Dear Friends of Orchestral Music

Thank you for your support with the recent fundraising drives for our education portfolios to take their lessons online and cover additional fees of students who were unable to continue otherwise due to the pressures of Covid.  All the Orchestral Development organisations have done incredible work in keeping music playing while the schools were closed.  In addition, from our Individual Study portfolio, we were able to support violinist Jordan Brooks on his journey to take up a scholarship in the UK, and CPYWE trumpeter Ziko George to continue with his studies at Stellenbosch University.

It is always heart warming to hear how our previous recipients are doing and recently heard from Myles Roberts and Jean-Pierre Gabriels. Both studying in America.  Jean-Pierre was hoping to have visited Cape Town during this time and meet up with FOM members to tell them about his experiences.  Instead for now he sends his best wishes to you all from Arizona, along with a video for you all to see how he is progressing.

Myles, from Colorado has had a jam packed two years since he flew out in August 2018. He writes as follows:

Finally I have time to write and tell you how I have been doing since I received help from Friends of Orchestral Music. Thinking back, it all happened so fast: One week I was touring with the MIAGI orchestra, playing the Principal Flute part in Stravinsky’s Firebird in the Konzerthaus-Berlin, Concertgebouw in Amsterdam and in the Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg, and then suddenly came the news that I am required to start my Doctorate in August of 2018 (two weeks after arrival in Cape Town from the European tour), and more so, I was offered the Teaching Assistant position requiring me to start “work” within two weeks’ notice.

I shuffled like a penguin, wrote to FOM and expressed my need for help, ran to the American Embassy, which, as we all know, is not for the faint of heart, and got on the first flight to Denver, Colorado, in the United States of America.

When I arrived in Greeley, I did not even have a place to stay. I slept on a couch for three weeks, lived out of my suitcase, practiced in the dark, and woefully spent the last money I had made from concerts in South Africa. Jetlagged, two weeks late, and after my first “nights rest” I had to go to my first: “Meet and greet”. Not knowing who my students were going to be, I casually walked pass them and overheard the whispers: “That is him. The South African. He comes from the same city as Dr. Krawitz”  (referring to Capetonian Justin Krawitz who is resident here now)

Today, two summers and four semesters later, I have witnessed some of these students play the most beautiful degree recitals I have ever heard. Some of them have graduated, some have won prizes in competition, some have gone on to teach or further their studies with some of the leading American Flutists, and of course, some have fallen off the way. For most, they have all made me very proud, and I never thought that my 27-year-old self would have such success with students.

Being a performer at heart, I maintain an active performing career both here in the USA and abroad. Before leaving South Africa, I was invited to perform in William Kentridge’s newest work: The Head and the Load. Last year was a particularly high point for this monumental work of art, as we performed it 5 nights in a row for a sold-out audience at the Holland Festival in Amsterdam. A highlight that stood out for me, was performing this in the presence of the King and Queen of the Netherlands and being invited to the after party with the Royal Highnesses.

I have also won various prizes at the Colorado Flute association competition. In 2018 I received the third prize and last year, after three excruciating rounds with Bach, Pagnini Caprices and twentieth century sonatas,  I received the second prize. I came on stage to receive my award, only to find a regular South African Guest artist at the Stellenbosch Chamber Music Festival: Demarre Mcgill on the jury. One particular highlight last year was winning the “Concerto Competition”. This awarded me to play the notorious Concerto for Flute and Orchestra by Lowell Liebermann with he UNCO Symphony orchestra. This was a huge honor for me, as it was written for my great mentor Sir James Galway, whom I studied with simultaneously to Maestro Raffaele Trevisani in Milan, and whom I won the prestigious Galway prize from in Switzerland in 2016.

On the night of the concert, I walked on stage with a full heart, and even though I knew no one in the audience, I felt proud to represent South Africa, and to contribute to the art of flute playing in a  way that only we South Africans can do. My encore that night was Hendrik Hofmeyr’s “Thula Thula”, in honour of what my heart knows best, and where I learned everything I know today.

Not knowing that would be my last concert for 2020, I now sit here, yearning to play again. I write you this letter with a heart filled with gratitude, to say thank you for helping me on my way, and to inform you of the various highlights from the last two years. I would not be here if it was not for the help and support I had received from F.O.M.

I hope I do you proud, and in gratitude I look forward to returning and playing for you sometime soon! Just for ‘fun’ I have been memorizing all 8 of the Bach flute sonatas. Here is the last movement of the e minor sonata. I hope you enjoy it!

Kind regards, Myles

We will endeavour to keep you posted on all our youth development programmes throughout the year. If you wish to make a donation towards any of our classical music goals, please do let us know.

Kind regards

Louise Howlett

I have been memorizing all 8 of the Bach flute sonatas. Here is the last movement of the e minor sonata. I hope you enjoy it!

Posted by Myles Roberts on Wednesday, 19 August 2020