Time passes quickly and before we know it the new symphony season is upon us. The programmes for the individual concerts are very exciting and I hope that you will be present in large numbers to support the orchestra. It has also been quite a busy time for the Committee since I last wrote to you, but the results of our efforts have really been good.
But let me first of all thank all of our members who braved the inclement weather to attend the Friends’ Annual General Meeting that was held at Artscape on Thursday, 24 July 2014. The turn-out was very satisfactory and the Committee and I appreciate the interest that is shown in the work that has been and is being done. It was an important meeting since one of its objectives was to overhaul the Constitution of the Friends that has been in place for a very long time and required some updating and modernisation. Some of the most important changes are the following: firstly the Constitution now provides specifically the objective of supporting musicians from disadvantaged communities and also that all income that the Friends generate (with the exception of annual membership subscriptions) will in future accrue to The Friends of Orchestral Music (Cape Town) Trust from where it will be disbursed to worthy causes identified by the Committee of the Friends. Secondly provision has been made for student membership at a special rate. Thirdly the maximum size of the Committee has been reduced to 10 members, which makes it much more streamlined and manageable and also provides for members to leave the committee if they are absent without reason from more than two consecutive meetings. Thirdly the financial year of the Friends has been changed to run from January to December, instead of from March to February as previously was the case. Finally provision has been made for the Friends and the Trust to link with similar bodies abroad to facilitate fundraising for the orchestra and tax exemption as appropriate. In the latter regard we are still busy with consultations to ensure that donors do in fact receive tax exemption for their contributions. I am happy to report that the revised Constitution was adopted unanimously. It was also very pleasant to have a chat with the many members who attended over a glass of wine after the meeting.
The members of the existing committee were all available for re-election and were subsequently re-elected, with the exception of Ian Mclean who resigned because of business commitments. The current committee thus consists of myself, Ruth Allen, Karinina Ingwersen, Dave van Reenen, Shirley Parkfelt, Rod Stevens, Isabelle Franzen and Norbert Furnon-Roberts. The positions of Chairman, Secretary and Treasurer will be decided at the forthcoming Committee meeting in keeping with the Constitutional provisions. The Committee is still seeking someone to perform the role of Secretary and I should be grateful if anyone who feels capable of taking up this important position could please be in touch with me. The work of the Committee is very rewarding and in support of a great cause.
I have to inform you, with some regret, that the Committee has decided, after very careful consideration and much debate that the membership subscription for the various categories of membership will increase from 1 January 2015. It should be borne in mind that the subscriptions have not been increased for a number of years. In addition the Committee has recently achieved significant benefits for the members of the Friends, such as a 30% reduction in the cost of season ticket bookings and a free glass of wine at post-concert receptions. The value of these benefits far exceed the membership fees, even when increased. The new fees, effective 1 January 2015 will be: Individual membership R200.00, Family membership R300.00, Student membership R100.00 and Corporate membership R3000.00. Corporate membership will include 10 individual memberships. I would also encourage all members to recruit at least one new member to the Friends in the coming year. I attach a membership application form for this purpose and note that membership can also be obtained directly via the FOM Website at www.fomct.com. The financial position of the orchestra is tenuous at best and the more we are able to support the CPO the greater the likelihood of it surviving these challenging times. You will know that the Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra has had to cancel its latest concert series and will probably not survive. We do not want that to happen here.
The Friends held a very successful Quiz evening at the Glen Country Club on Monday, 4 August 2014. Apart from drawing what was a close to capacity (and record) audience, the evening was characterised by much fun and laughter and every person present definitely had to dust off the cobwebs in order to deal with the very challenging questions posed by David Buda, the quiz master for the evening. He acquitted himself brilliantly of his task, ably assisted by David who was responsible for tallying the scores. I also have to mention that the ladies of the Committee excelled themselves by providing the most delicious soups, which were much enjoyed on a cold winter’s evening. My special thanks to all the members of the Committee and Henk Rubidge who assisted so ably in making the evening a success.
The big news is that the next event planned by the Friends will be a Gala Concert to be held at the City Hall on Thursday, 4 December 2014. We are delighted to announce that one of Europe’s leading violinists, Benjamin Schmid, has accepted our invitation to perform at this Gala event. Benjamin Schmid was born in Vienna and grew up in Salzburg. In 1992 he won the Carl Flesch Competition in London, where he was also awarded the Mozart-, the Beethoven- and the Audience Prize. Since then he has performed on the world’s major stages with renowned orchestras such as the Vienna Philharmonic, the Philharmonia Orchestra London, the St. Petersburg Philharmonic, and the Concertgebouw Amsterdam under conductors such as Christoph von Dohnanyi, David Zinman, Seiji Ozawa or Ingo Metzmacher.
Probably one of the most versatile of today’s violinists Benjamin Schmid combines his qualities as a soloist, the extraordinary broad range of his repertoire – in addition to the usual works he also plays the violin concertos by Hartmann, Gulda, Korngold, Muthspiel, Szymanowski, Lutoslawski and Schönberg – with his remarkable skill in jazz improvisation. He has recorded about 40 CDs and they have received various awards such as the German Record Prize, the Echo Klassik Prize, the Gramophone Editor’s Choice and the Strad Selection. He plays on a Stradivari dating from 1731. You can read more about Mr Schmid at http://www.benjaminschmid.com/en.
We are also delighted, and I know you will be too, that the Principal Guest Conductor of the CPO, Maestro Martin Panteleev will conduct the concert. The programme will consist of Mendelssohn’s Hebrides Overture, the Paganini Violin Concerto No. 1 and will conclude with Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade. Since this is the centenary of the CPO there will be a number of special events that will take place at the concert but more about that later. The ticket prices for this superb Gala Concert be will R450 for the general public and R400 for FOM members. Members will also be able to enjoy a finger supper with wine at a post- concert reception. Booking will probably open at the end of August via Computicket and Dial- a-Seat and FOM members should mention their name and membership when booking. Please watch the press for details. I will also advise members when the booking commences.
Members should also please take note that the CPO will be publishing a book later this year to commemorate 100 years of classical music in Cape Town. The books will be available at R500.00 per copy, probably towards the end of November. However, provision is being made for a limited number of copies of the book to be made available at R1000.00 each. Persons who subscribe to this offer will have their names printed in the book, thus having a lasting reminder of their support for the CPO. It is a very worthy cause and members are encouraged to subscribe in large numbers to this very worthwhile initiative. If you are interested to participate in the special edition please contact Francisca at email@example.com or alternatively any member of the Friends’ Committee.
Although it may not be immediately apparent, considerable time is required to deal with the various administrative tasks that make the Friends function effectively. One of these is the transmission of circulars to members and I would like to express the Committee’s and my sincere appreciation to Suzanne Leithton for assisting us with this task. The fact that Suzanne is not even a member of the Committee is a tribute to her commitment to our cause. Many thanks!
A final appeal. It is of great importance that the FOM database remains as current as possible. In many instances we have to try and track down members who have not supplied any contact details. I would urge you to forward your telephone, fax and email details to the Acting Secretary, Karinina Ingwersen as soon as possible. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (082) 3730952. Your cooperation is very much appreciated.
There are many things that we are very excited about, including a possible soirée for a very limited number of guests in October at which two new compositions by our own David Earl will be premiered. More about that later when matters have been finalised.
Best wishes and happy listening!
Derek Auret Chairman: FOM
“Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything.” ― Plato