Wakkerstroom Music Festival celebrates classical music and art

The hills come alive with classical music for the sixth consecutive year in the picturesque town of Wakkerstroom during the long weekend of 18-21 March 2016. The Wakkerstroom Music Festival is a non-profit organisation which aims to raise funds to enable promising music students to further their studies. Sponsors who have already given their support to make this wonderful weekend possible, include the Friends of Wakkerstroom Music Festival and SAMRO. Media partners are the e-tv Sunrise Breakfast Show, RSG and kykNETFiësta.

The 2016 festival offers music dedicated to romance and nostalgia covering all genres of classical music. On Friday evening at 20:00 on the 18th of March, WMF 2016 will open with a performance by the ever popular Charl du Plessis Trio in the historical Dutch Reformed Church with Charl du Plessis on the piano, Werner Spies on double bass and Hugo Radyn on drums.  Their programme Decade features favourite songs from albums like Trio, Pimp My Piano, Shanghai Brunch and Gershwin Songbook. Instrumental favourites come alive with a retrospective view demonstrating what has made this trio one of SA’s most unique ensembles.

The next day offers a wide selection of classical music concerts to cater for everyone’s taste. From a unique concert with two harpsicords played by specialists John Reid Coulter and Jetty de Vries combined with an informational lecture on the harpsicord to Polish lieder performed by visiting Polish artists Michal Slawecki (male soprano) accompanied by Joanna Wicherek (piano); Romantic Piano Trios by Schumann and Brahms with Eugene Joubert (piano), Jessica Bailey (cello) and Valery Andreev (violin); the ever popular Brahms LiebesliederWalze performed by Antoinette Olivier (soprano), Jana Matthee (alto), Chris Mostert (tenor), DolfMatthee (baritone) with the piano duo Eugene Joubert and Paul Ferreira, ending the day with a jazz performance Joplin to Piazzolla: The Jazz Story by Four on Six, as well as a rich and varied performance by Dutch Baroque violinist Antoinette Lohmann all the way from Amsterdam, Netherlands.

On Sunday the 20th festival audiences can expect to be treated to romantic arias and lieder performed by bass-baritone Danie Verster and bass Rex Nigrini; Slavic Songs my mother taught me sung by soprano Deirdré Blignaut-Rautenbach and mezzo-soprano Aukse Trinkunas; an adaptation of the Carnival of the Animals by Saint-Saens with Berthine van Schoor (cello), Annelien Ball (piano) and Linette van der Merwe (narrator); ending the day with the all-time festival highlight, the Gala Concert themed Birds of a feather flock together.

The WMF concludes on Monday, 21 March with an unmatched musical experience provided by organist Riaan Steyn who is joined by saxophonist Matthew Lombard, as well as a flute and piano recital with the second runner-up of the 2015 Wakkerstroom Music Festival Bursary competition, flautist SakhileHumbane accompanied by Annelien Ball.

This year’s WMF also introduces two new elements to the festival – an art exhibition curated by artists HardusKoekemoer and Johan van Heerden. The 2016 Festival Artist is the celebrated 82 year old Mimi van der Merwe well-known for her masterly graphic works and deft drawings. Another exciting genre being introduced to this year’s WMF is classical ballet performed by the Youth Dance Company Tshwane on Saturday at 16:00.

Online bookings open on 18 February 2016 and can be made by accessing the Wakkerstroom Music Festival’s webpage www.wmfestival.co.za. As accommodation tends to be snapped up quickly during the Festival weekend, it is advisable to make reservations early. Details can be accessed by the same webpage which also provides additional information about the programme. Any queries can be sent to info@wmfestival.co.za