Celebrating UJ’s Steinway Concert Grand Piano

UJ Arts & Culture is proudly launching its refurbished Steinway Concert Grand Piano, with a one-night only benefit concert, featuring a number of Steinway artists and presented in association with Christopher Duigan’s Music Revival and Ian Burgess-Simpson Pianos.

The Steinway and Sons Model ‘D’ Concert Grand Piano at UJ Arts & Culture will take centre stage at the Fineway with a Steinway performance on the evening of Friday, 23 March 2018, at the University of Johannesburg’s Art Centre on the Kingsway Campus in Auckland Park, Johannesburg.

Featuring four of South Africa’s top concert pianists – of international acclaim – in one performance, this gala evening presents UJ Arts & Culture’s Steinway Concert Grand Piano following a much-needed extensive rebuild and refurbishment, in a unique and entertaining event.

Three Steinway artists, resident in South Africa, Charl du Plessis and Christopher Duigan, are joined by the outstanding young pianist Sulayman Human as well as legendary jazz pianist Darius Brubeck . Creating a varied and exploratory concert programme, each pianist will perform music of their choice in an allocated timeframe. And with the piano being the world’s most popular musical instrument, this offers an unparalleled opportunity for variety!

Both halves of the concert will include performances from the pianists together for four, six and eight hands at one piano.

The individual pianists have each followed unique and varied career paths. Charl du Plessis, described as a pianist with “the x-factor” bills himself as playing everything from Bach to Boogie-Woogie, and is well-known for his performances as a jazz pianist with the Charl du Plessis Trio.

“While we are saddened to hear that Jill Richards will no longer be able to join us in this special event, we are thrilled to announce that legendary jazz pianist Darius Brubeck will be joined on the evening. Mr Brubeck and I have worked together on a number of collaborative piano projects in recent years where we have shared the stage in a kind of musicas conversation. It is wonderful to hear him in a solo capacity in a selection of his father’s music, his own compositions and jazz standards. It is pure chance that he just happens to be visiting South Africa once again from London and we grabbed this opportunity to invite to share this stage with us for Fineway with a Steinway.”

During the 1970s, pianist and composer Darius Brubeck toured the world with Two Generations of Brubeck and The New Brubeck Quartet (Dave, Darius, Chris and Dan Brubeck). He moved to South Africa in 1983, where he initiated the first degree course in Jazz Studies offered by an African university, eventually founding the Centre for Jazz and Popular Music, at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, where he taught until 2005. Since then, Darius was selected for Fulbright visiting professorships in Romania and Turkey.

Career highlights include a commissioned work for the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, co-composed with the late Zim Ngqawana, and performances of his arrangements with the London Symphony Orchestra. He is now based in London and tours internationally with Brubecks Play Brubeck and The Darius Brubeck Quartet, releasing CDs with both groups.

‘Darius, the eldest [of Dave Brubeck’s sons] and most visually like his father, plays stylish piano and knows the score.’ Jack Massarik, Evening Standard.

Christopher Duigan has garnered a large following in South Africa, from both his stage performances and ‘on air’ broadcasts, where his interest in the popular classical repertoire extends to ragtime, tango, and contemporary film music.

Sulayman Human has focused on the core classical repertoire in his flourishing career. At a recent performance, Human was described as a rising star on the local concert circuit and possessing, “an ongoing lyrical line in combination with a thorough level of technical perfection and touch.”

Do not miss this opportunity to view the rebuilt Steinway and Sons Model ‘D’ Piano during interval at close quarters, on stage with Concert Technician Ian Burgess-Simpson who is the only piano technician in South Africa to have trained at the prestigious Steinway Academy for Concert Technicians in Hamburg, Germany. Burgess-Simpson was responsible for the rebuild of the Sons Model ‘D’ Piano. He will be on stage together with the artists during the interval and after the concert, to elucidate the rebuilding process and demonstrate aspects of the rebuild as it was undertaken.

All concert proceeds will be donated to the bursary fund established by Professor Federico Freschi, the Executive Dean of the Faculty of Art, Design & Architecture (FADA), in aid of academically-deserving FADA students.

To purchase tickets and for more information go to www.uj.ac.za/arts.

About UJ Arts & Culture

UJ Arts & Culture, a division of the Faculty of Art, Design & Architecture (FADA), produces and presents world-class student and professional arts programmes aligned to the UJ vision of an international university of choice, anchored in Africa, dynamically shaping the future. A robust range of arts platforms are offered on all four UJ campuses for students, staff, alumni and the general public to experience and engage with emerging and established Pan-African and international artists drawn from the full spectrum of the arts.

In addition to UJ Arts & Culture, FADA (www.uj.ac.za/fada) offers programmes in eight creative disciplines, in Art, Design and Architecture, as well as playing home to the NRF SARChI Chair in South African Art & Visual Culture, and the Visual Identities in Art & Design Research Centre. The Faculty has a strong focus on sustainability and relevance, and engages actively with the dynamism, creativity and diversity of Johannesburg in imagining new approaches to art and design education.