Goethe Institute in Johannesburg on January 27 and January 28, explores the relationship between music and exile from the perspective of scholars, performers and composers, covering a wide variety of genres, including Western art music, jazz and traditional South African folk music.

The symposium is an extension of the Johannesburg International Mozart Festival and is linked to the Mozart Anniversary Concert on January 27 at the Linder Auditorium.

Works of double-exiled composer Friedrich Hartmann, South African composer Michael Moerane and Mozart will be performed by the Johannesburg Festival Orchestra, conducted by Thomas Sanderling, joined by baritone Dietrich Henschel, mezzo soprano Elizabeth Frandsen and the festival's artistic director, Florian Uhlig, on piano.

The topic of exile is of great significance for South African and European music of the 20th century because the political situations of apartheid and the Second World War, amongst others, caused many migrations.

But exile is not limited to experiences of political oppression, since exile could be forced or voluntary (or a combinations of both), as well as be physical and or spiritual.

Composers or performers who have been forced to leave their countries have different experiences to those who leave voluntarily and musicians who use their music to migrate "inwards" in their art are distinct from those who use it to remember the places they have left behind.

The topic of exile also lends itself to a discussion of various experiences expressed musically, such as "before the departure", "uprootment", "flight", "arrival", "place", "new beginnings", "nostalgia for home" and "return".

Though these themes are universal and allow for a geographically and historically wide-ranging discussion, exile can be seen as a topos of South African cultural, and specifically musical, production.

Some of the prominent presenters at the symposium are Tim Jackson (University of North Texas), Michael Haas (Jewish Museum, Vienna) and Stephanus Muller (Stellenbosch University), Mokale Koapeng and David Coplan (University of the Witwatersrand).

There will also be discussions with composers and performers. Members of the public are welcome and attendance is free.

Meanwhile, the Johannesburg International Mozart Festival is offering a 10percent discount on Linder Auditorium concert tickets for members of the "Johannesburg International Mozart Festival" group on Facebook.

A 10percent reduction will be made for each ticket for you and a partner to any of the Linder Auditorium concerts of your choice during the festival. These will be available at the door on the night of the performance.

In order to qualify for this special rate and to reserve seats, patrons are requested to sign up on the Facebook page of the "Johannesburg International Mozart Festival" and to leave a message on the wall. In addition, the first five entries will win one free ticket each for a Linder Auditorium concert of their choice.

The Johannesburg International Mozart Festival provides a unique combination of classical performances on the highest international level with a keenly intelligent and creative approach to programming, together with an enterprising portfolio of all-encompassing education and outreach projects for children, students and audiences from all sectors of society.