Johannesburg’s Grand Night for Singing in Aid of Education: Dean’s Concert

UJ Arts & Culture brings together world-class musicians for the 3rd annual Dean’s Concert, a benefit gala to help students in the Faculty of Art, Design & Architecture at the University of Johannesburg reach their full potential. The Dean’s Concert offers audiences an elegant celebration of contemporary and classical delights by distinguished musicians and rising stars to create an extravaganza of music, free of charge, on Saturday 3 November 2018 at the University of Johannesburg Art Centre Theatre.

Good quality, affordable education forming is an essential foundation for an inclusive society and long-term sustainability of democracy. However, as the student movement that began in 2015 has shown, South Africa’s increasing economic instability continues to threaten the opportunity for youth to afford university studies, while reminding us of our collective responsibility to open possibilities for youth to access the universal human right of education. The Dean’s Bursary Fund, established by Professor Federico Freschi, the Executive Dean of the Faculty of Art, Design & Architecture (FADA), in aid of academically deserving but financially needy students in FADA, presents an opportunity for the public to give hope to the academic journey of the youth. Music lovers are encouraged to donate to the Dean’s Bursary Fund and experience a rich and diverse programme, designed by renowned pianist Christopher Duigan.

Duigan and Freschi will be joined on stage by an illustrious collection of artists, including soprano Loveline Madumo, Spanish saxophonist David Salleras, the international award-winning UJ Choir conducted by choirmaster Renette Bouwer, and the Johannesburg Youth Orchestra Company under the baton of Eddie Clayton.

In addition to being the Dean of FADA, Professor Freschi is an accomplished baritone, who studied opera at the UCT College of Music, and has sung principal roles in a number of operas, operettas and musicals. Continuing their concert career together, Christopher Duigan brings with him extensive experience performing with all major South African orchestras and appearing on national and international festivals and stages in a repertoire of more than 25 compositions for piano and orchestra. In recital, Duigan has developed a wide national following through his innovative presentation and programming.

Joining the luminous array of voices for this one-night only gala is soprano Loveline Madumo who has made a name for herself performing a variety of roles on the South African and international stages. As an established artist and music practitioner, Madumo keeps the art and craft of opera alive with her series of outreach concerts and education programmes in townships across the country.

Blending the sumptuous collection of sounds on stage with his instrumental virtuosity and a Mediterranean spirit is Spanish saxophonist David Salleras. His award-winning career as a composer and recording artist, thrills audiences across the globe, and now Salleras brings his unique style of sound to Johannesburg after a successful season on the main festival of the Grahamstown National Arts Festival performing with Christopher Duigan and Federico Freschi.

The UJ Choir delivers a powerful addition to the Dean’s Concert as world champions, having taken gold in both its categories – Mixed Choirs (Western music repertoire), and Folk Music A Cappella – in the World Choir Games 2018. The UJ Choir highlights the combination of talent and resilience found in students who are driven by their passion for excellence, and who are a testament to the success of enabling student potential through community support. With an established repertoire spanning over two decades, and a discerning audience of dedicated fans around Gauteng and the country, the Johannesburg Youth Orchestra Company (JYOC) joins the Dean’s Concert for the first time in 2018, adding another rich layer to accompany this grand night of music. Operating in Soweto and Johannesburg, the JYOC echoes the spirit of the Dean’s Concert by responding to the needs of the youth in all communities, providing a centre of musical excellence that builds youth’s internal capacity to reach their potential and musical aspirations.

Remarking on the significance of the Dean’s Concert, Professor Freschi comments, “At the Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture we encourage our students to believe that art, design and architecture can – and do – change the world. We challenge our students to imagine the world they want to live in, and to leave behind, and then give them the space, the tools, and the motivation to do just that. Art, design and architecture are fundamentally about transformation. They change lives and communities, and in so doing, contribute actively to social justice. The ultimate gift is the gift of education,” he continues. “By making a contribution to the Dean’s Bursary Fund you will be making a direct investment in a creative student’s future, and therefore also in the future of our country. Every cent donated goes directly to support genuinely needy students who are in good academic standing, with no restrictions other than that they continue their studies. Help us to re-imagine the future, and create tomorrow.”

Open the festive season and join Johannesburg’s grand night for singing to serenade the city with a blend of world-class music in glorious harmony. Be part of this elegant end-of-year affair and help pave the way for youth to reach their full potential.

While the Dean’s Concert is free, seats are limited, and booking is essential. Audience members are encouraged to make a donation to the Dean’s Bursary Fund in support of deserving students in the Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture. Reserve your seats here before 31 October 2018.

Media are invited to experience the Dean’s Concert, and interviews are available with Professor Freschi and the artists to encourage Johannesburg audiences to support our students in their academic journey.